Archive For The “Turboprops” Category
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.
Pratt & Whitney Canada provided us with two guests to discuss the upcoming EAA event in Oshkosh. We discussed their market outlook. Our guests were: Nicholas Kanellias, Vice President, General Aviation Programs, P&WC and Geoffrey Corbeil, General Manager, Aftermarket Commercialization, P&WC.
It is nothing short of eye popping: 855 parts reduced to 12? GE’s ATP is going to be an amazing piece of technology. It certainly will show case the company’s additive manufacturing capabilities.
Lower weight and better fuel burn are equally impressive – indeed these numbers along would attract a lot of attention.
But consider this. If an operator had an ATP in service, and needed parts, where could he or she go? It looks like only GE will have the parts. Moreover, if a small part needs to be replaced, does this mean that a number of other parts also get replaced at the same time? After all, with part consolidation it appears that replacement might mean a lot change when there is a replacement part is needed.
This is really a very good strategy for GE. They can eliminate an entire supply chain in the MRO field. Rather than allow each member of the supply chain make a profit, GE as sole source, gets a better profit and in all likelihood can offer parts cheaper than they do now. No more grey market parts. No more loss of control. GE is the source and that is all there is to it. Quality is built in and guaranteed. Nobody is going to be able to replicate a GE part with GE’s say so.
For operators of turboprops the GE solution could seem very attractive. It seems simpler and, potentially, cheaper. GE seems focused on pushing the simpler is better message as they are making a big splash of their single lever technology on the ATP as well. For an operator, this all sounds like an attractive solution. GE has to be creative to break the hold of the PT-6 on the market. The approach they are taking looks like it could be effective as it hits key hot buttons.
But a thought occurs to us that may not be so apparent to operators. Once your aircraft is GE powered, how does the lifetime cost add up? Having a sole source for spares might not be as cheap as it seems. GE built its enormous power in aero engines by being smart with technologies and business. GE’s future seems tied to its growing additive manufacturing. It appears GE is heading towards even greater power as it controls the spares business. How much of the benefit will GE share with its customers? This strategy is going to be fascinating to watch.
In about ten minutes, National Agricultural Aviation Association Executive Director Andrew Moore explains how important this industry is. It is also interesting to learn about how fragmented this business is. Where in aviation is the proverbial “Mom & Pop” still seen, much less prevalent?
Yesterday at RAA, P&WC released information on their latest engine development. They have successfully completed Phase 2 testing of the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT) engine and are poised for rapid integration development. This phase has allowed P&WC to expand the design envelope ensuring the company has a fully optimized NGRT engine core.
P&WC’s NGRT is a proactive response to airframe OEMs foreseeing a 90-seat turboprop within the next few years. P&WC developed a high pressure ratio compressor that contributes to the powerplant’s ability to deliver 20% better specific fuel consumption and power from 4,500shp to 8,000shp. “Today, the vast majority of 30- to 70-passenger regional turboprop aircraft operating around the world are powered by the PW100 engine,” Frederic Lefebvre, Vice-President, Marketing, P&WC, said. “It’s a legacy of which we’re obviously very proud, and one which has spurred us on to be ready when the larger 90-passenger turboprops enter the market. We not only remain committed to providing our customers with the latest enhancements and benefits on our PW100 and PW150 series of engines, we are also moving beyond that with the NGRT and will be first off the mark to fill that need with proven technologies.” (more…)