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AirInsight » A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Recently we posted a premium article on single aisle backlogs that elicited some debate.  This is welcomed because the subject is important and views will vary.

The essence of our view is that we find the OEM target of a rate of 60 single aisles each per month difficult to comprehend.  The view is primarily based on oil prices. The next chart illustrates the influence oil prices have played on single aisle fleet decisions.  The oil price spikes clearly impacted decisions.  It is during this period that we saw the arrival of the CSeries (initially pitched as a fuel saver) and then came the fuel saving A320neo and 737 MAX.  High oil made airlines and lessors jump at fuel saving aircraft. Continue reading

Earlier this week, at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference in Dublin, AerCap’s CEO Angus Kelly indicated that “we see big deferrals in the wide body market.”  He indicated that in the short-term, there is over-ordering, and that some of the big airlines are chasing the same passengers.

He implied that the order books at Airbus and Boeing don’t reflect "what is going to be delivered" and that some airlines may not take their orders.  We’ve recently seen Airbus cut A380 production and Boeing cut 777 production, and defer an increase in 787 production as wide-body orders have cooled.   While Mr Kelly's forecasts large-scale order deferrals and doesn’t trust the official backlogs from the OEMs, he cites that fundamentals such as traffic growth continue in the right direction, and he is not concerned about the number of overall passengers - the question will be who is… Continue reading

[UPDATE – MRJ PDF]

The news was expected.  But even so, it is frustrating to read the following from MITAC: “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) announced today that MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will adjust the first delivery of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) from mid-2018 to mid-2020.  The change is due to revisions of certain systems and electrical configurations on the aircraft to meet the latest requirements for certification.”

The aircraft was meant to enter service in 2014.  These delays are troubling to say the least.  Reports suggest that technical issues with the positioning of the aircraft’s electronics forced a design review. The MRJ90’s type certification is delayed to the fall 2019.

Program delays are not unusual – they happen at the biggest and best OEMs.  But for MITAC the news must be a big undermining of customer confidence.  For example launch… Continue reading

News from Russia today must be music to the corporate ears at UAC.  After the recent tragic crash on Christmas day, we were not alone in thinking the Russian Air Force’s fleet of TU-154s were a cause for concern.  The Defense Ministry and UAC are in talks.

The challenge as explained in the link above is that only some 20 aircraft need to be replaced.  These aircraft need to make use of military airports that do not always have long, paved and clean runways.  Take a look at this as an example.  As suggested, these requirements might limit use of the SSJ100 which otherwise would be a natural place to start.  Even the older, but readily available TU-214 likely will also be constrained by some military airports.

Since the options are few, it seems that the Russian government will have to end up deploying… Continue reading

The industry adage is that airlines order aircraft in good times and take delivery of them in bad times.  Timing, as always, is everything.   Ordering aircraft is something airlines do with a long-term view.

This chart shows how the long term book to bill ratio has been tracking. As we can see, 2017 looks likely to go below 1:1. This is a cyclical business and we definitely in the midst of a down swing.

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Last week it emerged that Boeing is now discussing a 737 MAX10 with customers on a serious level, and that its sales people have been given “authority to offer” the aircraft.  The model would be the fifth in the MAX range, augmenting the existing the MAX7, MAX8, MAX8-200, and MAX9.

The MAX10 has the following key changes:

  • 66 inches longer than the MAX9
  • Single class passenger capacity up to 230
  • Slightly higher MTOW
  • LEAP-1B Engine
  • Trailing-link main gear
  • Entry into service approximately 2020

Continue reading

It had to come.  Who even pays for Wi-Fi anymore?  Your correspondent does not on Delta, because of a very useful deal between T-Mobile and GoGo.  T-Mobile customers get free access allowing for Twitter and Facebook.  These two apps are great boredom solutions.

The jetBlue deal is sponsored by Amazon.  Passengers can stream Amazon Video on their devices.  The solution deployed by jetBlue offers 15-30mbps. This speed comes on all the airline’s US domestic flights.  GoGo is apparently operating at 10mbps.

Alaska Airlines, now owner of Virgin America, announced passengers on Wi-Fi enabled flights can use iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger at no cost.

jetBlue’s service is called Fly-Fi and is uninterrupted Wi-Fi – meaning no waiting to reach 10,000 feet before getting online. From the boarding to arrival Fly-Fi is connected.

jetBlue is in an interesting situation here. They use ViaSat for… Continue reading

Airbus produced their numbers for 2016 today.  They were better than expected – mainly because they hit a book to bill of one.  Airbus reported 732 net orders and 688 deliveries generating a book to bill of 1.06.  Airbus projects a ratio of under one for 2017.

Airbus had its usual year end flurry of orders – 60 A320neos for Flynas and 42 single aisles for the Chinese Bank of Communications.   But even so, orders were off a lot (350) from 2015.   What do the results look like in perspective? Continue reading

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