I was looking at the statistics of this blog when I noticed a kind of surge yesterday and today. I finally understood that the surge is due to the fact someone mentioned this blog for some obscure reasons in a discussion thread about the A320neo certification.

Some people must have clicked on the link provided in the discussion inadvertently. Honestly, I do not necessarily want people from that discussion forum to come and read this blog. If they are civilized enough to have a normal discussion here, then I would welcome them. If the purpose is just to pollute this place then I would prefer them to stay where they are.

The A320neo/PW1100G-JM Got Its Type Certificate

For sure it is a good news for the program. There is not any doubt about it. Obviously Mr Al Baker, who was expecting a slight delay on the A320neo, is now very happy because he can accept the delivery of his first A320neo very soon. It is not late after all.

This being said, I still maintain that the A320neo was launched prematurely when the A320ceo backlog was still huge. With this certification we can now expect more A320ceo cancellations and conversions to A320neo. Why would you accept today the delivery of an aircraft that is already obsoleted by a new one that is being delivered?

We already discussed a little bit about the possible surge of cancellations and conversions this year in a past blog entry (click here). I do hope I will have an update of similar information from the very kind reader this year. Yes, I am hoping Santa Claus will come again before Christmas.

Next Certification

I am still trying to understand whether Airbus would certify the A321neo first or the A319neo first because I just do not see the rationale of certifying the A319neo ahead of the A321neo.

In the discussion forum mentioned earlier in this post, one guy said that the first A319neo will enter into the final assembly line in December. That’s a very interesting comment, especially when you know that the first A321neo rolled out from the factory last June and is receiving the flight test instrumentation (click here). The article also says, “Customer had ordered a total of 811 A321neos by May 2015, the airframer states. Airbus expects the A321neo to enter service towards the end of 2016.

The first flight of the A321neo should now be imminent, most probably it will happen before the end of the year in order to achieve the expected certification by the end of 2016.

It is still possible that the A319neo could hypothetically receive the type certificate earlier than the A321neo if the flight test on this aircraft goes very fast. So, my assumption about the swapping of A321neo vs A319neo firing order could still be invalidated, although I do not think Airbus would certify the A319neo ahead of the A321neo just to contradict me.

That’s all for today because I am a little bit tired after my one hour commute from Mirabel.

Enjoy your evening with your family!

Slow And Silent Revolution

This blog has been writing about a possible deep structural change in the aviation industry, including the aircraft manufacturing. The more it goes the more signs we can see.

This blog entry does not have a very clear plot and only provides comment on press articles in my effort to point out that changes are unfolding slowly but surely.

Maturing Industry

I have been in the aircraft manufacturing industry since more than two decades in various areas. When I started in the area of structural analysis and more specifically in structure dynamics, things needed much more personal thinking work. I still remember pencil and paper was a very important tool. I still have a copy of my hand written technical note describing the modal analysis based on “subspace iteration”. I still can’t believe today I wrote that paper because when I read it today I just don’t understand at all what is written on those sheet of paper.

At that time, the Cray X-MP on which I worked was the fastest computer. You can read the story in wikipedia (click here). I do not know the level of computing power a MOTO E smart phone has, but I am pretty sure I have more memory space in my pocket than that of the $15 million computer back then.

Can you imagine that? Today, I can run aircraft performance estimation on my mobile phone and I have a complete airport database with the temperature statistics on my android phone. Yes, that is exactly the small smart phone in my pocket.

I just want to say that aerospace industry underwent a very deep transformation during the last two decades in term of manufacturing processes, logistic management, materials and design methodology.

Recently I read something that I have been waiting since many years. I would like you to read the article (click here). It says, “How Boeing Is Doing More Work With Fewer Workers.”

The world’s largest plane maker is in the midst of its biggest peacetime boom, churning out 20 percent more planes than when the last big cycle peaked in the 1990s.

But it is doing so with one-third fewer workers. In their place, Boeing is turning to robots and outsourcing.

The Advent Of A New Era

Several weeks ago I wrote something about Nostalgia (click here). Honestly I loved the times we had the time to do things, when we still had the time to think about the possible future steps that would be needed to do some other things. I am not ashamed to say I now miss the white board where we could write things as a support for discussion in meetings back then. Today, projectors replaced those white boards and people just babbling around while staring together on a screen.

Anyways, let’s get back to today’s reality. The reality today is that there are few people, who are extremely clever I must admit, who defined a new way of doing things and producing things. I concede, the result is impressive. When you see a robotic arm in action drilling, putting fasteners and so on, you cannot be otherwise than impressed. And yes, that’s also how Boeing is planning to join the 777-9 fuselage (click here).

Is the above extraordinary? Well, NO. The automotive industry started to use robots decades ago. The computing power, the algorithm and the sensor technology needed to do the very precise job on aircraft manufacturing became available only in the last several years.

It is a slow and silent revolution in the aircraft manufacturing sector and the scary part of the equation is always about the words “productivity” and “cost reduction”. The trend is set and there is no way back.

Again, I know there are very very clever people out there thinking about the new way of designing aircraft, producing them and also managing the supply flow. They are not so many of them, but the methodology these clever people define changes the life of thousands of people.

The revolution is not only on manufacturing, although this is the most visible part. The Computational Fluid Dynamics tools have become mature too. I can tell you that those tools are not perfect, but it is now at a stage where people can design aircraft aerodynamics or high lift configuration without making too many errors. Well, in reality you still need one or two real good aerodynamicists who could make good judgment before some other people run stupid CFD cases, but that’s another story.

Financial Revolution

The other incredible “progress” is in the commercial areas. When I started my career, airlines bought aircraft themselves, cash or using loans. Then leasing became very popular. Later on the financial lease became popular too. Starting in around the 1990s you have this incredible “asset backed securities” financing scheme that could be combined with tax reduction scheme. I still remember how people call this scheme as “GOL”, “JOL” or other things. GOL stands for “German Operating Lease” and JOL for “Japan Operating Lease”, they basically exploit Germany and Japan loopholes in their tax code. I am not sure this is still valid today.

In the asset backed securities category, you can find a company called Doric which manages a lot of Emirates’ A380 (click here).

Things changed and will continue to change.

The Question Was Asked To Me

Recently, there have been several events concerning Bombardier. Some people asked me the question about the different Quebec investment in Bombardier.

Seriously, I do not know anything.

However, from my very personal point of view I consider it as very positive. In my opinion it would allow a slow and silent revolution in the company. I do not know what it is or what it will be, but I think it is very positive although I feel the change would not be an easy process from employees’ individual prospective.

Why do I say so? It is very simple. I went though many enterprise changes in my career. None of them has been simple. Every change needs personal effort for adaptation. This being said, change is not unsurmountable, the proof is that I am still around. So, you need to be positive, just be positive and actively participate in the slow and silent revolution.

A350 Order Movements

Very honestly, I do not feel like posting any blog entry today due to the recent events in Beirut and the the horrifying attack against innocent people in Paris on 13 November 2015. There is still like a knot in my stomach when I woke up this morning and I am not ashamed to say that. This is not a “holy war”, but a low level criminal act, there is not any other qualification for those terrorist attacks.

Very unfortunately, this won’t stop.

Today, I post only a short entry with two activities concerning the A350.

Cannibalization Confirmed And Disguised Deferral

The first news about the A350 that attracted my attention is the changes in TAP’s order (click here). Obviously it was a very good news for Airbus that sold 53 aircraft to TAP of Portugal. It is interesting to note that TAP converted 12 A350-900 to A330-900. Below is an quote from the press article.

As part of the agreement, TAP Portugal is substituting its previous order of 12 A350-900s with the A330-900neo.

This conversion confirm two points that have been discussed in this blog. First, Airbus needs to sell more A330 (ceo and neo) and second, the A330-900 is eating into A350’s territory.

The other interesting news about the A350 is reported in josh’s comment to the post “The Question Was Asked The Day Before Christmas” (click here). It seems LATAM converted its 6 A350-900 orders to A350-1000. The conversion was mentioned in a SEC filing with excerpts below, emphasis added (click here).

In July 2014 the cancellation of 4 Airbus A320 was signed and changing 12 Airbus A320 aircraft for 12 Airbus A320 NEO aircraft. In December 2014 a contract was signed changing 4 Airbus A320 aircraft for 4 Airbus A320 NEO aircraft and changing 9 Airbus A321 aircraft for 9 Airbus A321 NEO aircraft. In September 2015 the change of 6 Airbus A350-900 aircraft for 6 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft was signed.

Although many people would not agree with me, this conversion looks more like a deferral than a conversion. It is then very likely LATAM is today struggling to stay afloat.

Anyways, interesting things are happening with regards to the A350. Most probably their production ramp-up has not been very successful. I expect more deferrals and conversions or even cancellations will happen during the coming year and perhaps beyond.


I was driving home from work when my daughter sent me a text, that I could only read when I was stopped by a traffic light. She mentioned something about a terrible event in Paris, France. So, I immediately turned my radio on.

The news was terrible. At that specific moment, the radio said there were sixty casualties after the terrorist attack.

I came home and the television set was open with live news from Paris. This is terrible. Just now the news said there were about 140 casualties.


I am not going to call friends and relatives there, I hope they will send me some news about their well being. This is a horrifying situation.

This event is terrifying although not unexpected. I am not going to say more but my darkest fear has just happened. I expressed it in one of my past posts (click here). Look for the word “metastasis”.

This is clearly very bad situation in France and most probably the tension is going up in the whole world. This is bad, really bad.

I can only express my sympathy to all concerned.

No Buy In Dubai

What’s happening down there? Or more exactly, what’s not happening down there?

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