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 >

20
August
2014

Bombardier Seen Delaying CSeries Again as Tests Continue

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Bombardier Seen Delaying CSeries Again as Tests Continue

"They're being borderline delusional if they think they're going to meet the 2015 target," Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group, said in a telephone interview. "That's not going to happen. If it's the first half of 2016, I will call that a strategic victory." Aboulafia has more than 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry and writes reports providing forecasts of aircraft markets.

Media Outlet: The Montreal Gazette Tags Bombardier | CSeries

20
August
2014

Bombardier CSeries tests resume, with hopes they will spark new orders

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Bombardier CSeries tests resume, with hopes they will spark new orders

But Richard Aboulafia of aviation consultancy Teal Group in Farifax. Va., and a longtime critic of the CSeries program, was blunt and severe. "Oh right, hooray! You fire everyone associated with the program, you have this unpleasant looking accident followed by a long unexplained silence (from Bombardier after May 29) and a nasty company re-organization. But hey, you're flying again. I mean, what the hell?" Aboulafia said "at this point, you can't rule out a total program failure."

Media Outlet: The Montreal Gazette Tags Bombardier | CSeries

20
August
2014

GE Aviation Plans 2nd Ceramics Plant

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

GE Aviation Plans 2nd Ceramics Plant

Engine makers are accelerating production efforts amid a rise in aircraft purchasing by carriers seeking more efficient models. At a time when fuel represents the largest share of airline operating costs, improvements in under-wing technology have helped jets operate more economically, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at Fairfax, Virginia-based Teal Group. "It becomes essential to replace older, less-efficient jets with newer ones. They pay for themselves," he said."Every decade we get about 10 or 12 percent better. The meaning of that double-digit improvement is so much greater because of the high cost of fuel."

Media Outlet: The Montreal Gazette Tags GE Aviation | General Electric

19
August
2014

Boeing May Boost Production of Its Bestselling 737

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Boeing May Boost Production of Its Bestselling 737

 That pressures Boeing to cut the wait for its new 737s, which can stretch to years for some airlines, says Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia.

The real problem is long-term," Aboulafia says, noting the record-high output for single-aisle airplanes over several years, with no slowdown until both the A320neo and MAX are in production. "Then you'll have Airbus try to exploit a first-mover advantage and Boeing working hard to ramp up faster and catch up. This all sounds like a recipe for overcapacity by the end of the decade."

Media Outlet: ABC News Tags 737 | Boeing

20
August
2014

Giant Airbus A380 Finds Sales Not So Big

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Giant Airbus A380 Finds Sales Not So Big

But critics like Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, an aviation-consulting firm in Fairfax, Va., say the main problem is more fundamental: Airbus made the wrong prediction about travel preferences.

He said people would rather take direct flights on smaller airplanes than get on big ones — no matter their feats of engineering — that make connections through huge hubs. "It's a commercial disaster," Aboulafia says. "Every conceivably bad idea that anyone's ever had about the aviation industry is embodied in this airplane."

Media Outlet: ABC News Tags A380 | Airbus

23
July
2014

Flight Bans Show Skittishness Over Trouble Spots

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Flight Bans Show Skittishness Over Trouble Spots

Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group, said airlines might be more proactive about avoiding hot spots, although he noted that there are very few areas where non-government militaries have weapons sophisticated enough to shoot down a plane.

Media Outlet: ABC News Tags Delta Air Lines | Gaza | Israel

30
June
2014

Airbus and Boeing Plan Increased Output

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Airbus and Boeing Plan Increased Output

Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, believes current narrowbody production rates are sustainable today, "but going up further can be a real problem. You can go up to 50 or 60 [aircraft per month], but if the slightest thing happens you are in real trouble." He cautions that "the idea to go up further is a great way to engineer overcapacity."

Both Airbus and Boeing have already decided to move production rates up for the narrowbody models—Airbus is boosting the A320 line to 46 aircraft per month from 42, and Boeing is moving 737 production to 47 per month from 38 and is pondering 52. Airbus is also looking at rates higher than 50 when the transition to the A320neo is completed.

Aboulafia also is concerned that some emerging players such as Lion Air or Norwegian may not fulfill their promises. Both airlines have large orders for new narrowbodies with Airbus and Boeing. From a macroeconomic point of view, this is worrisome, he says.

To an extent, the situation for manufacturers is as good as it is because of low interest rates (which encourage investment) and the high cost of fuel. These factors can change, and if Airbus and Boeing are unlucky, fuel will become cheaper and interest rates will rise in parallel. Therefore: "We are taking it too far," Aboulafia contends.

Media Outlet: Bloomberg Tags A320 | Airbus | Boeing

27
June
2014

Airlines’ Rivalry Amplifies Fight Over Bank Guarantees

Featuring: Marco A. Caceres

Airlines’ Rivalry Amplifies Fight Over Bank Guarantees

And as Emirates, the largest of the Gulf airlines, expands its flights to the United States, some aviation analysts say Delta's arguments are gaining traction. "This is a legitimate complaint," said Richard L. Aboulafia, an aviation consultant at the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va.

Mr. Aboulafia, the aviation analyst, said that Emirates and Etihad Airways, both based in the United Arab Emirates, had already expanded more significantly into Europe, causing problems for European airlines on routes to Asia. "I think that, in the minds of Delta executives, they've seen the future, and it looks like Europe," he said.

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Given the various costs in running an airline, he said, it can be hard to quantify that "a slightly lower capital cost on a plane played a key role in driving you out of a market." But, he said, European authorities had "added insult to injury" by focusing more on providing credit guarantees to help Airbus sell its largest plane, the A380, to the Middle Eastern carriers than on protecting their own airlines

Media Outlet: New York Times Tags Emirates | Etihad Airways

05
June
2014

Airbus in Supplier Talks Mulls Upgrades to A320neo Jet

Featuring: Richard L. Aboulafia

Airbus in Supplier Talks Mulls Upgrades to A320neo Jet

Now, Airbus is preparing to introduce upgraded avionics and other systems that would bring its plane’s features closer to those offered in Boeing’s upgraded 737 Max, which is slated to begin commercial flights in 2017, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Teal Group, a Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant. “This is something they’ve always done,” Aboulafia said in a phone interview. “Boeing tends to launch all of its big changes in one block. Airbus has more of a rolling update approach.”

Media Outlet: Bloomberg Tags 737 | Airbus | Boeing

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