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Commercial Aviation Analysts

Tom Wetherall, Lockheed Martin’s Director of LM-100J Business Development spent a few minutes discussing the latest version (there have been some 25 versions) of this aircraft, that first flew in 1955.

China’s AG600 is the world’s largest amphibian aircraft and has passed its first engine tests.  First flight is planned for later this year.

The engine test ran the four WJ-6 turboprops. Next comes a comprehensive ground test program which leading to first flight in first half of 2017, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) reported. This organization is a subsidiary of state-owned AVIC.

The AG600 has been in development for seven years and is intended primarily for firefighting. The AVIC AG600 will likely also be used for maritime patrol and search and rescue. The AG600 search and rescue version will be able to seat 50. China’s growing South China Sea islands are likely to see many AG600s.  The is nearly 123 feet long with a wingspan of 127 feet and can carry 12 tons of water, according to CAIGA. The AG600 is expected to  have a range of 3,000NM.  AVIC… Continue reading

News from Bloomberg suggests that AerLingus is about to announce a decision to select the Airbus A321LR to replace its Boeing 757s.  These 757s are primarily used to connect Ireland and US east coast cities.  The Boeing 757 is a remarkable aircraft that enjoyed great popularity long after Boeing stopped making them.  But the existing airframes are ageing and its obsolesce is a factor.

AerLingus has four 757s, and the report says the airline is looking at seven A321LRs. This might indicate a decision by AerLingus to increase its trans-Atlantic routes from Dublin.  Are all going to fly west to the US?  Perhaps, but perhaps not.  The advantage of aircraft with long range is that they offer potential to be flexible and experiment with new markets.  The following map shows markets that are within reach.

The map shows the ranges for the 757, A321LR and MAX8.  We include the MAX8… Continue reading

Widerøe confirmed it will be the E190-E2 launch operator. Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for the first half of 2018.  Embraer is confident of its schedule.   Currently Widerøe operates a Bombardier turboprop fleet of 41 aircraft.  The selection of the Embraer was something of a surprise to many.  But the CS100 is too large for the airline’s requirements.  This decision is interesting as it may be a guide for other airlines that are also considering aircraft of this size.  The Widerøe E190-E2’s will have a single class with 114 seats.

Widerøe is based in Norway and is a  regional operator.  The airline’s deal with Embraer for up to 15 E2 aircraft;  three firm E190-E2 orders and purchase rights for a dozen more.  Widerøe CEO Stein Nilsen said in a statement that the three firm order aircraft would be deployed on regular flights from its Bergen and Oslo hubs. … Continue reading

Aerospace is a technology-heavy business.  But the pace of technology change is accelerating.  Consider just 15 years ago that composites were too expensive and unproven for aircraft structural applications, large geared turbofans were a lab experiment, hybrid cars were new, flip phones were state of the art, and the hard drive on my computer had less storage than my USB thumb drive today.  And technology continues to accelerate at a faster pace.

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Two Reuters articles are recommended reading prior to our story here.  First this one, which describes how OPEC is having a tough time curbing production.  The previous swing producer, Saudi Arabia, says these cuts are only needed for six months.  But there are dissenting voices; this is an important one “If OECD stocks were to continue to draw in 2017 at the same pace as that seen over July-December, then it would take us around a year to return to the five-year average in stocks,” IEA oil analyst Olivier Lejeuene said.

Oil markets are in an over supply position.  It appears long term oil demand is declining or growing more slowly.  And producers that recently were not selling, such as Libya and Iran are back.  Nigeria and Libya are exempt from OPEC production cuts.  Then there are the US-based frackers who are now the new swing producers  They are not going to follow any OPEC guidance.  They will grasp any opportunity to produce and sell oil. Continue reading

Boeing has an $16.6bn deal with Iran for 80 aircraft.  Many in the industry were wary of the deal’s next steps after the change of government in Washington, DC.    President Trump imposed a temporary travel restriction that included Iran.  Then news emerged that Iran had test fired a ballistic missile last Thursday, which was seen by Washington as a provocation.  On Friday, following a missile test masquerading as an orbital test flight, the US imposed new economic sanctions against several Iranian officials and entities involved in Tehran’s missile testing program.  On Sunday, Iran fired another missile. Continue reading

The influence of the US scope clause on the regional jet OEMs is significant.  The following chart illustrates how the sheer size of the US regional market dominates.   Any regional jet OEM seeking high production volumes must ensure the aircraft offered can operate within the US market.

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Airbus Final Assembly Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, China,  starts assembly of its first A320neo in July and plans to deliver it to an Asian customer in September 2017.  The Chinese plant, a joint venture between Airbus and Chinese partners based in the Tianjin Free Trade zone, has delivered more than 300 A320 aircraft since it went into operation in 2008.

Last year Airbus delivered 153 aircraft to Chinese operators, making this its seventh consecutive year of over 100 annual deliveries.  The 2016 deliveries included 141 aircraft in the A320 family and 12 of the A330 family. In 2017, Airbus’ Tianjin plant plans to assemble four A320neo aircraft per month.

Lufthansa celebrated the “roll-in” of its new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, and was kind enough to invite AirInsight to its celebration.  Videos of the speeches and christening ceremony, in German, will be available in separate posts on our site.

The celebration was held in Munich because the first 10 of the 25 A350s Lufthansa has on order will be based in Munich, with initial flights starting this month to Boston and Delhi.  After experiencing the event, with more than 2,000 people in a Lufthansa Technik hangar that was noisy enough that you needed to speak loudly to your neighbor, the flight out of a quiet Munich airport, and how the A350 will reduce noise nearby the airport, will be striking. Continue reading