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Friday, 20 October 2017

Airbus Updates No.1688


Libyan Airlines A330 damaged by gunfire at Tripoli

Libya's Tripoli airport has reopened to most traffic following a 48 hour-closure due to armed fighting in the area. A Libyan Airlines (LN, Tripoli MitigaA330-200 5A-LAR (msn 1412) was damaged by shrapnel during the clashes, and is currently grounded.

The airport announced the closure on October 17 saying that "the airport was evacuated to protect the safety of passengers and employees after renewed clashes in its surroundings." Further updates indicate that flights are operating to normal schedules for the time being.

News site El Balad reports that the Special Deterrent Force which protects the airport engaged with a group that tried to attack the airport, following the fatal shooting of an attempted drug smuggler.

Mitiga has frequently suspended operations over the past few years because of conflict. In July, the airport closed to traffic for two days after fighting breached the airport perimeter. All flights were diverted to Misurata airport. Flights were also delayed back in March 2016 for "safety and security reasons". 

Tripoli has been racked with violent skirmishes since 2011, as Libya's two rival governments and a growing ISIS presence do battle for control of the country. 

Airlines operating out of Tripoli Mitiga include: Libyan Airlines, Libyan Wings (YL, Tripoli Mitiga), Afriqiyah Airways (8U, Tripoli Mitiga), Rahila Air (RIH, Tripoli Mitiga), Buraq Air (UZ, Tripoli Mitiga), and Global Aviation (Libya) (5S, Tripoli Mitiga).

Airbus Updates No.1687

Eurowings details wet-lease plans to replace Air Berlin lift

Eurowings (EW, Dusseldorf) will wet-lease two A340-300s from Belgian sister carrier Brussels Airlines(SN, Brussels National) starting from the end of March 2018. The plan has been confirmed by Brussels Airlines to Belgium's De Tijd after details leaked to the Belgian press following a meeting between Brussels Airlines management and trade unions.

The two aircraft will be sourced from Lufthansa's current fleet and be based in Dusseldorf for new routes to destinations such as Los Angeles Int'l and New York, routes which were previously served by bankrupt Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel). Eurowings currently does not operate long-haul services itself, but instead wet-leases six A330-200s from Sun Express Deutschland (XG, Frankfurt Int'l), with a seventh such aircraft due soon. The Lufthansa Group low-cost carrier is planning to launch long-haul services from Dusseldorf to Punta Cana on November 8 using a B767-300(ER) aircraft operated by TUI fly (Germany) (X3, Hanover). It plans to serve Punta Cana twice weekly and Varadero weekly this winter season.

According to schedule data, Eurowings will also wet-lease PrivatAir (Switzerland)'s single B767-300(ER) HB-JJF (msn 27613) for the Punta Cana route from Dusseldorf between March 25 and April 29.

Regarding Eurowings' short-haul plans for the upcoming winter season, chief executive Thorsten Dirks told Süddeutsche Zeitung on October 17 that it would only wet-lease seven B737 aircraft from TUI fly instead of the fourteen the German leisure carrier currently operates on behalf of Niki (HG, Vienna). In general however, Dirks expects major difficulties ahead given Eurowings will have to replace the capacity of 32 Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel) A320 family aircraft currently operating on its behalf during the months of November and December as Lufthansa Group waits for European Commission approval for the proposed transaction to take over 81 former Air Berlin group aircraft and subsidiaries Niki and LGW - Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (HE, Dortmund). Unlike parent Air Berlin, which is due to completely suspend operations by the end of next week, Niki will continue to operate leisure routes in cooperation with tour operators in the meantime and might also wet-lease some aircraft to Eurowings.

While LGW will start operating at least ten Dash 8-400 aircraft on behalf of Eurowings next week, Dirks also expects to be forced to lease in whatever equipment is available on the ACMI market to fill the gaps: "There will be aircraft with different liveries and many different uniforms. The goal now is to get as much capacity as possible into the market and to use aircraft from wherever we can find them. Not everything will work as planned."

Meanwhile, Oneworld has announced that both Air Berlin (AB, Berlin Tegel) and Niki (HG, Vienna) will leave the alliance by October 27.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Airbus Updates No.1686


Aercap 1 x A320ceo
AirAsia 3 x A320ceo
Air France 3 x A350-900
ALC 12 x A321neo, 2 x A321ceo
BOC Aviation 2 x A320ceo
CALC 9 x A320ceo, 2 x A320neo
Cathay Pacific 32 x A321neo
Cebu Pacific 7 x A321ceo
China Southern 20 x A350-900
Delta Airlines 40 x A321ceo
Ethiopian Airlines 10 x A350-900
Frontier Airlines 1 x A320neo
GECAS 100 x A320neo
HiFly 2 x A330-200
IAG 3 x A330-200
Iberia 1 x A330-200
K Air Airlines 8 x A320ceo
Nile Air 2 x A321neo
Peach Aviation 4 x A320ceo
Private Customer 1 x ACJ319neo
Spirit Airlines 2 x A320ceo
Undisclosed 3 x A319ceo (13 March)
Undisclosed 3 x A319ceo (10 April)
Undisclosed 5 x A320ceo (2 May)
Undisclosed 4 x A320neo {3 May)
Undisclosed 1 x A350-1000 (6 July)
Undisclosed 2 x A320neo, 2 x A330-900 (5 Sep) – Aircalin
Undisclosed 4 x A330-300 (29 Sep)
United Airlines 10 x A350-900
VivaAerobus 1 x A320ceo
Vueling 3 x A320ceo
Wizzair 10 x A321ceo
Yemenia – Yemen Airways 4 x A320neo

Gross 319
Cancellations 48
Net 271

Air France 2 x A388 (converted to 3 x A359)
Avianca 5 x A319neo (converted to 5 x A320ceo)
CALC 6 x A320neo (converted to A320ceo)
Nile Air 2 x A321ceo (converted to A321neo)
Qatar Airways 4 x A350-900
Spirit Airlines 2 x A320neo (converted to A320ceo)
Transasia 6 x A321neos, 4 x A338
Undisclosed 4 x A320neo (April)
Undisclosed 2 x A320neo (April)
Undisclosed 5 x A320neo (May – converted to A320ceo)
Undisclosed 4 x A320ceo (May – converted to A320neo)
Undisclosed 1 A319ceo (August)
Undisclosed 1 x A319neo (August)
United Airlines 35 x A350-1000 (converted to A350-900)
Yemenia – Yemen Airways 4 x A320ceo (converted to A320neo)

Airbus Updates No.1685

The Airbus A330neo Performs its First Flight – Live from Toulouse

Roberto Leiro
The Airbus A330neo Performs its First Flight – Live from Toulouse
October 19
TOULOUSE — The first prototype of the A330-900 has taken off this morning before the eyes of Airbus’ employees, invitees and media.
The aircraft, (F-WTTE · MSN 1795) departed Toulouse–Blagnac Airport at 09:57 local time (07:57 GMT), commanded by Captains Thierry Bourges, and Thomas Wilhem, Experimental Test Pilots, and Alain Pourchet, Test-Flight Engineer. The Flight Test Station Staff were Jean-Philippe Cottet, Emiliano Requena Esteban, and Gert Wunderlich.
The progress of the test flight, focused on the aircraft’s handling characteristics and flight envelope, will also be monitored in real time on a ground station via a direct telemetry link.
During the planned two-hour flight over Southwestern France, a Dassault Falcon 20 chase plane will join the A330-900 to document the behavior of the aircraft in flight. (Credits: Author)
During the planned two-hour flight over Southwestern France, a Dassault Falcon 20 chase plane will join the A330-900 to document the behavior of the aircraft in flight. (Credits: Author)
Airbus plans to carry out a 1,400-hour flight-test campaign. The A330-900 will log 1,100 flight test hours before its certification and delivery to TAP Portugal by the third quarter of 2018.
The shortened -800 variant will go through a shorter flight test campaign of just 300 flight hours, and its certification is planned to take place in 2019.
A total of three A330neo will integrate the flight test fleet. The second A330-900 is set to join the fleet by the next month. The third aircraft, an A330-800, is currently in production.
To date, the A330neo program has logged 212 orders. 206 correspond to the A330-900, and just six A330-800 for Hawaiian Airlines (HA).
Among the largest customers there are AirAsia X (AK) with commitments for 66 aircraft, Iran Air (IA) for 28, Air Lease Corporation with 27, and Delta Air Lines with 25 aircraft.


During a press conference after takeoff, Fabrice Brégier, president and chief executive officer of Airbus, has confirmed that the company is planning to systematically improve the Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) of the A330neo, taking it from 242 tonnes to 251 tonnes by mid 2020, and it will extend the range of the A330neo by 700 nautical miles when compared to the standard neo, and 1,500 nautical miles when compared to the A330ceo (current engine option).

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Airbus Updates No.1684

Analysis: Airbus Acquires 50% of Bombardier CSeries

Analysis: Airbus Acquires 50% of Bombardier CSeries
October 16
MIAMI — Airbus and Bombardier announced a blockbuster joint venture agreement Monday evening, as the European aircraft manufacturing giant will acquire a majority stake in the Canadian planemaker’s innovative but financially troubled CSeries jet.
Bombardier has already spun off the CSeries program from its other aerospace and transport business lines into the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), which manufactures and sells the 100-130 seat CSeries family of jets.
After the acquisition, Airbus will own 50.01% of CSALP, while Bombardier will own 31%. The remaining 19% will be owned by Investissement Québec (IQ), the investment arm of the Québec state government.
The headquarters of CSALP will remain in Québec (in the Montréal metro area) as will the primary final assembly line (FAL), but the partnership will add a second (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama to serve U.S. customers. However, the underlying supply chain for the aircraft will change as Airbus takes over procurement, likely utilizing Airbus’ much larger resources.
As part of it’s controlling stake, Airbus will enter into commercial agreements covering sales and marketing support for the CSeries, management of procurement and suppliers, and customer support.
It will not outlay any cash, nor will CSALP take on any debt. In fact, Bombardier’s current funding plan for CSALP will be maintained, and Bombardier will fund any CSALP cash shortfalls over the first year of up to $350 million and up to $350 million over the next two years as well.
The transaction also includes warrants for Airbus to acquire a 5% stake in Bombardier at the current share price (essentially an option for Airbus to acquire 5% of Bombardier at any point in the next five years). The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.


It is not at all hyperbolic to say that this may be the most impactful commercial aircraft acquisition since the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger in 1998.
The Boeing 717 was originally marketed as the McDonnell-Douglas MD-95 before the company merged with Boeing in 1997. (Credits: Author)
It may arguably be more impactful given the context of the current commercial aircraft duopoly at the high end. Simply put, the CSeries gives Airbus a strategic edge over Boeing by opening up an additional market for 6,000 new jets over the next 20 years between 100-150 seats.
With the addition of the CSeries, Airbus now becomes a literal one stop shop for any airline’s short-haul fleet needs. It can sell you an ATR 72 turboprop for short regional flights (Airbus owns 50% of ATR), the CS100 for high-frequency and longer regional flights, the CS300 for small mainline flying and long and thin missions, the A320neo for the core of your mainline fleet, and the A321neo for the middle of market (MOM) space.
Bombardier’s marketing strategy for its CSeries program directly compares it against Boeing’s 737 Family. Meanwhile, Boeing can sell you the 737 MAX 8 as the centerpiece of your fleet and the 737 MAX 10 to cover your MOM needs if you don’t need more than 2,800 nautical miles of range. Airbus already had an advantage over Boeing on the narrowbody side of the house – this CSeries joint venture exacerbates that.
With the addition of the CSeries, it is now credible to believe that Airbus will outsell Boeing by a margin of 60-40 or even 65-35 in the narrowbody space over the next 20 years (the current generation of aircraft).


Bombardier has long had studied the possibility of stretching the CS300 to a ~160 seat CS500, a plane that would have substantially improved operating economics over the A320neo and 737 MAX 8 on paper even without a re-engine.
Given that the market is moving upstream, Airbus can now credibly decide that its future narrowbody lineup will consist of a re-engined CS100, a re-engined CS300, and a CS500 stretch with new engines.
This would allow it to dedicate development dollars to building a true MOM clean sheet plane to combat Boeing’s plans in that arena, with an A321-sized jet as the base model. In contrast, Boeing will likely have to build two clean sheet planes: a new MOM jet (the 797?) and a new small airplane (NSA) to replace the Boeing 737 family.


After the recent decision by the US Department of Commerce to slap a massive 300% tariff on Bombardier’s sale of 75 CS100s to Delta Air Lines, it became clear that a standalone Bombardier was going to struggle to find its financial footing with the U.S. market blocked off.
At the time, we theorized that a potential deal with the Chinese state-owned manufacturer COMAC could be on the table, but it turns out that an Airbus deal was in the works.
In Airbus, Bombardier gets a partner with immense sales reach (even after the retirement of lead pitchman John Leahy) and credibility. It will also be able to bring down production costs on the CSeries quicker thanks to Airbus taking over procurement, and there could be some synergies (and commiseration) surrounding the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines that power both the CSeries and the A321neo.
Best of all, thanks to reciprocal treaties, the US can’t impose tariffs on Airbus products while the EU can’t do the same to Boeing products. This unlocks the US market for Bombardier once more and shuts the book on the Delta tariffs. Perhaps this is why Delta CEO Ed Bastian was so confident that his carrier wouldn’t be paying the tariffs on Delta’s Q3 earnings call last week.
Meanwhile, Boeing now has to go back to the drawing board. The US market is once again unlocked for the CSeries, now with Airbus’ sales might behind it. JetBlue will almost certainly buy the CSeries as an E190 replacement, and American and United may well be enticed into taking another look at the small mainline jet. There are also no easy answers for Airbus’ upgraded product lineup.
Embraer is pretty much the only credible small mainline jet manufacturer left (COMAC and UAC/Sukhoi are state owned by the Chinese and Russian governments respectively).
Does Boeing now try to do a deal with Embraer?
At the very least a commercial agreement covering sales and marketing could be beneficial, and it would allow Boeing to close the product gap with Airbus somewhat. But either way, this blockbuster deal very much puts Boeing on the back foot.