Category Archives: Aerospace & Defence

Boeing 787 orders, cancellations, deliveries & backlog through 2018

Quick post with the updated figures and graphic of orders, cancellations, deliveries and backlog of the 787 programme at the end of 2018.

For the fifth consecutive year above a hundred 787 airplanes have been delivered in 2018, 145 deliveries, a new industry record for a commercial wide-body aircraft. At that pace, the backlog is being consumed quickly, especially since in the last years the wide-body market has been rather sluggish.

In the last 5 years, 487 gross orders for 787s were placed, offset by 114 cancellations (about 20%) for a total of 373 net orders, 109 of them in 2018, its best selling year since 2013. Book-to-bill ratio was 0.75 in 2018, less than a desired > 1, but better than in the previous years.

Since 2011, there have been 781 cumulative deliveries (or in-service aircraft), that is 56% of the standing 1,403 net orders. Reversely, there is a backlog (1) of 622 aircraft to be delivered, 44% of the orders received so far, or about 4.3 years of production at this rate.

787 orders and cancellations 2018


(1) Since Q1 2018 Boeing has adopted a new revenue Recognition Accounting Standard (ASC 606) which imposes additional criteria for the backlog accounting beyond the existence of a firm contract to deliver. For the purpose of this post, I have kept the previous criteria, knowing that the difference between 787 “unfilled orders” (622) and “backlog” (604) are 18 aircraft.

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El tráfico aéreo en Cataluña desde el 1 de Octubre (actualización 2018)

En enero de 2018 escribí una entrada en el blog para ver si a partir de los datos compilados por AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea) se podía detectar algún impacto en el tráfico aéreo en Cataluña entre el 1-O y el 27-O y los meses siguientes. Tras analizar las diferentes curvas que incluí en aquel artículo, no se podía concluir un impacto:

sacar una conclusión clara de que hasta diciembre el 1-O o el 27-O hayan tenido un impacto en el tráfico aéreo de los aeropuertos en Cataluña se hace más difícil que leer los posos del café.

AENA acaba de publicar hoy las estadísticas de tráfico aéreo (medido en pasajeros, operaciones y toneladas de mercancía transportada) de diciembre de 2018 y con ellas las del conjunto del año 2018.

Durante 2018 fui mirando dichas estadísticas regularmente y compilándolas en un archivo para poder sacar ahora de nuevo esta entrada y ver si durante 2018 ha habido algún efecto en el tráfico aéreo debido a las tensiones que se viven en Cataluña.

Pasajeros.

pax mad - bcn - palma_2018

El volumen de pasajeros en el aeropuerto de Barcelona creció en todos los meses del año 2018 con respecto a los mismos meses de 2017. En la gráfica se observa que el crecimiento fue menor que el que obtuvo el aeropuerto de Madrid, pero mayor que el que obtuvo el de Palma de Mallorca.

En todo caso, en el global anual, Barcelona creció un 6.1%, por un 8.4% de Madrid, 4.0% de Mallorca y un crecimiento nacional (la consolidación de los 48 aeropuertos de la red) de 5.8%. Por tanto creció más que el volumen total nacional.

Operaciones.

ops mad - bcn - palma_2018

En número de operaciones el aeropuerto de Barcelona creció en todos los meses del año 2018 con respecto a los mismos meses de 2017 (aunque en noviembre ese crecimiento fuese mínimo). En la gráfica se observa que el crecimiento fue menor que el que obtuvo el aeropuerto de Madrid, y aunque no se observa bien, fue también menor en porcentaje que el crecimiento que obtuvo el de Palma de Mallorca.

En todo caso, en el global anual, los tres aeropuertos tuvieron un crecimiento en volumen de operaciones menor que el crecimiento total nacional (5.8%): Barcelona creció un 3.7%, por un 5.7% de Madrid y 5.5% de Mallorca. Por tanto creció menos que el global nacional.

Mercancía.

mer mad - bcn - zgz_2018

En volumen de mercancía transportada el aeropuerto de Barcelona creció en todos los meses del año 2018 con respecto al mismo mes de 2017, aunque ese crecimiento sea un tanto irregular según los meses del año (irregularidad que ya se dio en 2017).

En la gráfica se observa un crecimiento menor que el que obtuvo el aeropuerto de Madrid, pero éste es en términos absolutos: 47 millones de toneladas adicionales en Madrid en 2018 con respecto a 2017, por 17 millones más en Barcelona. Sin embargo, en términos relativos, el volumen creció en Barcelona un 10.8% por un 9.9% en Madrid (idéntico porcentaje que el crecimiento total nacional).

En todo caso, ambos aeropuertos crecieron menos que el tercer aeropuerto en carga, Zaragoza, que creció un 17.3%, superando en varios meses el volumen transportado en Barcelona (abril y de agosto a noviembre), aunque no el global anual.

A continuación dejo una tabla resumen con la evolución mes a mes comparada entre Madrid y Barcelona.

tablas comparativas_2018

Como conclusión final: el tráfico en Barcelona ha seguido creciendo en 2018, aunque el crecimiento haya sido menor que el que obtuvo en años anteriores (el crecimiento nacional también se ha desacelerado tanto en pasajeros como operaciones y mercancía). Ha crecido menos que el aeropuerto de Madrid en pasajeros y operaciones, pero más en mercancía. Y creció más que el crecimiento total nacional en pasajeros y mercancías, pero menos en operaciones.

Por tanto, de nuevo la conclusión tras el estudio de los datos y gráficas es que no se observa un impacto en el tráfico aéreo por ninguno de los hechos ocurridos en el último trimestre de 2017, ni por la posterior implantación del 155, ni la inestabilidad política.

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Cumulative wide-body airplanes’ deliveries per model, 1969-2018

Last week, both Airbus and Boeing have released the figures of aircraft deliveries for the complete 2018: 800 and 806 airplanes, respectively, in what is a new industry record. In a previous post I showed the evolution commercial wide-body airplanes’ deliveries per year since 1969 (year of the introduction of the 747) till 2018. In this article, I wanted to show this other graphic with the evolution of the cumulative wide-body airplanes’ deliveries per model since 1969 until 2018.

cumulative wide-body airplanes' deliveries per model per year, 1969-2018

For the first time since 1969, the Boeing 747 is not the most built wide-body airplane in history, as in 2018 it was surpassed by the Boeing 777. At the end of the year cumulative deliveries stood at 1,548 and 1,582, respectively.

Diving into Boeing Commercial Airplanes site, we can see when that happened:

  • On March 20th, with the delivery of a 777-300ER (MSN 64989; LN 1548) to United Airlines (registration N2645U), the 777 programme matched the 1,543 cumulative deliveries that the 747 had achieved until then.
  • On March 22nd, with the delivery of another 777-300ER (MSN 64085; LN 1538) this time to Qatar Airways (registration A7-BEQ), the 777 programme surpassed the 747 programme deliveries, and established a new record with 1,544 cumulative deliveries. Since then, it has taken the lead until year end (1,582) and for the foreseeable near future.

boeing 777 surpasses 747 in cumulative deliveries

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Commercial wide-body airplanes’ deliveries per year, 1969-2018

This week, both Airbus and Boeing have released the figures of aircraft deliveries for the complete 2018: 800 and 806 airplanes, respectively, in what is a new industry record. This is just a quick post to update a graphic with the commercial wide-body airplanes’ deliveries per year since 1969 (year of the introduction of the 747) till 2018 (1).

commercial wide-body airplanes' deliveries per year, 1969-2018

Some reflections:

For the first time ever, in 2015 over 400 twin-aisle aircraft were delivered in a year (412), the same feat was achieved in 2016 (402). In 2017 and 2018 production descended below 400, down to 380 twin-aisles last year, still the fourth best year in the wide-body history.

The average number of deliveries for the previous 20-year period (1998-2017) was 249 airplanes per year. Up to now, in the 50 years of twin-aisle market (2), in only 7 years more than 300 airplanes were delivered in a single year, the seven last years, and only in other 9 years more than 200 airplanes had been delivered.

The combined steep production ramp-up during last years has enabled to reach a production rate of about the double of what was produced in 2010 (195). In particular, the combined compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the rate of deliveries for the last 10 years has been 7.6%. These rates are above the yearly growth of traffic (measured in RPKs).

With the figures up to the end of 2018, above 9,100 wide-body airplanes had been delivered. Thus, around the end of 2020 we will reach reach the 10,000th. However, we won’t know whether the 10,000th twin aisle will be a Boeing or an Airbus.

The share of wide-body deliveries in 2018: 59% Boeing and 41% Airbus.

There were 145 787s delivered in 2018, the largest amount of twin-aisle deliveries of a single model in a single year ever. A remarkable feat and new industry record for the wide body segment, beating its mark of 2016 (137). Only the 787 and the A330 have ever been delivered in excess of 100 aircraft in any given year; 4 times for the A330 (between 2012 and 2015) and the last 5 years in the case of the 787.

The deliveries of the 777 have been decreased by half in the past two years: from 99 in 2016 to 48 in 2018. This is similar output valley than what happened with the A330 when reaching the mark of ~ 2 years before targeted entry into service (EIS) of the new version, the A330neo: delivery decrease in 2016 for an 2018 EIS for the A330neo, and delivery decrease in 2018 for a 2020 Q2 target EIS for the 777X.

a330_b777_valleys

 

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(1) See here a previous post with the figures up to 2017.

(2) On February 9th, it will be the mark of the 50th anniversary of the 747 first flight.

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Aviation safety evolution (2018 update)

Yesterday, the Aviation Safety Network released the 2018 airliner accident statistics showing a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 556 fatalities.

Aviation Safety Network is a private initiative from the Flight Safety Foundation which curates an extensive database with aviation incidents, hijackings and accidents, from 1946 to nowadays.

The tweet with which they made the announcement is below:

Which includes the graphic below.

ASN_infographic_2018.

If we take a quick look at the figures (which report commercial aviation flights (passenger and cargo)):

  • Number of accidents: 15, up from 10 in 2017, though still the 3rd safest year in history.
  • Fatalities: 556, up from 44 in 2017, the 9th safest year in history.
  • There were a few accidents with large number of fatalities (details here).

The graphic above from the Aviation Safety Network provides the view of the evolution of accidents. However, in their database they provide some more figures with which I produced some graphics.

Evolution of accidents per million flights

The database provides figures of the evolution of the number of world air departures since 1970, together with the evolution of accidents (above). The database includes a ratio: fatal accidents per million flights, which I have plotted below together with the evolution of flight departures. You can see that the ratio has decreased 16 fold since 1970, from 6.35 to 0.39 last year.

2018_safety_accidents_per_flights

Global air traffic vs fatalities

The database provides no ratio with the figures of fatalities, but they can be related to the amount of passengers carried. In aviation there is the concept of revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) transported, which is compiled year by year and can be found in publications from ICAO, IATA or aircraft manufacturers. I have plotted below both the evolution of traffic growth and fatalities since 1970, together with a 5-year moving average for the fatalities.

2018_safety_RPK_vs_fatalities

Within the evolution of traffic there are two variables that have grown over the years: the number of passengers carried per flight departure and the distance covered. Therefore, together with the decrease in the evolution of fatalities (taking the 5 year average) I have plotted below the evolution of the ratio of fatalities per trillion RPK. You can see that the ratio has decreased 54 fold since 1970, from 3,218 to 59 last year (5-year average).

2018_safety_fatalities_per_RPK

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ACAT aviation rally (rallye aérien) 2018

Last June 23rd, together with my friend Asier, we took part for the first time in an aviation rally (rallye aérien) organised by my aero-club, ACAT.

ACAT_Collage

For starters, an aviation rally, following (more or less closely) the rules of the Aviation French Federation (FFA), is not like the sport cars’ rallies that we may be used to see. It is not about who is the fastest in a given circuit. It is rather about precision, and the purpose of organizing such rallies is to improve as pilots and increase the safety of flight, along with the competition side of it.

The rally in itself included the following parts:

  • A theoretical part.
  • An observation part
  • A navigation part.

In order to rank the teams, a series of penalties are introduced in each of the parts, as described below:

Rally_ACAT_penalties

In order to discover the route of the flights, even if not subject to penalties, the different teams received a questionnaire. By correctly guessing the answers to the questions we would be able to find the route that we had to fly. For this we had a map, a ruler and pens. From that moment the flight preparation started.

We made two flights of about 1h20’ each. In each of the flights, a part of it would be the subject of the competition, defined by a “starting” and “finishing” points that we had to closely over fly. In between those points a few turns had to be made. We had to estimate at what time we would fly over each of the points with a precision of plus or minus 15 seconds. A greater deviation than that was penalized.

To correctly track the route followed and measure the time in which we flew above each of the points, we carried 2 GPS recording devices provided by the organization. With them, the organization was able to print the track of the flights as below.

Rally_ACAT_trajectory

The image above corresponds to the first of the two flights. In the image you can see that we missed the Final Point, in red. But in the table below you can see how we passed the different turning points. We over flew the starting point (10 minutes after take off) 23 seconds behind schedule, which carried a 9 points penalty. The following turning point (PT1) was passed in 6 seconds above schedule…

Rally_ACAT_score

Along each of the flights we had to spot on the ground a series of images (16 per flight). For that we had some papers with small photographs taken in advance by the rally organization. When we saw an image, we had to identify where we had seen it in the map we had been given. The photographs for each of the flights were not in order, so we had to pay attention to see them. The more you saw, the less you were penalized. However, if you placed the landmarks corresponding to the photographs in wrong locations in your map, you were penalized as well.

Rally_ACAT_photos

Before the flights we had to estimate the overall fuel consumption of the aircraft for the two flights. After the flight we refueled to see how good or bad our estimate had been. In our case we had estimated 69 liters and needed 67. Not bad. But those 2 liters of deviation, carried the corresponding penalty.

As part of the theoretical side of the rally, we also completed a multiple choice questionnaire, similar to the PPL exam but shorter.

The experience was great. We had much fun and even if we did not place well in the rally, we learn quite a bit out of it: (1) to select a slower target speed to allow for wind variations and then set your speed to the targeted one instead of compensating at turning points, (2) to better prepare the reaching of the Starting Point of the circuit, (3) the lower fuel consumption to be employed when flying in with a lighter take-off weight.

I guess we will take part in more aviation rallies in the future.

Rally_ACAT_selfie

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Flight excursion to Menorca and Mallorca

Last weekend, with Luca and our children, we took one of the aeroclub’s DR-400 to make a flight excursion from Toulouse (France) to the islands of Menorca and Mallorca, in Spain. The excursion was part of a “Fly out” organised by the Aviation Society of the Airbus Staff Council in which 5 aircraft would make the same trip.

The main purpose of the flight was to visit Menorca, and we flew to Mallorca to refuel before coming back. It is an excursion that in the Society we had been trying to make since 2015 but we have had to cancel it due to bad or uncertain meteorological conditions several times. The flight includes a leap over the sea of about 1 hour from the East of Bagur (in Gerona) to the North of Menorca and, as there are no safe landing spots in that area, you want to have more or less certain good weather along the route both the day of the departure and return flights.

22. a Formentor, Alcudia, Cap Farrutx

Cape Formentor, Alcudia & Cape Farrutx.

We made 4 flights.

Toulouse Lasbordes (LFCL) – Perpignan (LFMP)

Flight duration: 1h11’.

Flight_route_LFCL_LFMP

We included this first stop over Perpignan just to refuel the aircraft to the maximum before flying over the sea all the way through Menorca, so in case of bad weather or any other problem at the destination we could make a comeback to France or somewhere else in the Spanish coast. We selected Perpignan instead of other viable options such as Ampuriabrava for various reasons, among them lower cost of fuel and landing fees.

In the way to Perpignan the sky was overcast (OVC) at a low level around Carcassonne, and, as I did not want to fly on top for that leg, this forced us to fly just at 1000 ft above ground and to follow the highway to Narbonne rather than taking a more direct route to Perpignan over the mountains. You can see the route we followed above.

It was the first time I landed at Perpignan, but finding the field from the way points NL (in the coast) and NF was trivial. Once in the vicinity we integrated directly into the circuit for runway 31, closer to the fuel pump. There, we had a quick lunch and prepared for the following flight.

Perpignan_chart

Find the Garmin record of the flight here.

Perpignan (LFMP) – San Luis (LESL)

Flight duration: 1h56’.

Flight_route_LFMP_LESL

Just after the take-off from Perpignan we took a right turn towards the East and reached the coast South of waypoint EA. From then on we started climbing up to 5500 ft, the altitude selected for the flight over the sea (the highest, the better). In order to keep a high altitude you need to avoid the TMA from Barcelona, otherwise they may ask you to descend below 3000 ft. Thus, we went to the capes of Bear, then Creus and from then on South East heading to pass about 10 nm East of the VOR at Bagur. From then on we followed a series of IFR waypoints (NEMUM – AGENA – VERSO – TOSNU – SARGO).

TMA_BCN

Flying above the sea is not particularly eventful. You mainly need to maintain the altitude and attitude and the heading stable, as it is very easy to loose references with the difficulty to distinguish the horizon.

As far as radio communications are concerned: we were first transferred with the Gerona traffic control and then to the one of Barcelona. The communications were held in Spanish. Easy, as long as you have a flight plan and follow the announced route. Those frequencies were mainly used by commercial flights going to/from Barcelona or Palma, mainly Vueling flights. Also good to know is that as you fly away from Barcelona at some points you may not be heard by the control; no worries, keep going and sending the messages.

About an hour later we had in sight the North of the island of Menorca, the cape of Cavalleria. But before that, approaching the way point of SARGO (about 25 nm or 14 minutes from the shore) you need to descend down to below 2500 ft, though the control will ask to go down to 1000 ft AMSL as that is the limit of the air space class A around the main airport in Menorca, Mahon.

Cavalleria

Cape of Cavalleria.

Once in sight of the shore we requested to follow the coastal line to the East down to the East Corridor for Mahon in order to reach San Luis from the East (the control had however proposed to surround the island around the West and South).

San Luis_chart

Following that route we took the opportunity to take some nice pictures of the coast, the lighthouses and the fortress of Isabel II at La Mola.

San Luis is a non-controlled aerodrome without radio. Therefore, you must stay connected to the frequency of Mahon and land at your discretion, with a circuit to the East of the runway (02/20). The aerodrome is managed by the Aero-club of Menorca. In their site you may find contacts and charts (old ones being in use). There are not official fees but a contribution is expected; 10 euros for landing, 5 for parking. These are paid at the restaurant by the apron, which serves very decent menus and where the staff will be happy to help you calling for  taxi.

We spent the remaining of Friday afternoon and all Saturday enjoying the beach and the hotel’s pools, including a beer on Saturday night with the colleagues from the Society at a bar by the beach, Es Corb Mari (in Son Bou).

Find the Garmin record of the flight here.

San Luis (LESL) – Son Bonet (LESB)

Flight duration: 1h10’.

Flight_route_LESL_LESB

As the aerodrome of San Luis doesn’t have a fuel pump we could refuel at the main airport of Mahon, but as it requires to contract handling (with expensive fees) we preferred to fly down to Son Bonet (in Mallorca island), which landing fee is less than 7 euros, no handling contracting is required and there is free parking for a stay below 2 hours.

We filed the flight plan on the phone with Menorca airport (at this time the number for flight plans being: +34971157138). On ground, we were already connected to the frequency of Menorca and right after take-off we were cleared to turn West and cross the axis of the airport in our way to the West corridor which took us to the South coast of the island up to the cape and lighthouse of Artrutx.

From Artrutx we flew over the sea towards the bay of Pollensa (making use of its VOR), in Mallorca, and then we flew within the inner side of the island following the road from Alcudia to Mallorca by way of Inca. When leaving Inca we passed with the frequency of Son Bonet (123.5) around which English is mainly spoken as there are quite a few helicopters flying in and out. Finding the aerodrome coming from the road was trivial and we easily integrated into the circuit for runway 23.

At Son Bonet we paid the landing fees (~ 7 euro) and filed the flight plan at the small office by the parking. We refuelled (~3.05 euros per litre of Avgas 100LL) and had some lunch before the long  flight to Toulouse.

Find the Garmin record of the flight here.

Son Bonet (LESB) – Toulouse Lasbordes (LFCL)

Flight duration: 3h04’.

Flight_route_LESB_LFCL

Once we were ready at Son Bonet, we got on board and departed from runway 23 again, took a right turn to the West during the climb to fly North of Son Moix on the way to Esporles to reach the coast of Tramuntana in order to fly along it up to the cape of Formentor.

Flight_route_LESB_LFCL_2

In the past, we had visited several spots along the way of this coast on the ground. The landscapes are remarkable. This time we wanted to get a view of them from the plane, which was breath-taking.

Once we reached Formentor we took a heading to the North and followed another series of IFR waypoints (KENAS – SULID – AGENA – NEMUM) to reach the East of the above mentioned VOR of Bagur, cape of Creus and enter back into French air space. This time, as the weather was clearer than during the first flight of the excursion, we maintained 5500 ft altitude until we had exited the TMA of Carcassonne.

Find the Garmin record of the flight here.

Some general remarks:

All the navigation logs were again prepared using the tool Mach 7, and during the flight we used the help of the AirNav Pro on the mobile phone (no tablet, though it would be easier). For Spain we had 1/1.000.000 chart from AIR MILLION (Editerra) and the 1/500.000 from Rogers Data. Neither of them has the IFR waypoints marked on them, so you need to write them down yourself in advance.

VFR aerodrome charts in Spain are retrieved from the site of ENAIRE, which in my opinion is less user friendly than the French equivalent. The charts themselves are comprised of too many different documents to handle; it is better to have a simple single PDF of 2-8 pages s in the French case for VFR. On top of that, not all small aerodromes have the information in ENAIRE, try googling about them or contact the local club.

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