Some great info came out of the IATA AGM in Miami June 7-9th. The Paris Air Show, and the anticipation of order announcements that go with it, follows right on the heels of IATAAGM, so this event provided some contextual insight into decisions past and future. Here are a few of the (many) takeaways that caught my eye.
Emirates Eyes A350 v. 787
Emirates Airline clarified that the A350/787 competition is still up for grabs, although the 787-10 was mentioned as being a little short on thrust which could tip the scales in favor of Airbus. Last year’s cancellation of 50 A350-900 and 20 A350-1000 opened the door for Boeing to offer its newest 787 variant, the -10 (the A350 order was placed in 2007, well before the -10 was launched). One month later, Emirates finalized their order with Boeing for 150 of the newly launched 777X.
Now with the A350-900 and 787-9 in service and another year’s worth of design put into the 787-10, Emirates CEO Tim Clark has a clearer picture of what capabilities the competing aircraft can and will provide. As reported by Flightglobal, CEO Tim Clark said the 787-10 is probably more efficient than the A350-900, but may lack the performance (read: thrust) required to operate without payload/range restrictions in the hot conditions of Dubai. Engine performance does not seem to be something Clark is willing to concede given his firm stance on the development of the A350-1000 (along with his desire for an A380neo). I thought it was interesting that he said that the order quantity is also up in the air. Since the A350-1000 is pitted against 777X, the effects of the large aforementioned 777X order could be felt again. That leaves open the possibility of a smaller order than the 70 he opted out of previously. I’m inclined to say a split Airbus/Boeing order is unlikely, but not completely out of the question. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see what hints are dropped leading up to the Dubai Airshow in November.
Turkish Cools Talk of A380 / 747-8I Order
In an interview with SkyWriter Aviation, Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil says both the A380 and 747-8I are not an option for them yet. As recently as February of this year, it was reported that Turkish Airlines was exploring the possibility of leasing A380s from Malaysian Airlines. Although the airline said it was looking to grow capacity by adding frequencies, the option of leasing a small number of A380s (or perhaps even 747-8I) provided a unique path to test a new aircraft type without the usual major commitment. Factor in white-tail (built but not yet sold) possibilities and the pricing could get really interesting. But as we have seen with the legacy airlines in the US, adding frequencies within existing fleet plans is usually preferred rather than up-gauging to a whole new class of aircraft for the sake of capacity increase, especially if it’s a new type to a fleet of their size.
Bombardier Pushes Forward
Bombardier plans to update the specs of its CSeries at the Paris Air Show. This should be cause for celebration as spec fuel targets in new aircraft have tended to come in a bit short at EIS (looking in your direction, 787-8…). However, with the amount of not-so-positive news surrounding Bombardier and the CSeries, there’s a definite headwind that has to be powered through. The good news is that Bombardier is motivated by their progress in the CSeries flight test campaign and that will in turn build needed confidence at the sales table. Outside of the Dubai Air Show in November, this is the CSeries’ last big stage before entering commercial service in 2016. With both the CS100 (in launch customer SWISS colors) and CS300 on display (static & flying), it’s “go-time” if they want to hit their long-held goal of 300 firm orders by EIS. Pre-PAS CSeries firm orders continue to hold at 243.
Now all eyes turn to Le Bourget and the 51st Paris Air Show. There are sure to be plenty of order announcements, program updates, and continued debates.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight!