Can Launch Fever Be Sustained?

By Graham Warwick
Source: AWIN First
June 18, 2013
Credit: Embraer

Paris 2013 started pretty much as expected, with a slew of commercial aircraft orders and more than one program launch. The second day is likely to continue the momentum, and could see another launch.

Embraer was the biggest winner on the first day, launching its second-generation E-Jet E2 with a total of 365 commitments for the three-aircraft family. The big news is that the E-Jet is getting bigger: an extra seat row for the E175-E2 and three more rows for the E-195-E2. The E190-E2 stays the same size.

And Embraer is not talking about selling the E2 just to existing regional operators of the E-Jet: it sees the E190-E2 and E195-E2 as complementary to the Airbus A320NEO and Boeing 737MAX families for airlines that want to “right-size” their fleets by also operating smaller, cheaper aircraft on thinner or newer routes.

Bombardier is pushing the same message with the CSeries, arguing that as low-cost carriers such as EasyJet move up to larger, 180-seat NEOs and MAXs for their busy services, they more than ever need an aircraft with similar seat cost, but lower trip cost to fly the many less-profitable routes.

But while Bombardier did not add to its CSeries orderbook on the first day, Embraer could roll out a deal covering 100 orders and 100 purchase rights for the E175-E2 from SkyWest Inc,, a letter of intent for 25 orders and 25 options each for the E190-E2 and E195-E2 from lessor ILFC and LoIs for another 65 aircraft from undisclosed airlines. A good start to the show.

Boeing, meanwhile, launched the stretched 787-10, securing firm commitments for 102 aircraft from five different customers—Air Lease Corporation, with 30, 20 for United Airlines, British Airways ordering 12, Singapore Airlines with 30 and GECAS committing to 10.

The GECAS aircraft will be GEnx-powered, and Singapore Airlines had already signed an agreement for 30 Rolls-Royce Trent TEN-powered 787-10s, conditional on Boeing launching the program.

Airbus, meanwhile, got a first-day boost with a memorandum of understanding from Doric Lease to purchase 20 A380s. Now we are just waiting for some more A350-1000 orders, including from United.

But the airliner makers are not the only ones in a launch frame of mind. Bell Helicopter is to re-enter the five-seat light helicopter market it once dominated with a new single-turbine machine powered – in a surprise move – by an Arriel turboshaft from France’s Turbomeca, its first time on a Bell.

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