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Commercial Aviation Analysts

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 a mix of the TU-214 and… 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 their signals and the system is satellite… 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

The Airbus Beluga XL, based on today’s A330 jetliner, will have an enlarged fuselage “bubble” section that is six meters longer and one meter wider than that of the Beluga ST – an aircraft derived from Airbus’ earlier-production A300-600.  Here is a picture of the currently in-service Beluga ST. Continue reading

Most airline delays occur on the ground. Ground operations have long been static because the fundamentals of aircraft pushback and taxiing have not changed much.  Nevertheless, there seem to be some real opportunities to save time, especially by reducing a common source of ground delays: tugs and ground crews.

An innovative solution, advanced at one time or another by companies such as Crane, L-3, Airbus, Lufthansa, and a Safran / Honeywell joint venture (EGTS), is to provide the aircraft with an on-board drive – motorized wheels that are powered by the onboard APU.

WheelTug, the smallest of the innovators in this space, has received FAA approval of its certification plan. Interestingly, it is also the only company left that is known to be actively working on what is more popularly called “E-Taxi.”  WheelTug also chose a different technical solution than the other players by putting the motors in… Continue reading

There was an economic slowdown for the Middle East Three (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways or ME3) in 2016, after multiple years of substantial growth in revenues, yields, load factors, and profitability.  Whether due to a lack of oil-related business traffic as oil prices went south, or the lack of political stability the Middle East having a carry-over effect on the relatively safe parts of the UAE, yields and profitability have fallen for the ME3 in the second half of 2016, with revenues not keeping up with growth in traffic.

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