Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Contributing columnist Richard Aboulafia is vice president of analysis at Teal Group. He is based in Washington.

Articles
The Next Big Medium Thing 1
The case for a scaled-up successor to the Boeing 757
Airbus Product, Organizational Needs Conflict 

Airbus is at a crossroads. It needs to address its major twin-aisle product line disadvantage to Boeing, while simultaneously implementing organizational reforms that could leave the company with less cash for new product development.

Opinion: Airbus Twin-Aisles—Big Needs, Limited Means
Airbus has big twin-aisle needs, but limited means.
U.S. Military Aircraft Fly Toward A Waterfall
The past few months have seen stark harbingers of looming pain.
Mind The Gulf
The Big Three carriers' vast expansion plans and their implications
Scorpion—Bold Idea, But Where’s The Market? 

Textron, in partnership with Airland Enterprises, recently unveiled the Scorpion, a largely clean-sheet light combat/ISR jet that is being prepared for a first flight this month (see photo). New military aircraft are so scarce that any new prototype is bound to garner attention, including an Aviation Week cover story (AW&ST Sept. 16, p. 22), and it's good to see innovation make an appearance in the aerospace and defense industry. Yet, despite all the talk of paradigm shifting, low costs and “80% solutions,” what exactly is the market for this product?

China’s Aerospace Strategy In Trouble 

As a prospective new entrant to the aviation industry, it's hard to be better positioned than China. The country offers the second biggest national market in the world, one that is growing ever larger and more important and benefits from plenty of engineering talent. It's difficult to believe China will not eventually have some kind of large aerospace industry as long as it stays a national priority.

Reassessing The A380 

Airbus can barely keep up with demand. A combination of high fuel prices and low interest rates has helped boost the jetliner market to record levels, with more growth ahead. But there is one exception to this happy situation: the A380. It is time to face some tough facts about the program.

Boeing Needs To Emphasize 777X Sales 

Has as a new jetliner ever been launched as reluctantly as the 777X? Boeing usually prefers to follow its competitors in new product development, waiting until it can create a “killer” for a given segment. The 777X, like the original 777, looks set to enter service several years after the competition, in this case the A350-1000. But while the 777 became a category killer, this time the late-adapter approach may have significant disadvantages.

Perfect Storm Buoys Airframers, But For How Long? 

In 2012, deliveries of large commercial jets manufactured by Airbus and Boeing exceeded $88 billion in value, at estimated prices, up 57% since 2008. During that same four-year period, the global economy had its worst years since World War II. The macroeconomic recovery has been anemic, and demand for air travel only marginally better. While airline revenue passenger kilometers grew 6.9% in 2010 following a 3.5% decline in 2009, growth eased to just 5.3% in 2011.

Reengining The 737 Makes Business Sense For Boeing

Dislike Boeing's decision to follow Airbus and reengine its single-aisle product? You are not alone. Many analysts and commentators have expressed disappointment.

Point-Counterpoint: Offshoring to China--Snare! 

Is the aerospace industry on the cusp of a great wave that will shift work to low-cost producers in China? Or is offshoring a minor phenomenon being exploited by companies to win concessions from workers and local governments? Taking the former view is William C. Parr, a faculty member of the University of Tennessee's Aerospace Executive MBA program. He recently returned from a three-month stay in China, where he taught and conducted research on offshoring and Chinese management practices.

Hawk Reasserts Trainer Market Dominance 

The trainer market is fast becoming dependent on shared programs. BAE Systems' Hawk won a notable victory in this market in mid-2003, with an order for the U.K.'s Military Flying Training System (MFTS) competition. While only good for an initial 20 planes (with 24 more options), the order preserves a production line that had been in danger of closing. The order, and the launch of MFTS, also cements the U.K. lead in trainer manufacturing and services.

Fighter Makers Reassess Options 

In October 2003, Singapore short-listed the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Boeing F-15 for its next fighter purchase. While for a small number of planes--only 10 at first, with another 10 to follow--this competition has broad implications for aircraft contractors in the U.S. and Europe. It also speaks eloquently about new dynamics in the fighter market.

RENEWED HIGH-END DEMAND?

Rotorcraft Market Politicized by European and American Nationalism 

Rotorcraft, like many other segments of the aerospace industry, have always been subject to nationalism and closed borders. Despite pressures in favor of globalization, rotorcraft markets are increasingly politicized.

 

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