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05 October 2014

Rethinking the 737 Rate Hike

Author: Richard L. Aboulafia, Drawn From: World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing

Last week, I wrote about Boeing's decision to ramp up 737 output to 52 per month in 2018. I sounded a cautionary note about long-term overcapacity, particularly if Airbus matches Boeing. But I'm starting to think there's no reason to worry; this announcement is far from certain to be executed. Consider the factors that could derail the ramp up: First, we're talking about 2018. A lot can happen in four years. Over the past five years, single aisle production has been massively increased by a combination of three factors: low interest rates, expensive fuel (which makes new jets more appealing than keeping or buying cheap older ones), and fast growth in emerging markets (primarily the BRICs).

28 September 2014

No 'Shortages' in Market Economies

Author: Richard L. Aboulafia, Drawn From: World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words." That chilling quote is from a character in George Orwell's 1984. As someone who likes to write, I usually disagree with that sentiment. But every so often, a word merits destruction. It's time to destroy (or at least avoid) the word "shortage." Shortages are a serious problem...if you are living in the old Soviet Union. "Comrades," they'd say, "the minister in charge of APU factories has failed to meet his quota. Due to the shortage of APUs, aircraft production is off by 25%. We will airbrush him out of all Politburo photos, and send his widow a bill for the bullet."

11 September 2014

BAE Systems plc – Teal Group Analysis

Author: Philip Finnegan, Drawn From: Defense & Aerospace Companies Briefing

BAE Systems plc – Teal Group Analysis

BAE Systems plc (BAE), the United Kingdom's largest defense and aerospace contractor and the world's third largest defense contractor, is working to manage pressures on its business from budgetary cut¬backs in the United States and the United Kingdom.

01 September 2014

Bombardier's Uncertain Future

Author: Richard L. Aboulafia, Drawn From: World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing

Bombardier has endured a summer that can be characterized as a series of serious cuts. The setbacks and wounds raise difficult questions about the company's future.

29 September 2014

Boeing Blowback

Author: Richard L. Aboulafia, Drawn From: World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing

I don't want to make a documentary. I want to make a documentary about the making of a documentary. This meta concept seems appropriate after watching Al Jazeera's Broken Dreams. You can find it at www.aljazeera.com/investigations/boeing787. I make a few appearances, but that's why DVRs have fast-forward buttons. The documentary does not make a persuasive case against the 787 and is somewhat sensationalist. But it also tells us a lot about the state of things at Boeing. Boeing management's actions have produced a deeply angry work force. This documentary depicts some of the damage from that anger, and there's likely more blowback to come.

26 September 2014

Jetliner Industry Never Had It So Good

Author: Richard L. Aboulafia, Drawn From: World Military & Civil Aircraft Briefing

Jetliner Industry Never Had It So Good

Deliveries from just Airbus and Boeing last year reached $92 billion in value, another record after two other record years. In 2012, they rose 29.4% in value over 2011, capping a remarkable 55.5% growth spurt in 2008-2012.

07 September 2014

Earth Orbit Getting Crowded Faster

Author: Marco A. Cáceres, Drawn From: World Space Systems Briefing

If you look at the number of satellites being launched to earth orbit over the past decade, there has been consistent growth. In 2004, a total of 76 satellites were launched (or attempted). In 2013, there were 215. That is almost a tripling of the market. But these numbers are deceptive. Here's why. In 2004, only 17% of the satellites that went up had a mass of 100 kilograms or less. In 2005, it was 11%. Last year, about half of the satellites weighed 100 kg or less.

25 July 2014

When Keeping the Space Station Open Suddenly Became a Cause Célèbre

Author: Marco A. Cáceres, Drawn From: World Space Systems Briefing

Repeat after me... Z-vez-da. Remember that word, because you'll be hearing it a lot over the next few months, and probably years. Zvezda is a space module that weighs about 42,000 pounds. It was launched aboard a Russian Proton K rocket to low earth orbit (LEO) on July 12, 2000. About a year later, it became the cornerstone of the International Space Station (ISS)...

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