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Commercial Aviation Analysts


The LEAP engine from CFM International is progressing in its initial ground testing, and will culminate in engine certification in 2015 and entry into commercial service in 2016.  The first leap engine was fired-up on September 4th, and the engine has now reached full power in ground testing at GE’s Peebes, Ohio outdoor test facility. Continue reading

“China Inc” has agreed to buy 80% of mega-lessor International Lease Finance Corp and optioned another 10%, with major implications for global aviation.

ILFC parent AIG, which is still largely owned by the US government after the 2008 bailout following the global financial meltdown, retains the balance.

The US Government committee on foreign investment in the United States has to review all deals of a certain size with China.

The 80% sale has a price of $4.8bn, which is $2.5bn less than book value, implying a big write down will be forthcoming. This follows billions of dollars in previous write-downs and has ominous implications for other lessors who generally haven’t written down aircraft values. Any sales would almost certainly trigger write downs, turning balance sheets upside down for lessors.

While AIG (and the US government) get billions of dollars, the Chinese become an instant huge player on the international stage.… Continue reading

COMAC recently announced that the ARJ-21 certification and entry into service will be delayed by an additional 1-2 years, and not enter service until 2015 at the earliest.   Having flown a prototype a couple of years ago, this has become an exceptionally long certification process, an indicator that things are not going well for this airplane that looks like a copy of an early DC-9-10. Continue reading

The framework agreement from a year ago has made huge progress. Yesterday’s announcement is remarkable. Never before have two aircraft companies decided to combine their interests quite like this. It is more than ground breaking. For an airline looking at new technologies the combined offering could be very interesting. COMAC has some catching up to do, but with Bombardier’s help that process will likely accelerate. For Bombardier this friendship is pregnant with potential – China is a huge market. Bombardier has been doing business in China a long time and understands the unique challenges that brings to the table. Having COMAC as an ally is only good news for the Canadians.

Talking about the new arrangement being put in place between the companies is Bombardier’s Ben Boehm. Play

The industry rumor mill has been rumbling about this for months. Today it is official. Further to the framework agreement signed on March 24, 2011, Jin Zhuanglong,  Chairman, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) and Pierre Beaudoin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. today signed a definitive agreement covering program commonalities between the C919 and CSeries. More specifically, the two aircraft manufacturers agreed to cooperate on four distinctive projects to be executed as part of the first phase of COMAC and Bombardier’s long-term collaboration on the C919 aircraft and the CSeries families of commercial airliners. Continue reading

The re-engining announcement for the 737 by Boeing has given us pause to consider the impacts of both airframes and engines and their impact on commercial aircraft.  Clearly, engines are the driving force for technology in the industry, as fuel burn is approaching 50% of operating costs, and the proportional impact from changes in engine technology are higher than other factors.  But what about other elements, and how can new airframe developments, taken together, impact the economics of aircraft.

The 787 and A350, with composite structures, promise a dramatic reduction in operating costs well beyond the savings from new technology engines.  The same goes for the Bombardier CSeries, which will offer a 15% reduction in overall operating costs, about half from new technology engines and the other half from new airframe technology.  Irkut’s MS-21 and COMAC’s C919 are being designed both for domestic and export, with world class suppliers assisting… Continue reading