Even more doubts about B737MAX

I obtained a very interesting article from "Airline Economics", a publication from Aviation News. As it is a subscriber only magazine, I cannot upload the full article, but I will quote some interesting statements of the story called "A question of circumstance":
  1. Regarding the engine competition on the A320neo between the GTF and the LEAP-1A: "The end result is that you've got a really big gap between a P&W Neo and a CFMi Neo." To clarify: the gap is in favor of the P&W GTF and Airline Economics is quoting an senior industry expert here, who expects the LEAP to have a 4% disadvantage (what in my eyes is maybe a little bit too much).
  2. Regarding engine competition in the marketplace: "Airline Economics learned early last year that CFMi made it a priority in 2011 to "capture market share at all costs", which led to slashed prices and virtually free engines. One airline was offered such a low price that it was suspicious of its claimed performance and promptly ordered P&W GTF engines saying:"If they are free they are obviously no good." " - If true, nothing to add here, I guess!
  3. About the LEAP-1B on the B737MAX: "The 737max has an exclusive agreement with an engine that the majority of sources claim cannot compete with the P&W GTF, even before taking into account the implications of making the LEAP X smaller for the 737max."
  4. About the CFMi exclusivity on B737 MAX: "Boeing completed its mistake by having CFMi exclusivity. CFMi has to come up with an engine that is a smash hit, but many still don't know how it is going to do that with a lower fan ratio." It should be called fan diameter, as fan ratio could be mixed up with the fan pressure ratio, which is higher for the LEAP engine, this is why the propulsive efficiency is lower for the LEAP. - A harsh statement!
  5. Again about the B737Max CFMi engine: "The 737max does have a significant weakness, and that is in the power plant and the ground clearance. There is increasing evidence that the Pratt & Whitney engine is exceeding expectations in all aspects of testing.
  6. Furthermore: "Airline Economics" believes Boeing could find itself with no option but to approach P&W and/or RR to provide alternative engines for the Max, which in turn will have profound effects on the CFMi relationship and destroy the fleet synergy of the Max with the older 737s."
  7. Finally: "The Airline Economics" view: Order the 737max now as a large block order (or ensure contact and collaboration with another large order signatory) and pressure Boeing hard for a great investment opportunity. Or for the safest guarantee of best performance in the here and now, order the A320neo with P&W GTF on wing." - In other words: press Boeing to build a brand new aircraft or at least for a second (and better) engine option or - if you can't convince Boeing -buy the A320neo with the GTF.
At the end of the article, Airline Economics opens an interesting scenario (quote):
"This current scenario is no different than the 787/A350 situation but it is a roll reversal. This time Airbus launched the better aircraft. It is highly likely that Boeing will do with the Max what Airbus did with the A350. It will go back, change the aircraft, raise it, and then CFMi will roll up at the door with an engine 1" or so larger (diameter) than the one on the Neo and Boeing will be able to move forward. Airline Economics sees this as likely."

I am not sure what Airline Economics meant with "change the aircraft": if it should mean Boeing will come up with a brand-new aircraft (B797 or how one would call it), I do not agree with the author. Because what is different today than it was last year, when Boeing said that the technology to produce such an aircraft in numbers up to 60 per month is just not there.
If it should mean pursuing the second engine option, I would say: it looks more and more like there is something going on in Seattle and Chicago (and East Hartford and/or Derby).

1 comment:

  1. I think your blog is taking some flak for being biased. IMO we see another mechanism kicking in: killing the messenger. The 737 is an undisputed aviation icon. Stating it's being leaped doesn't make friends. Backing up your opinions with facts/ numbers /credible sources only makes things worse. I warned you ;)