Risks to 787 Line 2 in Charleston

Here are some thoughts about the risks Boeing faces about establishing 787 Line 2 in Charleston vs. Everett. An understanding of Washington State politics is at the core of these musings.

  • Federal politics. Certain members of the Washington Congressional delegation, notably Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Norm Dicks, along with Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jay Inslee, are very vocal about keeping Line 2 in Everett, which lies in Inslee’s district. Dicks and Murray are powerful members of their respective appropriations committees. How pissed off will they be if Boeing puts Line 2 in Charleston, and will this affect their advocacy of Boeing interests in Congress, notably the….
  • KC-X tanker impact. In an unfortunate coincidence of timing, Boeing’s decision on locating Line 2 (set for year-end) will come shortly after the new Draft Request for Proposals is issued (expected in September) for Round Three of the KC-X competition. Murray and Dicks are hyper-vocal advocates for Boeing’s tanker and opposing Northrop’s tanker. Nobody expects these two to reverse themselves, but they certainly could mute their opposition to Northrop as a pressure point on Boeing or in retaliation for a Charleston decision. Continue reading

Boeing webcast on 787 8/27

Update:

Here is a 16 minute podcast about the conference call and news.

Original Post:

Here is a running recap of the Boeing webcast on the announcement today of the new schedule and $2.5bn charge.

Present on the call are CEO Jim McNerney, CFO James Bell, Scott Carson, CEO of BCA, and Pat Shanahan, VP Products at BCA.

McNerney (JM): There is no question the execution of this program has had challenges and there is work still to be done. We see the 787 adding tremendous value to the customers and Boeing.

Carson (SC): We are contacting customers with timing of deliveries. 787-9 first delivery in 4Q13. As part of schedule adjustment increased time between first flight and first delivery to address issues that might arise during testing. First three test airplanes, suitable for flight testing and certification, have limited commercial value.

Continue reading

787 Schedule, $2.5bn charge announced

Boeing’s Press Release: Note webcast at 0700 PDT referenced at the end.

The 787 is to fly by the “end of the fourth quarter” and frst flight in the 4th quarter of 2010. Production rate to 10/mo is now projected in late 2013, a year later than planned on the previously revised schedule.

Continue reading

Split view on 787 forward loss

During the 2Q09 earnings call, Boeing seemed to be laying the foundation that a forward loss might be forthcoming on the 787 program and some analysts shortly thereafter issued notes predicting there will be one. However, within the last two weeks two analysts that we know of have taken a different view. (We see reports from only six of the aerospace analysts who cover Boeing.) Continue reading

Keeping Boeing in Seattle

Update, Aug. 26:

Bloomberg’s story; the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s story; Charleston Regional Business Journal.

Update, Aug. 25:

KING 5 TV Seattle (NBC) reported today that Boeing will file for permits tomorrow to expand the Charleston, SC, plant in anaticipation of a Line 2 for the 787–but that no decision about placing the plant there has been made. The story may be found here.

Original Post:

On-line newspaper Crosscut has an interesting piece about the debate over how and whether to keep Boeing in the Puget Sound region (Seattle). (Link warning: Crosscut is very slow.) The debate is heating up again because of the recent purchase by Boeing of Vought’s 787 plant in South Carolina, and the presumption by many that this is a prelude to locating a second 787 production line there. Continue reading

USAF Cadets work on tanker fuel burn reduction, and other things

US Air Force Cadets are designing wing refinements for the aging fleet of Boeing KC-135R tankers to improve fuel efficiency by 8%, reports CleanTechnica.com.

Why a bunch of cadets? Perhaps because the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs aerospace engineering programs ranks in the Top 5 in US News & World Report’s annual rankings (2009). (None of the universities or colleges in Washington State, where the KC-135 was built and where Boeing Commercial Airplanes is headquarter, ranks even in the Top 15 aerospace engineering schools.)

Airbus analysis

AirInsight’s Addison Schonland and Ernie Arvai have published a 54-page report about Airbus, A Market Analysis and Outlook. The report looks at each A3-Series program, including the forthcoming A350, and the A400M and KC-30.

A350/UK Funding

It’s a bit of old news this week, but as readers know the UK agreed to kick in GBP340m to fund the A350 development. Predictably, the US Trade Representative and Boeing objected. As long-time readers know, so do we. We don’t like government participation of any kind to corporations (it doesn’t matter what industry it is). Furthermore, at June 30, EADS had $9bn in cash vs. $5bn for Boeing.