Price vs Price: More on the price war between Airbus and Boeing in the A320 v 737 contest. Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times has this analysis of hot contest to win an order from India’s Jet Airways, hitherto an exclusive Boeing customer. He takes a larger look at the troubled Indian airline industry.
Finalizing Orders: Norwegian Air Shuttle finalized its order for 100 Airbus A320neos, breaking Boeing’s monopoly here. NAS was also a launch customer of the 737 MAX.
China threat: Maybe, maybe not. Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, cites China as the biggest emerging threat to Boeing and Airbus. Reuters, in Beijing for the IATA AGM, has this article saying, not so fast. The article takes a close look at the ARJ-21, China’s first effort at a modern jet. Although this is a regional jet and not competitive with Airbus or Boeing, it’s a “makee-learn” effort that leads the way to the Comac C919, which is directly competitive with the A320 and 737 class. Implications of the ARJ-21 are also discussed in the article.
LionAir and the 787: Confirming news reports this week, LionAir announced it has committed to the Boeing 787, agreeing to buy five. We’re told these are from the so-called “terrible teens,” those early 787s that required an enormous amount of rework and which were rejected by the original customers. Transaero and Rwanda Air are said to also be taking some of these early aircraft.
EADS Bank: More information on the reports EADS is considering getting a banking license.
Boeing economics and the 787: Jon Ostrower at The Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece today talking about the milestone of 787 #66 and the implications for cost reduction. Unfortunately, the full article is available only for paid subscribers. Contained within the article is this key data:
The losses don’t show up on Boeing’s bottom line, because accounting rules let the company spread the Dreamliner’s costs over years—effectively booking earnings now from future Dreamliners that it expects to produce more profitably. With previous models, Boeing initially spread its costs over 400 planes, but with the Dreamliner it is distributing the costs over 1,100 planes—a number it says reflects unprecedented demand. Boeing already has 854 Dreamliner orders from 57 customers.
Boeing reported that first-quarter profit at its Commercial Airplanes division more than doubled to $1.08 billion from a year earlier. But the company acknowledges that accounting for the costs of each individual plane would have resulted in a first-quarter loss of $138 million—a drop UBS analyst David Strauss says is almost entirely attributable to the Dreamliner.
The Dreamliner’s drain on cash is balanced by strong sales of the profitable single-aisle 737 and long-range 777 models. And analysts estimate Boeing is reducing the losses per Dreamliner by about $10 million each quarter. But maintaining the pace of cost reduction gets harder as the simplest problems are solved. Meanwhile, Boeing aims to increase production of Dreamliners to 10 per month at the end of 2013, up from 3.5 per month today—meaning the losses per plane will be magnified, but will also be tempered by the decreasing cost of each jet.
Some analysts believe Boeing’s target for cost reduction on the Dreamliner could be too optimistic. Mr. Strauss of UBS says the company appears to be assuming it can reduce its cost 50% faster than it did with the 777. If instead the pace of cost reduction matches the 777, says one of UBS’s models, the estimated $20 billion hole could double.
AirInsight just posted three pieces about aircraft developments. One concerns the big order from Qantas for A320/A320neos, another is about the Transaero deal for the A320neo and the third is our report referenced in the 777 post below about Steve Hazy’s cool view toward the 737RE.
Boeing continues to work on design definition of the 737RE, with plans to send the program to the Board of Directors this month for approval to launch the airplane.