Monday Update – February 10, 2020

Before We Start This Week:

The advance bookings for the 25th annual Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit are running at a record pace.

This year, our line-up of distinguished aviation executives – each delivering their own vision of the future – will be the most exciting yet. For more information and to register, just click here.

We look forward to seeing you in Cincinnati USA on August 23-25!



Today, Issues & Trends To Watch

Thia week, we’re going to take a snapshot look at a number of issues around the aviation industry.

Last A380 Shipset Coming Together – But Airbus Is On A Roll

The final wing assembly for the A380 program is on its way from Northern Ireland to the final assembly operation in France.

Attendees At The IAFS™ Got A Contrarian Forecast. We’d point out that when this technological marvel (which it certainly is) was first announced, and when the first one rolled out of the factory in 2005, Boyd Group International was among the very few research firms that predicted that there would be – at max – global demand for 350 to 400 of these machines, in stark contrast to the 1,000+ predicted by various sources.

The aviation media was generally giddy, with articles predicting how all major airlines all around the globe would be ordering the A380. Our forecasts presented at the annual IAFS back then ran way counter to the “consensus.”

As it turns out, even we were a bit optimistic. At the end of the production, which is scheduled to be around late 2021, there will be 269 A380s produced. Just 14 airlines entered the orderbook, and all but 4 were in Asia or the Middle East.

The Real Story: Airbus Not Missing A Beat. Amid this difficult situation, Airbus has simply moved on, developing the A321 into a world-beating, multi-mission airliner, and has also acquired from Bombardier what is arguably the world’s most performance-advanced airliner platform, the A220. Then take a look at the performance of the A-350Neo.

The A380 may have failed to meet projections… but the rest of the Airbus inventory is more than making up for it.

New Report: U.S. Airports To Need Scuba Gear By 2100

According to an organization called the World Resources Institute, by 2100, several airports in New York, Florida and California should plan to be waterfront properties, unless, they warned, we act now to curb climate change.

Yessir, there’s nothing like a safe, completely unverifiable forecast. One that predicts something that’s 80 years away, and when it turns out this is another event in a decades-long contest among advocacy groups to out-Cassandra each other, these august and rarely questioned experts will be long gone, without any need to discuss their findings.

Do an internet search. Going back a century you can find these types of predictions galore.

Point to consider. We have a severe intellectual challenge. Anyone, including folks with impeccable professional climatology expertise, who dare to so much as question any aspect of the current narrative on the causes and issues surrounding “climate change” and they are uniformly ignored, or attacked.

But let some oh-so-concerned 16-year-old Swedish kid, Gretta What’s-Her-Name, likely with not much more climate research or expertise beyond knowing how to boil an egg, come out and demand action, and she’s a global hero, with world leaders swooning over her. Who is kidding who?

Message to airports… reducing emissions and getting green is of course a necessary objective. But we’d suggest that Palm Springs not just yet request discretionary funding for a new marina to serve the airport.


Millions In Technology Brought To Its Knees By A Low-Fat Latte

European aviation regulators have issued instructions to have “liquid free” zones in the cockpits of A-350-900/1000 airliners.

There have been instances where a spill on the center console between the pilots has caused uncommanded engine shutdowns.

So, that means in-seat cockpit coffee breaks may be verboten in the future.


New Trans-Atlantic – U.S. Service In The Pipeline. Soon.

The mess and total lack of credibility created by the Chinese government in handling the coronavirus epidemic will – write this down – materially affect levels of Chinese air traffic, both domestic and international for the long term.

That, however, should have large, secondary non-hubsite U.S. airports preparing to accommodate more trans-Atlantic service.

Let’s explain:

We are in the process of revising our Airports:China™ forecast, covering the top 200 airports. The initial findings are that total domestic traffic in 2021 will be down at least 30%.

But plan on at least 75% of the pre-epidemic international capacity getting cut. That represents a lot of airplanes – including U.S. and E.U. carriers – suddenly out of the schedule. Over half of the China-international traffic is based on leisure passengers, and that’s a segment that’s heading for the drainpipe, taking with it a lion’s share of the revenue previously supporting long-haul nonstops.

On the Chinese side, that sector will be blocked by concerned countries banning folks from the Middle Kingdom from arriving. Not anybody’s fault but the hubris of the PRC government, which actively covered up the epidemic, and in the process allowed millions infected citizens to travel from Wuhan during the Lunar New Year holiday, spreading the disease across all of China

Regarding inbound traffic to to China, after all that’s come out about the PRC’s handing of the epidemic, not to mention the increased scrutiny of foreigners, the exciting future we saw with our ChinaNiHao Project just four years ago for China-U.S. traffic is gone.

So, on this side of the Atlantic, we have Delta, American and United, stuck with some big airplanes sitting on the ramp, all dressed up with nowhere to go in China. Even more than that, it has left foreign carriers such as Lufthansa and British Airways with excess aircraft, too.

They need to apply this lift somewhere, so look for some unexpected fleet shifts this summer, leading to an accelerated expansion of trans-Atlantic capacity from both major and secondary U.S. airports.

And it won’t just be U.S. airlines, either.