Archive For The “747-400” Category

Premium – A Fleet Review of Air France/KLM

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Air France and KLM merged in 2004.  The joint company has hubs in Amsterdam and Paris.  Because of their long histories in aviation, these two airlines have a reach to every corner of the globe.  Both companies have numerous subsidiaries that cover regional and cargo services.  In this analysis, we only looked at the mainline passenger fleets.

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The Super Twin Battle – Revisited

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In 2013, we published an article on, and coined the phrase,  the Super Twins, the A350-1000 and 777-9.  Since that time, the market has continued to evolve, with these aircraft becoming viable alternatives to larger four-engined very large aircraft in many markets.  With the 787-9 and A350-900 now in service, and the 787-10, A330neo, and A350-1000 soon to enter service, it is time to revisit this segment.

Right Sizing Aircraft
For many airlines, the mantra today is right sizing aircraft for specific markets, and ensuring that they can fill an aircraft, particularly for the US oligopoly in which capacity constraints are a competitive option.   In the wide-body category, they have a variety of choices.  From Boeing, the 787 now comes in three sizes, with the latest model, the -10, squarely in the 300-400 seat class.  From Airbus, the choice is technology level between the high technology A350 and the lower technology A330neo, with new engines and competitive performance at a lower price than the A350. (more…)

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Gone West – Joe Sutter – Former Chief Engineer at Boeing

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Joe Sutter, the “father of the 747”, passed away at age 95 earlier this week.  Joe was the congenial leader of the Boeing engineering team, got his folks to actually do what was thought to be impossible at the time, all the while being a an unforgettable “character” in the industry.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet Joe and hear him speak on several occasions, and can honestly say that time seemed to go by all too quickly on those occasions.  He was one of the “builders” of our industry.

If you don’t know the story of the 747 development and the role Joe played, I’d recommend watching episode 3 of The Age of Aerospace series that premiered on the Discovery channel in conjunction with Boeing’s 100th anniversary.  That episode can be found here.

Joe remained active well into his 90s, and maintained an office at Boeing for many years after retirement.  He will be missed.

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Premium #217 – Delta’s Fleet News

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The A350 program is expecting a welcome order

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Its been some time coming.  Looking at Airbus’ order data, it was 2014 when they last won an A350 order (-900) and 2013 for an A350-1000 order.  So a forthcoming announcement from Virgin Atlantic will be most welcome – its expected to an A350 order and, crucially, for the -1000.  Reports indicate we can expect an order for a dozen – nine purchases and three on lease.

The fact that Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta is something to ponder.  Clearly the A350-1000 decision was reviewed in Atlanta.  Delta placed a big Airbus order in 2014 for A350-900s and A330-900s.  Fleet commonality optimizes MRO efficiency. (more…)

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Boeing’s GoldCare – Changing Aftermarket Perceptions

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Boeing has an image problem with GoldCare. If you asked most people in the industry what GoldCare is, they would say it is a comprehensive “nose to tail by the hour” MRO solution for the 787 Dreamliner.  They would also likely opine that the program has not been particularly successful, and among the ISTAT community, cite a presentation several years ago by a former Boeing executive that was publicly challenged as falling short of airline requirements.  Combining those events with GoldCare’s introduction at the time the 787 program had major difficulties, one can see how a brand can become highly misunderstood by the marketplace.

Today, GoldCare is much more comprehensive and successful than the common perception.  The program has expanded beyond the 787 to 737NG, 747-400, 777 and 747-8. It will be offerable for the forthcoming 777X and 737 MAX as well. GoldCare also encompasses much more than simply materials management solutions.

The misperception of service offerings and the mistaken perception that GoldCare has been less than successful seems to have stuck in the marketplace.  But neither is true, and these perceptions don’t match reality.  Boeing has significantly expanded its flexible suite of maintenance services under the GoldCare umbrella, and those offerings have been well received in the marketplace.  Today more than 60 airlines, covering more than 2,200 aircraft, have performance-based contracts with varying scopes with Boeing’s GoldCare program.

While Gold Care does indeed offer comprehensive performance based solutions for the 787, the aftermarket offerings under the Gold Care umbrella are much more diverse and sophisticated, and are typically tailored specifically to the needs of an individual airline.  One size does not fit all, and Boeing has recognized this with flexible programs that encompass a series of integrated services to help airlines better manage the materials, engineering and line/heavy maintenance of their fleets.  For example, if an airline has an existing internal capability, or contract for certain components that they are happy with, those existing relationships can be tailored into a customized solution for that airline that fill in gaps in an airline’s maintenance program.

What Really is GoldCare?

GoldCare is Boeing’s lifecycle solution for airlines who want to focus on their core business, and outsource some or all of the engineering, maintenance, materials, information and associated maintenance planning functions.

Boeing’s GoldCare services are scalable, enabling airlines to choose an optimum level of supply chain, engineering, and maintenance solutions based on their operational needs.  Start-up and low cost carriers may have different needs than established operators, and solutions are tailored for each specific airline’s requirements.   The most comprehensive program, GoldCare Fleet Integrated Services, can provide a complete turn-key solution for parts, engineering and maintenance, including complete parts management, and the integration of materials management, engineering and maintenance through the execution of required activities.

Fleet Integrated Solutions include maintenance execution offerings including base, hangar, and line maintenance, depending on the capabilities and requirements of the airline.  Fleet Engineering Solutions offers maintenance engineering programs such as fleet optimized maintenance programs, as well as configuration and records management services, among others.  Fleet Materials Solutions include component services and expendable programs that guarantee parts availability and coverage for rotable and expendable parts.

Advanced information technology underlies the suite of GoldCare solutions.  Boeing can either utilize its own systems, or work with the customer’s own systems to tailor a program specifically to each airline’s needs.  GoldCare can also interface with information systems available from Boeing that many customers utilize, including Airplane Health Management, the Maintenance Performance Toolbox, Boeing Electronic Flight Bag, and My Boeing Fleet, all of which are available outside of GoldCare to any Boeing customer.  As an OEM, Boeing can also leverage design, manufacturing and fleet data that are unique to Boeing for each customer.

Benefits of GoldCare

GoldCare seeks to maximize operational availability for customers’ aircraft while minimizing in-service risks.  Benefits when new aircraft are acquired include eliminating inventory costs and reducing financial risk, easing EIS costs and reducing infrastructure expenses.  Benefits while aircraft are operational include improved schedule reliability, predictable costs, guaranteed parts availability, and transfer of risks to Boeing, allowing the airline to focus on its core business.  Benefits when transitioning out of an aircraft include enhanced residual values, records accuracy, and reduced transition time and lower maintenance requirements by operating on a factory-supported maintenance program.

The Bottom Line

Boeing has dramatically expanded the activities under its GoldCare brand, which has grown well beyond the 787, across both product lines and service offerings.  Quietly, with more than 2,200 aircraft under performance-based contracts, Boeing has become an industry leader in managed services under the GoldCare umbrella.  GoldCare is both more comprehensive and more successful than its image.

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