Archive For The “SAAB” Category
Boeing’s interest in Embraer is self-evident. This interest goes back a long time. There are deep relationships between high-level people at both companies. But the Brazilain government is looking at the deal with apprehension. Even though Embraer (we have been advised) gets no special protection from the state, as a key shareholder, the state has concerns. As we heard this week, “control over Embraer as a very hot topic in Brazil”.
So there has been something of a maze to navigate for Boeing and Embraer managers trying to find a path forward. The news from Brazil this morning indicates such a path may have been found. Here’s a link to an English version of the original story.
Creating a third company to control the relationship, and exclude the Embraer defense business seems to be the way ahead.
Keeping the defense segment independent is very important. Brazil’s deal with SAAB for the Gripen fighter was impacted by any potential Boeing deal. SAAB’s concerns seem a bit odd, given that company’s collaboration with Boeing on the T-X. Moreover, Boeing and Embraer are already collaborating on the KC-390. Even if the Embraer defense segment is kept separate from this third company, Embraer, SAAB and Boeing are all involved with each other. Perhaps there is another company that might be created to put all those programs into a basket, too?
The devil is the details and we might not get anything on this deal at the Singapore show next week. But the Boeing and Embraer leadership will be asked anyway.
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.
It has been a long time since ATR made a sale in the USA. But today they got great news. Fort-Lauderdale, Florida Silver Airways announced an intention to purchase up to 50 ATR42-600s (20 firm) valued at a $1.1 billion if all options are excercised. Currently the airline operates 21 SAAB 340s, which are aging.
The ATR42 seats 46 compared to 34 on the SAAB. The airline’s order allows them to switch up to the 68 seat ATR72-600. The deal is big news for ATR that showed off the ATR72 on a USA demo last year. At the time the airline sounded optimistic it would win customers for its new aircraft. That optimism proved well founded.
But the other side of the deal is equally big news. This is a significant gauge increase for the airline. The ATR42 seats 35% more passengers. With 20 firm orders it is clear the intent is to replace all their SAABs. Industry load factors are high. According to the DOT’s T-100 data, Silver Airways load factors average 64% YTD. That does not square with the ATR capacity. Their average distance flown was 226 miles.
According to the DOT’s T-100 data, Silver Airways load factors average 64% YTD. That does not square with the larger ATR capacity. The average distance flown was 226 miles which is well inside the ATR’s ability. Exciting as the fleet renewal is, it looks like also being a challenge.
One of the primary reasons the Russia state decided to merge its various aerospace companies was to ensure they did not spread national resources too thin. After the fall of the Soviet Union, money became real and budgets became serious. UAC became a joint stock company in 2006 with the state owning just over 80%. UAC is now the owner of legendary names like Ilyushin, Irkut, Sukhoi, Tupolev, and Yakovlev. In fact, UAC now also owns Voronezh Aircraft Production Association, Beriev, Irkut, Mikoyan, Aviastar-SP, KNAAPO and TAPO. This combine effectively covers the entire range of aerospace.
A report from Russia explains what has happened with the UAC budget. The budget cut is only part of the problem – The state expects that the industry (essentially UAC) will produce 457 fixed-wing aircraft including 296 commercial airliners plus 154 military, cargo, and specialized aircraft, and seven GA aircraft. Under the old budget, UAC was expected to deliver 298 civilian and military airframes through 2025. This will be very difficult to achieve. But, of course, there’s more. The share of Russian-made aircraft in the country’s major airlines is also targeted – the state wants this figure to reach 27.2% by 2025. But as the following chart shows, that will be tough.
The smaller satellite countries of the CIS are more dependent on Russia and their airline fleets reflect this. So the big nut to crack will be Russia itself, where 32% of the fleet is from Western OEMs. As the next table illustrates, Russia has some very old aircraft. The aircraft listed account for 83% of the listed active fleet. The only Russian aircraft under 20 years old are the SSJs and IL-96s.
If we look at the Russian fleet of Russian-made active airline passenger aircraft, we can see why the Russian state feels they can set the higher target for Russian-made aircraft. We can also see why the Russian and Chinese are interested in developing the C929 for the larger seat capacity segment.
If we consider the active Russian airline passenger fleet of Western aircraft we see the following. At the top end, Russia does not have an option to replace Western aircraft. There is another gap between what the SSJ and MC-21 offer. Does the SSJ get a stretch to close the gap? We would expect so. Then in the turboprop arena, there is also a gap. Formerly this could have been handily done by deploying Antonov aircraft, but those days are gone. UAC contacted us to point out that they have a turboprop solution with the IL-114-300, which seats up to 60 passengers.
If Russia can use the SSJ, MC-21, and C929 as shown, they would be able to reduce the Western sourced aircraft in the Russian fleet to 23%. This fits comfortably inside the goal set by the latest state plan. However to meet this plan UAC will probably need more, not less capital. A stretched SSJ will require R&D funding. The MC-21 becomes a crucial part of the replacement of Western aircraft but it also means the full MC-21 family needs to be deployed. This will require funding for development. Then there is the C929 where R&D is shared with China. Even with a partner, Russia will need to provide UAC with its share of this cost.
Can the Russian state do anything else to support UAC’s ability to reach its targets? Yes – Russian needs to set about replacing very old Russian-made aircraft with products from UAC immediately. What else could support this effort? The state can lean on its banking and finance sectors to provide UAC with competitive leasing options for export customers. These financial sources could own the aircraft and lease them to customers outside Russia. With UAC’s ruble costs covered in local currency, UAC does not have to bear the financial risk. The finance sector can manage this risk and effectively profit from financing the exports.
But to get all these parts of the aerospace sector functioning in concert requires the state make the first step. And step #1 is not to cut the financing without offering a quid pro quo. After all, few sectors of the Russian economy are better placed to reach the manufacturing export goal of 40%. Supporting UAC helps it to achieve the goals set.