The rivalry between Airbus and Boeing intensified in recent weeks with Airbus landing another major order from a previously exclusive Boeing customer, LionAir. Boeing announced another major order just a day later, Ryanair, retaining exclusivity with this customer.
The market share battle between Airbus and Boeing was fierce and prolonged. The introduction of the A320neo family placed more pressure on Boeing, particularly when it became clear Airbus was going to land American Airlines as a major customer for Current Engine Option and the New Engine Option. Boeing, which had been dismissing the neo as a viable option and dithering about whether to proceed with a new design to replace the 737 NG, found its hand forced. Having no other choice, Boeing launched the MAX, a re-engined version of the 737 NG.
With all the recent orders, we’ve done the math and determined market share for the current generation and re-engined types and sub-types. This data is through March 31 and only includes orders that have been listed as firm contracts, not those that have been announced but not yet firmed up.
Sources are Airbus, Boeing and Ascend Worldwide.
Hawaiian commits to A321neo: Hawaiian Airlines has committed to the Airbus A321neo, contingent on new employees contracts setting rates for staffing the aircraft. The A321neos will be used on Hawaii-mainland services. This validates Airbus’ design of the 321neo to give it better range than the 321ceo for just such service. Bloomberg has this story. Since this order is contingent, we wonder if it will be included in the final Airbus tally for orders, to be announced January 17.
Emirates could use 30 more A380s: It’s not especially new news but here’s a story about Emirates Airlines saying it could use 30 more A380s. Airbus’ John Leahy said there was a significant order for A380s pending. We wonder if this is it, to be announced January 17.
Japan Air Lines 787: A JAL 787 parked at Boston Logan Airport has an smoke/fire related incident today. The plane had completed a flight from Tokyo and had disembarked all passengers. Here is a detailed story.
Why Aircraft Are Late: Boeing 747-8, 787, Airbus A380, A400M, A350, Mitsubishi MRJ, Comac ARJ-21, Sukhoi Superjet and probably Comac C919, Bombardier CSeries and Irkut MS-21–all late. It’s the new normal. Ernie Arvai at AirInsight takes a look at why.
Catching Boeing: Airbus may well have trailed Boeing through the Farnborough Air Show in terms of orders, but it may also be on the way toward catching up. The big PAL order for 54 aircraft was announced this week. A 100-airplane order out of China is due to be announced shortly. Another 100 airplane order from AirAsia appears to be pending. Year-to-date, Boeing has 701 net orders and Airbus has 270 net orders. These three orders still leaves Airbus well short of Boeing, and Boeing has more 737 MAX commitments to convert this year. We expect Boeing to finish the year in first place. It will be interesting to see how close Airbus can come.
NEO firm order wrap: Aviation Week has this detailed recap of NEO firm orders. We expect some of the A320neos to be converted to A321neos as time goes on, just as we expect 737-8 MAX orders to be swapped with 737-9 MAX positions.
Reuters has this interesting story from Airbus and a focus on selling the A320ceo (Current Engine Option) to fill in production slots in 2015-17 (2013-14 slots are sold out) while waiting for the A320neo (New Engine Option) production to ramp up. The A320neo is slated to enter service in October 2015, followed in six month increments by the A319neo and A321neo.
Concern about selling the current generation A320 (and the Boeing 737NG) at prices that won’t depress residual values is rearing its head again, alluded to in the Reuters story. The impact of the re-engine programs on the current generation A320 and 737 was a major talking point in the months leading up to the RE decisions by Airbus and Boeing. These concerns were pooh-poohed by both companies. But if Airbus (and perhaps Boeing) have to deeply discount sales of current airplanes to fill production slots, then this will depress values of the installed base.
Furthermore, UBS Securities just visited Boeing with more dismal news to values. UBS writes that Boeing acknowledged lease rates and values of second hand aircraft will likely weaken as production rates ramp up. Airbus and Boeing both have announced rates of 42/mo (Airbus by the end of this year and Boeing by 2014) for their single-aisle airplanes. Airbus is studying going to 44 and even 60 and Boeing has openly signaled its intent to go to 60 for the 737. This will put more pressure on lease rates and values.
Aviation Week has an interesting story asking whether airframers truly listen to customers when designing airplanes.
The question is not an idle one. Airbus and Boeing constantly say they do, but Airbus is getting loads of flak from Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines (both of whom like to negotiate in the press) over the revamped A350-1000 announced at the Paris Air Show. Qatar says the changes came as a surprise (we were told otherwise at the time by Airbus).
Airbus CEO Tom Enders since said Airbus won’t keep changing the A350′s design in response to customer comments. One can appreciate how he might be tired of this. The A350 went through five or six iterations in response to customer comments, a somewhat awkward display.