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A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

The excitement of trading with Iran’s airlines is bringing OEMs some uncertainty.  This is going to be unwelcome to suppliers who dislike adding uncertainty to an already uncertain industry.

Let’s start with Superjet. News from Iran now suggests the SSJ is not going to be welcomed in Iran.  The Association of Iranian Airlines is the source, and to see the comment from that source as saying “the plane is not well-known to Iranian airline companies” is fatuous. Virtually every modern commercial aircraft is unknown to Iran’s airlines and the SSJ issue has been fixed. Then to ascribe concern about the recent technical fix after saying as recently as December 10th that Iranian airlines were interested in buying the SSJ is perplexing.

Meanwhile ATR is about to sign a finalize its deal with Iran this week and the first aircraft looks ready for delivery.  The first Iran Air… Continue reading

Back in the heyday of the order boom, as recently as 2015, the talk was of Airbus and Boeing going to single aisle monthly production rate 60.  Airbus promised production monthly rates at 50 from 2017.  Then it went to rate 60 by 2019.   Meanwhile Boeing said it would accelerate monthly production to rate 52 in 2018.

Are these production rate plans viable as we enter 2017? We’d say no.  Look at the following chart.  It is true that both OEMs have increased production steadily over many years.  Even though the 2016 data is only through November, we estimate production for both at 490 for the year.  This essentially flat compared to 2015.  To justify the growth to rate 50 means orders must spike to a level that justifies more stress on the supply chain.

Welcome to AirInsight Premium content.… Continue reading

Last Wednesday it happened in Indonesia. Citilink, owned by Garuda, initially denied the pilot was drunk. Later Citilink’s president and the airline’s production director resigned and the pilot was fired.

Then on Saturday in Canada, a pilot at Sunwing was so drunk he was found unconscious on the flight deck! When the co-pilot arrived he found the pilot drunk while doing the preflight. The co-pilot notified the airline, and when the gate crew boarded the aircraft, they found the pilot slumped in his seat. Calgary police were called and the pilot was arrested.  So drunk was he that two hours after being taken into custody, he was still three times over the legal limit.

For these two gents their flying career in the airline business is likely to be curtailed.  The industry has many checks and balances to ensure safe travel.  Of course the security folks at… Continue reading

There are 160 TU-154s deployed in the former CIS.  The 160-seat TU-154 has been a stalwart aircraft serving across the region, in some cases for over 40 years.  Russian news indicates the TU-154 fleet has been grounded.  But the grounding most likely applies only to the state owned fleet.

As of 3Q16, 42 were in service, the remainder being parked.  The aircraft is at the sunset of its life.

Within the active fleet, the Russian State had 15 and its 223rd Flight Unit had five.   While airlines have mostly parked their TU-154s, the state has kept its fleet active.  The state fleet does not have as many cycles as the commercial fleet.  Even if the aircraft is old, it is kept at OEM spec and should be safe to fly.

The aircraft that crashed on Christmas Day was built in 1983 and… Continue reading

In August CityJet flew an SSJ into Bodø Airport, Norway.  Which would be normal, you’d think. Except Bodø had no towbar for the SSJ.  So, with a schedule to keep, and a ground crew not willing to let the schedule slip, they did what needed to be done!

Yesterday’s 787 decision by Delta was not unexpected.  The original 787 order was from Northwest Airlines. Once Northwest merged with Delta, it was Delta’s fleet plan that took precedence.

As of 3Q16 Delta’s fleet looked like this.  Boeing represented 58% of the fleet, so Delta remains a major Boeing customer.

But taking a deeper look at Delta’s fleet we can see the impact of the Northwest merger.  Northwest was not an airline with a modern fleet. It was famous for keeping 30+ year old DC-9s in service.  In the single aisle category one can see the merger immediately aged Delta’s fleet.  As the older aircraft have been retired and newer Boeing models acquired, the fleet average age has started to fall even as the fleet has seen strong growth. Continue reading

Superjet provided the following message today:

Moscow, 27 December 2016 – JSC “Sukhoi Civil Aircraft”(SCA), together with operators, have completed the Sukhoi Superjet 100 fleet inspection. Aircraft which have successfully passed the inspection have resumed flights. The reason for the inspection was the previously detected defect in the stabilizer attachment bands on one aircraft.

As of today, all aircraft have now undergone the inspection, performed by SCA jointly with the airlines operating this type. 

Following the results of the inspection, the defect is not of a systemic nature and can be eliminated within a few days. Examination has confirmed that … Continue reading

It is nothing short of eye popping: 855 parts reduced to 12?  GE’s ATP is going to be an amazing piece of technology.  It certainly will show case the company’s additive manufacturing capabilities.

Lower weight and better fuel burn are equally impressive – indeed these numbers along would attract a lot of attention.

But consider this.  If an operator had an ATP in service, and needed parts, where could he or she go? It looks like only GE will have the parts.  Moreover, if a small part needs to be replaced, does this mean that a number of other parts also get replaced at the same time?  After all, with part consolidation it appears that replacement might mean a lot change when there is a replacement part is needed.

This is really a very good strategy for GE. They can eliminate an entire supply chain… Continue reading

The regional jet business is in many ways a more difficult market to trade in. Whereas among the big jets you have a duopoly, in the regional jet business you see four competitors fighting.  We have frequently referred to the regional space as the “small duopoly” – after all its primarily a fight between Bombardier and Embraer.

However news over the past 24 hours suggests the newcomers may be facing some issues.

First SuperJet – on Xmas day, an email came from Italy describing a Russian Airworthiness Directive.  It reads:

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft comment on fulfillment of FATA (Russian Federation Federal Air Transport Agency) Airworthiness Directive (dated 23.12.2016)

 As part of a routine inspection of an SSJ in Russia, a defect was detected in an element of the tail stabilizer in an area not critical to the aircraft operation. The element has a multi-level redundancy system… Continue reading