While competition between Airbus and Boeing snares nearly all the headlines and all the “sex,” competition for engine orders is less sexy and receives less attention.
Part of this is because of the increasing trend toward sole-sourcing. The Boeing 737 has been sole-sourced by CFM International since the creation of what is now called the Classic series: the 737-300/400/500. Pratt & Whitney believed at the time Boeing was upgrading the 737-200 that airplanes were up-gauging and bet its future on the Boeing 757 size. It was one of the classic corporate blunders of all time.
Shut out of the 737, P&W joined with Rolls-Royce and MTU to build the International Aero Engine V2500 for the Airbus A320 family. IAE came to the table late, giving CFM a solid head start on the program with a variant of the CFM 56 that powers the 737 Classic and later the 737 NG.
IAE trails to this day, but has done a remarkable job of coming from behind. CFM tends to be favored on the A319 and A320 while IAE is the preferred engine on the larger A321. IAE offers more thrust and better economics on the A321 while the CFM has better economics for the smaller Airbuses. CFM’s reliability is legendary and tends to be better than the V2500.
The blog PDXlight has done a marvelous job of dissecting the engine market share of the A320 family for the New Engine Option. We asked PDXlight to do the same exclusively for us for the A320ceo family. The results are below the jump.
Last year yielded a few surprises in an otherwise predictable year.
Jim Albaugh shocked the aviation world when he retired unexpectedly at age 62. He was expected to remain in his position as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes until mandatory retirement at 65.
EADS CEO Tom Enders unleashed a surprise merger proposal with BAE Systems. The deal didn’t work due to German government opposition, but he ultimately accomplished a governance restructuring—a key objective of the merger—that will reduce government meddling in the future.
Those were about it. Boeing’s much-anticipated Authority to Offer the 777X didn’t happen. ATO for the 787-10 was stealthily granted. Airbus and Bombardier, to no surprise, delayed the A350 and CSeries by a few months. Boeing came roaring back to become sales leader for the first time in about a decade, on the strength of 737 MAX sales.
What’s ahead for 2013? Here’s what we see.
With the spurt of 737 MAX sales over, narrow-body sales competition between Airbus and Boeing should return to normalcy. Will twin-aisle sales become the next growth market because of the first flight of the A350 and the program launch of the 7870-10? Will ATO of the 777X evolve into a program launch as well? Will Bombardier’s first flight of the CSeries and subsequent testing validate its claims for the new technology airplane and finally spur a large number of sales of the “show me” crowd?
Here’s our OEM-by-OEM rundown.
Boeing Stock Buyback: Boeing announced a stock buyback of #3.6bn for next year. Wells Fargo has this to say in a research note issued today:
Boeing had more than $11B of cash on the balance sheet at the end of September, and after free cash flow of $5.7B in 2013 and more than $7B in 2014 (i.e., almost $10/share in free cash), we believe Boeing could have over $20B in cash available to return to shareholders over the next few years. This is why we see about a $130MM increase in dividends and a $1.5-2.0B buyback in 2013 as small steps in returning cash to shareholders.
We’re not a fan of buybacks, which serve to prop up stock prices. We believe stock should rise on its own merits, not because of some artificial prop-up. More to the point, however, is that Boeing has a hard time telling SPEEA it needs to cut costs when it is spending billions on buybacks that benefit (among others) Boeing’s largest shareholders–the McDonnell family, Harry Stonecipher and Jim McNerney.
SPEEA is preparing for a strike February 1. Talks resume January 9, but the gulf between the two sides is so great, SPEEA expects them to break down almost immediately.
With Wells Fargo estimating that Boeing might return $20bn to shareholders in the next few years, we somehow think this will be an issue when IAM contract negotiations come up in 2016 and Boeing pleads poverty again (as it inevitably will).
We’d much rather see the money invested in new airplane programs rather than derivatives like the 737 MAX and 777X.
Boeing charges royalties to suppliers: Mary Kirby has this interesting story about Boeing charging suppliers for the price of doing business with the company.
American and US Airways: The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram has this column discussing the case for a merger between American Airlines and US Airways.
Pegasus Buys Airbus: Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines ordered 75 A320neo family and optioned 25 more. The carrier was previously a Boeing 737 operator. Deliveries are from 2015, which means the Pratt & Whitney GTF has to be the engine choice, which is as yet unannounced. CFM’s LEAP-1A won’t be ready until later in 2016.
Before this order, Airbus had a 61% market share of the re-engine order race vs the 737 MAX (firm orders only).
Photo Montage: The Everett Herald has this photo montage of the Flying Heritage Museum’s aircraft. The Museum is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Freighter Market Softens: Cargo Facts has this analysis of the freighter market.
We’ve been traveling on business all week and naturally the conversation was all aviation. We spoke with lessors, aerospace analysts, hedge funds and private equity. In what amounts to a data dump, here is what is being discussed “out there.” This is in no particular order.
- The new outbreak of ad wars between Airbus and Boeing is viewed largely with eye-rolling and disdain that two world-class companies are behaving like two year olds.
- Nobody, but nobody we talked with believes the public numbers advanced by either Airbus or Boeing.
- Boeing will have virtually a new airplane with the 737 MAX by the time it’s done, similar to the design creep of the 747-8 and the magnitude of change between the 737NG and the 737 Classic.
- Airbus pulled a coup with the NEO, forcing Boeing to do the MAX….
- But there is some sentiment that Airbus and Boeing should have resisted doing a re-engine and stuck with the the current airplanes. Airbus should have let Bombardier proceed with the CSeries for the niche 100-149 seat market unchallenged, having bigger fish to fry.
- Bombardier doesn’t know how to effectively sell the CSeries and it is unwilling to cut deals that would sell the airplane.
- Operating leasing is a ticking time-bomb, largely (but not entirely) due to book values of the aircraft on the balance sheet far exceeding current market values.
- Boeing claims the 787-10 will “kill” the A330-300. The market agrees–but only by the middle of the 2020 decade. Boeing can’t deliver enough 787-10s to make a dent in the global fleet before then. By then, the A330 will be about 30 years old and broadly at the end of its natural life cycle anyway. So what’s the big deal?
- Airbus is doing a good job enhancing the A330 to keep it competitive with the 787.
- There remains skepticism that the LEAP engine development is proceeding well. The buzz on the street is CFM still has a lot of challenges with the development.
- There is some feeling the MAX will be late–not because of any concrete knowledge, but because of Boeing’s performance on the 787 and 747-8 programs.
Unrelated to Airbus and Boeing, our colleague Addison Schonland has this first-hand account of Isreal’s Iron Dome.
Boeing outsourcing: In an election where outsourcing is a major political campaign issue, The Seattle Times reports Boeing wants to outsource more work to Mexico. Here is Boeing’s letter, via The Times.
MAX v NEO: Here is an excellent set of tables updating the orders between the 737 MAX and the A320 NEO. According to the analysis, Airbus right now has a 63% market share for the airframe. On the NEO, where two engines are offered, CFM has a 41% share vs PW’s 39% share with the remainder undecided.