Geared Turbo Fan Backlog Secrets

The P&W press release revealing the selection of the PW1133G for the A321neo for Hawaiian Airlines states that the Geared Turbo Fan Family now has more than 3,500 announced and unannounced orders and options. I wondered how much unannounced orders there are and tried to do a breakdown of the announced orders.



Lion Air Accident

On Saturday a B737-800 crashed into the sea just before reaching the runway of Bali.
Some "analysts" and "experts" were quick to question Lion Air's safety in the light of the quick expansion and rapid growth of the airline. They did not care to wait for what the pilots had to say about the accident and what had caused it. As we can read here the pilot has about 15,000 flight hours and is a flight instructor and the co-pilot, who was in charge, has about 2,000 flight hours so I would rule out any reason relating to inexperience of the flight crew. It appears that the reason was weather related, heavy rain and a wind shear or a downdraft might have caused the crash.
As safe as today's aircraft are - there isn't any powerful force than mother nature. We should never forget this! Even the safest airline can't be "safe" enough not to be prone to the forces of nature.


Why is Leahy so pessimistic?

Airbus Salesman John Leahy seems not to be too optimistic about selling a lot of aircraft at this year's Paris Air Show. He still expects to sell around 750 aircraft this year. At the end of March there were sold 431 aircraft according to the published Excel Sheet on their website. Additionally, we know that Lufthansa will buy another 100 A320 and 2 A380, Turkish will buy 83 A320 and Mandala 18 A320 through Tiger Airways exercising options (although Mandala will probably then cancel their old order for 25 A320's).
Before cancellations this would be then 633 orders. Knowing that there are a lot of decisions still looming this year and that not only the Paris Air Show but also the Dubai Air Show is coming, I would be surprised if the orderbook for 2013 would only see 750 orders. But maybe Leahy was talking about net orders and he already knows that Kingfisher will cancel all their outstanding orders this year. Also, there are outstanding orders for United and Northwest (now Delta of course) for A320's and I do not expect them to be filled. Mexicana is now defunct and their 4 open orders will sooner or later also disappear.

Turkish Airlines orders more Narrowbodies

As I envisioned here, Turkish Airlines will not just rely on Airbus for their future narrowbody fleet. Today THY announced that they placed orders for 20 B737-800, 40 B737MAX-8 and 10 B737MAX-9. THY also placed 25 options. On March 15 Turkish Airlines announced to buy 20 A321, 4 A320neo and 53 A321neo and placed 35 options for further A321neo.


Airbus and Boeing Narrowbody Market Share

Scott Hamilton just posted an article comparing the narrowbody market share of Airbus and Boeing, also comparing the subtypes. One aspect that is always missing when the backlogs of the A320neo and the B737MAX are compared is that the neo will be on the market two years earlier and what that means for "early availability".
Airbus and Boeing will both produce about 42 narrowbody aircraft a month when the reengined aircraft come to market. That means both will produce roughly 480-500 narrowbodies a year. That being said and assumed that the ramp up from the first production model to full production of the new model will be at the same pace at both manufacturers means that Airbus has an (at least theoretical) "early availability" advantage for the A320neo as long as the backlog is not between 960-1000 aircraft larger than that of the B737MAX. In detail that depends on the exact delivery dates for the individual airline customers, of course.
Right now Airbus has 2,068 firm orders, but counting the orders from Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, which will probably be firmed up in the next weeks, there will be 2,198 firm orders.
Boeing meanwhile counts 1,185 firm orders for the B737MAX, so the difference is just about two years of full production now and in theory there is no "early availability" advantage for Airbus anymore. Let's see where the difference is after the Paris Air Show in June.