Showing posts with label A350-900. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A350-900. Show all posts

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Boeing makes a huge widebody splash at Dubai 2013; 777X launched, 787-10 gets more orders

Boeing Rendering of the 777-8X and 777-9X

Boeing made good on expectations of a huge splash of orders at Dubai 2013 today by booking 259 orders and commitments for the 777X part 2 of Boeing's two prong strategy against Airbus' A350.

The 777X is meant to directly challenge the A350-1000 (Boeing says the 777-8X is a direct challenger to the A350-1000) and any potential stretch of this aircraft to over 400 seats.  Emirates came in big with an order for 115 777-9X and 35 777-8X, the later is really an extended range version of the 777-300ER.  Etihad ordered 17 777-9X and 8 777-8X while Qatar signed an LoI for 50 777-9X.  What is unknown at this time is weather the Etihad and Emirates orders are firm or not.

Additionally Etihad ordered the 787-10 taking orders for the type to 120 and total orders for the 787 family to 1,012.  It does seem that this order may be firm.  Along with the 41 787-9s on order, Etihad is on track to be the largest airline customer of the 787.  ILFC is the largest 787 customer with 74 airplanes on order with 5 already delivered.

Boeing wasn't done as FlyDubai also went big and ordered 100 737-8 MAX and 11 737-800.  Overall a huge day for Boeing and I suspect that it's not over for them.  I expect that Boeing will more orders to announce from non Gulf carriers and may include Cathay Pacific as another customer for the 777X.

Airbus tried to make a splash but really came up with another yawn order of 50 A380 for Emirates.  The A380 has a large exposure to just one carrier and truly doesn't bode well for the aircraft as it has unable to penetrate other airlines and diversify its customer base.  The re-sale market for this aircraft is extremely limited.

After Day 1 at Dubai 2013 here's the scoreboard:


Emirates - 50 x A380 (yawn)
Etihad - 40 x A350-900, 10 x A350-1000, 10 x A320 NEO, 26 x A321 NEO + 30 options on A350 and A320/A321 NEO
Qatar - 5 x A330-200F (8 options)


Emirates - 35 x 777-8X, 115 x 777-9X + 50 options
Etihad - 8 x 777-8X, 17 x 777-9X, 30 x 787-10, 1 x 777F + 12 x 777X options/purchase rights, 12 x 787-10 options/purchase rights, 2 x 777F options/purchase rights
FlyDubai - 11 x 737-800, 100 x 737-8 MAX
Lufthansa - 34 x 777-9X
Qatar - 50 x 777-9X (LoI)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breaking: Jon Ostrower and WSJ reporting 787-10 launch

UPDATE: The WSJ says the formal launch will be at Paris and Boeing will announce launch customers from the US (United, Air Lease Corp), Europe (British Airways), and Asia (Singapore Airlines). No word on numbers or if these will be firm orders.

I only have a 140 character tweet from Jon but he's reporting that Boeing is formally launching the 787-10 with orders from Singapore, United, IAG, and Air Lease being seen as possible launch customers. If true, this news comes 4 days before the start of the Paris Air Show and a day before the first flight of the A350-900 which the 787-10 will compete directly against. Obviously Boeing is trying to steal some of Airbus' thunder with tomorrow's first flight.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Projected 787 Delivery Dates for December; AMR in a position to finalize their 787-9 order?

With many of the 787s that are in pre-delivery having gone through their first (B-1) flights. I am going to take a moment and speculate on delivery dates for these airplanes.  These are my own assumptions assuming that these aircraft will have to fly the minimal number of acceptance flights.  For now I'm assuming that these planes will deliver between 21 and 24 days after each B-1 flight though there are exceptions (as in Air India, Chinese carriers, and LOT).  This also assumes that there aren't any issues that would need to be corrected and re-tested in subsequent test flights prior to delivery.

Here's my projected delivery dates for this month:

ZA289 (LN 55, N45905) United Airlines - 12/12/12 - 12/15/12
ZA462 (LN 62, A7-BCK) Qatar Airways - 12/15/12 - 12/18/12
ZA464 (LN 82, A7-BCC) Qatar Airways - 12/24/12 - 12/27/12
ZA510 (LN 59, JA817A) ANA - 12/26/12 - 12/29/12
ZA512 (LN 83, JA818A) ANA - 12/27/12 - 12/30/12
ZA287 (LN 52, N27903) United Airlines - 12/28/12 - 12/31/12
ZA183 (LN 84, JA829J) JAL - 12/28/12 - 12/31/12

Again this is my own speculation but it's based on previous and recent deliveries of the 787.  These dates are always in flux and can change easily so I trust the reader will not hold me responsible if all the actual delivery dates turn out to be something totally different. 

Lastly, these numbers could change as Boeing can deliver 787s to Air India (2), China Southern (1) and even LOT Polish (1).  Boeing is making a huge effort to try and delivery these aircraft within the next 24 days and the way we can accurately tell is the flight activity of each of these airplanes over the next 2-3 weeks.

Lastly, the pilots union at American Airlines has ratified the new labor agreement with AMR today. This could be significant for 787-9 order that AA intends to finalize with Boeing as the order is dependent on AMR agreeing to a new contract with their pilots.  Now this was all before AMR entered Chapter 11 so the bankruptcy judge and AMR's creditors may have something to say about this order and whether it can proceed.  Additionally, a report emerged this evening that US Airways had submitted a bid for American in November.  What effect an AMR-US Airways merger would have on the MoU for the 42 787-9 American intends to finalize is unclear though US Airways does have an outstanding order for 18 A350-800 and 4 A350-900 by Airbus.  Boeing can deliver the 787-9 to American starting in 2014 (theoretically) which is much earlier than US Airways can get either variant of the A350 that they have ordered.  Also a combined company may be opened to operating a mixed Boeing-Airbus fleet as with Delta/Northwest and United/Continental.  A US Airways/American tie up would retain the American name.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Big week for the 787 program

Boeing saw two 787 customer fly aways this week as mostly positive news about the program reinforced the view that the program is on a solid course to recover and to become profitable. 
First came news (that this blog revealed in an earlier post) that Boeing is producing the 787 at 5/month including one per month from Boeing Charleston.

This further reinforces the view that Boeing is on a solid track to achieve the planned production rate of 7/month in Everett and 3/month in North Charleston. ZA511 (LN 83, JA818A) was rolled out last week and represents the first aircraft built at the 5/month rate.

Boeing's Board of Directors gave a soft ok to Boeing's Commercial Sales staff to begin discussions with customers regarding the 787-10 which is a double stretch of the baseline 787-8.  This aircraft, which will compete head on with Airbus' A330-300 and A350-900 and will be marketed as a 777-200 replacement, has generated a lot of positive feedback.  Qatar Airways' is reportedly in negotiations to convert some of the 30 firm and 30 options that they have on the 787-8 into the 787-10.  Since the 787-10 is not due to be delivered around 2018 or 2019, conversions will allow Boeing to free up short term delivery slots for 787-8 and 787-9 thus helping sales of those versions of the Dreamliner.  Given that the program needs sales of over 1000 787s to achieve breakeven, the 787-10 will certainly help Boeing attain that as it is rumored that Boeing can sell as many as 500 787-10s.  Boeing doesn't have the full ATO (Authority To Offer) but it is widely rumored that this should happen very very shortly, (as soon as this month) which leads me to believe that Boeing will probably have one or two launch customers lined up with an MoU.  These sales won't be posted as firm until next year however.  Other potential customers include British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Ethihad, Air France, Lufthansa, American Airlines, United Airlines, and any carrier with a 777-200 or an A330-300.

The not so good news is that Gulf Air is reducing the number of 787s they have on order.  The order book once had 24 787ss for the Middle Eastern carrier which has been reduced to the current 16 and may go as low as 12.

Boeing had official handovers of 787s this week to Qatar Airways and LOT Polish Airlines.  Both aircraft were contractually delivered earlier so these "deliveries" were ceremonial (read: for the media) in nature as was the fly aways to the airlines' respective home bases.

Looking ahead Boeing will load another 787 tomorrow into position 1 on the surge line.  This will be ZA317 (LN 92, G-TUIA) for Thomson Airways, the British charter airline.  It'll be the first 787 delivered to a British carrier but it certainly won't be the only British carrier to receive the 787 in 2013.  Boeing will push out ZA183 (LN 84, JA829J) for Japan Airlines.  This aircraft should be delivered by the end of December to the Japanese carrier.

In terms of deliveries, there are currently 5 787s that are ready to be delivered but two of them are for Air India and given the precarious state of the bridge financing needed to pay for the deliveries, it is highly unlikely that they will be delivered anytime soon but Boeing has prepared them for delivery.  There are one each for Untied Airlines, Qatar and Ethiopian that are ready.  According to my sources, Qatar should take their third 787 next week, Ethiopian will take their fourth later this week and Untied should follow with their third late next week.  There are several more that are preparing to fly or are in the middle of Boeing/customer test flights.  LAN's third had its B-1 flight which was cut short due to a squawk that developed 20 minutes into the flight. Matt Caby reported that the issue was in the (air conditioning) packs. One 787 each for Qatar and United should be flying very soon though expect their deliveries to occur around December if the B-1 flights are not performed this week.  ANA's 17th aircraft is on the flightline but probably won't fly until the end of this month at the earliest. 

Boeing has the potential to deliver at least 3 more 787s this month in addition to the 2 already delivered but if Air India gets its act together then we can see two more 787s delivered this month for a total of 7.  Right now 5 is more realistic for a delivery number in November.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Aspire Aviation: 787-8 still overweight, 787-9 is not

In a wide ranging article, Aspire Aviation revealed today several newsworthy aspects of the 787s program and the future of the variants of the base 787-8 aircraft.

First off the article addresses the 787-8 status.  While the program is now well into  production and delivery of the base 787-8 model, Boeing is planning to hit the 5/month milestone on November. It is hoped that the ramp up to 7/month will occur in March/April 2013. Assuming that Boeing is producing 5 787 for the first 5 months of 2013 and 7 for the last 7 months (there's a lag between the increased production rate and delivery of those airplanes at the increase rate thus I'm assuming that the 10/rate airplanes won't be delivered until January 2014) Boeing can deliver 84 787s not including 787s from the EMC.

The weight of the787-8 is still an issue with the current production block still at about 4 tonnes overweight according to Aspire's sources.  It was hoped that by the 90th aircraft (LN 90) that the weight would be down to the original spec weight but this appears to have slipped. It is unknown when Boeing will achieve the original spec weight though the culprit seems to be a shortage of parts that are weight optimized for both the 787-9 and the 787-8.

Speaking of the 787-9 this variant looks to be doing extremely well from a weight and development point of view.  The word is that the first 787-9s will achieve weight targets set by Boeing with further production blocks coming in underweight by around 2%.  This is all a result of the testing done on the 787-8 and understanding what was over-engineered.  At some point there will be weight savings that will be put back into the 787-8 but it does appear it will take a while.  ZB001 (LN 126) will be the first 787-9 that is to be assembled and it does look like that this should take place starting around February or March.  What is unclear at this point is how many 787-9s will be part of the testing and certification program. I don't think it will be 6 but perhaps 2-3 airframes. Already Boeing suppliers are producing some of the fuselage sections of the 787-9.

Aspire's report also touched upon the 787-10X which is now rumored to be targeted for an authority to offer by the Boeing Board of Directors as early as this month.  The 2nd stretch variant will build upon the 787-9 using the same wing and able to fit 323 passengers in a 3 class layout.  This model along with the 787-9 can effectively kill the Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 while also severely hurting the sales of the A350-800, A350-900 and even the A350-1000 all of which are under severe schedule pressure as it is.  There are numerous European, Asian and Middle Eastern customers that are salivating at the thought of the 787-10 and I wouldn't be surprised if Boeing has a few surprise orders in hand by the end of the year for this model if it has the authority to offer.  Aspire's speculates that with a launch late this year, Boeing will have a firm configuration by the end of 2nd quarter of 2014. roll out of the test aircraft in 2017 and EIS in 2018/2019 though I would think that with a rollout in 2017 Boeing should have the ability to achieve EIS in 2018 at the latest since it is a straight forward stretch variant. It shouldn't take 2 years to test and certify a simple stretch variant of the 787-9.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Farnborough 2012 - Day 3

Farnborough 2012 is starting to wind down though I do expect one more big order from United Airlines to come through tomorrow.  Rumor has it that this will be for the 737 MAX and the order wll be announced in Chicago. I'll still list it here as part of the running order totals from Farnborough.

Arkia - 4 x A321NEO - MoU
CALC - 28 x A320, 8 X A321 - MoU
Cathay Pacific - 10 x A350-1000 - MoU (converts 16 A350-900 order to A350-1000)
CIT Group - 5 x A330- Firm
Drukair - 1 x A319 - MoU

Air Lease Corp - 2 x ATR 72-600
LAO Airlines - 2 x ATR 72-600
Nordic Aviation - 1 x ATR 42-600
TransAsia - 8 x ATR 72-600

Air Lease Corp - 60 x 737 MAX 8, 15 x 737 MAX 9 - Firm
ALAFCO - 20 x 737 MAX 8 - MoU
Avolon - 10 x 737 MAX 8, 5 x 737 MAX 9, 10 x 737-800 - MoU
GECAS - 75 x 737 MAX 8, 25 x 737-800 - MoU

AirBaltic - 10 x CS300 - LoI

Hebei Airlines - 5 x E190 - Firm

SkyWest Airlines - 100 x MRJ - MoU

Interjet - 5 x SSJ-100

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Farnborough 2012 - Day 2

More 737 MAX activity from Boeing but Airbus and Cathay Pacific make a little noise as well today.For all the hype surroundng "Boeing's Show", it really is a slow.

Arkia - 4 x A321NEO - MoU
Cathay Pacific - 10 x A350-1000 - MoU (converts 16 A350-900 order to A350-1000)
Drukair - 1 x A319 - MoU

Air Lease Corp - 60 x 737 MAX 8, 15 x 737 MAX 9 - Firm
ALAFCO - 20 x 737 MAX 8 - MoU
GECAS - 75 x 737 MAX 8, 25 x 737-800 - MoU

AirBaltic - 10 x CS300 - LoI

Hebei Airlines - 5 x E190 - Firm

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flightblogger details aircraft program delays, 787 poised to pass half way mark of test program

Flightblogger, in the last few days, detailed issues facing both Boeing and Airbus in their various aircraft development programs. Airbus is facing a delay that, according to a Bernstein Research report, could potential push back the delivery of the A350 into mid 2014. It is already widely known that Airbus has used up all remaining schedule margin in the program and has pushed out the start date of final assembly of the first aircraft as well as the first flight date by 3 months while at the same time reducing the test flight schedule by 3 months in order to maintain the mid-2013 delivery of the A350-900 to Qatar Airways. Airbus continues to struggle with weight and design issues with the A350 as it tries to start production activities at the same time. The result, it seems is that many suppliers are producing parts only to have Airbus hand them redesigns on those same parts.

Flightblogger: Three years before EIS, A350 forecasted to slip to 2014

Flightblogger also wrote about Boeing two most important commercial development programs being delayed further. The 787 is already two and half years late and an uncontained failure of a Trent 1000 test engines at Rolls Royce's test facility in Derby, UK is threatening to pull this aircraft's delivery further to the right. Boeing and Rolls Royce are investigating the failure and Roll Royce may have to repeat some certification tests before first delivery to ANA. Boeing has said that flight testing has not been effect to date and indeed, ZA002 is flying a long 14 hour test flight over the North Pole today to test the aircraft's navigation system. A t this hour as I write this the aircraft is still flying.

Flightblogger: 787 schedule in jeopardy following Trent 1000 testbed failure

Flightblogger: Regulatory authorities confirm Trent 1000 failure was uncontained

Boeing is still flying the Rolls powered 787s in the test flight fleet and in fact ZA002 is poised to make the longest 787 flight to date. It is projected to fly about 14 hours tonight having taken off at 7:54 AM PT. On top of this milestone Boeing is also poised to surpass 1,550 flight test hours. This would mark the half way point for the 78 flight test program (a total of 3,100 flight test hours are to be flown). It has taken Boeing over eight months to achieve this milestone and they will have to fly the remaining 1,550 flight hours over the course of the next three and half months in order to type certify the 787 aircraft. Again Flightblogger has a great article about ZA002's flight to the North Pole:

Flightblogger: ZA002 spending Monday going polar for 787's longest flight to date

Guy Norris of Aviation Week has a great description of the 787 navigation system:

Guy Norris: First 787 to the North Pole

Lastly, Flightblogger wrote about the 747-8I coming together and the assembly plans for Boeing largest passenger jet. RC001's main fuselage is being joined and all the large parts should be assembled together later this fall. The roll out should be around the end of the year with first flight in early 2011. However, Flightblogger is also reporting that the testing of the 747-8F is falling behind schedule and first delivery may not occur until 2011.

Flightblogger: First 747-8I begins to come together as 747-8F nears fresh slip

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Boeing loses another order for 15 787s

UPDATE 2 : Well it does indeed look like DAE who has cancelled the 777-300ER and 787 orders that they palced a couple of years ago. The orders for the 737 and the 777 and 747 frieghters are still intact....for now.

UPDATE: Rumor has it that it is Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (leasing) that has cancelled those orders. I'm working to confirm.

This afternoon Boeing posted its weekly order update and in addition to losing an order for 10 777s they had lost an order for 15 787s. The number of customers who have at least that number on order is extensive though it is possible that the customer was also the source of the 10 x 777 cancellations as well.

This is not good news on top of the lost order for Cathay Pacific Airways need for a 777-200/A340-300 replacement. That airline decided on the A350-900 with an order for 30 of the type but also exercised 6 777-300ER purchase rights. There are still some important sales campaigns coming up notably the Air France/KLM decision between the A350 and the 787.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Boeing Complete Firm Configuration of 787-9

Boeing Photos
UPDATE: A source has told me that Boeing has planned a tentative roll out date for the first 787-9 for February 2012.
In a press release this morning, Boeing confirmed that they have finalized the 787-9 configuration which will allow Boeing and partner engineers to begin detail design work and release those plans for manufacture of parts.

The 787-9 is the stretch version of the 787-8 though they are keeping the same wing as the 787-8 thus allowing for weight savings. The 787-9 is looking at a range of about 8000 nm to 8500 nm though that is said to be improving as Boeing is finding ways to save weight in the 787-9 (some of these design changes are planned to be incorporated into the 787-8 at later stages). The aircraft should seat about 250 to 290 passengers. The follwoing article by Saj Ahmad goeing into a nice analysis of the 787-9:

On the 9 by Saj Ahmad

Boeing is planning to have the 787-9 compete head on with the A350-800 (as well as the A300-300) but sources have told me that they feel that the 787-9 would be extremely competitive against the A350-900 which will be Airbus' first A350 off to be delivered. Right now both the A350-900 and the 787-9 are planned for first delivery in 2013 though some sources are telling me to expect further delays to the A350. If the 787-9 can meet or even exceed weight expectations as well as getting SFC (specific fuel consumption) improvements from both engines, then the 787-9 can be a true economic engine for many of the airlines that order it.

Here's video and a report Boeing put out about the 787-9 this morning:

Boeing Finalizes Configuration for Newest Dreamliner

Here's the test of Boeing's press release for the 787-9 configuration:

Boeing Completes Firm Configuration of 787-9 Dreamliner

EVERETT, Wash., July 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today announced the completion of firm configuration for the 787-9 Dreamliner. Boeing reached this milestone after years of collaboration with airline customers and partners to determine the optimal configuration for the new stretch version of the Dreamliner.

"Firm configuration means the airplane's structural, propulsion and systems architectures are defined and not changing," said Mark Jenks, vice president of 787-9 development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing has completed the trade studies required to finalize the airplane's overall capability and basic design, allowing the airplane manufacturer and its suppliers to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems for the 787-9. As detailed designs are completed and released, production can begin. The first 787-9 delivery is scheduled for late 2013.

"We have a disciplined process in place to ensure we have completed all of the requirements for the development stage of the program," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The team has done a fantastic job to get us through this important milestone."

The 787-9 is the second member of the 787 family. A slightly bigger version of the 787-8, the airplane will seat 250-290 passengers, 16 percent more than the 787-8. The 787-9 will have a range of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km).

"We have been working closely with our customers for years to reach this milestone," said Mark Jenks, vice president of 787-9 development. "We are excited about the performance and capability this airplane will offer our customers."

The 787 Dreamliner is an all-new twinjet designed to meet the needs of airlines around the world in providing nonstop service between midsize cities with new levels of efficiency. The airplane will bring improved levels of comfort to passengers with larger windows, bigger baggage bins and advances in the cabin environment, including lower cabin altitude, higher humidity and cleaner air. Delivery of the first 787 is planned for the fourth quarter of 2010.

Monday, May 24, 2010

787 Test Fleet exceeds 800 test flight hours

Boeing has amped up the flight test program for the 787 program in recent weeks. The program has been lagging in the the number of flight hours flown but Boeing has certainly stepped up the flight test in terms of the number of sorties flown as well as the number of hours flown during each sortie.

In the last one week (May 17th to May 23rd inclusive) the 787 test fleet amassed just a shade under 120 flight hours. During that week of flying ZA004 flew a 12 hour and 30 minute NAMS mission which is the longest 787 flight to date. Also during that time, the test flight achieved over 25% of the 3,100 flight test hours that the fleet will fly. The grand total now stands at 824 flight test hours spread over 265 sorties. They are one third of the way for the certification of the Roll Royce Trent 1000 powered aircraft.

Boeing will need to maintain this tempo over the next 6 months in order to achieve the certification of the airplane prior to first delivery in December.

Lastly, Saj Ahmad is making a case for the 787-9 to be a replacement for the 777-200 and 777-200ER aircraft and a direct competitor to the A350-900 now that the Boeing is close to finalizing the design with weight saving improvements in the aircraft to boost it's range while improving fuel burn. More over, Saj says that Boeing will identify more improvements in the 787-9 that will move it's range beyond 8,150 nm and may even be a replacement for the 777-200LR. Read on: - On the 9

Friday, May 7, 2010

777NG possiblities

One of the most important decision facing Boeing is what to do to respond to the A350. Specifically, what will Boeing's answer be to the A350-900 and the A350-1000. The A350-800 is sized for the 787-9 market (both carry roughly the same number of passengers).

Airbus is targeting the 777-200 sized market with the A350-900 and the 777-300ER market with the A350-1000. Boeing is waiting to see what Airbus does with these two models before deciding on a future improvements on the 777 or an entirely new model in this class.

From my discussions it seems that Boeing is leaning towards a package of extensive improvements of the 777 line. These improvements may include weight saving measures throughout the aircraft, a new composite wing, an external re-profiling of the exterior lines and improvements in the GE90 using experienced gleaned from the GEnx program. The last proposed improvement is addressed by Saj Ahmad in an article he wrote:

Engines May Hold Key to Future 777

At the end of the day it does seem that Boeing is in the driver's seat because it can respond to the threat of the A350 with a lot of flexibility.

Monday, May 3, 2010

UA/CO Merger - My take on it's future fleet

With so much to take in with the UA-CO merger here's my quick take on their fleet the end of the day United is going to have a mix fleet of Boeing and Airbus. They'll keep the 787NG and the A320s in their fleet and I expect that all the current narrowbody orders will be kept intact.

I do think however that between the two fleets there will be a change in the widebody orders that are currently on the books.There are still 3 777-200ERs (for CO) as well as the the 787s and A350s:
3 x 777-200ER (CO)
36 x 787-8 (25 UA and 11 CO)
14 x 787-9 (CO)
25 x A350-900 (UA)

I do think that there may be too many widebodies on order here for both carriers combined and thus some part of this total order is going to be cancelled. Given that the 787-8 is going to be the prevalent type (CO/UA will be taking delivery starting next year), I think the A350 order will be cancelled and maybe some 787-8s. I think the new UA will be taking at least 25 787-8 and all the 787-9. They may even opt for more 787-9s.

As far as the narrowbodies are concerned. Look for UA to continue to take delivery of the remainder of the 737/A320 orders but after that the airlines is going to wait and see what both manufacturers turn out in terms of the either the re engined narrowbody or next gen narrowbody. UA might even opt for the C-Series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A350 schedule slips

Aviation Week revealed that the start of final assembly as well as the first flight date for the A350-900 has slipped by three months. Airbus is not slipping the entry into service date and it is still unclear if there are any other possible strains to the schedule at this point.

Aviation Week attributes the delay to more time needed to finalize some of the detail design of the aircraft as well as other areas that needed more time. Final assembly is now due to start at the end of 3rd quarter 2011 (as oppose to end of 2nd quarter of 2011) with first flight due to take place during the third quarter of 2012 (vs. 2nd quarter of 2012). EIS is still scheduled for mid 2013.

Airbus is still struggling with weight issues on the airplane and have embarked on an aggressive weight reduction effort. Still it is tool early to say that the first delay is any indication of a trend of delays that may occur. Here's Aviation Week's article:

Airbus Delays A350 Final Assembly

The Aviation Week article confirms the belief of many in the industry that the A350 will be inevitably be delayed though there is still much discussion over the length of the delay. The fact that delays are being taken now as opposed to later in the program is not a good thing. Here's a an article by Saj Ahmad written about 3 months ago warning of the delays to the A350:

Airbus A350XWB Weight Grows As Pressure On Schedule Mounts

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

United Airlines buys 25 787s and 25 A350

UPDATE: UA says the 787 order is for the 787-8 model while they'll also buy the A350-900.

United Airlines announced a huge widebody order for 25 787s (type unknown) and 25 A350s (type also unknown). They also have options of 50 of each aircraft and these airplanes are meant to replace the 767 and 747s in United's fleet. The split buy is somewhat surprising as there was a general feeling that United would have gone with one manufacturer for the wide body order and another for the coming narrow body order.

What is also surprising is that United did not place any jumbo orders (747-8 or A380). The fact that they seem to want to replace the 747s with A350s and 787s says they're want to reduce capacity in the future (2016 to 2019 is when the new airplanes will be delivered) while probably offering more frequencies to their main routes.

More of a concern to Boeing is that United didn't select the 777, an aircraft that United had launched in the 1990s. I bet Boeing will now accelerate 777NG plans in order for it to be more competitive vs the A350, in my opinion they have no choice unless they want to cede that market to Airbus.

Here's United's press release:

United Invests in Future, Places Order for Next-Generation Aircraft

CHICAGO, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Airlines today announced a significant investment in the company's future with a widebody aircraft order that will enable the carrier to reduce operating costs and better match aircraft to key markets it serves, while providing its customers with state-of-the-art cabin comfort. The new technology aircraft will reduce fuel burn and environmental impact, while enabling service to a broader array of international destinations. United ordered 25 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft and has future purchase rights for 50 of each aircraft.

The aircraft order follows a rigorous, six-month request for proposal process, which resulted in agreements with both manufacturers, enabling the company to meet its financial and operational objectives and respond to changes in future market conditions. The breadth in size and capabilities of the different aircraft models ensure the company has the right aircraft for the right market throughout the fleet replacement cycle.

Order an investment in the future
"Over the last few years we have made fundamental improvements in United's performance, delivering excellent cost control while improving the quality and reliability of our product. This aircraft order is another significant step on the path to position United for long-term success in a highly competitive global market," said Glenn Tilton, UAL Corporation chairman, president and CEO. "I would like to thank our team for making this order a reality in a manner that is consistent with our disciplined financial strategy. We are investing in our future, and we are well
positioned to take full advantage as the economy recovers in the shorter term."

United expects to take delivery of the aircraft between 2016 and 2019; at the same time it will retire its international Boeing 747s and 767s. These 50 new aircraft will reduce the average seat count by about 19 percent compared to the aircraft they will replace, and by about 10 percent when averaged over the entire international fleet. With the Airbus A350 powered by the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine, and the Boeing 787 powered by either the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 or the GE GEnx, United estimates it will reduce its fuel costs and carbon emissions from the 50 aircraft by about 33 percent. Additionally, the company expects average lifetime maintenance costs for the new aircraft to be approximately 40 percent lower per available seat mile than the aircraft that will be retired.

The new aircraft will open up new revenue opportunities for United as the smaller size, longer range, and lower operating costs of these aircraft allow the company to profitably serve a broader range of international destinations. The A350 has a range 11 percent greater than the current B747, and the B787 has a range 32 percent greater than the current B767.

Both new aircraft offer significant improvements to the customer experience, including larger windows, more overhead bin space and improved lighting, among other features.

United leverages current environment, orders from both manufacturers

This order provides United with the most efficient aircraft for its international network, providing the right range, size and operating costs for United's diverse set of worldwide destinations, said CFO Kathryn Mikells.
"Our decision to move forward aggressively at the bottom of the business cycle clearly benefited us. We secured the right aircraft and the right deal for United," Mikells said. "The orders require minimal capital over the next few years but ensure we will have the right planes to strengthen our global network over the next

Ordering in a down cycle expected to reap benefits
"We are pleased to be working with United, our longtime customer, and launch customer of the Boeing 777," said Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO. "We think United is making a smart decision placing an order at this point in the cycle and taking delivery years into the future. The 787 Dreamliner will provide United with additional range and unmatched fuel efficiency."

"United Airlines is a global icon, and it's very gratifying that they have chosen the A350 to be a key part of their strategy," said Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. "It also is fitting that the selection of the eco-efficient A350-900 comes at a
time when the world is focusing on operating as efficiently as possible and minimizing environmental impact. Airbus and United have been partners for two decades, and we look forward to extending that partnership well into the future."

United last took delivery of aircraft in 2002, and last ordered aircraft in 1998.

Here's Boeing's statement on the United Order. Obviously the order is not finalized so it'll be interesting to see which model of each aircraft United will buy.

Boeing Statement on United Airlines Selection of 787 Dreamliner

SEATTLE, Dec. 8, 2009 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] is delighted that United Airlines has selected the Boeing 787 Dreamliner for the replacement and expansion of its twin-aisle fleet.

“United’s selection of the Boeing 787 continues the 80-year partnership between our two companies,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 is the first new airplane of the 21st century. Its advanced technology and unprecedented improvements in fuel efficiency will help United achieve its business objectives and enhance its leadership position among the world’s top airlines.” Boeing looks forward to working with United to finalize the order at which time it will be posted to the Boeing Orders and Deliveries Web site.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Airbus start A350XWB production

Airbus announced today that they have started production on the first A350-900 with the laying down of of composite tape for a panel of the center wing box section in Nantes, France. The first airplane should be ready by 2012 for first flight and first delivery is planned for 2013.

Here's Airbus' statement:

A350 XWB first composite lay-up manufactured in Nantes
4 December 2009

Building on Airbus' evolutionary approach to aircraft composites development

The first composite lay-up for the A350 XWB has been manufactured today in Nantes, France, and marks the 'coming to life' of Airbus's new long range aircraft. This panel for the centre wing-box (CWB), entirely made of carbon, has a surface area of 36 square meters, making it the largest "monobloc" composite panel ever manufactured in Nantes, using a new state-of-the-art laying machine. Once assembled in Nantes, the CWB will be delivered to Airbus Saint-Nazaire for integration.

Along with other Airbus facilities, the Airbus plant in Nantes has a high expertise in composite material and is a leader in the manufacture of carbon fibre structural parts, such as the centre wing box and the keel beam for the A350 XWB. On the all-new aircraft Family, 53 per cent of the aircraft by weight will be composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.

"This key milestone for the A350 XWB programme has been made possible through Airbus' methodical and evolutionary approach to incorporating composites in its aircraft, and the consequent experience gained over many years," said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB programme added: "The A350 XWB is becoming real, and further builds on our expertise in key areas such as: materials technology; predictive stress analysis and design; composite manufacturing; and composite engineering and assembly, including manufacturing processes and tool technology concepts."

The A350 XWB Family is Airbus' response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300nm / 15,400km, it is available in three basic passenger versions. Moreover, it has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of
comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat-mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. Powered by new-generation Rolls-Royce Trent engines, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental constraints.

Firm orders for the A350 XWB now stand at 505 from 32 customers worldwide.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paris 2009: Boeing to offer KC-777 (& KC-767), possible 777 revamp w/ 787-10 being looked at

Some musing coming out of Paris today.

First of all, and not entirely unexpected, Boeing will be offering up both the 767 and the 777 (presumably the 777F) for the USAF tanker competition against the EADS KC-330 tanker. Thus the tanker saga which has been years in the making continues to get interesting. It'll get it's own Lifetime TV movie by the time it's all done.

Next, Boeing's Commercial Airplanes Chief, Scott Carson, commented on the 777 future and said that Boeing might look at re-winging the popular twin in order to get more range in order to remain competitive with the A350 (specifically the A350-900 and A350-1000). Now it all comes to costs of redesigning the wing vs an all new design to supplant the 777 and remain competitive with the A350. Carson also did not rule out a larger 787 (the 787-10) which would seat about 310 people in a three class configuration. This aircraft would compete with the A350-900 while a re-winged 777-300ER would compete against the A350-1000. Before any of this can happen though, Boeing has to get the 787-8 into the air and into flight testing which will be the subject of another post.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

787 Landing Gear Test and new 787 order coming soon?

video Image Courtesy of Boeing

Dreamliner 1 started landing gear tests 3 days ago (August 9th). This is a major milestone confirming that the electrical, hydraulics and avionics systems are working together. Initially each gear (left main, right main and nose) were tested individually and then all were tested together. The gear swing tests is top replicate how the landing gear would work as if in actual flight. In order to do this, Boeing jacked the airplane off its landing gear. These tests will continue for the next few days presumably also testing the opening and closing of the landing gear doors as well.

Jon Ostrower is also reporting that Boeing will have a video available of the gear tests available soon. I'll try to post it here (once I've figured out how to do that)!

UPDATE: The video and more pics of the gear swing is here. Boeing even got some amazing footage inside the wheel well as the gear is retracted into it.

New 787 Customer?

In other 787 news, I learned from multiple sources that Boeing will reveal a buyer of 23 787-8s as early as next month. Boeing booked a 23 order from an unidentified customer back in January of this year. Since this order was booked, speculation has been rampant on the web that it must be a current customer who has already purchased the 787 and has a large number of options that they can exercised. Air Canada (who has 23 unexercised 787 options) became the prime suspect. The buyer was not revealed at Farnborough (I guess they didn't want to compete with all the other news coming out of the air show) but I have since learned that this order may be for a new 787 operator. I've also learned from sources that the customer is NOT a North American or European customer. One source told me that it probably is a company that is not subject to regulatory fillings where large material purchases such as 23 787 would have to be disclosed.

So who can it be? Well it can be an Asian, Middle Eastern or South American customer in my opinion. Those are the only regions of the world that have airlines that don't have to reveal this purchase in regulatory filings in addition to being able to afford to buy a large number of widebody aircraft and who has not previously purchased the 787. From these regions we could probably look at airlines like Thai, TAM, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysian or even Iraq Airways (with the help of US govt. loans or the $49 bn surplus the Iraqi govt. has). One source speculated to me that TAM is going to take delivery of 4 777-300ERs in September and wouldn't the delivery ceremony make a great opportunity to announce a TAM order for the 787. This is a company that has already bought 12 A350-800, 10 A350-900 and 15 A330-200. The 787-8 would be a great size for TAM for which Airbus' only competitor in the 787-8 size category is the A330-200 (the A350-800 competes with the 787-9 and the A350-900 would compete with the 777-200ER and the proposed 787-10) and the 767-300ERs that TAM recently leased out.