Showing posts with label Airbus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Airbus. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

GKN Technology meets Brexit

GKN Technology is a British company that makes the wings for Airbus.   The UK government pulled out of the Airbus consortium some years ago, but GKN Technology retained their Airbus business somehow.  The Airbuses are assembled in Europe (Germany or France, cannot remember which). Which means those British built wings get shipped across the Channel.  When Britain does the paperwork to pull out of the EU, presumably those wings have to pay the EU tariff when they land on the continent. 
  And it's not like GKN Technology can find another customer for its wings.  Those wings are Airbus wings, and won't fit another airplane.  If Brexit means Airbus has to pay a serious tariff on the wings, they will surely investigate alternate suppliers located on the continent.  And with EU unemployment running at 10%, any EU supplier will have no trouble staffing up to handle the extra business.
   Be afraid, be very afraid. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Middle of the Market (MOM) airliner

Boeing is talking about doing a new airliner to be a MOM airliner.  Airbus is competing furiously, and Boeing wants a magic product to take market share away from Airbus.  Unfortunately, just what the MOM airliner might be is vague, they don't talk about how many passengers it would carry, or the range it could fly.  And some people feel there is no such MOM design.
   Obviously Boeing is still feeling good about their new 787, which although smaller than the Airbus A380, is selling better.  When they started the 787 they knew that Airbus was doing something much bigger, but Boeing figured that the 787 was about the right size and would sell better, and they were right. 
   The other thing that clouds the issue is that Boeing makes some many different sizes of airliners already that you would think one of them would be the MOM airliner.  They have the smallish single aisle 737 which is still selling every one that comes off the production line.  They have the 757 and 767 models, larger than the 737 and maybe to be dropped.  They have the brand new sizable 787,  the older but large 777, and finally the big old 747.  They are still making a few 747's but it is clearly on the way out.  Given this wealth of Boeing airliner types, it is hard to see a market segment for which they don't have a product. 
   For future growth, Boeing has the 737MAX project to put new and more efficient engines on the 737.  This project is going head to head with a similar project at Airbus putting the new Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engine onto the tried and true A320 airliner.  Boeing has the 777-X project to create an updated version of the big 777 twinjet.  They have the USAF tanker project inhouse which something like 200 aircraft. 
   There has got to be some pressure inside Boeing to do another clean sheet design, using carbon fiber structure, and the latest of everything to create a follow on to the 737.  But the last clean sheet design, the 787, encountered delays, supply chain hangups, cost over runs, battery fires, and it's gonna take years and years of production to recover the money sunk into it.  The 787 has made it thru the development pitfalls and is now in production and making money.  But it was so late that Airbus was able to get the directly competitive A350 to market only a year after the 787.  Anyhow, there must be a lot of people at Boeing who have sworn "Never again" to the concept of advanced clean sheet designs. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

British Industry is against Brexit.

According to Aviation Week, British aerospace and defense companies  are speaking out against Brexit.  Airbus, airlines RyanAir and Easy Jet, and the company operating Heathrow airport  have all decried Brexit.  A report compiled by accountants KPMG suggested that three quarters of British aerospace and defense companies would vote to remain in the EU.
  Too bad companies don't get to vote.
  Good to hear that a few Brits have their heads screwed on nose to the front.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

EPA gets airborne

The EPA just claimed jurisdiction over the world's airlines.  They are gonna publish regulations on aircraft emissions.  Not that this will reduce emissions, it will just serve as a tax on air travel. 
   The best engineers in the world have been working flat out for 100 years to make aircraft more efficient.  They have had some success, new airliners with the latest engines are a tad more fuel efficient than ones built 10 years ago.  Boeing and Airbus salesmen claim as much as 20%, most people will allow them 5%.  That's enough for the airlines to order new planes and mothball what they are flying now.  Boeing has a backlog of 900 orders for its latest 787 model.  And nearly as many for its re engined 737 MAX.  Airbus is doing likewise.  In short, the most fuel efficient possible airliners are in full production and going into service as fast as they roll off the production line. 
   With jet fuel at $2.50 a gallon the airlines have all the incentive necessary to conserve fuel as much as possible.  The air frame builders have every incentive to improve fuel burn, namely,  planes that burn less fuel have better range and can haul bigger loads. 
   In a nutshell, market forces have made air travel as fuel efficient as possible.  EPA regulation won't improve anything, it will serve in place of a tax.  In the depths of Great Depression 2.0, we don't need more taxes. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

International Aviation Market Forecast for 2015

Interesting chart in Aviation Week about commercial aircraft production.  Comercial being jetliners, regional jet liners, utility aircraft.  No biz jets.  No military aircraft and no helicopters.  Sales forecasts are all for the next ten years. 
First thing that comes out in that there are only two real makers of full sized jet airliners, Airbus and Boeing.  Airbus is projected to build 7000 jet liners.  Boeing is projected to build 7400.  When you think that each aircraft sells for $50-100 million, that's a lotta business. 
  Then there are builders who are pretty much dead.  Ilyushin is projected to build just two IL-96 wide body jetliners.  At that production rate, they are losing barrels of money on each plane.  And we have Tupolev's TU 204/214 single aisle jet liner with a forecast of a mere 9 aircraft.  Let's guess the Russian government is subsidizing Ilyushin and Tupolev to keep the production lines open just in case they can line up some orders.  Good luck with that.  I hear the Aeroflot is advertising that they fly western built aircraft on all their overseas routes. 
   Then we have the regional jet liners.  These look like regular single aisle airliners, but they are smaller and seat few passengers, less than 90, as compared to a 737 which seats 150-180 depending upon model.  The regional jet liner makers are new comers, Embraer (Brazil) , Bombardier (Canada), and Comac (China).  Presumably it is easier to break into the jet liner market at the bottom, and perhaps small jets can be sold to the various puddle jumper airlines still flying small turboprops.  Sales projection are a hundred or so for each maker.  This market doesn't look all that hot.
  And then we have some surprisingly strong utility aircraft.  Beech King Air is forecast to sell 1302 aircraft.  That's more than all the regional jet makers put together.  The Pilatus PC-12 is forecast to sell 846 aircraft.  Even though utility aircraft don't bring in the money that regular jet liners do, that's still a nice bit of business. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Airbus wins Japan Airlines Order

Japan Airlines just signed a deal to buy 31 A350 airliners from Airbus.  At $200 million each, this is $12 billon in sales, quite a chunk of change.  The A350 is so new it just made it's first test flight this summer and has a year or two of testing and certification before it can be delivered.  It's carbon fiber (fiberglass) construction, intended to compete with Boeing's 787.   Boeing could have had this sale, if their 787 had not been so late, and if it hadn't had those battery fires.   Up until now, Japanese airlines were all Boeing fleets, Boeing and the Japanese industry had numerous joint ventures and cross sales arrangements.  Now that JAL has bought Airbus, the other Japanese carriers are expected to follow suit.
   Aviation Week credits the Airbus sale to effective work by top Airbus executives, Leahy (no first name given) Head of Sales, and Fabrice Bregier, CEO.  They also mention JAL's new chairman, Kazuo Inamori saying that an airline as big as JAL ought to have more than one supplier.  Which is true.
  Also interesting is the backlog of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 orders.  Although Boeing has 979 orders for 787's, Airbus is running hard with 725 orders for the A350.  Each backlog represents about $2 trillion dollars worth of business.  Staggering.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Advanced countries, jet airliner production.

Jet airliners,  70 seats and up.  Anything less is a puddlejumper.  Listing of production forecasts from Aviation Week.

Country                  Company                           Total                      Aircraft models

United States           Boeing                              7395 total airliners.  737, 787, 777,747 767

France/Germany     Airbus                                6949 total airliners   A319.320,321,330-,340,350 380

Brazil                     Embraer                              973 total airliners    170 175 190 195

Russia                    Antonov, Ilyushin, Sukhoi    438 total airliners    100, IL-96 MS21

Canada                  Bombardier                         376 total airliners     CRJ

China                     Comac Xian                        297 total airliners    MA60, ARJ21, C919

Japan                     Mitsubishi                            285 total airliners    MRJ

Boeing is ahead of Airbus by a nose, and not much more.  Both Boeing and Airbus are miles ahead of everyone else.  Brazil plans to build twice as many airliners as Russia.  Canada plans to out produce China. The lower end producers are building smaller (100 seat) planes, where as the two leaders make a broad selection with top end aircraft seating 400 and up.   

  Viewed as an index of industrial and technological advancement, Brazil and Canada are higher up the food chain than one would expect.  Britain sold out it's stake in Airbus and so doesn't appear at all, although Rolls Royce remains an important maker of jet engines. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Aviation Week flies the A400M

After a long and troubled development history, reaching back to 1982, the A400M has received a European type certificate, which makes it legal to sell it and fly it.  They program manager feels good enough about the aircraft to let journalists fly it.  Aviation Week liked it.  Easy to fly,  quieter than existing transports even at takeoff power, big, fast as a jet liner,  decent short field landings. It's bigger than the C-130 (which makes it a BIG airplane) but not as big as a C-17.
   Thing that caught my eye was the high propeller RPM's.  The old C-133 kept prop revs down to 100-200 RPM even at takeoff power.  A400M has odd looking props (lots of short scimitar shaped blades)  that rev up to 850 RPM.  This probably eases the load on the gearboxes.  The engines rev up to 10,000 RPM and the gear boxes have to stand up to 11,000 horsepower without breaking.  The A400M gearboxes only need a 10:1 gear ratio.  The old C-133 gearboxes, which gave a lot trouble, had to have a 100:1 gear reduction which is harder to do. 
   The Europeans are committed to buying A400Ms.  The maker, Airbus, is naturally hoping for more export sales to cover the staggering development costs.  According to Aviation Week, if you divide total program costs by the number of firm orders, it comes out to $170 million per aircraft, twice the cost of a C130.