A Commercial Aviation Consultancy



1Today’s news of Air France/KLM ordering another 34 E-Jets draws attention to the opportunity represented by the aging fleet of aircraft built by Fokker. These aircraft, even the last produced, are approaching 20 years of age, and much of this fleet will likely be replaced over the next five years.

At present there are some 339 Fokker jets in service around the world. Given that Fokker is out of the business, and the Rekoff plan seems to be gaining no traction, we see the replacement of these aircraft as a big opportunity for others.

So what does the existing Fokker fleet look like? The following chart shows the in-service Fokker fleet as of the end of 2014 by geographic region and end use. The vast majority of the fleet remains active in passenger service, with Asia being the largest market, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Only 35 Fokker jets are currently registered in North America, the majority in Canada.

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The commercial aerospace industry has two duopolies – a big one (Airbus & Boeing) and a small one (Bombardier & Embraer).  If markets were clearly differentiated these four companies would coexist in an environment where there are two competitions.  But, as we know, the commercial aerospace business is not cleanly split – there is a growing area of friction between the duopolies where their interest meet.

The area where the friction is occurring is the 111-140 seat segment, and that segment itself built on the foundation of the 91-110 seat segment.  The under 100 seat segment is where the regional jet makers of the small duopoly have traditionally traded and honed their craft.  Success at the sub-100 seat segment has enabled the smaller duopoly firms to experiment by stretching aircraft and even developing aircraft with more than 100 seats.  The success Bombardier and Embraer enjoyed has attracted attention and competition from Mitsubishi in Japan and SuperJet from Russia and Italy.  To maintain their duopoly Bombardier and Embraer decided to grow their aircraft up to the nominally 130 seat size. Continue reading


Take a look at this chart of the 2014 in service passenger airliner fleet.  In our view this provides a very useful breakdown of the OEMs by seat segment.  It also highlights some opportunities for new business. Continue reading


The much delayed ARJ has started test flights for launch customer Chengdu Airlines. The first two deliveries are set occur in April or May. This will be the first Chinese attempt at offering a regional airliner.


So how does their offering compare to competitive products that exist today?

2015-03-18_15-17-49The Chinese have publicly stated that they did not expect to produce a world-beating aircraft out of the box, and that the ARJ-21 was to be a learning experience. But they did expect to make an aircraft that could be competitive, given the capital cost differential, for Chinese airlines, which they have done.

The table above shows the seating is virtually identical in a typical two-class configuration. But then the other numbers come into play – the ARJ is much heavier; 16% more than the CRJ and 14.4% heavier than the E-175. This causes an interesting requirement – all three use various… Continue reading

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