A320neo start-up times

The hype was huge when the problem around longer start-up times of the PW1100G-JM went public. Indigo stated that the ~2min. extra time that it took to start up the engines would threaten their Business model as a low cost carrier with high utilization and short turn around times between flights. As I showed in an earlier post this was not very plausible from the beginning. But at airports with tight infrastructure (Frankfurt comes to my mind) it could cause some headache - more for the airport than for the individual airline though - as, if one aircraft blocks the way to the gates as it has to wait until the engines are started, other aircraft have to wait.
Believing what Airbus, P&W and Lufthansa said recently the problem is largely gone now.
Now we can read in a report from airwaysmag about the first revenue flight onboard on the first Frontier A320neo that the that the competing LEAP-1A engine has a "noticeably long startup time". What that exactly means we don't know yet. There was nothing official about that yet, showing once again that the PR Folks at GE, CFM and Safran are doing a much better job than those at P&W.
But maybe someone should tell Qatar Airways CEO Al Akbar about it as the LEAP-1B should "suffer" the same problem before he confirms his order for the B737MAX. Or maybe he already counts on compensations...?


A321ceo vs. B737-900ER deliveries

After yesterdays order from Jetblue for 30 more A321 (15 x A32ceo and 15 x A321neo with the right to convert to the A321LR), the order from Air Asia for 100 A321neo's and the conversion from Norwegian, now taking 30 A321LR, I looked into the delivery breakdown of Airbus und Boeing's narrowbodies.
Airbus delivered 40% of their narrowbodies as the A321this year so far - Boeing delivered less than 10% of all their B737NG's as the B737-900ER version.
The jury is still out if the pressure for Boeing is big enough to be forced to launch a B737MAX-10 or a clean-sheet MoM aircraft. GE Aviation CEO still has problems with the business case, as one could read in one of the latest editions of Flightglobal (sorry, I have no link, saw it on hardcopy only).
Boeing said they still have time to decide what to do...


The CFM LEAP LPC issue

For the first time CFM acknowledged, though not directly but through Boeing's B737MAX chief engineer Michael Teal, that the CFM LEAP-1B has an issue with the stall margin of the LPC. This was widely known in the industry for months now and in online forums like airliners.net were some hints to that issue. It is alos clear, that not only the LEAP-1B


A320neo engines compared

Recently, in March, CFM revised their certification documentation for the LEAP-1A engine. There now is a G02 version and Addison Schonland from AirInsight already explained the differences between the original G01 certification standard and the G02.
The higher stated weight of the G02 is due to the fact that the EBU is now included in the weight. If we now look at the documentation of the competing PW1100G-JM engine from P&W we see that the EBU is included in it’s weight also.
The weight of the PW1100G-JM is 2857.6 kg or 6300 lbs.
The weight of the LEAP-1A (G02) is 3153 kg or 6936 lbs.


Indigo business model threatened by PW1100G?

Yesterday I read that Indigo sees their business model threatened by the engines of their A320neo – because of  the longer start-up times of the PW1100G (dependent on how long the engine was out after shutdown) the aircraft has to wait up to 2 min. longer with their engines at idle before the aircraft can begin to roll and taxi for takeoff.

Now let’s have a look if there is anything in this claim by looking at how Indigo actually operates their aircraft:

According to flightradar24 the 3rd A320neo (VT-ITA) flew on May 2nd from Delhi to Nagpur. The aircraft landed perfectly on time at 3:40am (UTC). It took off again 52 minutes later, 7 minutes later than scheduled but early enough to arrive back in Delhi 4 min. ahead of the scheduled arrival at 5:56am.

The 2nd leg of the day went to Bangalore with a scheduled departure at 7:30am (actual departure time 7:55am). The aircraft arrived Bangalore 3 min. ahead of schedule at 10:17am. Scheduled departure back to Delhi was at 11:15am, which was missed by 9 min. Arrival in Delhi then was 5 min. ahead of schedule at 13:50am.

So we can see no delays stemming from the start-up times. The 2 min. longer start-up time is an the maximum, which only occurs when the engine was off for about 2.5 hours. But turn-around times for the two legs was below one hour, so the extra start-up time should be



You read it here first: there will (in all likelihood) be no so-called MoM.
After my last post a few articles underline what I wrote. Richard Aboulafia wrote  a commentary in the Aviation Week and Scott Hamilton just posted a story about notes from Buckingham Research, Bernstein Research and Goldman Sachs regarding Boeing and the MoM aircraft.
Goldman Sachs still thinks Boeing could develop MoM, but concludes that Boeing is in a lose-lose Situation here.
Bernstein thinks that MoM could be the "Mirage of the Market" rather than the "Middle of the Market".
Buckingham concluded that the market is not big enough to justify the development.


Why I don't believe In MoM...

In the last couple of weeks a new discussion about the so-called „Middle of the Market“ or “MoM” aircraft broke out. Apart from that nobody really knows what this aircraft should look like (B757 successor or B767 successor or both, narrowbody or widebody, scalable to cover the B737 market or not?) or every potential customer wanting something different, I do not really believe in the launch of such an aircraft in the near future.


Airbus has no interest in such an aircraft. They have a good market position with their A321neo, especially the LR version and the future A330-800, although I don’t foresee large order volumes for that aircraft. For sure Airbus is studying the MoM, but (for now) for the pure purpose of looking into what Boeing could do and if and how Airbus would have to react to it.

Boeing would be the one to launch such an aircraft. But do they have to do it? Although the B737MAX has less orders than the A320neo, the amount of orders the B737MAX got is massive. The B737MAX8 is right in the sweet spot of the market and has a small advantage in costs per seat against the A320neo – if the LEAP-1B engine performs as advertised, what remains to be seen.

The B737MAX8 just had it’s first flight. the –MAX9 and the –MAX7 have to follow. So why unsettle your (potential) customers talking too much and eventually launching a new aircraft that would at least partly overlap with the B737MAX family?

Also, Boeing will probably feel a drop in cash flow during the transition of the B777 Classic to the B777X between 2020 and 2022, just when the MoM would need large sums of money for R&D spending.

But there is another aspect why I do not believe in a launch of MoM for a, say, 2024 entry


B777 Classic / B777X gap

Scott Hamilton has a new projection regarding the production gap of the B777 Classis (see here and here).
Looking at my own model I come to similar conclusions. According to my information, which might not be the newest and most accurate any more, but should not be too far off the current planning at Boeing, the complete production rollover from the current B777 Classic to the B777X should be done by  early 2023, as is shown in Scotts picture.
According to my math and including the six aircraft which were booked in January I get a gap of 249 aircraft which needs to be sold to keep the production rate at 7.33 until the B777X takes over full production in 2023. I started the 7.33 rate in Q2 2019 here, when the  B777X "feathers in" the production (using "Boeing tech talk" here).

If we go down to a rate of 7 aircraft a month in early 2018 we would end up with 214 open production positions.

I think this clearly shows the need of a rate cut for the B777 Classic and that this rate cut has to come soon. We will see how hard analysts will question Boeing today on that. But meanwhile it seems that Boeing acknowledged that need...

UPDATE: Boeing just announced to cut production to 7 aircraft per month in 2017. When I put that into my model, Boeing is still 198 oders short. This first production cut of the B777 Classic might not have been the last one.