There are reports that GE might buy Avio from private equity firm Cinven.
Avio is a supplier for the GEnx engines and for also CFM.
But what is maybe more important is that Avio is also a supplier for the PW1100G Fan Drive Gear System.
Avio has a long history in designing and building gear systems - the ADP (Advanced Ducted Prop, build from a PW2000 core), tested by P&W back in the early 90's, used a (then Fiat) Avio reduction gearbox.
So what is behind GE's move to acquire Avio? There are three possible motivations:
1. GE just wants to grow (and participate in some revenue from the PW1100G program)..
2. GE wants Avio to keep away from P&W in the future.
3. GE wants to get the intellectual property of the PW1000G Fan Drive Gear System to have a option to move to a gear architecture in the future - possibly for the next generation of narrowbodies, expected now for the late 20's/early 30's.
An „ad-war“ broke out, media says, when Airbus published an ad in several aerospace publications, accusing Boeing to lie when they compare performance of the B737MAX with the A320neo and the B747-8I with the A380.
A good summary can be found here. What I found amusing is that obviously the Pinocchio theme is a tit-for-tat response to spat over market share back in 1994...
One could see it a little bit differently: maybe the war was “broken” by Boeing when they began to publish their ads about B737MAX vs. A320neo and B747-8I vs. A380 performance?
But lets look at the facts:
Boeing always claimed that the B737-800NG has an 8% cost advantage versus the A320 an a per-seat basis and as the B737-800NG has a typical seating of 162 seats versus 150 seats in the A320 this means that the cost per flight are more or less equal, as the seat difference is exactly 8%.
Now Airbus claims that the A320neo needs 15% less fuel than the A320ceo. Boeing claims that the B737MAX needs 13% less fuel than the NG.
Let’s say fuel costs are 50% of overall (cash operating) costs.
Then the A320neo cost per flight is 92.5% of the A320ceo cost per flight (0.85*50% fuel costs + 50% other costs).
The B737MAX-8 cost per flight is 93.5% of the B737-800NG cost (0.87*50% fuel cost + 50% other costs).
So after reengining there is a slight advantage for the A320neo in terms of cost per flight.
On a per seat basis there is an advantage for the B737MAX-8 of 6.85%.
Of course, this is a very simplified view at the costs. Any change in maintenance costs of the airframe and the engines also play a role. But if you compare the LEAP-1A powered A320neo with the LEAP-1B powered B737MAX-8, the changes in engine maintenance costs should be comparable to the CFM56 powered A320ceo and B737-800NG.
The question is why Airbus and Boeing are “communicating” via ads? Airbus says that the Boeing ads might let “less sophisticated airlines” keep from talking to Airbus directly.
“Less sophisticated airlines”?
Of course, there are airlines which have a better aircraft performance analysis than other ones – the larger the airline, the better the capabilities, I guess. I know Lufthansa always does a very thorough analysis before buying any aircraft. Singapore Airlines also does very good work here as many others also. Air
probably as well does a good job here, although on the engine side thy seem to be always preferring a GE/CFM engine choice (if available), as the national player Snecma (Safran) is involved there. France
But look at the recent comments from Estonian’s CEO about the CRJ900, calling the aircraft not competitive for markets with less than 80 seats (the CRJ900 has 88 seats at Estonian). So why, one could ask, did they choose an aircraft with more than 80 seats when they know they want to use it in markets with less than 80 seats?
Clearly, the department for aircraft performance analysis at Estonian – if there is one – lacks some competency, as well as all of the upper management, as they finally gave approval to buy the aircraft.
So Airbus in the end might have a point here in launching the counter-ad…