Bombardier earnings call today:
CSeries: Bombardier will reveal its first production aircraft March 7, the company said on its earnings call today. First year production will be 20-30 aircraft, and up to 120 a year by 3 1/2 years. BBD is still holding to its first flight target by the end of June, EIS of the CS 100 a year later and EIS of the CS300 by the end of 2014. Pratt & Whitney, BBD and Transport Canada announced certification of the GTF 1500G this week. This is the engine that will power the CSeries.
Russia a ripe market: BBD sees Russia as a ripe market for the Q400, CRJ and CSeries. (And for rail, but we don’t cover rail.) Ilyushin Finance yesterday announced it signed a firm order for 32 CSeries and optioned 10 more. This compares with 10+10 announced in an MOU at the Farnborough Air Show last year. On the earnings call, BBD said the Q400 already is operating in Russia and has proved to be a good cold-weather airplane there. CRJ-200s, which have fallen out of favor in the USA, are being remarketed in Russia with success.
American/US Airways, SkyWest and United targets: These three airlines are major targets for RJ sales campaigns this year.
Program Accounting: “Boeing averages the costs over 10 years. We don’t do that. We take the real price and the real cost.”
Politico has an article on the impact of Sequestration on the air travel industry: long lines at security, delays on the tarmac.
Odds and Ends: E-190 v Superjet v BBD in Russia; China’s aviation; WestJet’s speed dating; Crandall speaks
E-190 v Superjet v Bombardier: With the finding that the pilot of the demo flight of the Sukhoi SSJ 100 Superjet simply flew into a mountain in Indonesia, rather than there being a problem with the airplane, the cloud has been lifted from the aircraft. So the direct match-up of the SSJ vs the Embraer E-190 can now be compared and this article does so. Bombardier’s CRJ-900 and CRJ-1000 also compete.
China’s Aviation: Airbus and Boeing think China pose the greatest threat in the future, but this analyst is less enthusiastic.
WestJet of Canada: The low cost carrier took a bold step to order up to 45 Bombardier Q400s to feed itself. Now it’s using speed dating to decide where to fly the airplanes.
Crandall speaks on AA-US merger: Former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall weighs in on the merger between American Airlines and US Airways.
Taking airplanes in on trade: Much is being made of Boeing taking five Airbus A340-600s in on trade to secure an order for 20 777-300ERs from China Eastern. While trade-ins are not common, neither are they unknown. Boeing has done this before, including what was then a particularly controversial deal: taking brand-new A340s off the hands of Singapore Airlines even before they had been delivered as part of a 777 deal. Those A340-300s went straight to Boeing from Airbus, much to the consternation of John Leahy at the time.
The OEMs don’t like to take airplanes in on trade; after all, they are in the business of selling new airplanes, not used ones, but Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier all have active used airplane units to remarket aircraft they have in their own portfolios–usually originating from their customer financing.
Bombardier wins Q400 deal: WestJet of Canada will order 20 Q400s and option 25 more in what was a hotly contested deal between ATR and Bombardier. Although many believe this was a slam-dunk for Bombardier, the competition was intense; WestJet sent the parties back to re-price the deal late in the game.
This order gives BBD 28 firm and 45 options for the Q400 so far this year, compared with a mere seven in 2011.
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming! Boeing imports Russian engineers to work in the Seattle area, much to the consternation of SPEAA, Boeing’s engineer’s union. Now the practice has caught the attention of a US Senator.
Outsourcing is a sore point for Boeing’s unions. While Boeing says it does so to reduce costs and to offset work in exchange for sales, there is a larger issue: the US simply doesn’t produce enough engineers to meet demand, and 50% of Boeing’s engineers reach retirement age in the next five years or so. We don’t like Boeing using Russian or Chinese help to produce airplanes–after all, these two countries are developing competitors to Boeing aircraft and it strikes us as pretty silly to help your competitor (why not hire French or German engineers, for Pete’s sake?). But the USA’s failure to place a high priority on developing engineers is a national disgrace and Boeing has to find the help where it can get it.
Ex-Im: Republicans continue efforts to shut down the Export-Import Bank, a move that would hurt Boeing Commercial Airplanes sales most but which also would hurt other industries as well. Delta Air Lines is the driving force behind the effort to cut off Ex-Im funding. As we’ve previously indicated, rules agreed to last year by Europe and the US changed the pricing model of the Ex-Im guaranteed loans to be market rates, solving a major objection of Delta.
Ending Ex-Im Bank funding would be a dumb idea. It would hurt American business and furthermore, fees generated a net $2bn for the US Treasury in the last five years.
757 Replacement: Boeing is already studying a replacement for the 757 with a loosely targeted EIS date of 2025-2026. This is called the New Airplane Study.
Qatar Airways: U-Turn Al-Baker has U-Turned his way out of the Bombardier CSeries. Although he continues to profess to be interested in the airplane, the first 2 1/2 years of production has now been sold out. Bombardier has moved on to customers it can rely on.
WestJet: ATR and Bombardier are waiting for WestJet to make its decision between the ATR-72 and Q400 for the airline’s entry into turbo-prop markets. The Q400 is thought to have the advantage for the longer-range operational requirements. The order could be for up to 40 aircraft. If Bombardier wins, this would follow a recent order for up to 20 Q400s from Eurolot. After a dismal year last year in which BBD sold only seven Q400s (against a net of 119 ATR turbo-props), BBD appears headed for a very good year.
A380 cost: Flight Global reports that Air France–a launch customer of the Airbus A380–just concluded a lease deal for one of the giant airplanes for a rental of $1.8m per month.
For an airline of Air France’s credit, lease rates are typically on the 0.80% range and sometimes as low as 0.72%. This, then, infers a purchase price of $216m-$230.4m.
American Airlines: It was announced Monday AA split its engine order between CFM (for the Airbus A319) and IAE (for the A321). Given American’s large CFM-powered Boeing 737 fleet, some might think CFM should have won the entire engine deal. But the IAE V2500 is viewed as the better engine for the larger A321–more thrust and lower fuel burn–and American follows Lufthansa Airlines in splitting the engines for the smaller and larger Airbus family.
Aviation Week has an article that provides some other interesting information about the leases for the Airbuses.
Pratt & Whitney: Does the American deal mean PW has a good change of placing the GTF on the A320neo order by American? PW’s buyout of the Rolls-Royce share of IAE certainly gives PW the ability to do a “global” deal involving V2500 and GTF engines, something CFM has been able to do for CFM56 and LEAP engines from inception. While Rolls-Royce was involved in IAE, there was no incentive for RR to be flexible on V2500 sales that might lead to GTF transactions. Now PW can wheel and deal all it wants.
War on Boeing? Aviation Week has a speculative piece that US airlines have declared “war on Boeing.” This think-piece relates to the Air Transport Association suing the US Export-Import Bank over plans to finance 787s ordered by Air India, a financial and management basket-case.
While AvWeek raises some interesting points, we’re told this has more to do with a dispute between Delta Air Lines–instigator of the ATA action–and India. We think Boeing is merely getting mugged in the process and that this is not a “war on Boeing.”
Turboprops: Jets always draw the most attention but Aspire Aviation has a long piece about turboprops, specifically the Q400 vs the ATR series, that merits reading. Turboprops are slowly regaining favor in some quarters.
The Beauty of it: From Randy Tinseth’s blog, here is a photo that is just a beauty, from the Dubai Air Show: