Airbus COO, John Leahy, stated the manufacturer hopes to reach a decision regarding a new engine option for the A320 family by the Jul-2010 Farnborough airshow (AINOnline, 03-Feb-2010). New engines could be either the PW1000G geared turbofan from International Aero Engines or CFM International’s LEAP-X. Airbus also confirmed that it will not debut a new narrowbody until 2024.
A320 engine decision could be made by Jul-2010
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Bombardier C Series: record orders in 2016 as both variants finally enter service
The first commercial flight of the Bombardier CS300 on 14-Dec-2016, operated by airBaltic from Riga to Amsterdam, will be a major milestone for the Canadian manufacturer's new C Series aircraft programme. Three CS100 aircraft are already in service with SWISS, so the airBaltic flight will mean that both variants of the C Series are finally in commercial operation.
The programme is Bombardier's first wholly new aircraft development, aimed at the 100 to 150-seat market segment and offering advantages of fuel efficiency, cabin space, noise and emissions. Bombardier once targeted 2013 for entry into service, but has been dogged by problems and delays. In 2015, Bombardier seemed to have overstretched itself. The C Series received no new orders during the year and Bombardier was forced to seek investment from the Province of Québec to rescue the programme.
In 2016 the company has recovered to win a net 117 new orders, its highest annual total, bringing the programme total to 360. However, competition is cut-throat, with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer all having new developments of existing products in the same space as the C Series. Bombardier's breakthrough orders from Air Canada and Delta in 2016 required heavy price discounts.
Spirit Airlines’ network changes have been more subtle than dramatic under new CEO
When a new CEO took the helm at Spirit Airlines during 2016 the immediate reaction was speculation that the move was a first step to merging with fellow ULCC Frontier. Eventually the excitement over consolidation in the US ULCC sector died down, and Spirit outlined more subtle strategy changes.
The most significant was Spirit’s assessment that opportunities existed in small to medium sized markets, which was a pivot from its strategy of competing with bigger US airlines in some of their largest and most important markets.
In order to support the shift in its network strategy Spirit has made changes to its fleet composition during 2016, including retaining more smaller-gauge Airbus A319s and converting 10 A321neos scheduled for delivery in 2019 to A320neos. The fleet changes also help Spirit improve its financial structure through a higher number of owned aircraft.
So far, Spirit has only announced one new smaller market in 2016, with the addition of Akron-Canton to its route map. The remainder of its route additions have been in larger markets in competition with the larger US airlines. Perhaps more clues to the airline’s long-term network strategy will emerge in 2017.