Richard L. Aboulafia

IN THE MEDIA

Richard L. Aboulafia

Richard is Vice President of Analysis at Teal Group. He manages consulting projects in the commercial and military aircraft field and analyzes broader defense and aerospace trends. He has advised numerous aerospace companies, including most prime and many second- and third-tier contractors in the US, Europe and Asia. He also advises numerous financial institutions on aerospace market conditions. Full Bio >

04
December
2014

First Boeing Air Force Tanker 'On the Flight Line' Despite Earlier Wiring Problems

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

First Boeing Air Force Tanker 'On the Flight Line' Despite Earlier Wiring Problems

Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia said he thinks that's doable despite the delays, given that the 1980s-era 767 is such a well-proven machine.

"There's no reason why they can't get through those problems," he said. "They have the domain knowledge of the jet and the technology."

Media Outlet: Puget Sound Business Journal Tags 767 | Boeing | KC-46

20
November
2014

Airbus Wins Delta Order on Promise of Delivery

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Airbus Wins Delta Order on Promise of Delivery

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group, said: "Delta's established a rich pattern for buying older planes. The only surprise here is that they actually went ahead with their order. They were the least enthusiastic about new-generation airplanes."

Delta declined to say how much it would pay for the planes, which have a list price of more than $13 billion. But a single bulk order effectively guarantees it will receive a steep discount.

"You get half off just for showing up," Mr. Aboulafia said.

Media Outlet: The New York Times Tags Airbus | Delta

14
November
2014

China's New Stealth Fighter Isn't Great, But It May Not Need To Be

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

China's New Stealth Fighter Isn't Great, But It May Not Need To Be

"This tells us three things: One, this new export campaign is an export of an export; two, they don't have the technology themselves; and three, they're relying on Russian engines, which are no great prize," says Richard Aboulafia, VP of Analysis at the Teal Group Corporation.

He also has numerous questions about what's inside the FC-31. For example, how advanced are the jet's active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, electronic warfare systems, and sensor fusion? "That's a big capability—fusing all the sensor inputs together into an air combat management picture for the pilot," Aboulafia says. "That's huge. It's one of the key enablers in fighter technology."

He doubts there's much of a foreign market for the FC-31, especially not in China-leery East Asia. And while the Chinese could begin serial production of their own J-31 fighter in five years, "it's not really clear what they get out of that," he says. By the end of the decade, the United States would have already rolled out hundreds of Joint Strike Fighters, which, development problems aside, will be superior planes.

Media Outlet: Popular Mechanics Tags China | Shenyang FC-31 | Stealth Fighter

22
October
2014

General Dynamics Joins Northrop Beating Estimates on Margin Gain

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

General Dynamics Joins Northrop Beating Estimates on Margin Gain

"They cut costs in anticipation of this downturn," said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with Fairfax, Va.-based Teal Group. "Given the shifting political winds, it's likely that the downturn isn't even going to be as severe as feared."

Media Outlet: Military Times Tags General Dynamics | Northrop Grumman

20
October
2014

The F-117 is Still Flying. But why?

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

The F-117 is Still Flying. But why?

"I would just guess it's for radar signature testing," Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, said when asked what the F-117 could be doing. "It could conceivably be testing aerodynamics, also. It was one of the earlier generations of planes that shouldn't have been flying but did, thanks to the magic of fly by wire and computers. It could also be fatigue testing for materials that were used on the plane, to see how well those are holding up over time."

Another option is they are test beds of a different kind — retrofitted into unmanned systems, perhaps to check on the capability of optionally-manned systems for stealth aircraft. And of course it's possible they are being kept warm in case of military need, but it's hard to see what gap they would be fitting specifically in the military network.

All of which is to say, as Aboulafia put it, the planes could be used to test "any number of things."

Media Outlet: Military Times Tags F-117

18
October
2014

Air Force Strike Chief Urges B-52 Engine Replacement

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Air Force Strike Chief Urges B-52 Engine Replacement

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, agreed that the engines make sense from both a fiscal and operational viewpoint. "You'd cut fuel and maintenance in half just for starters, and you can lift more and do it faster," Aboulafia said. "It's better across the board and cheaper across the board. There are no drawbacks."

Media Outlet: Military Times Tags B-52 | Pratt & Whitney | PW2000 | TF33-P-3_103

17
October
2014

Japan to Roll Out Aerospace Hope With First Commercial Jet in Half a Century

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Japan to Roll Out Aerospace Hope With First Commercial Jet in Half a Century

Mitsubishi's problem is Embraer's headstart of over 1,000 aircraft orders, along with an established reputation for financing, reliability and after-sales service, said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at consultancy Teal Group.

After the MRJ came into the picture, Embraer said it would upgrade its E-Jets with the same fuel efficient Pratt & Whitney engines under the name E2. These will be delivered from 2018 only a year after the delayed MRJ.

"The E-Jet E2 will produce economics every bit as competitive as the MRJ, despite the lack of clean-sheet design," said Morris.

Mitsubishi has a better chance of displacing Bombardier, which has bet big on developing its CSeries to break into the market for 150-seat aircraft at the expense of its CRJ regional jets, said Aboulafia.

Media Outlet: Reuters Tags Mitsubishi Aircraft | MRJ

16
October
2014

Mitsubishi Aircraft to Roll Out First Passenger Jet After Four-Year Delay

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Mitsubishi Aircraft to Roll Out First Passenger Jet After Four-Year Delay

"The rollout is a positive development, particularly useful for marketing," said Richard Aboulafia, a vice president of Teal Group, a Virginia-based consultant. "The MRJ order book is a good start for a new player." Still, "the MRJ program needs to prove that it can be competitive even up against the market leader."

Mitsubishi Aircraft wants to take half of the global market for regional aircraft over the next 20 years as Bombardier focuses on its new CSeries jets, which will be able to carry as many as 160 passengers. The CSeries program is also delayed.

Media Outlet: The Japan Times Tags Mitsubishi Aircraft | MRJ

16
October
2014

For Boeing, Smooth Airbus A350 Certification Brings New Pressure

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

For Boeing, Smooth Airbus A350 Certification Brings New Pressure

"The 350 is a very serious threat and it's very well executed on," said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst for the Teal Group, an analyst firm outside Washington, D.C. "Boeing was dragging its heels on the 777X and the 787-10, the A350 is a far bigger success than it would have had Boeing been quicker."

He added that Boeing's strained relations with its two largest unions is a potential liability, as the company develops the design and manufacture of the 777X.

"Bad workforce relations are a risk," he said. "It doesn't guarantee that you're not going to execute as well as Airbus did on the A350, but it adds risk. Airbus has better labor relations."

Media Outlet: Puget Sound Business Journal Tags A350 | Airbus | Boeing

13
October
2014

A Common-Sense Approach to Fighting In-Flight Germs

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

A Common-Sense Approach to Fighting In-Flight Germs

If there is any culprit, experts say, it's proximity. "Planes don't make people sick; other people do," said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group Corporation. "Being around other people, whether it's in the context of a jet, an airport, a hotel, that's going to increase your likelihood of picking up something."

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Although people often suspect that the recirculated air they breathe in the cabin spreads germs, Mr. Aboulafia said that's not the case. "It's nothing to do with the aircraft or the way the air is treated."

Air in a plane's cabin is a mixture of compressed air drawn in from outside and filtered, or recirculated, air. "It all goes through HEPA filters, which are really good at getting particles," Mr. Aboulafia said. "The objective is to filter out all particulate matter," he added, since germs can be transmitted by hitching a ride on airborne particles.

Media Outlet: The New York Times Tags Aircraft Cabins | Germs

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