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Commercial Aviation Analysts

A320

At the Paris Air Show, Airbus, through its subsidiary Elbe Flugzeugwerke and Singapore Technologies Aerospace announced a joint venture to develop a passenger to freight (P2F) conversion for the A320 and A321 narrow-body aircraft. This is a significant development and will provide competition for the numerous Boeing P2F programs for the 737 and 757 that already exist.

Airbus forecasts a market of more than 600 small freighters over the next two decades, all of which will come from P2F conversions. Today Boeing has a virtual monopoly on that market, with the 737-300 and -400 comprising most of the conversions, and development of program for the 737-800 underway. Continue reading

A320 aircraft production in the U.S. is on schedule to begin this summer as large aircraft components for the first U.S.-produced aircraft departed from Hamburg, Germany, bound for Mobile, Alabama. The parts on a ship named BBC Atlantic.

The major component assemblies consist of wings produced in the UK, rear fuselage section produced in Germany and the tail cone produced in Spain, and the forward fuselage section, including the cockpit produced in France. All these components contain parts from all over the world. The horizontal (from Spain) and vertical (from Germany) stabilizers are also on board. The first aircraft is an A321ceo destined for delivery to JetBlue in 2016.

Airbus established the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile to assemble and deliver A319, A320 and A321 aircraft to meet the growing needs of its customers in the United States. The new Mobile factory is a key part of being… Continue reading

Israel Aerospace Industries launched a B737-700P2F conversion program through its MRO and conversion arm, Bedek Aviation Group. Alaska Airlines is the launch customer for the program with three firm orders plus an option. Bedek expects certification in mid-2016 with delivery of the first converted aircraft by the end of 2016. Alaska’s cargo fleet consists of one B737-400(F) and four B737-400(M)s used on flights throughout rural Alaska as well as to the mainland United States.  With the earliest 737-700s now approaching the end of leases, the question of whether they can be re-leased in a market that seems to be moving upward in size is on the minds of lessors.  With this, and competing P2F programs, they now have options.

This latest move by IAI in the P2F business highlights a few items: IAI continues to demonstrate its excellent capabilities, and long legacy in the P2F conversion market. It is… Continue reading

The tragic crash of a Germanwings A320, 4U flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, has led to widespread speculation regarding potential causes for the crash.   We know very little at this point, but expect to learn more as the flight data recorder, which was recovered, is analyzed by French authorities. While that “black box” was damaged, it appears that the data are intact and recoverable, according to recent news reports.

We do know that the aircraft was 24 years old, delivered in 1991, and had 58,300 hours and 46,700 cycles, had a line check the day before the crash, and a C-check in 2013. We also know that the aircraft was cruising about 38,000 feet, then descended for 8 minutes at a high rate of descent before crashing into the mountains at about 6,000 feet.   The aircraft wreckage is spread over a wide area, in small pieces, with no chance… Continue reading

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