Archive For December 30, 2011

Highs and Lows in Commercial Aviation in 2011

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AirInsight looks back on the highs and lows in commercial aviation in 2011, all in no particular order.

HIGHS
1. Airbus has runaway success with the A320neo, exceeding its own expectations.
2. After a late start, Boeing clearly shifts into high gear for the re-engined 737 and ends the year with an impressive number of orders and commitments.
3. Pratt & Whitney is back in the small engine game with a series of successes for the Geared Turbo Fan.
4. CFM revamps its LEAP-X after losing key competition to Lufthansa and others and returns with a better design that is more fuel efficient than the first iteration.
5. Boeing has a tremendous year for the 777-300ER order book.
6. Boeing wins the USAF tanker competition, based on the commercial 767, not without controversey
7. Boeing finally delivers the first 787 and 747-8F.
8. Airbus’ success with the A320neo and the monopoly-breaking American Airlines order maneuvers Boeing into abandoning the New Small Airplane replacement for the 737.

SO-SO
1. Bombardier announces new orders for the CSeries but still fails to meet market expectations that are waiting for the “big score.” Broadening the customer base doesn’t satisfy analysts.
2. Embraer plays it safe and foregoes a new, small airplane, opting instead for a re-engine and rewing of the E-190/195.
3. Airbus announces increased payload and a larger engine for the A350-1000, touting improvements—but market reception is decidedly cool.

LOWS

1. “U-Turn” Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, stands up Airbus at the Paris Air Show at a press conference where he is to announce orders for the A320neo and A380.
2. U-Turn Al takes his complaints about the A350-1000 public at the Paris Air Show.
3. U-Turn Al stands up Airbus at the Dubai Air Show where he is to announce the order that was to come at the Paris Air Show.
4. U-Turn Al throws a hissy-fit at the Dubai Air Show, claiming Airbus doesn’t know how to make airplanes.
5. U-Turn Al u-turns three hours later and announces the Airbus orders at the Dubai Air Show.
6. U-Turn Al embarrasses Boeing by forcing Cargolux, in which Qatar has a one-third ownership, to cancel delivery of the first
747-8F two days before a media extravaganza/delivery ceremony that includes a rock band. Delivery occurs a couple of weeks later.
7. Atlas Air cancels three 747-8Fs awaiting delivery due to performance shortfalls.
8. IATA elects U-Turn Al to its board of directors.
9. Airbus pushes back EIS for the A350-800/1000 by two years and announces a dix month delay for the A350-900.
10. Boeing is forced to shelve the 737 replacement and proceed with a re-engined 737 MAX after American Airlines defects to Airbus. A clearly uncomfortable Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has to share the podium with a bubbly John Leahy and Tom Enders as Airbus announces its A320/A320neo order with American.
11. American Airlines finally succumbs and files for Chapter 11 protection under the bankruptcy code.

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Looking into 2012 with Bombardier’s Phillipe Poutissou

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Philippe Poutissou is VP, Marketing at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft and he spent some time talking with us about next year and reviewed some 2011 events. The issues discussed include: An overview of their programs; including a CIASTA update; Why is Bombardier going for a broad the customer base?; Where does Bombardier see greatest potential for CS?; Where does Bombardier see the greatest market for the CRJ; On the Q400 there is manifest interest in a larger Turboprop; finally we talk about oil prices and biofuel.

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Delays by tail number

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An aspect of the DoT On-Time data is arrival delays by tail number.  Between January and October 2011 there are only two tail numbers that turn up in three of the ten months.  They are N74007 and N76062, both are Boeings operated by Continental. The former accumulated 214 average minutes of arrival delays for the ten months through October and the latter accumulated 371 average delayed arrival minutes.

How valuable is a minute? LeehamNews has this great titbit. “Boeing estimates this at $25 for regional, $125 for a very large carrier or cargo airline, $50 minute for a carrier like Southwest Airlines and $100 for a US legacy airline.”  This is the value of air time – but if gives a clue to just how much time is worth to an airline.

Among other tail numbers, here is a table listing the top twenty tail numbers with the highest average arrival delays in minutes.  Mostly it seems to be a story of older airplanes.  Amazingly, not one MD80 or DC9 in the table and only one Airbus and Embraer.

As the podcasts with Boeing and Airbus this week showed, airlines are very keen to replace older airplanes.

The On-Time data offers lots of great nuggets on how airlines and airports are performing.  Unlike the Form 41 data, the On-Time data comes out sooner.  We will be further developing our use of this data.

 

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Looking into 2012 with Airbus’ Barry Eccleston

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Barry Eccleston is Airbus Americas CEO and spent over fifteen minutes talking about the great year they had plus a peek into a murky 2012. The issues we spoke about are: an overview on A380 programs for 2012; plus what are the biggest program challenges?; With so many sales for neo already booked, will 2012 see more mega sales?; What is Airbus doing to ensure neo delivery on time?; How does Airbus see the oil price playing out over 2012?; plus a view on biofuels; How much will the Euro currency problems impact Airbus?; sales breakdown in Euro vs. USD? and finally are there plans to grow Mobile, AL?

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Muddling Through

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Looking into 2012 with Boeing’s Randy Tinseth

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Randy Tinseth is vice president, Marketing, for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and kindly agreed to podcast with us looking forward to next year. We discuss the following topics; Program views (737,747,767,777, 787) for 2012; the biggest program challenges for 2012; Cargo traffic is dropping in double-digits in some parts of the world and cargo traffic usually is a leading indicator of passenger traffic. How does Boeing view the drop and its potential effect on passenger traffic?; How many MAX commitments does Boeing expect to be converted to firm orders in 2012?; How much of a problem is getting a delivery slot now? (when is the earliest available?); How does Boeing see oil prices acting in 2012?

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