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Regional Aircraft

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SUMMARY: While India’s aerospace industry is growing, most of it is on the military side while commercial aviation is far behind, yet HAL (Hindustan Aircraft Ltd) started with license production of the Hawker Siddley 748 turboprop airliner almost 40 years ago (89 built) and then in the mid-1980’s continued with the Dornier 228 (till now +125 built), and that is is ? Oh, lets not forget the never ending 29 year development of the NAL Saras, a 14 passenger pusher turboprop resurrected earlier this year again, for what ? its too small for India’s needs. The Indians know they need bigger aircraft, have the “plans” for the 80-90 seat Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) turboprop and the 70-100 seat Indian Regional Jet (IRJ), but as of now its just talk and nice computer generated pictures. Of the top 7 major aerospace manufacturing nations, India is ranked 7th, yet was ahead of the Chinese 30 years ago, but it has not moved forward, while the Chinese now have the ARJ-21, C919 and soon MA-700 turboprop, all India has is the little 19 passenger Dornier 228, and that is it. What is India waiting for ? it has a huge market for aircraft between 19 to 100+ passenger turboprops and jets, it could have been a major competitor in that segment to Brazil, Canada and China, but its out of the game, too late now because too many new players in the market, Japan (MRJ-75/90), Turkey (TR/TRJ-628), Russians (SSJ100, MC-21) and Indonesia (N219), and other nations to come ?

 India’s commercial aircraft industry struggles to get “off the ground”, yet it has had years of experience and some success, but today it is sadly out of the game. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) first licence production was in the early 1980’s to 1988 the 44 passenger British HS-748 turboprop, of which 380 were built, and … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Canada’s Viking Air is shutting down its expensive $7.5M Series 400 Twin Otter production for 90 days and laying off 212 workers (46% of work force) as deliveries have exceeded sales for sometime and one cannot live off one’s backlogs for too long before you have “white tails”, which apparently there are 6 right now in Calgary. The 19 seat utility market is tough, roughly 33 aircraft deliveries per year by just 4 OEM’s, and surely no one really makes money in the market ? While Viking has delivered 120 in the past 7 years, it is far short of the 2006 forecast of 440 (at a price of $3.195M) over 10 years (off by 300%). Could the much higher price (+134% on 2006 price) have something to do with the lower demand ? off course like with all the other OEM’s, the high price ($279,000 to $447,000 per passenger seat) has killed the market (B737-800/A320 at around $275,000 per passenger seat), but with very low production rates what can you do ? Nothing ! Now, Viking is looking at the out of production turbine powered $37M per copy CL-415 water bomber as a possible new production program. The turbine CL-415 had just 90 deliveries in 22 years of production (4.1 per year) while the radial engine CL-215 had 125 deliveries over 21 years (6.0 per year), so no BIG market here in water bombers, maybe 4 to 5 per year ? but I think a 30 seat regional amphibian can make a difference, the CL-215C ‘Transport’ (2 delivered to Venezuela long ago) is a 30 to 36 passenger certified version and the market is out there all over the world, more than for a firefighter, and surely another 4 to 5 CL-415C ‘Transport’ per year, can change the business case for re-starting the production line for the CL-415 ? 10 aircraft and $+375M in annual revenue sounds good (that is equivalent to 50 x Series 400’s).

READ” Blog on 2016 Turboprop Market (click General Aviation) for more info on the 19 seat market in the March 9, 2017 issue   Viking Air has announced on May 31, 2017 that it is shutting down production of its $7.5 million Twin Otter Series 400 for 90 days and will lay off 212 starting … Continue reading

SUMMARY: The Caribbean is a “graveyard” for airlines over 40 in the past 30 years, with 6 government owned airlines still flying and still burning taxpayers money, destined to never make money because they never change, till now. Cayman Airways, owned by the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands has been changing quietly for years, reducing its debt, modernizing its fleet with 4 x B737-8 (Max8’s), but still dependent on $20+M per year from the government. A new modern fleet will help reduce operating costs but lease rates will be 6 times more than the B737-300’s, and new routes like the latest to Roatan, Hondurans are a good sign of expansion. It is at least a change, the other 5 government owned airlines are ‘business as usual’, politicians sticking their noses into everything they don’t understand, no new initiatives, no new strategy, no new leadership, just sitting around their desks “doing the same things over and over again expecting different results” (Einstein’s definition of insanity) and it applies so well to these 5 perpetual money losers. Only radical change will bring about a brighter future for Government owned Caribbean airlines, its time for surgery to revive them or its time for euthanasia, and cut off their life support (aka taxpayers money) ? one or the other, but things cannot keep going on usual, at some point creditors will have had enough, and then its THE END.

I have written about the Caribbean airline fiasco for years, you can read previous Blog articles on LIAT, Surinam Airways, InselAir, etc.by clicking on State Owned Airlines (under Categories) For many years I have written about the plight of Caribbean airlines, and the infamous region I call a “graveyard” for airlines. Yes, the list of … Continue reading

UPDATE: Bombardier Inc. ex-President & CEO, and as of today also ex-Executive Chairman, Pierre Beaudoin is out at least ! and so are 1st Quarter, 2017 financials. In the first 3 months of 2017, Bombardier’s revenue is down to $3.6B (-7.7% on 1Q/2016) continues its revenue slide (down $3.77B or -18.7% since 2014). Aircraft deliveries for 1Q/17 are down to just 44 aircraft (15 Commercial and 29 Business) , Q400 deliveries were 6 with just 26 orders in backlog (13 months), CRJ deliveries were 8 with just 54 orders in backlog (20 months), and only 1 CS300 delivered. Bombardier delivered 29 business jets, more skewed to light jets as the top end market is struggling these days, not good news for the new Global G7000. Meanwhile, only 2 x CS300’s orders in the past 11 months ? the program has a serious problem selling the aircraft, and two, selling above cost at some point is important, no ? Now, Boeing wants US Commerce Dept. to place a $13.4M “price dumping” tariff on the CSeries deal with Delta Air Lines and ban the aircraft from further US sales, meanwhile ATR and Embraer are complaining to the WTO of Canadian “illegal state aid” to Bombardier, criminal bribery investigation under way in Sweden and yet the top 5 executives wanted a 50% increase for an “Exceptional 2016” seriously ? One wonders what “planet” these executives live on ? and where is this “magical” 7,000 deliveries in 20 years in the 100 to 150 passenger market ? This CSeries program is still with just 320 orders (no 40 for Republic, just PR deferral till the end of time) after 9 years ? maybe they got the market positioning all wrong ? What happened to the “game changer” ? and the “dream team” ? that was suppose to sell lots of CSeries ? Those Top 5 executives need to go, 1 down 4 to go ? Lastly, Porter Airlines (Canada) placed a conditional order for 12 x CS100’s and 18 options in April, 2013, show the price offered to Porter and we will all know if they are “price dumping” in the US market or not, easy no ? Behind all the denials they know they are “price dumping” its sadly the only way they know how to sell the CSeries, yup all 340 orders below cost !

READ more on Bombardier on this Blog, just click Bombardier under Categories on the right side of menu.   The 1st Quarter results are out for Bombardier, but the most important news is that Executive Chairman, Pierre Beaudoin is stepping down after numerous problems and Revenue declines. The man I refer to as the “Destroyer” … Continue reading

SUMMARY: A small airline in Thunder Bay, Ontario, North Star Air Ltd. has been bought for $C 31M ($US 23M) by Winnipeg based North West Company (NWC), a large Canadian grocery and retail company with +218 stores, many in remote and isolated communities across Canada’s North. The driver of this deal was to control its distribution by having its own cargo airline, and not being dependent on what is basically a air cargo monopoly by Calm Air in the Manitoba, Nunavut and Kivalliq regions, where NWC has many stores, and where the First Nations communities are totally dependent on aircraft for all their local needs for most of the year. The acquisition raises the problem of a lack of competition in many parts of the North, where communities and suppliers have all but one choice of airline in and out of many communities, which in many cases allows for high margin “monopoly” pricing. Canada has no Essential Air Service (EAS) like the USA, which subsidizes scheduled air services to 150 markets of which 44 are in remote parts of Alaska with single engine turboprops like the CE-208B to SF340’s and CRJ-200’s at a cost of $250M a year (President Trump looking to cut that). Canadian passengers and suppliers in the North have no choice but to pay the very high fares and freight rates demanded by air operators. Time for a new fresh look at affordable air access in the North ? if we are to develop the North as Ottawa says, then we cannot burden and punish the people there with high fares and freight rates, that make life their very expensive as everything in most communities goes by air, from groceries, lumber to even fuel for electric generators.

It has been pretty quite on the Canadian airline mergers and acquisition front since the late June, 2016 acquisition of Transwest Airlines (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan) by local rival West Wind Aviation (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). That deal created another Provincial regional airline monopoly, just as EIC (Exchange Income Corporation) has in neighboring Manitoba, where it now owns … Continue reading

SUMMARY: The Chinese COMAC C919 airliner made its first flight today (May 5, 2017), and hopefully it will not be long before it is delivered to its first customer, China Eastern. The Comac ARJ-21-700 regional jet (evolved from the locally built MD-82’s and MD-90-30’s programs) took an incredibly long 2,769 days (93.3 months or 7.6 years) from its first flight to delivery to its first customer. This C919, is NO ARJ-21, this is an aircraft China can be proud of and one that can and will compete with Airbus, Boeing, Irkut and Bombardier when it gets its EASA Type Certificate which will take time, as the shadow certification of the ARJ-21 with the FAA did not materialize. Yes, there will be many issues with very poor sales & marketing, product support and after sales service, something Comac has no experience with and AVIC is horrible at. The ARJ-21 has no FAA certification and most likely never will, and will be relegated to flying for Chinese airlines and the very few “dubious” nations that do not require EASA or FAA certification for local registration and operations. The C919 has 99 orders, 227 options and 566 “commitments” so well over its stated break-even of 400 units. A proud day indeed, given the fiasco with the ARJ-21, now Comac will work with EASA to shadow certify the C919, but that will take a few years for sure, so no immediate concerns for the other 4 competing OEM’s. Lastly, this C919 is not the first Chinese indigenous jet airliner, back in 1970 the Chinese then under Chairman Mao Zedung, developed the Shanghai Y-10, a close similarity to the Boeing B720/B707, but it started way before President Richard Nixon’s famous trip to China in 1972 with Air Force One, a C-137 Stratoliner, a modified long range Boeing B707, referred to as SAM26000 (special air mission), in service from 1962 to 1999.

With the Comac C919 making its first flight, China finally has a commercial aircraft it can be proud off, and this aircraft will be able to compete with the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier’s CS300, Irkut MC-21, Boeing B737-7 and, B737-8 in time as it will require years to get its EASA certification, but Chinese airlines who … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Beautiful, high technology aircraft are great, but do NOT guarantee commercial success, in the end its about meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling a ‘product’, and here lies the problem with Bombardier’s CSeries sales. The company came out with its so-called “game changer” in July, 2008 (yes 9 years ago and yet only 320 orders today), with claims it is 20% more fuel efficient and has 15% lower cash operating costs than currently produced aircraft with a fantasy forecast that 7,000 aircraft over 20 years will be delivered in the 100 to 150 passenger segment ? and it all sounded like they had a “winner”. BUT with low fuel prices and interest rates and airlines up-gauging from smaller 100-150 passenger airliners, the CSeries ‘benefits’ have fallen on deaf ears with airline executives, unless a huge +65% discount is offered to make the deal (e.g. LH, DL, AC, etc.), yet the only CSeries deal done in the past 12 months since the hugely discounted 75 x CS100 deal with Delta Air Lines (Loss to Bombardier of $+/-525M), has been 2 x CS300’s to little known Air Tanzania ? Meanwhile Airbus has accumulated 5,056 orders for its A320neo line and Boeing’s Max line has 3,703 orders. Is there a lesson here for OEM’s ? Off course, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”.

Check out previous Articles on Bombardier, Commercial Aircraft, Low Cost Airlines, General Aviation, Regional Airlines to Airline Management and Mergers and Acquisitions https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomas-chlumecky-3200a021/recent-activity/posts/   We forget that high tech fantastic aircraft do not add up to commercial success (PHOTOS BELOW: Concorde (Mach 2+ airliner), Canada’s Avro C-102 Jetliner (2nd jet airliner to fly after the … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Bombardier’s on going 5 Year Transformation Plan looks to $25 billion in Revenue by 2020 (+53% on 2016 Revenue of $16.33 billion which is down 18.8% or $3.8 billion since 2014), with $15 billion (60%) to come from Aerospace, Commercial Aircraft (BCA to $5 billion + 129% on 2016) and Business Aircraft (BBA to $9 billion +54% on 2016). I look at how realistic that is given the CSeries poor sales after 8+ years (320) and several old, tired and dying programs that need to be culled, from the Q400, Learjets to the 1970’s designed CL-600 Challenger and its evolutionary cousins the CRJ, G5000/6000 (BBA’s once “cash cow”) and new G7000 line. My take is that Bombardier will fall short by at least $6.5 billion on its Commercial and Business Aircraft goals, as realistically by 2020 all Bombardier will have to sell in Aerospace is its CSeries, the new Global 7000/8000 business jets and the Challenger 350. At the same time all of its products are going to face lot more competition from Airbus, Boeing, Comac (China), Irkut (Russia) and Embraer on the Commercial Aircraft side as the ‘duopoly’ turns into 5 competitors, with Bombardier the weak “5th Wheel”, while Business Aircraft (BBA) is facing new competing aircraft from Gulfstream (G500/600), Dassault (Falcon 5X/8X) and Textron (Longitude/Hemisphere). Bombardier is also facing a ‘perfect storm’ of tougher global market, economic and political forces that will challenge Bombardier’s on going struggle to become financially viable without taxpayers Government money. Empowered by ‘state aid’ the company is now arrogant enough to launch another new aircraft program, as Sweden is investigating serious bribery charges against the company and the top 5 Bombardier executives get almost 49% pay increase for what I do not know ? yet 14,500 employees are being laid off, and the “gong show” at Bombardier continues.

READ MORE ON BOMBARDIER on this Blog just go to ‘Categories’ and click on Bombardier https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomas-chlumecky-3200a021/recent-activity/posts/ ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Bombardier Inc. released its 2016 Annual Report last month and while the company had Revenues of $US 16.339 billion in 2016 (down 18.7% on Revenue of $20.111 billion in 2014) and recorded a Net Loss of $981 million … Continue reading

UPDATE: The Czech Republic’s 10-14 seat twin engine turboprop utility, the Evektor EV-55 Outback has been put on hold. Ever since its first flight in June, 2011 the program never had the money to move forward to certification and production, and the $200 million Malaysian investment by former P.M. Dr. Mahatir bin Mohamad never materialized and was in short, a sad “joke’. This is what happens when you have a good performing and well positioned product, but you cannot sell it to investors, because you do not understand what investors want to see and hear. This turboprop General Aviation market is tough business and small companies struggle to compete even after certification and production (PAC 750XStol, Piaggio Aero P.160 Avanti) and then there are those that take years to get certified and still face an uncertain future (Epic 1000, Mahindra Aerospace GA-10, Dornier Seastar/Seawings, Caiga AG 3000, etc.), this program sadly cannot and may not get to the starting gate, and join other programs from the Czech Republic that made it to prototype stage but never into production (LET-610G, Ibis Ae-270, Wolfsburg 270, VUT-100 Super Cobra, Ayres LM-200 Loadmaster, Z-400 Rhino) and now the Czech General Aviation industry faces total collapse, barring production of small 2 seat light sport aircraft (LSA’s).

READ: BLOG Article of March 9, 2017 on the 2016 General Aviation turboprop market   Evektor’s Press Release – numerous media today: 16. 3. 2017 It is our obligation to inform you that Evektor has temporarily put the EV-55 project on hold until some uncertainties have been solved with our Malaysian investor. In any case, to secure … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Bombardier is looking into upgrading its CRJ line, which after +1,864 deliveries is now down to around +/-58 orders at best in backlog or 14 months of current production (April, 2018). The sad reality is that the CRJ is no longer very competitive against the current Embraer E175 and the new E175/190-E2’s will make the CRJ obsolete, in fact since 2003 it has been in decline and losing market share to Embraer for 14 years and the order backlog is now “critically” low. After having upgraded the CRJ cabins in 2016, now the focus is on possible new engine (unknown at this time), but that is an expensive upgrade versus the current GE CF34 engines, and adds weight, which for a long fuselage aircraft like the 119 foot long CRJ-900, with rear mounted engines is not good for C of G issues. With only 19 CRJ orders in 2016, Bombardier has been milking and living off its backlog, but is there any life for the CRJ really ? even after +/-30% discounts off list price, sales are not impressive anymore. The CRJ is a 1970’s Canadair CL-600 Challenger (the Type Certificate for all CRJ’s), stretched 4 times with a tight cabin width of just 8 feet and 5 inches (2.69 meters) that has been become a 50 then 70 then 85 and finally 104 passenger airliner, while Embraer designed and built the EJets from scratch, and that is now paying off got Embraer and blowing up in Bombardier’s face. At a time when the CSeries is still struggling for orders, Bombardier Aerospace needs all of its products to sell and sell, yet the Learjets, Challenger 650, Global G5000/6000, Q400 and CRJ are sadly in the final decline phase of their product life cycle as new competing products are coming online across all segments..

Follow up to the January 4, 2017 Blog “Lots of Talk about Bombardier’s turnaround”   Bombardier is now looking for solutions to keep its CRJ line open for a couple of years as the backlog now dwindles to 14 months at current production rate of 4.2 per month and current order book. Now paying for … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Lots of talk about Bombardier’s Turnaround, 14,500 layoff announcements this year, or 21,450 in the past 3 years. The Global G7000 flew for the first time and Bombardier expects big things from it to boost Bombardier’s bottom line along with the struggling CSeries, which today still has only 320 orders (NO 40 x CS300’s for Republic Airways, just PR not wanting to reduce the meager order book) and still +/- 86 “questionable” orders (representing 26% of the current 320 orders). Lots of effort in reducing labor costs, yet no one is noticing that the top line (revenue) at Aerospace is a coming disaster, and unsustainable with an old product line (1970’s Learjets and Canadair CL-600/Challenger 650, plus the Global G5000/6000) that is facing new and better competition. The CRJ line has no more than 48 orders in backlog, only 18 orders this year (50% from Canada) good for 12 months of production (February, 2018) with no new orders. The Q400 is down to around 34 orders in backlog and only 25 orders this year (50% also from Canada), good for 14 months (March, 2018) with no new orders. The 2020 Turnaround Plan calls for Aerospace to generate $15 billion in revenue (60% of total revenue planned of $25 billion), with just 2 products ? The Plan requires $5 billion from Commercial aircraft, which by 2020 means only the CSeries (CS100/CS300) is left, and that will require at least 140 deliveries at the current highly competitive low prices to hit the “target”, really ? (2020 production is planned at 90-120 aircraft today). Meanwhile, Business jets are to generate $10 billion by 2020, and that will fall on the $75 million Global G7000 (NO Learjets, Challenger 650 and Global G5000/6000’s by 2020) and that means 133+ G7000 deliveries to hit their “target” ? seriously ? has anyone looked at single aisle ACJ and BBJ sales for the past 15 years ? (+/- 15 a year at best). Canada is providing “state aid” (aka taxpayers money) to Bombardier again ($2.5 billion in 2016 from Quebec), in fact of the $3.39 billion of cash on hand as of Sept 30, 2016, $2.5 billion (71% of cash on hand) came from the Government of Quebec, soon another $1.0 billion will most likely come from Ottawa (PM is from Quebec, and they always “help” Bombardier), and then Quebec and Ottawa will be 66.7% owners of the CSeries program (CSALP – CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership, a separate company, spun off from Bombardier ??). How did we the Canadian taxpayers become “owners” again of a commercial aircraft program that NO commercial aircraft OEM wanted in 2015 when it was for sale for “a song” ? Especially after we the Canadian taxpayers “SOLD” Bombardier, our government owned Canadair in 1986 (for $120 million) and government owned de Havilland in 1992 (for $100 million) with the rights to the Challenger business jet, later stretched into the CRJ line, and the DHC-8 turboprop airliner later stretched into the DHC-8-Q400 line. Meanwhile, Embraer is going to the WTO again to complain about Bombardier’s “illegal state aid”, while Boeing may go to President-elect Donald Trump and get import tariffs applied on the CSeries and then ? Oh, it is going to be an interesting 2017 for sure, stay tuned to the never ending Bombardier/Quebec/Ottawa “gong show”, as they find new ways to screw Canadian taxpayers to keep Bombardier alive at any cost.

Bombardier has now delivered its first CS100 to Swiss and CS300 to airBaltic and talks confidently of a turnaround next year and a bright future in 2020 as per its 5 year Transformation Plan, that should see company become a $US 25 billion a year company by the end of 2020, with Aerospace to provide … Continue reading

UPDATE: Hold on to your wallets Canada ! Bombardier is seeking more money again for a another new aerospace project ! with the so-called “game changer” CSeries an absolute sales disaster with only 318 orders after +8 years of sales ? and right after announcing its 6th wave of layoffs (another 7,500 are to go by 2018) since January, 2014 (34 months ago) for a total of 21,450 jobs gone ! Meanwhile Bombardier’s CEO admits company nearly went bankrupt in 2015, and it now has $3.4 billion in cash, $2.5 billion (74%) came from the Government of Quebec this year (aka bailout money), without Quebec they would have only $900 million in cash today and be close to bankruptcy. Embraer and Boeing are taking the “illegal state aid” case to the WTO. With President-elect Trump coming in, he’s ready to “defend” US corporations from illegal and unfair state aid backed competitors, and don’t be surprised if he tears up NAFTA and hits the CSeries with new tariffs, a perfect scenario for his PR. Everything in decline at Bombardier Aerospace today, the CSeries has only 318 orders (of which 2 have been delivered), what happened to the existing Commercial Aircraft Market Forecast that claims 7,000 deliveries over 20 years (350 per year) ? all BS, in fact Ascend Consultancy forecasts only 1,340 CSeries deliveries over 20 years (67 per year), down 81% on Bombardier’s “fantasy” forecast. No one has noticed, but with only 34 x Q400 orders in backlog and only 60 CRJ’s in backlog, both programs will run out of orders at current production rates of 2.5 per month and 4.2 per month respectively by January, 2018, and with only 13 options for the Q400 and 18 for the CRJ, 2018 looks like the year the Downsview plant gets closed down and everything gets moved to Quebec, another Cartierville Airport deal in the works ? Business jets deliveries are down 25%, and the old Learjets and the 40 year old Challenger 650 (4th variation of Canadair CL-600, which also gave birth to the CRJ line) are down as well, along with the Global G5000/6000’s, NONE of the current products will be around by 2020, except the CSeries (maybe), the new G7000, and possibly still the Challenger 350, but it won’t be a $15 billion a year business, at best $5.5 billion, and I still believe Combardier is coming (China’s COMAC buying Bombardier Aerospace).

OMG, please NO more money for Bombardier’s projects ! Look the company is in deep trouble, just open your eyes and stop listening to the financial “experts” and Bombardier’s BS PR about being “on track” for recovery ? seriously its a disaster and read on to find out why. The recent 7,500 announced layoffs which … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Piaggio Aerospace is set on dropping its poor selling canard configured fast beauty, the Avanti Evo business turboprop aircraft and concentrate on its military derivatives the MPA (maritime patrol version) and the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) version, the P.1HH Hammerhead and leave the current global fleet of 219 Avanti aircraft and their current operators and owners with an “orphaned” product which now has a highly questionable future, and watch their residual values plummet . This cannot be a surprise to anyone, especially Mubadala Development the Abu Dhabi (UAE) based 100% owner of Piaggio Aerospace which for 10 years has just watched the program struggle but did little to change that. With only 12 Avanti’s delivered between 2012 and 2015, and only 1 delivery so far in 2016, the program is now a sadly a “joke” and dead in the water, too few sales now to be cost effective to produce, and now any buyer for the aircraft would be very foolish to do so. The now, Textron Aviation (formerly Beechcraft and Raytheon) King Air 350 line has outsold the Avanti 3.2 : 1 for the past 14 years (not even including the King Air 200/250’s), even though the new EVO offers 402 kts cruise and much lower noise levels, customers are just not buying the beautiful canard configure Avanti. I have said it many times, that good aircraft do not always sell well, no matter what OEM thinks of its product, sales tell the real story no matter what anyone thinks, something Bombardier needs to be reminded of with its struggling CSeries today. Now, “radical” General Aviation designs have never done well, they are innovative, sometimes offer great performance and technology, but buyers have stayed away from them, and I quickly look at some of those that have failed, from the Beechcraft Model 2000 Starship, Embraer/FMA CBA-123 Vector, LearAvia Lear Fan 2100 to the OMAC Laser 300, wonderful aircraft, impressive performance and technology, but of those only the Starship went into production, and then only 53 were built. The Piaggio Avanti is the most successful “radical” design aircraft, and yet a the King Air 350 which is a 1970’s designed and stretched aircraft, out sold the Avanti by a wide margin. Welcome to the world of General Aviation aircraft sales, where some of the “best” aircraft fail and disappear (e.g. Piper Cheyenne 400LS, Aero Commander Jetprop 980/1000) while some “mediocre” aircraft become a hit and never go away (e.g. Beechcraft King Air C90 line).

Piaggio Aerospace, 100% owned by Abu Dhabi based Mubadala Development Co. since September 15, 2015 (35% of Piaagio Aero since April, 2006), is re-positioning the company as a key supplier of defense and special mission aircraft. This just came out last month in a Industrial Plan, that calls for selling off “non-core” civilian maintenance and … Continue reading

UPDATE: Transwest Air is now a fully owned subsidiary of WestWind Aviation, now there is only 1 large regional airline in Saskatchewan, and 80% owned by 2 First Nations economic development corporations (EDC’s). These First Nations EDC’s now pretty much own ALL airlines in Canada’s north, usually through Aboriginal economic development corporations (EDC’s), with a few family and corporate hold outs in the Northwest Territories, especially at Yellowknife (Summit Air, Discovery Air-Air Tindi/Great Slave Helicopters, Buffalo Airways) and in Fort Smith Northwestern Air Lease Ltd. Is this a good thing or a bad thing where First Nations own all air services in Canada’s north ? Is this the only viable exit strategy available in the north or are there “pressures” to sell to local First Nations ? and Can the EDC’s create long term financially sustainable airlines ? First Air (Makivik Corp.) and Canadian North (IDA), have tried to merge several times but each time it has failed, even though it makes lots of economic sense to do it, or is more cooperation among the EDC’s needed, like the recent cooperation between Air North and First Air ?

As to my blog of August 21, 2016, the Transwest Air deal is done and it is now a fully owned subsidiary of WestWind Aviation, which itself is owned 55% by the Athabasca Basin Development (ABD) and 25% owned Prince Albert Development Corporation (PADC), in short 80% First Nation owned with 20% owned by the … Continue reading

UPDATE: Canadian regional airline consolidation continues as the once fragmented industry starts to consolidate around a single provincial operator. After 11 months under Canada’s CCAA (+/- Chapter 11 bankruptcy/reorganization), Quebec based regional airline, Pascan Aviation is acquired by 2 senior executives in a management buyout (MBO). Meanwhile Saskatchewan based WestWind Aviation, fresh from its acquisition of Osprey Wings last November, looks to takeover its main local competitor, Saab 340 operator Transwest Air, itself the product of two old local airlines and their pioneers (Athabasca Airways of Floyd Glass and La Ronge Aviation of Pat Campling) coming together in 2000, leaving WestWind Aviation a monopoly in Saskatchewan, much like Manitoba with Perimeter Airlines, Calm Air, Keewatin Air and Bearskin Airlines, all under one ownership. Times are changing for regional airlines in Canada, as the second generation of airline owners retire or sell of the businesses that their fathers and mothers built from scratch, usually with nothing more than a single Cessna 180 aircraft. Sad to see the old names disappear, it is the “circle of life”, but the legacies of our Canadian aviation pioneers will always remain with us.

UPDATE: As I wrote this, I found out that WestWind Aviation (80% First Nation owned) has bought Transwest Air for an undisclosed amount, now only 1 airline exists in Saskatchewan, like it or not.   This is my follow up to the January 5, 2016 article “Consolidation in the Canadian Regional Airline Industry”, as the … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Bombardier 1st Half results are out, and it is not good for Aerospace. With only 318 firm CSeries orders today and up to 95 “questionable”, the program suffers from poor sales but even worst, negative margins due to deals below cost, this cannot continue for very long. Yes, 2016 is a tough year for aircraft orders at Airbus and Boeing, and a “price war” is on ! and any big deal will require +65% off list price, which means every new order brings more loses for Bombardier. Meanwhile, CRJ line has only 66 orders in backlog (9 x CRJ-700, 36 x CRJ-900 and 21 x CRJ-1000) good for 25 months of production at the current 2.7 aircraft per month rate, while the Q400 is down to 48 in backlog (40 + 8 recent orders), good to May, 2018 at the current 2.3 aircraft per month. Big discounting under way on the Q400 and CRJ is evident in financials to boost sales, while Business Aircraft orders are slowing down, and production already 20% below last year will be reduced again soon to balance supply and demand. Nothing very promising at Bombardier Aerospace, the company struggles and the 5 year Transformation to 2020 does not look promising at all, market dynamics are creating havoc for Bombardier, but all of that had to have been anticipated when they decided to enter the BIG league and take on Airbus and Boeing, maybe not such a great idea after all ?

LOTS OF ARTICLES IN AVIATION DOCTOR ON BOMBARDIER, TAKE A LOOK. Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) has released its 1st Half 2016 financials and its time to analyze what is going on at Bombardier so far this year in regard to its struggling Commercial and Business aircraft business. The first 6 months of this year, has seen Bombardier’s … Continue reading

PRESENTATION: Finding the elusive sustainable airline business model in the Caribbean, a large graveyard for regional airlines for decades. The region has a great deal of potential, but government taxes (up to 100% of net ticket price) play havoc with passenger demand, poor intra regional connectivity and government protection for state subsidized airlines (LIAT, Caribbean Airlines, Bahamasair, Cayman Airways) limits any real competition. Time for real Open Skies, allowing freedom to serve any route by appropriately licensed carrier, and governments to get out of the airline business, and stop taxing airline tickets to the point where tourist traffic is 1/3 of what it was 10 years ago, the whole idea is to get tourist to the islands and then tax them, rather than tax them to death on airline tickets as they then chose other destinations to travel to, its all backwards. LIAT flies 35% of its routes on money losing “social routes” with ATR-72/42’s, time to get small regionals with 15-19 passenger turboprops to compliment and even replace LIAT services on money losing routes, frees up ATR capacity for money making routes and reduces or eliminates loses on “social routes”. Time for a more intelligent approach on air transport and air connectivity in the region, where tourism is still struggling after 8 years, and it is tourism that drives the economies in the Caribbean.

I attended the Carib Avia’s 1st annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup between June 14-16, 2016 in Roseau the capital city of the beautiful Commonwealth of Dominica, and attached is the 2 hour presentation from the Conference. The Presentation covers airlines that have gone bust, regional aircraft, multi-government owned airlines, airline business models, regional airline valuations to … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Bombardier’s rise to become the 3rd largest Commercial Aircraft manufacturer in the world, was due to 4 acquisitions between 1986 and 1992 (1986-Canadair, 1989-Shorts Brothers, 1990-Learjet and 1992-de Havilland), with all but one using billions of Canadian and UK taxpayers money and lots of political help (aka cronyism) to make it happen. The story behind the acquisition headlines, with their give away low acquisition costs, billions in written off aircraft programs, state subsidies and hidden airports that were later sold at big profits, all kept from public eyes. Bombardier’s current product line is 30+ years old, with the 1980’s Challenger CL-600 business jet (now Challenger 650 still in production) from which a family of CRJ regional jet airliners came from, while the early 1980’s 37 passenger DHC-8 is still produced as the 90 passenger Q400. The CSeries is Bombardier first new commercial airliner since it entered the aerospace industry 30 years ago in 6 short years. Contrary to Bombardier’s PR BS, Bombardier is definitely NOT an innovator, just excellent at low risk, low development programs that just stretched existing aircraft, like 12 passenger Challenger CL-600 business jet into the 104 passenger CRJ1000 and the DHC-8-100 into the high density 90 passenger Q400. Attached to the bottom of this article is an paper entitled “The Rise and Fall of Bombardier” and how Bombardier REALLY become an Aerospace power house. The CSeries program is still suffering, Air Canada was enticed to buy by Quebec dropping a long disputed lawsuit against Air Canada and Ottawa offered changes to some legislation, only last weak Air Canada threatened to walk away from the deal as Ottawa had not moved on the legislative changes, and even stated the obvious that “there are other alternatives other than the CSeries”, proving it bought not because it was an aircraft it had to have or needed, but because it was politically coerced to make a deal in crony capitalist Quebec, where politicians and big business are all in bed together to screw Canadian taxpayers, and enrich a few. Meanwhile, the 75 x CS100 Delta Air Lines deal was good for an order WIN, yet the deal is expected to lose $525 million ($7 million per aircraft), and is nothing but a money LOSER deal. Is this the ONLY way Bombardier can sell the CSeries ? through political coercian or selling below cost ? if so then the game will be over soon for the program. But why is the stock up from February’s $0.77 a share ? business deliveries will be off by 25% this year, the Q400 is down to 42 orders in backlog and dying while the CRJ line has 86 in backlog (with 23 x CRJ1000 questionable) and dying as well, high end Global business jet demand is down, while the CSeries even with the Delta and Air Canada deals has only 330 orders (with +25% of existing orders HIGHLY questionable) after 8 years of sales effort ? and with all existing orders currently at a loss, loses are expected well into 2021. Bombardier the world’s only plane and train manufacturer can’t deliver trains on time ! so NO reason to be optimistic, other than the fact Bombardier looks set to DUMP the Cseries program on naive Canadian taxpayers for $2.0 billion for a 2/3 ownership, and raise another $1.0 billion in new stock offering for the new partnership called CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP). Bombardier failed to find a buyer last fall for the CSeries, but now thanks to crony capitalism in Canada, Canadian taxpayers have been suckered into owning the program that NO other aerospace company wanted 9 months ago. Bombardier will get the program off its books and collect $3.0 billion in new capital after writing off $3.2 billion in the CSeries program in 2015. Now the program will be a Canadian government program, and will draw fire from the WTO and the US for state aid, illegal and prohibited subsidies and price dumping, the saga is just beginning and no light at the end of the tunnel for the CSeries.

To my regular readers, I apologize for not writing in the past 6 weeks, been busy with several airline projects in the developing world, but I am back and still not seeing anything positive about the CSeries. Let’s see if Farnborough International Airshow (June 11-17) has anything new from Bombardier, other than the announcement of … Continue reading

SUMMARY: Delta Air Lines (DAL) has ordered 75 x Bombardier CS100’s and optioned another 50, in a surprise and risky move by the airline. A surprise as it was expected to first replace the 116 x MD-88’s that have 149 passenger seats and the aircraft are 25.5 years old with CS300’s (130-160 seats), but the CS100 (108-130 seat) order means it is more intended to replace the 90 x B717-200s (110 seat) which are 14.4 years old. Risky, because this is a program that was for sale in October, 2015 ( 7 months ago) after a 8 year and $5.3 billion investment, and had only 250 firm orders till today (160 “real” orders) after 8 years of sales and marketing, and now that is up to 325 orders (+ 45 for Air Canada still LOI), but still a very small, and nothing to brag about. A $US 500 million “special charge” (very common these days in Bombardier accounting) will show up in Bombardier’s 2Q/2016 financials to cover the losses on 1st quarter 2016 CSeries sales to DAL (75 x CS100’s), Air Canada (45 x CS300’s) and airBaltic (7 x CS300’s), or $US 3.93 million per aircraft, as that will be the LOSS for those 127 aircraft sold and more losses will come from the 250 ‘firm’ orders it has today ! to sell 370 aircraft below cost takes Bombardier to the end of 2021 production capacity, when will it make money ? Bombardier claims the CSeries will break-even by 2020 ! how ? state subsidies for more “special charges” ? The company is still trying to spin off the CSeries program into a separate limited partnership with the governments of Quebec and Canada for $C 2.6 billion of taxpayers money for a 2/3 share of the new company, so that Bombardier can ‘clean’ up its accounting books and spread the risk, but there is no progress yet as the 2 controlling families do not want to give up majority control. The competition said NO to the CSeries but now Canadian taxpayers are being ‘suckered into investing in a program the commercial industries 3 leading manufacturers said NO to ! Then there still is the fact that even with 12 weeks to go to entry into service (EIS) with Swiss, the CS100 has no FAA or EASA Type Certificate ? certification cannot be left for the last minute, any delay in EIS/delivery will not be good for the CSeries as all eyes are on its EIS and production ramp-up this year, and Canadian Type Certification does not automatically mean an easy ride through FAA and EASA Certification, something to keep an eye on for sure. The DAL order is a major WIN for the CSeries order book which has not had a new order since September, 2014 and yet it is surely a LOSS for the financial books, as DAL surely got a “sweetheart deal” from a desperate Bombardier, which probably did not have to compete with either Airbus and Boeing for the smaller CS100 order, and only had to face Embraer’s E195/190-E2 program, but still I am sure +/-50% off the list price of $US 74 million per aircraft was negotiated way down (not a $5.6 billion but more closer to $2.8 billion deal) by DAL Chairman/CEO Richard Anderson, an excellent hard ball negotiator and airline executive, who in July, 2015 cancelled a big $US 4.0 billion aircraft deal for 40 x B737-900’s and 20 x E190’s, when his pilots rejected a tentative agreement ! With now 325 ‘firm’ orders (235 “real” orders), the production of the CSeries to the end of 2010 should be full, as Bombardier said it would have produced between 255 and 315 aircraft by the end of 2020. The problem is that some orders go back to 2009/2010 and surely most if not all current orders are money losing deals, with early big discounts (especially long time Bombardier customer Lufthansa), so when will Bombardier make money on the CSeries ? The answer maybe never ! as the market segment for 100-150 seat aircraft has been in decline for 9 years now (only 53 deliveries in 2015 by 4 OEM’s), from its peak in 1991 with 330 deliveries. The segment killed the A319 (81 deliveries), killed the B737-600 (69 deliveries) and presently killing the Bombardier CRJ-1000 with 46 deliveries after +6 years and a $243 million write down in 2015 due to “low demand”, off course ! Yet Bombardier keeps dreaming and believing in its forecast of 7,000 aircraft in the segment over 20 years (350 a year on average, a rate never yet achieved), they are just blind to the reality of the market. A market segment with low demand and low to negative margins is a recipe for disaster, and with Airbus and Boeing out to kill the CSeries for entering their market segment (130+ seats), pricing will be very low, so even when the CSeries does WIN an order, it will LOSE financially, and it is 100% concentrated in the worst market segment at the worst possible time, as airlines are up-gauging fast, and the Airbus and Boeing 150-240 seat single aisle market (A320/321neo and B737Max8/9) today outsells the 100-150 seat market by a ratio of 67:1 ! (7,223 orders vs 110), says a lot about where the market is and more importantly where the market is not ! Boeing starts on its “new” B737Max7.5 to counter the CS300 and to move out of the 100-150 seat market, a shrunk version of the Max8 with 150 seats in 2 class configuration, the battle is on, by 2020 there will be 5 manufacturers in the single aisle market, not everyone will win.

READ: Blog article on Delta Air Lines and Bombardier CSeries of January 21, 2016 plus many articles on the CSeries in past articles It is official, after months of rumors, Delta Air Lines (DAL) has ordered 75 CS100’s from Bombardier with 50 options, the deal could be valued at $US 5.6 billion ($US 74.6 million … Continue reading

UPDATE: Sukhoi’s SSJ100 is soon to enter service with Ireland’s CityJet, as that airline is sold by Intro Aviation to it’s pro-Russian CEO Pat Byrne and his “investors” . The airline will be leasing 21 of the aircraft and supporting the Russian Military Industrial Complex, as Sukhoi and its parent United Aircraft Corporation are under EU/US economic sanctions. At a time when the “Cold War” is back on in Europe it is repulsive for many Europeans as maybe the Irish don’t care or know what is happening in Eastern Europe and the Baltics between NATO and Russia, but most people who are in the know are nauseated by Russia’s never changing anti-western propaganda, the same narrative of the 1950’s to the 1980’s, just different faces, we are the western “imperialists”, the west is bad and Russia is good propaganda, and do you want to fly on a Russian airliner ? Say NYET to CityJet and its Russian jets and any other airline that wants to support Russia’s military by wet leasing the aircraft from CityJet. The program is a joke, this month its 5 years for the SS100 program, 102 delivered and only 66 as of these are in service today, and 36 sitting around waiting for a ‘home’, NOT GOOD, they are new aircraft, they need to fly not sit. The Russians need the SSJ100 to be a western success, to open doors to their 165+ passenger single aisle Irkut MC-21 which is due in 4 years. The “political risk” associated with operating the SSJ100 is huge given today’s political situation, and why any airline executive would risk the entire future of his airline on ‘political events’ is beyond my comprehension, it must be about money, as it cannot be about a long term sustainable business model with a “game changer”, which it surely is not, in fact it is outdated today as Embraer E2’s , MRJ’s and CS100’s are greatly superior in economics and passenger comfort. BUT the money is huge today for anyone wanting a Sukhoi ! as Russia is desperate, as the planned 45 units for production in 2015 became only 17 due to “low demand”.

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) subsidiary, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) is celebrating its its 5th anniversary for the Sukhoi SuperJet 100, and it sure has not been a smooth ride for the Russians. After 5 years (as of April, 2016) there are only 66 aircraft in out of 102 produced, leaving 36 aircraft in storage … Continue reading