Archive For The “Dornier” Category

Turboprop review through 3Q17

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Turboprops have had a good year in 2017.  We take a look at the market and provide some insights to be found in the data.

The turboprop market is big but not as exciting, perhaps, as the single-aisle market.  We can see that the number of parked aircraft has risen from about 9% of the fleet to over 16%.  Does this indicate something odd going on?

Reviewing the parked aircraft we find that they average over 20 years old.  Because of OEM changes, there is another pattern: parked aircraft reflect the state of the OEM’s fleet.  BAe, Embraer, Fairchild/Dornier,  Fokker, and SAAB are all out of this market. Moreover, the number of parked aircraft vary by world region.

Looking at the more recent history, we can see how the departure from the market has impacted the in-service fleet.  Turboprops, despite being workhorses, don’t die easily.  In 2015 the in-service fleet average age was  19.7 years and as of 3Q17, the in-service fleet averaged 19 years.

Taking a look at the in-service fleet as of 3Q17, we find the following.

Asia/Pacific and the EU are the primary markets for turboprops.  North America (combining Canada and the USA) creates the third biggest market. The CIS and the Middle East do not look like promising places to trade.   (Which begs a question about the GE and UEC deal, doesn’t it?) Africa and Latin America look promising though.

These could be exciting times for OEMs though.  The table lists in-service aircraft.  The light blue columns show models no longer in production.  Eventually, even these need to be parked and replaced.

Is there any surprise that Embraer is pondering a comeback?  Looking at the wide range of aircraft sizes that fall into this market, it would seem the focus on 90-seaters may not be the best place to look.  There are literally hundreds (about 43% of the market) of 30-50 seaters that need replacing, and you do not need to make as tough a business case as you do with 90-seaters.

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Premium #342 – Aircraft transactions through July

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Pratt & Whitney Canada – The Dominator

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Looking at the turboprop market we note that there is a level of domination we have not seen in other markets.  This is not just impressive, it is remarkable.  The chart below lists the active airline fleet of turboprops.  The percent number in each year reflects PW&C’s market share.  The company’s dominance of this market amazing.

While there is excitement about the forthcoming GE ATP, take a look at why PW&C dominates.  They have a wide selection of engines to choose from if you’re an OEM.  These engines have been around for many years – still powering aircraft that are no longer being manufactured but in service.

Although the PW100 is the core engine used by all these OEMs, PW&C has tweaked it relentlessly to stay in the game with the best option for any aircraft.   An even more impressive performance is the PW&C PT-6.  But that’s another story.

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Premium – Turboprop Update

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It has been some time since we last looked at the airline passenger turboprop market.  Here is an update of what we know about this market.

  • Aircraft size is growing, as in other segments
  • There appears to be 20 years of replacement production
  • List price should not be the key issue driving fleet decisions

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Getting to 10,000 deliveries

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Today Airbus delivered it’s 10,000 airplane.  It is an A350-900 for Singapore Airlines making this is a big day for Airbus.

Airbus made its first delivery in 1974.  It took a lot of confidence to create the company from a number of small European-based aerospace firms and cobble these parts into one group with one vision; break into an American dominated industry,   In the process other EU-based aerospace firms that were not part of the Airbus combine were left to wither mercilessly – like Fokker and Dornier along with others – which was awkward because these brands were great and had been delivering credible aircraft. The nation-state shareholders had a vision and were not going to allow anything to get in the way of that.

Nation-state shareholders also came with baggage.  Airbus also had to overcome the nationality-based “balance” between the Germans and French.  Then throw British and Spanish interests to add to the mix and make things even more interesting.  With initial shareholders being nations, one can imagine what levels of interference managers had to overcome with every election in these four countries.   Every big decision had to be “balanced” – all the while America firms had to merely satisfy shareholders with earnings.

But an advantage Airbus had was that nation states can afford to be patient.  Far more patient than shareholders who want performance every quarter.  The EU states helped enable and create what is Airbus today – a public company with no obvious nation-state meddling.   Although, as we have seen these same states can be annoying customers of the A400M.

The chart below shows how long it took for Airbus to reach this important event.  For comparison look how long it took Boeing.  We list the 10,000th delivery for both.

Meanwhile the other big names in commercial aviation that Airbus had to compete with, like McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed have all disappeared.  It may have taken Airbus longer to reach 10,000 than Boeing.  But, as Airbus Group President Tom Enders noted “It took us 19 years to deliver the first 1000th aircraft and now only 19 months to deliver the last 1000.”  Airbus climbed the learning curve well.

Look at these numbers in another way, and you can see Airbus is chasing Boeing – and catching up.  While the order race between the two is the fight that gets most attention, the delivery race is more important.

The battle between Airbus and Boeing forces both firms to keep operating at peak performance.  Airlines and lessors like this, a lot. And every air traveler is a beneficiary.

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How to sell an aircraft

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Most often selling an aircraft takes a long time, with many responses back and forth to overcome challenges by the customer.   But sometimes a lucky break comes along.  This is such a story.

RUAG Aviation is based in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany where they build an aircraft that started life as the Dornier 228.  Last week, en-route back to Germany from its first demo tour to Latin America, its crew were contacted by the Praia, Cape Verde airport when the air traffic control tower identified it as the only aircraft in the vicinity of a missing kayak.  The aircraft was seven hours in flight and approaching Cape Verde to refuel.

RUAG test pilot and commander Franz Huber said: “Once the tower relayed the coordinates, we programmed our flight management system and began the programmed search pattern. When the location failed to reveal a SAR subject, the tower relayed an adjusted set of coordinates and we repeated the procedure there. Our sensors received a 20-second acoustic burst providing our instrumentation with the necessary final course adjustment.  Thanks to the Dornier 228’s high maneuverability we were able to react immediately and position the aircraft directly above the location which had emitted the distress signal. The bubble windows and the unobstructed down view allow excellent situational awareness and enabled us to see the kayaker’s flare as it was deployed.”

Ruag product manager Fabian Kölliker added: “Fortunately this aircraft is one of the most suitable types for this kind of mission and it happened to be in the right place, at the right time, and in the right configuration to provide the necessary support.

RUAG has this release on the story.  Having your demo aircraft successfully undertake an emergency SAR like this is the sales team’s dream. In terms of selling the 228, RUAG now has great evidence of their aircraft’s capabilities with no warning or preparation. RUAG’s sales team has a great story to tell.

The 228 is a neat aircraft – check out RUAG’s videos here.  Dornier produced the aircraft from 1981 through 1998. The original company is closed, but the 228 lives on made by RUAG.  The Dornier name is an aerospace legend.  And the legend lives on.

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