One year aeroturbopower...

I can’t believe it, but it has been already a year, since the EIS of aeroturbopower. I never expected to get that much of readership and attention, but in that first year the blog got more than 50,000 hits - in fact it just reached 50,000 today. In the last month alone there were more than 12,000 visits, thanks to extraordinary traffic directed from a threat about the B737 reengining at airliners.net.

There was much to talk about in that year - Airbus launched the A320neo in December of 2010, at least in part due to the launch of the CSeries and first customers "defecting" from Airbus to Bombardier. And then, in July, after an extraordinary succesful sales run of the A320neo, Boeing was forced into what they (at leat officially) never wanted: to reengine the B737, now called the B737MAX. Now we wait eagerly to learn what Embraer will do...
Thank you very much for your readership – and thanks for all comments, all of these are welcome, no matter if you agree with my opinions/analysis or not. I have not eaten the truth, so I always appreciate objective and fair criticism.

Take aways from Boeing press conference

Boeing's press conference regarding the launch of the B737MAX-7,-8,-9 gave me some thoughts. Aspire Aviation has some excerpts:

  1. “We think that this programme is going to be a terrific one for us, and we think it is going to be a terrific one for the customers and the one that continues the legacy of the 737 which started back in 1965.” -  “We believe very strongly that this is an airplane that is going to allow us not to just maintain market share, but one to allow us to grow our market share.” (Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh) - This is in stark contrast to what Boeing told us for two years - that airlines do not really want a reengined airplane, that the additional weight to due the haevier engines wil eat up most of the better SFC of the engines and so on.
  2.  “The engine that we are going to put on would be a LEAP engine from CFM, right now we’re looking at 2 different sizes: the 68 and the 66 inch fan blade. In either case we remain very confident that this is not going to require a lot of modifications to the gear; certainly with the 66 no modification; and even with the 68 a very low probability to have to touch the front gear.” - “There’re some advantages in the 66 that we like and there’re some advantages in the 68 that we like and we’re doing the final trade right now and we will make the decision in the next several weeks.”  - “We’re going to make this the simplest re-engine as possible.” (Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh) - What we can take away here is that Boeing will opt for the 68" fan, if they can find a way to attach the engine to the wing so that they do not have to touch the landing gear. If they can't find a way with the 68" fan, they will take the 66" fan.
  3. “Obviously we have contracts in place but at the same time we want to make sure our customers are getting what they need. And right now, they need airplanes in the 737NG it is available and it is available in great number through 2017 maybe even longer. I think most of our customers will stay with the NG.” - “There maybe some in the out years that they may want to take a hard look at the MAX and clearly we’ll sit down and do just that.” (Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh) - Now this is dangerous. Giving airlines a right to switch existing orders from the NG to the MAX could lead to a low number of NG's delivered in 2016 at least, maybe starting in 2015. Airbus so far avoided to let customers switch from today's A320 to the A320neo and their order book with the "classic" A320 is filled until well into 2016 today.
But now to something different. Boeing's CEO Jim Albaugh might be a good PR man, but mental arithmetic is obviously not one of his strongest personal strengths. He revealed that surprisingly, most of the five launch customers are from outside of the U.S. Precisely, Albaugh stated that 85% of the backlog are from non U.S. airlines. But wait - we know that AA with their provisional order for 100 aircraft is included in that - and 100 out of 496 is just over 20%, so we can consider AA to be 25% "non-U.S."...
On the other hand it means that Southwest is not one of the five launch customers. But I guess they will jump on board soon, so that the order book will swell soon...


Boeing launched the B737MAX

Today Boeing launched the B737NEMAX-7,-8 and -9, with order commitments from five airlines for a total of 496 aircraft!!! Whow, that's a start! Entry into service will be in 2017!
Who are these five airlines? There is only one we know for sure so far and that is American Airlines. My guess for the other four:
  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. UA/CO (?)
  4. WestJet (?)
Any suggestions?


Boeing claims a 4% fuel burn advantage versus the A320neo family. Currently the B737NG-800 has an advantage of 8% in fuel burn per seat - so the current gap would be smaller after both manufacturers reengined their aircraft.
A detailed analysis cannot be made at this point as there is no detailed data given by Boeing.
The statement given by CFM suggests that there is no final definition of the engine as of today...


Is Delta Air Lines competitive with the B737-900ER?

Yesterday came the press release confirming Delta's order for 100 B737-900ER.

These will delivered between 2013 and 2018 and there is no mentioning of a possibility to switch to the reengined variant.
In the press release Delta stresses a fuel burn advantage of 15-20% against the B757, B767 and the A320. If fuel is responsible for about 40% of your cash operating costs, this is big and results in 6-8% lower COC's. But to be competitive, Delta has to look what the competitors will do, especially the low cost carriers, which have lower COC's to begin with.
Virgin America and jetblue have ordered the A320neo


Delta's 737-900ER order

Yesterday came the news that Delta Air Lines will purchase 100 B737-900ER to begin the replacement cycle of it's narrowbody fleet. Until there is an official press release from the airline, it is rumours, but let us assume that the information is accurate.
Scott Hamilton is certain that Delta will have conversion rights to switch to the reengined version (the B737-9 as it stands now). If true, this little detail could hurt Boeing


A320 vs. B737-800 Fuel Burn

There is the never-ending "war of words" between Airbus and Boeing of which aircraft is the more fuel efficient one, and, since the launch of the A320neo, if the A320neo would be more fuel efficient and if yes, by what margin. Further complicating, Boeing meanwhile claims, that it's yet-to-be-named reengined B737 would have the same advantage in terms of fuel efficiency as the current generations of these two narrowbodies have. And as even Boeing does not seem to know how the exact configuration of the reengined B737 looks like, this claim seems (at least) a little bit premature.
As I tried to lay out in an earlier posting, much depends on what you want to compare:  fuel burn per trip of fuel burn per passenger.
The official documents provided by the manufacturers


Shifting center of gravity

Looking at the regional distribution of A320neo sales we get aware of the change in aviation.
South and Southeast Asia is where the coming aviation markets are - almost 550 A320neo are ordered for these markets when we count the 78 for Jetstar also for that region. And there should be more to come: China did not order the A320neo so far, but I guess we can bet on an order sooner or later.
Next in the regional distribution


Embraer 2000nm 5 abreast

It is no secret that Embraer looks into building a CSeries rival with an own 5 abreast aircraft. But as Bombardier's CSeries will offer a maximum range of 2950nm and the wing is designed for that range, Embraer reportedly is looking for a range closer to 2000nm, but thinks about a little larger aircraft. Scott Hamilton wondered in a recent blog entry how Embraer could achieve to build a lighter aircraft, as Ronald Epstein, the BoA analyst suggested. Here is a quick explanation:


B737RE Early Fuel Burn Analysis

Scott Hamilton picked up a few interesting details from the Boeing Quarterly Earnings Call regarding the B737RE. The most important question regarding this program remains the fan diameter. It looks like it will settle around 66 inches, so that Boeing can go forward without touching the nose gear.
But what does that mean for fuel efficiency?


The 130 seater market

The launch of the CSeries in July 2008 initiated many discussions about the market those two aircraft are placed: the 110-130 seater market.
Let's have a quick look in the 130 seater market,