Tag Archives: airplane

Airbus vs. Boeing, comparison of market forecasts (2015)

Few days ago, Airbus released the new figures of the 2015-34 Airbus’ Global Market Forecast (GMF, PDF 7.2MB).

In previous years, I have published comparisons of both Airbus’ and Boeing’s forecasts (Current Market Outlook, CMO, PDF 6.5MB). You can find below the update of such comparison with the latest released figures from both companies.

Comparison of Airbus GMF and Boeing CMO 2015-2034.

Comparison of Airbus GMF and Boeing CMO 2015-2034.

Some comments about the comparison:

  • Boeing sees demand for 9% more passenger aircraft (excluding regional a/c) with a 10% more value (excluding freighters). The gap is the same as in 2014 (in previous years Boeing forecasted up to 14% more aircraft).
  • In relation to last year studies, Airbus has increased demand by ~1,200 aircraft about the same increase seen at Boeing’s.
  • Boeing continues to play down A380 niche potential (67% less a/c than Airbus’ GMF). This year, Airbus has increased in about 50 units its forecasted demand for the VLA segment.
  • Both companies’ forecast for the twin aisle segment is nearly identical: ~7,500 aircraft (Airbus sees demand for about a 100 more than Boeing). The mix between small and intermediate twins varies, 700 units up and down. However, Boeing’s wide-bodies mix is not to be taken as engraved in stone, see the erratic trend in the last years here.
  • On the other hand, Boeing forecasts about 3,800 single-aisle more than Airbus (the gap has widened in 200 units this year, lower than in 2013 forecasts though). Boeing doesn’t provide in 2015 CMO the split between more or less than 175 pax capacity airplanes.
  • In terms of RPKs (“revenue passenger kilometer”), that is, the number of paying passenger by the distance they are transported, they see a similar future: Airbus forecasts for 2034 ~15.2 RPKs (in trillion, 4.6% annual growth from today) while Boeing forecasts 16.15 RPKs (4.9% annual growth).

The main changes from last year’s forecasts are:

  • Both manufacturers have increased their passenger aircraft forecast in ~1,200 a/c.
  • Both manufacturers have increased the volume (trn$) of the market in these 20 years, by about 300bn$ or 6.5%(excluding regional jets and freighters).

Some lines to retain from this type of forecasts:

  • Passenger world traffic (RPK) will continue to grow about 4.6% per year (4.9% according to Boeing). This is, doubling every ~15 years.
  • Today there are about 17,354 passenger aircraft around the world (according to Airbus; 17,350 in Boeing’s CMO), this number is about 500 a/c more than the year before (3% increase) and will more than double over the next 20 years to above 35,749 a/c in 2034 (over 37,990 as seen by Boeing, excluding regional jets).
  • Most deliveries will go to Asia-Pacific, 40% or 12,596 passenger aircraft (according to Airbus).
  • Domestic travel in China will be the largest traffic flow in 2034 with over 1,600bn RPK (according to Airbus (x 3.8 times more than today’s traffic), or 1,704bn RPK according to Boeing), or 11% of the World’s traffic.
  • About 13,400 aircraft will be retired to be replaced by more eco-efficient types.
GDP and traffic growth (source: Airbus 2015 GMF).

GDP and traffic growth (source: Airbus 2015 GMF).

As I do every year, I strongly recommend both documents (GMF and CMO) which provide a wealth of information of market dynamics.

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Swiftair MD-83 EC-LTV, BEA interim report

Some weeks ago I read the first interim report from the “Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses” (BEA) on the accident suffered by the Swiftair MD-83 matriculated EC-LTV on July 24th in Mali (find the report here, PDF 5.2MB). The last 1’30” of that flight must have been scary.

Take a look at the records of altitude, attitude, bank angle:

EC-LTV parametres

MD-83 EC-LTV parameters (2014, Mali).

Probably you are familiar with this other graphic that has appeared in the press:

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

EC-LTV trajectory worked out by BEA from FDR.

Today, at lunch while on a training course, I had the chance to discuss about the accident with the course instructor (a retired former Airbus senior vice president in customer services) who pointed me at a similar accident undergone by a MD-82 HK-4374X in Venezuela in August 2005.

I went to the BEA website to check for the report of that other accident (here, PDF 20MB, in Spanish). While the investigation of the EC-LTV will most probably reach to the conclusions of the root causes of the accident, the are many similarities between the cases:

  • Hot weather conditions (ISA+10 or above, that is temperatures not below -30 degrees at FL31),
  • proximity of thunderstorms,
  • use of anti ice (inducing a penalty measured in about 3,000ft penalty for available engine thrust),
  • autopilot engaged in “Speed on Thrust” mode in “Altitude Hold” (making the aircraft pitch upwards when losing speed due to the lack of available power at FL310 due to hot weather and use of anti ice),
  • engine EPR close to maximum values for both engines (followed by a oscillations when the airplane starts to lose speed),
HK-4374X parametres.

MD-82 HK-4374X parameters (2005, Venezuela).

The report of the 2005 accident included a study from NASA and a presentation by Boeing then chief pilot covering similar incidents and showing a 2002 Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin warning flight crews of this kind of situations.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

Boeing Flight Operations Bulletin MD-82-02-02A.

I’m looking forward for future reports from the BEA to see what are the findings they reach.

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Boeing forecast for A380

The last two issues of Boeing’s Current Market Outlook, included a slide in which Boeing wanted to prove that their forecasts have been more accurate in the last 10 years. They compare actual aircraft demand versus both Airbus and Boeing forecasts in the year 2000.

Boeing Current Market Outlook, different views.

I find it interesting that all segments are described as such, segments: “Single-aisle”, “Twin-aisle”, “Large”… except for Airbus forecast in which Boeing introduces the model “A380”. As if wanting to point that Airbus was wrong in its A380 forecast… as if wanting to steer demand.

Let’s see the numbers:

  • Actual demand (2000-09): ~300 aircraft.
  • Boeing forecast (2000-19): ~700 aircraft, assuming equal split (among the 2 decades): ~350 a/c in 2000-09.
  • Airbus forecast (2000-19): ~1,300 aircraft, assuming equal split: ~650 a/c in 2000-09 (although A380 first flight took place only in April 2005).

As of today, Airbus has sold 234 A380s, including the latest 32 from Emirates. The prospects for the aircraft seem brighter as operators started operating it, on the other hand Boeing 747-8 orders have stalled since 2007.

A bit of history.

Yesterday, I was digging into back materials and I found two interesting pieces. Both from Boeing’s website in the year 1996 (using the way back machine). The first one is from a webpage about delivering value it could be read:

“In an industry defined by continual change, customers expect Boeing to help them prepare for the challenges ahead. That’s why we work closely with customers to understand their long-term requirements.

Customers have expressed interest in many potential airplanes, including:

  • An airplane smaller than the 737-600, seating 80 to 100 passengers.
  • An airplane larger than today’s 747-400.
  • A capable and cost-effective supersonic jetliner.
  • Derivatives of current models.”

Of those potential airplanes: we have seen the Embraer 190, the Airbus A380, derivatives and the only one that never came true was the supersonic jetliner

Artist image of Boeing Sonic Cruiser.

The other piece is from a news release on the occasion of the Farnborough air show of 1996 (2010 edition is taking place right now). There, Boeing stated:

Most major aerospace companies agree that airlines will require 500 to 700 airplanes capable of carrying more than 500 passengers. Boeing forecasts 500 airplanes will be needed by the year 2015.

Much of the demand for these very large airplanes will be generated by steady growth in air travel to and from Asia, and by capacity constraints at some of the world’s largest airports.

The 747-600X, with its ability to carry 548 passengers on routes up to 7,750 nautical miles (8,900 statute miles or 14,350 km), is designed to fill this market need. It will allow airlines to accommodate traffic growth without increasing the number of departures scheduled for busy airports.

During the next 20 years, airlines also will need approximately 600 airplanes capable of carrying between 400 and 500 passengers.

The Boeing 747-400 and 747-500X are designed to fill this market need.”

At this point it is useful to remember that in 1993 Boeing together with Airbus consortium companies started the feasibility study for the Very Large Commercial Transport (VLCT). Boeing left the joint study two years later. Nevertheless, still in 1996 it stated in its website that demand of aircraft carrying above 400 seats (747 and A380 of today) in the following 20 years would be between 1,100-1,300 planes, very close to Airbus forecast of the year 2000. The reasons behind that demand were the same Airbus argues nowadays: growth in Asia, constrains in largest hubs…

Later on, Boeing changed its forecast down to 700 aircraft.

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