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Welcome to the InsightIQ Blog! Here you'll find our weekly InsightIQ snapshots, designed to offer a clear picture of current trends, timely aviation market insight and expert analysis on matters that impact your business - all generated from the leading aviation intelligence platform, InsightIQ

 

InsightIQ is designed to meet all your aviation finance needs. Our integrated platform is built from over 65 years of commercial aircraft and engine proprietary fleet data, IBA’s award-winning values, flight and utilisation information, market data, carbon emission modelling, liquidity analysis and aviation news.

 

Let InsightIQ monitor and optimise your portfolio performance, identify new investment opportunities and explore strategy decisions.

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A white iPad that showing graphs from our aviation intelligence platform on the screen.

21/07/2021

China Gives Go Ahead on 737MAX Test Flight

Aviation officials in China have stated a willingness to begin flight testing on the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, an early step towards future certification. It is reported that Boeing plans to send a professional team of 35 pilots and engineers to China in July 2021. The 737 Max’s entry to service has been delayed by a mix of political tensions and trade issues.

Intelligence data from IBA’s InsightIQ platform reveals that the 737 Max is proving prevalent amongst narrowbody aircraft orders in 2021. In the United States, the recovery of Max orders appears to correlate directly with the recovery of the market itself. Significant recent orders include over 200 airframes for United Airlines, as well as new aircraft for Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Whilst it is likely that discounted prices have been offered by Boeing as it attempts to regain ground lost to the Airbus A320 NEO, MAX orders stood at 490 against 137 for the A320 as of June 2021. Overall however, the A320 NEO retains market dominance despite this recent growth in Max orders. Some airlines have had notable success in swapping sectors operated by the A320 CEO with NEO models, such as EasyJet’s London Gatwick to Tenerife route, which drove an 18% reduction in CO2 emissions.

 

Despite a recent pickup in orders, total orders for the A320 NEO are outpacing the 737 MAX.

 

Whilst this step is a positive one, It is likely it may still be some time before the aircraft enters service following this test flight.

 

IBA’s InsightIQ analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles. Book a free demo today to discover the unique features of InsightIQ.  

25/06/2021

Aviation Data: U.S Domestic Travel Recovery Outpaces International Recovery in run up to Independence Day

Demand for U.S air travel is increasingly encouraging. Numbers of travellers passing through TSA checkpoints on 13th June 2021 surpassed 2 million for the first time since early March 2020. With just over half of the U.S. population having had at least one vaccine dose as of mid-June, key statistics around airlines and airports are promising as we move towards the Independence Day weekend.

Aircraft flying over a row of American flags

TSA Throughput - 2021 'v' 2019 - 7-day Moving Average

 

As with other key markets, domestic travel is leading recovery in the U.S. IBA expects the overwhelming majority of travel to remain domestic in Q3 of 2021. Whilst selected international flights to the likes of Los Cabos and Cancun have plateaued at reasonable levels in recent months, we believe the widespread continuation of border restrictions and quarantine requirements will limit any meaningful increase in international services. Current levels of international travel are at around 55% relative to 2019. As the chart below highlights, the gulf between international and domestic recovery has grown from 10% in mid-February to 28% by mid-June. The bullish view of key stakeholders in the U.S. regarding 4th July plans suggests this delta may widen further as we move through Q3.

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US Flight Activity - Passenger Flight Performed 'v' 2019

Independence Day travel trends

As with other widely observed holidays, air travel volumes tend to sharply reduce on the Independence Day holiday itself. Flight data from IBA’s InsightIQ intelligence platform shows flight volumes on recent Independence Day holidays range from 9% to 24% lower compared to the day prior, followed by a sharp rebound as the summer season progresses.

 

US Domestic Flight Activity - 4th July

OAG data indicates domestic U.S. capacity (as measured by seats) will reach ~90% of 2019 levels in this year over the seven days surrounding 4th July. This represents a marked improvement over the 48% we saw in 2020. With TSA checkpoint volumes inching higher as traveller confidence builds, we would look to a base case scenario of around 1.9-2.0 million passengers per day passing through TSA checkpoints over the 27th June-11th July period. Our bullish scenario would see this figure closer to 2.2-2.3 million per day, with load factors around 90%. While this may seem high given the difficulties the industry is still facing globally, predictions from carriers are equally optimistic, with Southwest Airlines anticipating a June load factor of 85%.

 

IBA’s InsightIQ analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles. 

17/06/2021

Examining the future of Stobart Air’s ATR fleet

Stobart Air ceased operations on Saturday 12th June 2021. A regional carrier operating flights across the UK and Ireland, the Stobart Air fleet consisted of 12 ATR72-600 aircraft and one ATR42-600 aircraft according to data from IBA’s InsightIQ platform. 

Of Stobart Air’s 13 aircraft, 12 were leased from lessors (see the graph below) and 1 aircraft was owned. The aircraft were between 5 and 8 years old, with build dates between 2013 and 2016.

 

Stobart Air - Lessor ExposureSource: IBA’s InsightIQ Fleets

 

 

Table showing Stobart Air's ATR fleet

Source: IBA’s InsightIQ Fleets

 

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GOAL Aircraft Leasing have the highest number of leased aircraft in Stobart Air’s fleet, with eight aircraft, leased to them through KGAL’s Aircraft Portfolio Fund 1.
InsightIQ values data suggests that the current market value of the former Stobart Air fleet is approximately $126.400 million USD, assuming half-life maintenance condition. IBA would ascribe a market lease rental range of $95 – $115k USD per month in the current environment.

 

What is the outlook for the ATR72?

The ATR72-600 dominates the 70+ seat turboprop market segment it operates in. It’s key competitor, the DHC-Q400, has faced continued oversupply issues which have been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Data from IBA’s InsightIQ fleet data platform shows that there have been five ATR72-600s sold off lease, and seven new lease starts with operators including Silver Airways and US-Bangla Airlines (since January 2021). Aircraft starting new leases were typically built between 2012 and 2019. In the long-term, IBA believe the ATR72-600 remains in favourable position when compared to its competitors, and will remain one of the most liquid assets in the turboprop market.


IBA expects the Stobart Air ATR72-600 fleet will find new operators, but likely at discounted pricing given the current state of the market and alternatives - the ATR72-500 being a prime example.


What is the outlook for the turboprop market?

The pre-pandemic turboprop market proved to be relatively stagnant over the past 5 years with an average 100 deliveries per year. Demand for aircraft was stimulated by volatility in oil prices, with turboprops having replaced smaller sized regional jets when prices fluctuated. Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused oversupply issues. Despite this, IBA expects the turboprop and regional aircraft markets to recover faster than that of larger commercial jets.

 

Use InsightIQ to review current and historic market events, fleet and asset performance trends, sign up for a demo for more information about our leading aviation intelligence platform.

IBA’s analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft and engine values, lease rates and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Lewis Leslie

10/06/2021

Preview Oil Prices and Coronavirus – the perfect storm for Airlines

The historic correlation between high oil prices and airline failures is a proven trend. The most notorious crises of the early and late 1970’s saw crude oil prices inflated by up to 400%. Smaller but equally hard-hitting events such as the ‘mini oil shock’ of 1990 and the 2000 energy crisis proved that the stability of the market is constantly in the hands of demand, political tensions and the value of currency.

Aircraft refuelling tanker

Although the Coronavirus pandemic has created a disconnect between oil prices and airline failures, it is vital to not lose sight of oil prices as inherent driver of airline success and airline failures. The combination of the two could provide a perfect storm for an industry in turbulent times.

 

Outlook for Airlines in 2021

Despite being at the mid-point of 2021, the problems of 2020 are very much still with us. Based on our data, we expect to see the following key trends…

 

  • Significant numbers of aircraft returning to lessors or other financiers, whether in negotiated deals or otherwise

  • Less airline restructuring, but more airline cessations (with particular attention to be paid to Air Namibia and Sky Regional)

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It is equally important to highlight the positive stories emerging for airlines during Coronavirus. Our data shows that over 130 start-up airlines are planning to commence operations between 2021-2022. Almost 40% of these are based in Europe, and suggests these start-ups are grasping the opportunity to enjoy heavily discounted depressed asset and lease values, interest rates, maintenance, MRO service and pilot costs.

 

Use InsightIQ to review current and historic market events, fleet and asset performance trends, sign up for a demo for more information about our leading aviation intelligence platform.

IBA’s analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft and engine values, lease rates and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Stuart Hatcher

04/06/2021

InsightIQ Fleets: Spike in Bookings to UK Green List Countries Indicates Pent Up Demand for Leisure travel

Having slumped to historic industry lows, load factors are starting to climb away from rock bottom. Europe and the Middle East are still languishing as a result of restrictions and their dependency on international travel.

Fleet of aircraft parked on a runway

Data from IBA’s InsightIQ platform has revealed strong regional variations in flight data and recovery of load factors.

 

  • Domestic flights make up 80% of all global aircraft movements, but passenger travel remains subdued globally at only 60% of pre-pandemic figures.

  • Domestic routes in North America and the Asia Pacific region, especially China, Australia and Japan, are driving recovery.

  • Utilisation in North America and Asia Pacific grew to 79% and 66% respectively by the end of April 2021.

  • The European market’s comparative sluggishness stands out, increasing from February’s 27% of pre-Covid volumes to 33% in the same period.

  • With reduced belly capacity in the passenger market prevailing, freighter utilisation is still buoyant at 139% of pre-Covid volumes.

Passenger Load Factors

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Having slumped to historic industry lows, load factors are starting to climb away from rock bottom. Europe and the Middle East are still languishing as a result of restrictions and their dependency on international travel. Despite this, InsightIQ reveals a significant spike in flight bookings to countries allocated a ‘green’ rating in the UK government’s traffic light travel list published on May 7th.

 

Flights to countries such as Iceland and Gibraltar, which UK residents can visit without having to isolate on their return, saw a substantial rise in demand demonstrating strong pent-up appetite for leisure travel. Flights to Portugal also feature in this trend, though with Portugal’s removal from the UK green list on 03 June, this is likely to change.

 

Traditional summer holiday destinations, specifically France, Spain, Greece and Italy have not seen the same rebound. This is most likely due to tighter travel controls.

 

Passenger Flight Trends - December 19 to Present

 

With July’s proposed introduction of a digital EU Covid certificate enabling free movement within Europe for eligible travellers and plans to allow entry to certain vaccinated international passengers, IBA anticipates a further boost to leisure travel demand. Delayed relaxation of travel restraints could hamper recovery - but we remain optimistic of a continued upward trend.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Phil Seymour

03/06/2021

InsightIQ Fleets: Discounted Operating Costs drive Start-up Airline Boom

Despite current aircraft utilisation falling far short of pre-pandemic levels, the industry is witnessing a modest boom in new airlines, with over 130 start-ups preparing for take-off in 2021 and 2022.

Boeing A320

Many of these start-up airlines formulated their business plans before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and are focusing on the shorter-haul and regional market segments. Our intelligence shows that as well as discounted operating costs, these start-ups are grasping the opportunity to enjoy heavily discounted depressed asset and lease values, interest rates, maintenance, MRO service and pilot costs. Our insight shows that almost 40% of the new entrants will be Europe and CIS-based.

 

Start-up Airlines 2021-2022: Where are they?

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What aircraft are being chosen by start-up airlines?

With such a focus on new short haul and regional operations, it is perhaps no surprise that narrowbodies and turboprops are proving to be the aircraft of choice for emerging operators, with the A320 family in particular standing out as a favourite.

 

Start-up Airlines 2021-2022: Aircraft Classes

 

 

Is Low-Cost Long-Haul a viable business model?

The start-up boom is not exclusively a short haul phenomenon, with a selection of low-cost long-haul businesses also planning to enter the market in the coming years. Given the impact of Covid-19 on the long-haul sector the activity centred around this business model is perhaps surprising. In our recent poll on LinkedIn, 67% of users stated they did not think that the LCLH business model is viable in the long term. However, market failures and cutbacks have created openings for carriers such as Norse Atlantic to fill voids, such as that left by Norwegian. Asset types with lower acquisition or leasing costs are favoured, an example being Hans Airways’ plans for a low-cost UK to India service employing the A330.

The current low-cost environment is a fertile ground for operators with no legacy debt to establish an airline with a clean slate. However, operating costs will ultimately increase as the market recovers and robust business modelling with effective liquidity provision will be vital.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Phil Seymour

25/05/2021

InsightIQ CEC: What is the impact from SAF and New Generation Aircraft for British Airways? 

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) recently announced its forward looking commitment to powering its entire fleet with a 10% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by 2030.

IAG stated that they intend to purchase one million tonnes of SAF each year by 2030, which will certainly contribute towards their ambitious 2035 target of reducing carbon emissions by 78%. This coupled with a fleet renewal strategy, especially focussing on the aging ultra and widebody aircraft will assist in driving down the group’s overall yearly carbon intensity per seat.

 

Whilst the pandemic has obviously reduced the total CO2 output for operators; bigger emphasis is being put on the overall efficiency of the aircraft on a per seat basis. Throughout 2020, airlines have typically favoured newer generation aircraft due to the operational cost savings when compared to older more inefficient aircraft, a twofold benefit both from a fuel perspective but also a reduction in the probability of unforeseen maintenance.

 

Using analysis from InsightIQ's Carbon Emissions Calculator, we have analysed the London Heathrow (LHR) to Los Angeles (LAX) route served by one of IAG group’s airlines: British Airways. Demonstrated in the chart below, we can show the impact on CO2 per seat/per Km metrics from the induction of more new generation aircraft during 2020 - such as the Boeing 787 family. In this example, LHR to LAX 2019 vs 2020 clearly illustrates the efficiency impact from new generation aircraft.

 

Graph of BA flights and CO2 levels

Source: IBA InsightIQ CEC

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Using InsightIQ’s Fleet and Flight data, our Carbon Emissions Calculator has the added benefit of retrospectively analysing routes with real world data across aircraft types. As demonstrated in the charts above, we can show the impact of British Airways fleet evolution across routes in the two comparison years. In 2019, high volumes of Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380 aircraft were operating the London Heathrow – Los Angeles route; the 747 being largely inefficient aircraft in relative terms when compared to its newer counterparts. In 2020 the London Heathrow to Los Angeles (LAX) shows a significant drop off in emissions per seat due to the early phase out of the Boeing 747-400 and long-term storage of the Airbus A380. Post pandemic, British Airways opted to utilise its large 787 fleet, which was favoured for many months until October 2020 when it was served solely by Boeing 777-200ER and 300ER aircraft, showing a large jump in emissions per seat.

 

The average age of the quad engine aircraft operating the route in 2019 and early 2020 was 17.6 years old, when compared to 2020’s average new generation fleet age of 3.7 years old. When averaging the fuel burn per seat per month within a 12-month period for the London Heathrow – Los Angeles route, the overall efficiency improvement per seat is circa 25% better in 2020 when compared to 2019.

 

The comparisons above demonstrate the paradigm shift between the use of older generation aircraft vs new generation widebodies. Although, it must be noted that British Airways does not have a fleet of new generation aircraft large enough to serve its worldwide commitments, and will continue to utilise its ageing fleet when demand finally returns. However, if anything, the pandemic has served as a key demonstrator of what can be achieved in terms of fuel burn efficiency per seat once the old stock of aircraft has been retired.

 

If you have any further questions please contact Tim Boon

19/05/2021

InsightIQ Values: New narrowbody aircraft values remain relatively stable for most popular types

InsightIQ's Aircraft and Engine Values module discloses precise performance data which, as Appraiser of the Year 2021, IBA is uniquely well-appointed to interpret.

The fundamental tendency shown is that value stability applies for the most popular newer aircraft whereas, in the secondary market, older examples are vulnerable. The favoured A320neo’s values have stayed within 5% of pre-Covid levels.

 

As illustrated below, the 737 MAX’s market value performance was subject to softening before the pandemic and its suffering continued last year and more recently, cancellations effected by some Chinese lessors including CDB. While significant market performance downgrades have been witnessed for older aircraft examples like the 737-800 and A320ceo, the forecast for aircraft due to emerge from production is far more secure. Value recovery will centre around newer generation aircraft models: the A320neo and 737 MAX will lead the way.

 

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Source: InsightIQ Aircraft Fleet Data

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New widebody value performance has been less stable, outgoing models continue to decline

 

There is a big divergence between new and old models in the widebody market, the newest technology widebody types suffering little market value deterioration over the last five years according to IBA’s InsightIQ. Rich intelligence extracted from its Values module tells us the A350-900 and Boeing’s 787-9 remain the most popular widebody models and, with no new widebody programmes on the horizon to replace them, IBA anticipates these aircraft will preserve their favoured status for the next 10 to 15 years. Four-time winners of the Appraiser of the Year title, IBA is positive their strong value performance will endure long-term. Although less extensive than in the narrowbody market, we’ve witnessed sale and leaseback transactions involving the A350-900 and 787-9, lessees including Delta, Qatar and Japan Airlines concluding deals on the latter.

Source: InsightIQ Aircraft Fleet Data

 

Far greater base and market value degradation is apparent for out of production widebodies or those nearing the end of their production. This is due both to the last-off-line effect and the downward pressure on values exerted by the secondary market. Although less pronounced than we’d expect for used aircraft, 777-300ER and A330 base values have dropped 18% and 20% respectively.

 

If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Mike Yeomans

14/05/2021

InsightIQ Fleets: How has Lufthansa’s fleet evolved?

The evolution of Lufthansa’s fleet pre, during and emerging from Covid-19 is a useful case study to appreciate the pandemic’s impact on fleet composition and utilisation.

In-depth aircraft fleet data form IBA’s InsightIQ platform uncovers precise, comparative snapshots showing favoured aircraft types and those inactive at different points in time. InsightIQ confirms the industry-wide preference for younger twin-engine widebodies and popular new generation narrowbodies. We also previously compiled an Aviation Intelligence article comparing fleet evolution at Lufthansa and Delta

Pre-pandemic, 98% of Lufthansa’s fleet was active. Few narrowbodies were among the parked and stored aircraft; these were predominantly older widebody types like the A340-600, including aircraft inactive due to maintenance.

 

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Vastly different was April 2020’s fleet: only 12% was now in service. Like other operators, Covid’s negative impact on international travel forced Lufthansa to shift its focus towards newer generation aircraft, such as the A320-200N model and aircraft more suited to short and medium-haul flights such as younger A330-300s.

 

InsightIQ Aircraft Fleet data illustrates not only the aircraft families among the 42% of Lufthansa’s active fleet as at April 2021, but also the variation in the specific models it brought back. Travel patterns made smaller capacity aircraft within the ceo families such as the A319 more appropriate than their slightly larger A320-200 and A321-200 siblings.

 

Some new generation widebodies returned: the A350 is back. The fate of older generation widebodies looks bleak across all operators, however, Lufthansa is not alone in shelving its A380 and 747-400 fleets. Emirates is likely to scale back its A380 operations, and BA, KLM and Air India have all permanently retired the 747-400.

 

If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Stuart Hatcher

 

13/05/2021

InsightIQ CEC: Do you understand the previous, current and future carbon intensities of assets within your portfolio?

As sustainable investing and ESG linked criteria become an increasing part of modern and future aircraft financing, key metrics to have to hand are the previous, current and future carbon intensities of assets within your portfolio.

In order to meet the various carbon and climate related financial disclosure initiatives, understanding your future carbon exposure is key for the future planning of your portfolio, investments and any potential offsetting requirements.

 

IBA’s CEC can assist in tracking the historical carbon intensity of all asset types and through IBA’s ESG advisory team, can assist in understanding projected carbon emissions throughout the lifetime of an aircraft.

 

Demonstrated in the chart below, IBA has extracted data from InsightIQ CEC to show the top 15 owners of aircraft placed with United Airlines, ranked by total CO2 emissions in 2019; a year unaffected by Covid-19. For demonstration purposes, this example excludes emissions generated by aircraft wholly owned by United Airlines.

 

 

 

InsightIQ CEC subscribers have the ability to create and compare fleet portfolios and asset types using any number of aircraft, owner, manager and date combination. The level of detail provided by InsightIQ and the CEC is unapparelled within the market and gives users clear visibility of their assets in terms of liquidity, aircraft history, movements and carbon intensity within one single programme.

 

If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Tim Boon

30/04/2021

InsightIQ: How long will the pandemic’s influence be felt before demand and order numbers rebound?

InsightIQ intelligence shows the annual net aircraft order trend between 2000 and 2020 performed in line with global GDP fluctuations, plummeting after the 9/11 crisis in 2001, 2003’s SARS outbreak and the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008. Using IBA’s Fleets, Values and Trends data we can examine previous economic downturns to better understand Covid’s likely impact on the aviation industry. How long will the pandemic’s influence be felt before demand and order numbers rebound?

 

 

 

Combining data relating to 9/11 and SARS due to their proximity, IBA’s InsightIQ demonstrates that after the economic downturns created by these events and the GFC, net order numbers quickly rebounded. This was especially true of the GFC, driven by APAC region demand, particularly amongst China’s prospering new lessors. We expect recovery post-Covid to follow a similar trend though anticipate Covid’s impact will be more severe and enduring. Total net orders in 2020 were only around 40% of 2019’s, itself a poor year due to the MAX’s grounding, and we envisage the downturn will last until orders begin to recover in 2023 – 2024.

 

Following each former incident, fuel prices rose dramatically corresponding with an increase in new aircraft orders; airlines and lessors are more willing to replace assets when fuel prices are elevated. After 9/11 and SARS, resurgent orders were led by the A320ceo and 737NG, though widebodies such as the 787 and 777 also attracted large numbers. In contrast, the order composition post-GFC was more heavily weighted towards narrowbodies. There was a shift away from current generation to new generation aircraft like the A320neo and 737MAX. The 787 remains the top widebody followed by the A350 which has attracted over 900 orders since its 2006 launch.

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Near term, Boeing will struggle to match Airbus order levels due to the MAX setbacks, although the OEM has 300 confirmed 777X orders despite customer uncertainty over delays caused by the GE9X engine’s technical issues. The first deliveries are expected by the end of 2023.

 

Since the early 2000s, orders from Europe and the APAC region have overtaken the US. This could be explained by the US’s greater sensitivity to economic downturns or perhaps be because the more mature US market had already reached comparatively higher saturation. More than half the aircraft retirements completed in the last four years have been by the US whereas European orders have consistently displayed greater resilience throughout the economic cycle.

 

IBA foresees customers will increasingly look to OEMs serving their regions when placing orders. US airlines are likely to support the Boeing 737 MAX whilst Europe favours Airbus neo family aircraft. We expect APAC to use a combination of the two although in domestic China COMAC will enjoy further orders.

 

If you have any further questions or comments please contact: Jie Zhou

 



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