CFM power

Scott Hamilton has a piece about how GE and CFM are able to win so many engine competitions and for that went deep into the Republic deal for 40 A319neo and 40 A320neo, to be equipped with the LEAP-1A.
After reading the story I went on and looked at a few public databases, where you can check out which airlines owns which aircraft, with which engines they are equipped and who is (eventually) the lessor of the aircraft.
I was interested in the airlines which already ordered the A320neo, but did not commit to an engine so far. Here are my findings and what they tell me:

1. GoAir: they have a firm order for 72 A320neo
Current fleet: 10 A320 powered by CFM56. They firmed up 10 options for the A320 (classic), no information which engine they choose for these, but I would guess CFM56.
GECAS leases 4 of these aircraft to GoAir.
So both CFM and GECAS have leverage for a deal to sell the LEAP-1A to GoAir. CFM could reduce spare parts pricing for the existing CFM56 and GECAS could lower lease rates.
Now GoAir is reportedly also interested in the CSeries and could announce a deal in July or August.
That gives P&W a leverage to struck a combined deal here, as the PW1524G is the sole engine for the CSeries.
Conclusion: Tie! Everything is possible!

2. Jetblue: Jetblue has a MoU for 40 A320neo
Current fleet: 118 A320 with V2500, 49 E190 with CF34-10E
GECAS leases 13 A320 as well as 35 E190 to Jetblue
At first glance, P&W should have better cards, if one just looks at the A320 engines, but GECAS tries to get a hold here with more leases.
MTU does the MRO for the engines on a power-by-the-hour basis, so they could be involved in a deal for placing the PW1133G on the A320neo's for Jetblue.
Conclusion: It's P&W's to loose - and that's the chance of CFM!

3. Avianca TACA: they have a MoU for 33 A320neo
Current fleet: 42 A320 powered by CFM (mostly Avianca), 30 A320 powered by V2500 (+20 on order)
GECAS leases 14 aircraft to Avianca TACA.
GE has a dedicated MRO shop for the CFM56-5 in Brasil.
Conclusion: CFM's to loose. They have clearly more to throw into that deal.

4. LAN/TAM: 20 firm oders (LAN) + MoU for 22 (TAM)
The airlines are in a merger process.
Current fleet: Large A320 family fleet, powered both by the V2500 and the CFM56 - LAN selected the CFM56 last year for a further 50 A320.
GECAS leases 23 aircraft, mostly to TAM.
MTU is providing MRO for the V2500 at TAM.
Conclusion: Close call! CFM and GECAS have slightly more leverage...

5. Garuda Indonesia/Citilink: MoU for 10 A320neo + 25 Options
Current fleet: 78 B737 (Classics and NG) with CFM56
GECAS leases 40 B737 to Garuda.
Conclusion: CFM can hardly loose this one!

6. Transasia: 6 A321neo on firm order
Current fleet: 2 A320 and 5 A321 powered by V2500, 7 ATR powered by PW127
Conclusion: P&W can hardly loose here!

And now look at some prospective customers:

1. Delta Air Lines
Current fleet:
  • GE engines are on 105 aircraft
  • CFM engines are on 209 aircraft
  • GECAS leases14 aircraft to Delta
  • PW engines are on 355 aircraft
  • IAE engines are on 27 aircraft with 13 more to come (MD-90)
Most PW engines will go away with the replacement (the last DC-9's and the MD-80's), so the P&W leverage is not that big as it looks.

Conclusion: a deciding factor could be the engine commonality with a possible CSeries order!

2. American Airlines
Current fleet:
  • GE engines are on 73 aircraft and will be on the 6 ordered B777-300ER
  • CFM engines are on 154 aircraft and 54 more ordered B737-800
  • GECAS leases 61 aircraft to AA
  • PW engines are on the 229 MD-80's, which will then disappear
Conclusion: never heard so far that AA is interested in the CSeries, so this is CFM's to loose.

3. Air France/KLM
Current fleet:
  • GE engines are on 146 aircraft
  • CFM engine are on 210 aircraft
  • GECAS leases just one aircraft to AF/KLM (is that right?)
Conclusion: hopeless for P&W, M. Sarkozy will never let AirFrance order an engine without french content if there is one available.


Paris Air Show 2011

That was quite an event! I will focus on just some of the most important topics here, the most important of course being

1029 order and commitments! (plus a few more options) - Never ever in history there was an aircraft selling so fast. Of course, a comparison to the B737NG is unfair, as 15 years ago we did not have such big and emerging markets in China, India and all over Asia (more than 460 A320neos are ordered by Asian airlines so far). Also I am sure that a reengined B737NG or a NSA/B797 would sell as good as the A320NEO (or in the case of the – hypothetical – B797 even better). But let us roll back one year: there were many skeptics of the A320neo, saying that demand for such a “warmed-up” aircraft would just not be there. Others said that Airbus might be forced to convert many of the orders for the current A320 to the –neo model. Both are proved wrong today. Even Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes did not manage to convince John Leahy to convert some of the old orders to the –neo.
Now if American Airlines would really decide to order 100 A320neo (probably they are most interested in the A321neo) this summer, there would be lots of activities starting in Chicago and Seattle.
The A320neo brings us right away to the next big topic at this year’s Airshow.

LEAP-1A vs. PW1100G
Before I get started, please read what Addison Schonland wrote in his piece on AirInsight. As I laid out before I have my doubts about the performance claims of the LEAP-1A. And as I heard, CFM did more PW1100G-bashing at his media briefing just ahead of the Airshow than talking about their own product and it’s merits. A rock solid confidence looks different…
Nevertheless, CFM managed to get large deals at the Airshow. The largest, of course, was the order for 400+ engines for the 200 aircraft deal of AirAsia. But this was CFM’s to loose, as they are providing the CFM56 for the current 175 aircraft order from AirAsia, GE won with the CF6-80 for AirAsia’s A330-200 just recently and GE became a sponsor of Tony Fernandes F1 Lotus Team.
I did a prediction about A320neo orders and the respective engine choices just a week before the Airshow opened. I was wrong at SAS and Republic – both choose the LEAP-1A over the PW1100G. As it appears, I underestimated the market power of CFM, GE and GECAS.
I also expressed before that I think there could be an alliance between Airbus and CFM to keep potential CSeries customers away from ordering the Bombardier aircraft by giving them deals they cannot deny. This strategy can work with airlines which have business with CFM, GE and/or GECAS today.
Look at Republic: the whole Frontier fleet is powered by the CFM56 today - about half of the A319 fleet from Frontier is leased through GECAS.
Republic has the largest Embraer EJet fleet in the world, all powered by the CF34-8/-10. Most of the E170 in the fleet of Republic Airlines, one of Republics subsidiaries, is leased from GECAS.
So GECAS, CFM and GE have all possibilities to sweeten the LEAP-1A deal with discounts on spare parts and leasing rates – one thing that Pratt&Whitney can not do.
SAS on the other hand is a large B737NG customer and they also have a CRJ900 fleet powered by the CF34-8. They choose 2nd hand B737-700 over the CSeries earlier this year. This decision was probably more cash driven, as leasing rates for used aircraft are of course cheaper than for new ones and SAS is going through a tough time right now. SAS has also A319 and A321’s in their fleet, powered by the IAE V2500. But firstly the V2500 powered fleet is much smaller than the B737NG fleet, and secondly, PW always has to deal with Rolls Royce on the V2500 business. And as RR has no stakes at all in the –neo business, they have no interest in building a bridge for PW at all.
One A320neo deal that did not materialize in Paris was the anticipated order for 50 aircraft from Qatar (as well as the “deferred” CSeries order). The A320neo will come one day of the other, just as U-Turn Al’s mood allows, but I guess the chances for the PW1100G are better here.  Although GE can throw their GGE90-115B business on the B777-300ER/-200LR fleet here (Qatar just ordered 6 more of them in Paris) and CFM powers 4 A340-300 in Qatar’s fleet, the A320 fleet is powered by the V2500 and PW might to persuade Qatar by making good deals on both the CSeries and the A320neo.

John Leahy still thinks that Bombardier should scrap the CSeries program. As an Airbus employee he has to say that, regardless of what he thinks.
But as in the weeks before and at the Airshow there were five new customers announced (three of them unnamed so far), I think it became clear  that a growing number of airlines got convinced that in this market segment an optimized aircraft is better suited than, say an A319neo. Surprisingly, the CS100 got the biggest chunk of the new orders – maybe something to think about at Embraer…
I guess we will see a few other orders for the CSeries until the end of the year:
- Delta Air Lines
- Qatar (finally)
- GoAir, which just ordered 72 A320neo, hinted for a “raft” of CSeries soon to order

Boeing did not raise the bar very high in the run-up of the Airshow, but did extremely well with orders, especially on the widebody front. It remains to be seen, if the revised A350-1000 can break the monopoly the B777-300ER enjoys in their segment. A stretched A350-1100X was denied by Airbus officials, but we will see…if the Rolls Royce managers are wise, they build in another 5% thrust margin above the 97klbf in their revised Trent XWB nacelle lines to cover for growth.
Scott Hamilton further explains Boeing’s success – I suggest to read his entry for more.

Other stuff
There was lots of other stuff to talk about – but I won’t, at least for today…


LEAP-X core temperatures

I saw this article about the latest design changes to the CFM LEAP engine. I described what I think about the seventh LPT stage and the larger fan diameter in my last blog entry. New to me in this article is, that CFM claims that the LEAP core would run at the same temperatures  - at least turbine entry temperatures - than the CFM56.
Hmm, let's start with pure physics. The LEAP engine will have an OPR of 50 at top of climb. The CFM56-5B has an OPR of 35.5 at the highest (33klbf) thrust setting.
Make it easy and consider the Fan, the LPC and the HPC as one big compressor. The formula to get the compressor exit (or burner entry) temperature is:
T2=(1/etac)*(T1*(P2/P1)^(0.4/1.4)) with P2/P1 being the OPR in this case and etac being the compressor efficiency.

CFM says that the turbine entry/burner exit temperature stays the same, they do not say anything about the burner entry temperature. But to get the highest efficiency, the burner exit temperature (T3) should be
T3=(T2^2/T1), thus being independent from the OPR.
So let's consider that the ratio of T3/T2 should be about the same. Then T2 should be the same, too.
What does that mean for the compressor efficiencies? Well, if T2LEAP and T2CFM56 should be the same, then from the first formula can conclude that:

Computed, you will see, that the compressor efficiency of the LEAP engine should be 10% higher than that of the CFM56.
Now, the GE90 compressor, on of the predecessors of the LEAP compressor, is thought to have an efficiency of 91%. Let's assume, the LEAP compressor, although considerably smaller, has the same efficiency (which is hard as the relative clearances are larger in a smaller compressor). Then the efficiency of the CFM56-5 compressor should stand at 90%*91%= 82% - if true, the engine would be a disaster.
So, something does not add up here. An engine with a pressure ratio of 50 can't run at the same core temperature as an engine with a 29% lower OPR  - or you did something wrong in your basic layout of the engine.


LEAP-X striking back?

CFM said over the weekend that they have four announcements on every of the first four days of this years Paris Airshow regarding LEAP-X customers. It is not clear, whether these are all for the A320neo or some of them will also be for the C919, but apparently CFM is strongly coming back from behind and it remains to be seen if the PurePower GTF engine can hold it's No.1 position on the A320neo.

According to a Bloomberg report, SAS will order the LEAP-X for their 30 A320neo. A few days ago I expected them they will go with the GTF - apparently I was wrong and I will speculate about the reasons a little bit later.
But let us look at the possible reasons of this comeback: if you read the blog entry behind the first link of this, article, there are two interesting things to note: CFM just lately changed the design of the LEAP-X engine:
1. The fan diameter got larger, from 75" before to 78" now.
2. The LPT got an additional stage - now it has seven, just as the GEnx-1B for the B787.

Both changes are good for about 1% in SFC - each. Additionally, I guess CFM changed to size of the core and made it smaller, what could yield in another 0.5% in SFC.
On the other hand, the engine gets larger, produces more drag, gets added weight and the added LPT stage produces extra maintenance costs.
Because of the added drag and added weight, the fuel burn benefit will end up in the range of 1.5-2%. Operating costs could end up being somewhere between 1-1.5% better.
If you study this site, CFM now claims a 1% better fuel burn against the GTF. Is this credible: a few weeks ago, before the design changes were made official, Bernstein, AirInsight and others said (with obviously good knowledge about the situation), that LEAP-X would trail the GTF by about 3%.
So if CFM now claims to be better by 1%, then they probably project their best possible SFC without regarding any development risk. This is not engineering practice, but as it seems, CFM can convince quite a number of customers with that strategy.

Now to the story about SAS and why they might have turned to CFM:
First, they are a flying a lot of  B737NG, thus having a number of CFM56 in their fleet and possibly a good relationship to CFM. A few weeks back they dedided to lease 2nd hand B737-700 and with that opting against the CSeries.
Easy question: who is most interested in CSeries failing in the marketplace:
1. Airbus
2. CFM
For that reason, I could see a campaign to fight all possible CSeries deals in a joint effort from Airbus und CFM. The litmus test for this thesis will be the CSeries' fate at Republic: if Republic now orders the A320neo with the LEAP-X and (sooner or later) cancels the CSeries, I would see this thesis is "proven". Also watch for Qatar...
The thriller just starts here!


Boeing 737 successor Part V

I swear that this is the last piece in that series - before the Paris Air Show!
A recent piece in Flightglobal as well as a blog entry from Scott Hamilton this week shows that inside Boeing there are diverging blocks: one wants a new airplane, the other wants to reengine the B737NG and it seems like a "put them all in one boat"-solution to do it both. With a A320neo family arriving from 2015 onwards and a hypothetic new model from Boeing arriving in 2019 or 2020, with the CSeries entering the market in late 2013 and probably another 5 abreast aircraft from Embraer arriving at the end of the decade, who then needs a reengined B737NG? And if the backlog is so big that there are filled delivery positions even in 2018 today with todays B737NG, a reengined B737NG would only get a handful of orders from customers which did not get a delivery slot from Airbus, Bombardier or Embraer before the Boeing NSA is available.
So doing both makes no sense if the NSA is really slated for around 2020 - but a later arrival, around 2025 could make sense, as the differentiation against the A320neo in terms of engine and aircraft technology and thus operating costs could be larger then. That thinking should behind when Albaugh (quote Flightglobal) "questioned whether such an aircraft would be "good enough with rising fuel costs and emerging environmental regulations" and whether it could stay in service for 50 years." (quote end)
In the meantime, a reengining would make sense and would give that reengined B737NG a life expectation of at least ten years. At last years european ISTAT conference I spoke with some appraisers about the (the not yet launched) A320neo and they said that it would need a production run of at least ten years - the same should be true for a 737NGneo.
A "mild" reengining, maybe even avoiding changes to the front landing gear, should not bind too many engineering resources and should put Boeing in the position to counter Airbus if they should announce any changes to the A350-1000 that would make that aircraft to a better competitor to the B777-300ER than before.


Some airlines can't wait for Paris

The official opening of the Paris Air Show is still four days away, but there are a few airlines who can't wait to announce their (A32Xneo) orders.

Cebu Pacific and GoAir both placed orders today.

Cebu Pacific (I did not even have that on my list yesterday) placed an MoU for 30 A321neo. They also firmed up options for 7 A320 (Classic). Cebu stated that with the A321neo they will be able to fly to destinations which cannot be reached with the A320 today, namely Northern Japan, Australia and India. They will outfit their A321neo's with 220 seats - I have not heard of any airline with such a dense seating in a A321. Air Berlin has 210 seats, Air France in the domestic market version 206 seats.

And then there is GoAir - for 72 A320neo. I had them on my list for Paris, but for a maximum of 70 - well, not too far off. GoAir is owned by the Wadia Group, a powerful conglomerate, and got a new CEO just a few days ago, the former Chief Revenue Officer from Air One (Giorgio De Roni), which was (more or less) forced to merge with the old Alitalia.
GoAir has 10 A320 in the fleet, with 10 more to come in the next two years. By then, with a fleet of 20 aircraft and after 5 years of operation, they can fly internationally.

Both airlines fleets are powered by the CFM56 today and both airlines gave no indication of engine selection yet. It remains to be seen if my assumption that the PW1100G has the better cards in the indian market. At least the planned first delivery date (2015) for GoAir's A320neo seems to indicate a GTF selection here.


Airbus A320neo order speculations

We are just days away from the Paris Air Show 2011 and every day there are more speculations about who will order how many aircraft at the show – and which ones.
The one thing that seems to be clear though is that the A320neo will get the bulk of orders.
So let me take part in the speculation game and start with the “Star” of the show:

Here is my guessing about who will order how many and the engine choice:


In total we could see more than 600 orders/commitments for the A320neo family, with both engine makers getting their share of the market.
As for the LEAP-X it is crucial to get orders – GE seems to invest heavily in the AirAsia order, with GE becoming a sponsor of Tony Fernandes’ Formula 1 Lotus Team. Even if GE says that those two deals are complete separate…
As the CFM56 is AirAsia’s current engine choice, CFM was in the front runner position anyway. It remains to be seen, if Fernandes managed Leahy to convince him that a conversion of orders for the A320 ”Classic” can be transformed into A320neo orders and how many. And we will also see if this deal will be even larger than the yet-to-be-finalised order of 180 aircraft by Indigo.
Republic already placed a deposit in Toulouse, so we can expect an announcement about a fleet rollover for Frontier soon. As they already ordered the CSeries, they probably lean towards the GTF. But it remains to be seen, if the CSeries order stays intact. The financial troubles at Republic could mean that Airbus buys Republic out of the CSeries deal.
If Qatar finally decides to order the CSeries, they should decide for the GTF on their up to 50 neo's, too. But who knows what U-Turn Al will decide when he wakes up on the day of the planned signing ceremony. If he had a bad dream, all hid plans can change in a minute...
GECAS of course is the most natural LEAP-X customer. Nothing to add here...
After opposing the A320neo from the start, even Steven Udvar-Hazy seems to jump on the bandwagon now, as was reported earlier. I expect a split between LEAP-X and the PW1100G here, as well as from CIT.
GoAir obviously is in the market also for at least 50 A320neo. That seems a lot for an airline that has just 10 aircraft by now, but the fast growing Indian market is hungry for aircraft. The V2500 has a large customer base in India today and the PW1100G made the race at IndiGo, so PW might have the upper hand here.
SAS is looking for the A320neo, too, and I think this is the airline that is speculated to be the first neo-customer currently flying the B737NG. They have looked into the CSeries also, but decided to preserve cash by leasing 2nd hand B737-700. SAS did not rule out to order the CSeries later, so they could lean towards the PW1100G on the A320neo to have engine commonality (sort of), if they ever decide to order the CSeries.
There might be others to come forward and order more A320neo – who know. John Leahy understands how to do good marketing and always pull out a rabbit out of the hat…


A350-1000 with more range - Update II

I made a quick assessment how the new -1000/-1100 family could look like:

Pax    350    380     380
Range  8500 nm  8000 nm   8500nm
MTOW   314 t   318 t    331 t
OEW   152 t   157 t    159 t
SLS TO Thrust   98klbf  100klbf   104klbf

I enlarged the wing, so that the A350-1000 keeps the same wing loading.
I have to admit that this is a very rough assessment as I have not looked into things like climb times, takeoff performance and so on...


A350-1000 with more range - Update

Flightglobal has a new take on what is going on with the A350-1000. Contrary to Scott Hamilton, Max Kingsley-Jones thinks that the wing would be part of the design change, thus getting larger. This could indicate two things:
1. The Thrust/Weight-Ratio could get down without sacrificing runway performance as the larger wing would provide more lift. In other words, the MTOW could be lifted more than the ~5% gain in takeoff thrust, enabling the aircraft to carry more payload (especially cargo) over the reportedly new design range of 8500nm.
2. The investment for a larger wing and a "new" engine would make more sense, if another type would be added to the A350 family - call it the A350-1100 for now. With a further stretch of 4m it would have a fuselage length of roughly 80m, representing the ultimate stretch and would be a real B777-300ER competitor in terms of passenger capacity. The question then only is, if the range of the -1100 would be limited to 8000nm, comparable to the B777-300ER range, or if the -1100 would also get a range suitable for LAX-DXB (I now think that the 8500nm should work in >90% of the time for that route). If so, the "new" engine should really be a "new" engine - not just with an enlarged core, but also with a larger fan, as the thrust requirement would be more in the range of 105klbf. That would have implications to the basic design of the aircraft, especially the length of the undercarriage.

So Airbus could end up with the sub-families fo the A350 - the -900 and the -800 on the lower end and the -1000 and the -1100 on the upper end, very much comparable with the A340.

But again - until June 18 all is about speculation! But that's the fun with it...


A350-1000 with more range - implications for B737 successor?

Scott Hamilton just came out with this story: the A350-1000 will get more range (500nm) and a more powerful Trent XWB engine (+5000lbf).
A quick calculation revealed that 500nm more range need about 12.3t more MTOW. About 10 tonnes are for the extra fuel burned to cover the extra 500nm, about 2 tonnes needs the structure to carry the heavier aircraft, the balance goes for fuel reserves, as these are calculated in dependence of the actual flown range.
Thrust-to-weight ratio thus will be largely unchanged, runway performance probably a little bit worse, if the wing is unchanged. Compared to the B777-300ER, the wing is not heavily loaded, so I do not believe Airbus will enlarge the wing.
Scott writes that even the 8500nm will not meet Emirates desire of being able to fly Dubai - Los Angeles nonstop. The great circle distance for DXB-LAX is about 7250nm, so there is a 17% range margin. But is this enough to counter strong headwinds. A quick calculation shows that 17% of Ma0.85 (cruising speed of the A350) are equal to about 83nm/hr, meaning that if the average headwind on the route is higher than 83 knots, a technical stop would be necessary. I do not the average wind speed on the route over the north pole, but I could imagine that average wind speeds of 83knots and more ar possible.
The calculation also confirms that Emirates second desire - to add more pax - cannot be part of the change in the A350-1000 specification. So I wonder what is the rationality behind these changes? The 777-300ER has slightly less than the 8000nm of the "old" -1000 configuration, the 500 extra miles is good for a couple of extra city pairs, but does that justify the pain? The pain is probably bigger for RR than for Airbus, as these 5000lbf more of thrust will very likely mean that the whole core has to be changed, which means a lot of investment.
The main reason for that change might be to prevent Boeing from concentrating on the B737 successor. Airbus might hope that Boeing now feels more pressure on the B777-300ER and to concentrate R&D resources here and "only" to re-engine to B737 as Airbus always predicted.
And Airbus is apparently not alone: the recent Bernstein Research Note also suggests that Boeing should re-engine. Richard Aboulafia, VP of Teal Group, also thinks that a B737RE is the best answer to the A32XNEO, as one can reread in the AirInsight Paris Airshow Discussion transcript.
I guess we can expect the official Airbus announcement on Saturday, June 18th at the press briefing.
One is for sure - this years Paris Air Show is getting more and more interesting.


CSeries order from Sweden

On June 1st Bombardier announced a new order for the CSeries. Five CS100 and five CS300 will be operated by Malmö Aviation, a small but highly regarded airline. The airline was rated "best national  airline" in Sweden for several times. The roots go back to 1981. In 1998 Malmö Aviation was bought by the norwegian Braathens family and cooperated with Braathens Sverige. Braathens was bought by S.A.S. in 2002 and named S.A.S. Norge, but Malmö Aviation was dissociated before and remained under control of the Braathens family.
This order alone is not significant. But I am pretty sure that we will  see some more orders - likely at the Paris Ais Show, maybe later in the year.

LEAP-X wins first customers

Just a quick note as I am just coming back from a small vacation and saw the news that LEAP-X reportedly got their first two customers - ILFC for the remaining 40 of their 100 A320NEO order and Virgin America for 30 A320neo. The latter is no real surprise, as it was CFM to loose as the incumbent here. Lessors tend to split their A320 orders anyway, so one could anticipate that, too.
The next very-likely-LEAP-X-powered-A320neo-order should be from AirAsia. As Tony Fernandes wants to convert some of the "Classic"-orders and the current Air Asia order is CFM56-powered, a deal including a conversion of orders is only thinkable with CFM.
Still open are TAM with their MoU for 22 A320neo.
During the Paris Air Show we will probably see orders from Republic and Qatar for the A320neo. I would expect Qatar to choose the GTF, as they are also likely to order the CSeries, which is exclusively powered by the GTF. Republic as one of the existing CSeries customers is also a good candidate for the GTF on the A320neo.