More turmoil at Boeing; 747 chief ousted

Flightblogger’s Jon Ostrower has this story that the head of the 747-8 program has been replaced as delays mount, flight testing stalls and new delivery delays are expected to be announced within weeks.

Vice president and general manager Mo Yahyavi has been replaced by Pat Shanahan, the head of all commercial programs, and Elizabeth Lund, who has been the head of the 767 program.

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New 787 delay coming Aug. 27

Update, 1:30pm PDT: A reporter has found a confidential memo to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney outlining five more reasons for yet another 787 delay. Here is the report.

Update, 12:00pm PDT: The finger-pointing begins. The Seattle PI has this report quoting Rolls as saying the new 787 delay isn’t its fault.

Update, Aug. 27: Here are some key stories with details about the delay:

Seattle Times


Original Post:

Boeing is expected to announce another delay in the 787 program Friday, Aug. 27, Leeham News and Comment has learned.

First delivery of the 787 of the long and oft-delayed 787 was supposed to be next month, then in December; a delay to mid- or late first quarter is expected to be announced.

Others believe the first delivery could slip to the second quarter.

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PW’s GTF, Boeing’s culture, China’s C919 and ARJ21, CSeries

Jon Ostrower of FlightGlobal has this piece about the “bolt-on” of Pratt & Whitney’s P1524G PurePower Geared Turbo Fan. The PurePower, also known as the Geared Turbo Fan, is the engine designed for Bombardier’s CSeries, with larger versions anticipated for development to re-engine the Airbus A320 family and potentially for application to the replacement airplane for the Boeing 737.

PW’s PurePower website is here.

Airbus said at the Farnborough Air Show that it has made the business case to re-engine the family, and it will conclude the study by the end of September whether engineering resources will be freed up to proceed with the project. We believe Airbus will green-light the program, with an announcement at the end of next month or in October.

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US appeal of Airbus WTO ruling aimed at A350, future of A320

There is been some perplexed reaction to the appeal by the US Trade Representative to the World Trade Organization that the USTR and Boeing claimed only a few months ago were sweeping victories in the complaint that Europe had illegally subsidized Airbus over four decades.

There shouldn’t be any confusion; the answer is simple. Say “A350″ and “A320.”

To be sure, the US won most of the important points it challenged but as Airbus, its parent EADS and the European Union pointed out at the time—and which we reported—the US failed to prevail on the all-important point that launch aid, per se, was illegal.

The US appealed this finding, as well as findings that certain financial aid provided by France for the A380 development was not illegal export subsidies. The US also has appealed this finding.

Here’s what Airbus said Friday in response to the US appeals:

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RR speaks out on NEO vs new airplanes

Rolls-Royce speaks out on its views of Airbus and Boeing going with a new engine option for their A320-737 class airplanes in this long Wall Street Journal article.

We’ll make two observations:

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Indian cargo airline says A330Fs delayed because of–USAF KC-X competition

The saga never ends.

Now a start-up Indian cargo airline, Flyington Freighters, says it may sue Airbus over delays in delivering the A330-200F, for which it is a launch customer, because Airbus is waiting to win the USAF KC-X competition.

Defense News has the story.

Boeing’s Albaugh talks about labor

This is the third segment of our interview with Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, during the Farnborough Air Show.

Union issues remain contentious. The rhetoric between the International Association of Machinists, both at its Washington headquarters and at the Puget Sound Local 751, and Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney, is already testy. Messages are also sometimes conflicting, even within Boeing. While Boeing Commercial CEO Jim Albaugh seems predisposed toward keeping work in Puget Sound if a long-term union agreement can be reached, McNerney takes the clearly more chest-thumping approach that unions here must “earn” the work—despite the facts that labor is pumping out 737s at record rates and may be asked to boost production by 50%; that Boeing relies on labor’s support for the KC-X tanker competition; and labor is fixing all the problems on the 787 originating at overseas and non-union shops.

At the same time, the 2008 strike by IAM 751 cost the company billions of dollars. The 58 day strike disrupted production and deliveries, causing some customers—notably Richard Branson—to throw public fits over the strike. IAM 751 struck in 2005 and nearly did so in 2002. Management is tired of having these strikes every three years (or, potentially, in 2012 with a four year contract this time).

When Boeing decided to create a second assembly line for the 787, management demanded a long-term contract from 751. In what to this day remains hotly disputed and diametrically opposing views over what happened, Boeing decided to put the second line in the plant at Charleston (SC), where quality control continues to be an issue. At the same time, a “surge” line will be established in Everett to assure deliveries while Charleston becomes efficient, a process that will take years. So while management grouses about 751, it is also relying on 751 to save its bacon, so-to-speak.

Here is our interview with Jim Albaugh about labor.

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More 787 problems; 2Q delivery delay coming?

The news that Boeing has yet more industrial partner problems with the 787 doesn’t come as a surprise.

Pre-Farnborough Air Show, the company revealed that there were shim issues from its Italian partner, Alenia. Two weeks ago we learned that there were additional issues with the Alenia-produced horizontal stabilizers, where additional gaps were discovered and the need for more shims to be manufactured to fill additional gaps.

While we were trying to confirm this with Boeing, Boeing Commercial CEO Jim Albaugh generally revealed the issue at an investors’ conference, noting that additional inspections were necessary. Albaugh didn’t go into detail.

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US Aerospace’s AN-112KC

When a small company called US Aerospace announced it teamed with Russia’s Antonov to offer an aerial refueling tanker called the AN-112KC, observers from all over the industry scratched their heads in puzzlement.

First, few had heard of US Aerospace. It turns out that this is a “Pink Sheet” publicly traded company that is in financial difficulty. A “Pink Sheet” company is a mechanism in which stock of companies that typically cannot qualify for the major exchanges can be traded, or stock that is called “Penny Stock” is trade. Penny Stock is stock that sells for, well, pennies. Bankrupt companies are also often traded on the Pink Sheets.

US Aerospace is in default of significant debt and it has owed back taxes to the US government. It latest quarter report indicated around a half-million dollars in cash.

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