November 2012 » AirInsight
A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Monthly Archives: November 2012

The headlines in one of the local Budapest newspapers, which roughly translates to “Airport Hit Below the Belt” in reaction to Ryanair’s decision to cancel approximately 40% of its flying at Budapest.  The photo of the airport worker with hands that almost appear in a defensive position for a kick to the groin emphasizes how some folks in Hungary have reacted to that decision, after welcoming Ryanair as the replacement for Malév, the now defunct Hungarian national carrier.  While Ryanair has publicly castigated Hochtief, operator of Budapest Ference Listz (formerly Ferihegy) airport on fees, if one digs beneath the surface, a different story emerges.

If an objective observer took a good look at passenger traffic at BUD, the real reason for the Ryanair pullout becomes apparent.  Ryanair was not achieving its target load factors on those routes, and as it normally does, quickly adjusts its route network… Continue reading


With a record setting order from VistaJet earlier this week for 56 new Bombardier Global aircraft with 86 options, worth more than $7.8 billion at list prices, it appears that a new leader has emerged in the intercontinental business jet market. This is being called the single largest transaction ever in general aviation, with first deliveries starting in 2014.

One of the happiest people on the planet is Steve Ridolfi, President of Bombardier Business Aircraft who in characteristic Canadian understatement said “By any standard, this is an historic order for Bombardier.”

The new orders will be for 25 Global 5000s with 40 options, 25 Global 6000s with 40 options, and 6 Global 8000s with 6 options.  The company is focusing on Russia, China, the Middle East and Africa as growth markets, as well as the East and West coasts of North America for intercontinental travel.

But this isn’t… Continue reading

As the old song states, “Liar, Liar, pants on fire, your nose is longer than a telephone wire.”  The advertising war between Airbus and Boeing has kicked up a notch, with Airbus showing an Boeing aircraft with a Pinocchio nose and asking why its competitor is stretching the truth in its newest ad.  In the ad, Airbus claims that Boeing is utilizing misleading performance comparisons with the 737 against A320 and with the 747-8i against A380.


It has always been true that each manufacturer advertises its products in the most favorable light, and its competitor in the worst possible light.  In this blog, we’ve taken each manufacturer to task for various claims, and have published independent economic analyses that show the aircraft to be quite close in economic performance.  An example of that is here.   Airbus has, in the past, exaggerated the performance… Continue reading

This week, Airbus began expanding its testing program for its “Sharklets” to include the A319 in addition to the A320.  With that announcement, Airbus provided some initial feedback regarding the testing completed so far on A320, which indicate that performance is running better than expected, particularly for long-range cruise, the flight regime in which winglets are most beneficial.  Airbus initially projected a 3.5% fuel burn improvement on long-haul sectors, so beating that target implies performance in the 3.75%-4% range.

                                                                                                                                         … Continue reading

We had a chance to spend time with an aerospace pioneer. Stanley Fishkind is a retired NASA Chief Engineer and CIO.   Mr Fishkind spent twenty years at NASA. Prior to this he spent twenty years as an engineer working for Westinghouse Defense Corp, Johns Hopkins University, Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Operations Research.  Forty years in aerospace covers a lot of ground.  In the near one hour we got to listen to some amazing stories; how many people have you heard from who reversed engineered a SAM 6?  Mr Fishkind also shares stories from his time at NASA during the Space Station and Shuttle programs.


Today Boeing announced it has finished defining, in broad terms, the 737 MAX,  completing a major milestone in development known as ‘Firm Concept’.  The bump at the nose wheel door is now gone.  There are a number of tweaks that enable a 13% improvement in fuel burn.  On the analyst call this was explained to mean that the 13% is an improvement on the earlier stated numbers and this means the MAX should be 19% more fuel efficient than the NG.

The fuel burn improvements come from the new CFM LEAP engines, the new tail cone and advanced winglets.  CFM achieved architectural freeze in September, by freezing fan size and core size. The final LEAP design freeze is expected in April 2013.  Other tweaks include an electronic bleed air system to be supplied by Honeywell and large-format flight deck displays, supplied by Rockwell Collins.… Continue reading