MoM and More News!

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Airbus and Boeing are going head-to-head for the lead into the MoM market and the airlines are looking for a midsize plane that costs less and will seat somewhere between 225 and 270 passengers, and fly nearly 5000 miles, in roughly 9 hours. Imagine a chart where the vertical axis represents the number of passengers/payload while the horizontal axis represents nautical miles/range.

Before getting into the plane action, lets review the Middle of the Market we keep referring to (MoM) – and here is the view from the folks at Boeing. Picture the middle market as a big oval that covers passenger capacity/load of 175 to 375 passengers and a range of approximately 3,000 to 6,000 nautical miles. However, this market is so large that it also includes jetliners at both the smaller end and larger end of the scale. The oval pictured in the link above represents the “new midsize airplane sweet spot”, which is more like 200 to 275 travelers in a two class configuration, with a reduced range of 3,500 to 5,500 nautical miles. Interestingly, the only current plane that is in this newly identified midsize market circle is the twin-aisle B767-200, which hits the oval target just about dead center!

Boeing is developing a business case and solution for the MoM  demand and their answer is a new development that some call the B797X. The real issue is twin aisle versus single.

Now, lets look at where the single aisle B737 MAX series planes are with respect to the midsize sweet spot – where, no doubt, the action will be for the next few years. Remember, we are focusing only on Boeing in this issue, but we will talk a bit about Airbus in a later Hot Topic.  Here is where the Boeing “bottom” of the MoM plane products are today:

Boeing B737 MAX 7
1 Class Seating Config. – 150 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 138 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 172 Pax.
Range – 3,800 NM
Wingspan – 35.9 M / 117 ft. 10in.
Length – 35.6 M / 116 ft. 8 in.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 177,000 lbs.
Price – $92.2 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 8
1 Class Seating Config. – 174 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 162 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 200 Pax.
Range – 3,620
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 39.5 M / 129.8 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 181,200 lbs.
Price – $112.4 Million

Boeing B737 MAX 9
1 Class Seating Config. – 204 Pax.
2 Class Seating Config. – 178 Pax.
Max. Seating Config. – 220 Pax.
Range – 3,595 NM
Wingspan – 39.5 M / 117 ft. 10 in.
Length – 42.2 M / 138.4 ft.
Height – 12.3 M / 40 ft. 4in.
Weight – 194,700 lbs
Price – $119.2 Million

As we noted earlier, the “new midsize market” is a smaller circle on the pax/range chart and the existing single aisle aircraft are right on the edge. Some experts are noting that the “new” midsize market concept could be difficult for Boeing because of existing B737 landing gear length limit problems coupled with the desired take-off rotation increase due to a longer single-aisle body – not to mention the new wing length needed for more load lift and potential composite additions to reduce load weight.

While looking at an estimated 2025 entry, Boeing has some time to make the decision, but they will have to consider other aspects such as aircraft model growth, fuel burn, and competition. Furthermore, we understand that over 60% of the operators want a twin-aisle wide body versus a single-aisle narrow body, with seating expectations covering 150 to 249 pax – but the jury is still out on models and respective seat numbers.

If you remember the B757 (single-aisle) and the B767 (twin-aisle) were designed to cover a larger flight range and passenger payload solutions at each end of the payload vs. range spectrum. We now have the requirement that Boeing focus on the center and build one plane (with derivatives) to solve the “market gap” problem and that will probably include more passenger comfort and expanded IFEC capability. IFExpress is betting on a twin! Further, the Boeing 797X will likely cover the 220-260 seat capacity with a designed range of some 4,500-5,000 nautical miles. But the big deal for Boeing would be the possible $150B in potential revenue!


Rockwell
Rockwell Collins will now bring high speed, secure worldwide KA-band connectivity to government aviation customers by expanding its Value Added Reseller (VAR) arrangement for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) service. Rockwell Collins has already been providing GX and JX services to commercial and business aviation customers through previous VAR agreements.


SITA
Meet Kate! SITA Lab, which explores the future of technology in air travel, has unveiled KATE, an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed, promising to relegate check-in queues to the past.

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – KATE can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in. KATE uses existing SITA data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.
Multiple robotic kiosks can be automatically or manually deployed simultaneously and in formation to assist passengers, providing airports and airlines greater flexibility in managing peaks in passenger flow. The kiosks can also communicate through a Cloud service to ensure that the right number of kiosks are at the right position when needed, making them highly responsive to changes in the airport. A design patent application for the kiosks is currently underway.

Renaud Irminger, Director of SITA Lab, said: “The peak and troughs in the flow of passengers presents a challenge to many airlines and airports and we have been approached by many customers requesting a solution. They want kiosks which can be easily deployed when and where they are needed. Building on SITA’s successful AirportConnect Open platform, and our previous work with robotics, KATE leverages new technologies to provide operators much more flexibility and efficiency in the way they will use their kiosks in future.”

SITA’s cutting-edge robotic kiosk makes use of geo-location technology to find its way through the airport. KATE will use Wi-Fi to connect to vital airline and airport systems, dispensing with the need for cabling or other fixed attachments. This allows the kiosk to move around freely across the airport terminal, using obstacle avoidance technology to avoid bumping into people or things.

KATE and her fellow robotic kiosks will automatically return to their docking stations when they are low on power or need to be resupplied with boarding passes or bag tags.

One of the key benefits of SITA’s autonomous kiosk is that it can be deployed anywhere inside the airport as well as other offsite locations such as train stations. This is particularly relevant during periods of disruption – such as weather delays or flight cancellations – where additional kiosks can be moved from landside to airside to check-in large numbers of rebooked passengers. KATE provides passengers access to her easy-to-use interface to check-in and print bag tags.

KATE follows in the footsteps of LEO, SITA’s fully autonomous, self-propelling baggage robot launched at the 2016 Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona, Spain last year. For a better view, check out this video – https://youtu.be/oQ69r-2VX-I


AIRBORNE WIRELESS NETWORK, CA was granted experimental operating from FCC to launch ground/flight testing (using two Boeing aircraft) of its demonstration system as part of development of Infinitus Super Highway air-to-air communication system. Further they have been granted a certificate by the FCC that will allow it to conduct ground and flight tests of their demonstration system of the Infinitus Super Highway, a high-speed broadband network that will link commercial aircraft in flight.


BOEING
Boeing All-Electric Satellite for SES Will Help Improve In-Flight Connectivity and Enable Other Traffic-Intensive Data Applications. Built for SES of Luxembourg, the 702 satellite is Boeing’s fifth with all-electric propulsion; design includes metallic 3-D printed parts.

The satellite will bolster connectivity for Wi-Fi and entertainment services on flights over North America, Mexico and Central America. It will also serve the government, enterprise and maritime sectors. This 702-model satellite also demonstrates that using 3-D printed parts can improve affordability and production. More than 50 such metallic parts are on the vehicle in the primary structure.

This is the fifth Boeing satellite to be deployed with a highly efficient all-electric propulsion system.

SES-15 has a hybrid payload, including additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability, with connectivity to gateways in Ka-band.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) safety efforts will also benefit from the satellite as SES-15 carries a Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) hosted payload for the FAA.

SES has ordered 12 Boeing satellites since 1990, including SES-15. SES-15 is the operator’s first 702 all-electric satellite in its fleet.


Gogo
Global broadband connectivity provider Gogo Business Aviation is announcing that German aircraft manager and charter operator K5-Aviation is its first 2Ku business aviation customer in Europe.

2Ku is a unique, dual-antenna system developed by Gogo to bring global streaming-capable internet connectivity to large aircraft. The technology benefits from global coverage and the redundancy of more than 180 satellites in the Ku-band.

Also today, Gogo is unveiling a new suite of smart cabin systems – SCS Elite and SCS Media. Both are highly integrated cabin in-flight entertainment and voice solutions that can be personalized to fit the specific needs of passengers on a given flight.

SCS systems, according to Gogo, “can be installed on virtually any plane, big or small, flying anywhere around the globe, and we created it to be a simple, powerful way to integrate all the necessary technology on board for an enjoyable passenger experience.”

Also, If you are interested in who the travelers of tomorrow are, why their inflight preferences matter, why being mobile is so important to future travelers, expectations around future connectivity, and what role personal devices play in flight – check this download out from Gogo: Global Traveler | Gogo . We should also note that Gogo has been chosen by Airbus as a lead supplier for its High Bandwidth Connectivity (HBC) program. Being part of Airbus’ HBC program means airlines can place future aircraft orders with Airbus and have Gogo’s 2Ku technology installed at the factory on all major fleet types. Those aircraft are then delivered with the technology already installed and ready for service on day one. We wonder what Boeing is gonna do?

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