3/21/2012

Doubts about MAX

Last month I wrote a short entry about Ryanair's Michael O'Leary and what his thoughts are about the B737MAX. Well,  when he talks about aircraft, it barely has to do with physics and what the aircraft can or can not do - it always has more to do with the price for his next deal...
But when the "Godfather of Aircraft Leasing", Steven Udvar-Hazy
 talks about an aircraft, the particular aircraft OEM should better listen. Think about the ISTAT meeting in 2006, where SUH urged Airbus to rework their plans for the A350 family: the outcome is well known  - it is the A350XWB.
So when he now talks about the B737MAX being "not a long-term solution" and recommending Boeing to offer a second engine, namely the PW1000G, there will be many in the aerospace community who will listen carefully - because he as a lessor is always concerned about the residual value of an aircraft and in the end the expectation about the residual value of an aircraft will be one of the deciding factors if it will be a success. of course it is important for an aircraft to have good economics - for the airline. But the owner of the aircraft (usually not being the airline which is operating the aircraft) is more interested in the residual value. Good economics will help to get a decent residual value, but there is more to it. If for example the B737MAX would only be produced from the end of 2017 until 2025 before an all-new successor-aircraft will be on the market, the customer base could be too small to remarket an aircraft that is coming off-lease.
So if a second engine could help to make the B737MAX more attractive to customers, be it through better economics or through getting better deals when buying/leasing  the aircraft as there is more competition, that could help getting the B737MAX a longer production run.
Steven Udvar-Hazy is not very optimistic though that Boeing will follow his advice. But well , you never know - in 2006 Airbus first dismissed Hazy's comments about the A350 just to relaunch it as the A350XWB at the Farnborough Airshow.

10 comments:

  1. And what's your thoughts on fitting geared turbofan engine into 68.4" (more or less) fan size limit (or sweet spot at least) of B737MAX?

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  2. Fitting a geared turbofan under the wing shall not be harder than for an ungeared turbofan. Given that the outer diameter of the LPT of a geared turbofan is smaller compared to an ungeared LPT, it could maybe even easier, as the area between the LPT outer diameter and the wing is a constraint. Also a geared turbofan might be shorter as it has fewer stages, so the engine would not have to be hung that far out, saving weight in the pylon and minimizing the torque introduced in the wing.

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  3. Now that is an interesting proposition, but for Boeing to do it, a lot has to happens. First, I would think that Pratt, as the geared engine provider would have to come up with a lot of work and money to make it happen. I don not think Boeing would be willing to invest a lot of money on this move.

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  4. Christopher Dye aka CubJ3March 23, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Hazy may not have the influence he once had. He has been out of the business for a while, and no longer runs a huge leasing company. Also, A and B may not be as likely to comply with his "orders" as they once were. I bet today A wishes they had notlet themselves be bullied by Hazy into to dropping the A350 as an improved 330 with new engines(just as B is now doing with the 777X).

    Also Hazy is just plain wrong. Re the MAX, B has done very well for years with one engine against the A320, and the 737NG's residual values are good. Also, not having two engines is not necessarily going to result in the MAX's being more expensive that the A320 NEO. GE will always find a way to be competitive on price, just as they have with the NG.

    Hazy was also wrong when he said at ISAT that B needs to add 4-5 tons of weight to the 787-10 to increase its range. The last thing B wants to do is anything that will add to the already high, material risk of delays in their current 787 delivery schedule. Hazy's idea would change the -10 from a simple, inexpensive stretch which can operate on 85-90% of the world's long haul routes and be delivered quickly after the -9 is established, to a much more complex and expensive exercise with more unknown risks and an uncertain delivery date (except for the certainty that it would be a lot later than the -10), merely to get that 10-15 % more long haul range. B has shown that it can resist customer demands when they want; eg. their refusal to shorten the 748 i at Emirates' request.

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    1. Chris, Flighglobal reported that Hazy asked for up to 4000lbs more MTOW, not 4-5 tons. I don't know who is right...4000lbs should be doable without too much changes, I guess, 5 tonnes would certainly be a stretch!

      I am not really sure about the reasons and motives of SUH to advocate a second engine - maybe he thinks that - beside from the commercial side - a little bit more competition on the technical side would be a benefit?

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  5. Godfather SUH is not alone bullying B about prepping up the MAX to meet new market demands : take f.ex. ANA President and CEO Shinichiro Ito requesting to provide MAX with containerised CLS, again hardly feasible with the original 737 fuselage design ... aren't all these tough-impacting requests for PIPs converging to indicate simply that the MAX's Residual Value is out on thin ice in the long run, echoing SUH's concerns ?

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    1. I would rather call it "diverging market demands" as I would rule out Ryanair demanding containerised CLS. There are only few airlines really taking advantage of that A320 capability. Especially LCC are mainly interested in short TAT - loading and unloading cargo would distract...

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    2. Maybe there is a difference in the perception of "job humanity" @ ANA vs RYR : with 275 units 738 @ 189 seats averaging, say, 8 airport ground rotations per aircraft/24h involving manhandling (unload/reload) of average, say, 160 pieces of luggage @ 15 kgs, each piece requiring average 4 uplifts to complete the bulkloading, MOL of Ryan Air may proudly boast that his airport Docker teams around on European platforms move by hand a total of 275 x 8 x 160 x 2 x 15 x 4 = forty two thousand metric tonnes, day in/day out ... bonjour les MSD (musculo-skeletal disorders) ! Respectfully, Shinichiro Ito's request could be justified ?

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  6. Christopher Dye aka Cub J3.March 24, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    3-4000lbs is correct. http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/istat-2012-lufthansa-alc-vie-to-be-787-10x-launch-customer-369681/

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  7. O'Leary strike again

    "O’Leary said all evidence Ryanair has seen indicates that Boeing’s MAX, “as a product, is rubbish.” The Airbus neo, announced before the Boeing model, “does credibly deliver” a 12 to 14 percent saving on fuel burn, he said, while the C919 is a “glorified” version of the A320 and thus lacks development risk."

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-29/ryanair-could-snap-up-boeing-jets-dropped-by-lion-air-norwegian

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