Odds and Ends: Qatar, Cargolux and GE

For those who don’t believe there was a connection between the Cargolux-Boeing-GE dispute and the 787 and Qatar, watch the Dubai Air Show. We’re hearing Qatar will sign announce it has selected GEnx for the 787.

Speaking of Max, Boeing didn’t say much about the 737 MAX on the earnings call. In fact, Jim McNerney was downright ambiguous. Boeing is still considering where to build the airplane and it’s still talking to customers. Boeing said in August at MAX’s unveiling that design details would be forthcoming the following month. November is around the corner and we’re still waiting.

Boeing’s union nemesis, IAM 751, is already reaching out to membership about “wants” for contract negotiations next year. Overhanging negotiations will be the NLRB complaint–testimony is supposed to begin next month–and the MAX assembly site. Our prediction: this will be purely a testosterone contest. We have dour predictions at this point.

Airbus and the A350: assembly is supposed to begin by year end with first flight next year. We’ll see.

39 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Qatar, Cargolux and GE

  1. A350: assembly can start – but can it finish,
    Max: Boeing was forced to sell it before it was ready – no wonder it’s still deciding on most if not all details.

    • A350:
      When it starts it will be finished in an acceptable timeframe.
      MAX:
      I think Boeing would still like to get away with not going to the MAX 😉

  2. I’m betting that the MAX 7 will be stretched 4 to 6 frames to comfortably fit 149. Perhaps Southwest will follow Frontier and JetBlue in offering several rows with extra pitch in addition to the exit row and bulkhead that are now available.

    • While what he says is basically: “we rather delay something before we do it and have to rework later”. This was learned on the A380 the hard way, and on the B787 even harder. Many have said that the roll-out actually delayed the program.
      So, even if the A350 schedule was initially too optimistic, people seem to learn that these schedules shouldn’t be followed too hard later on.

      • You are right and i agree with the general view that it would better to delay that milestone than have another Potemkin roll out. They clearly have taken lessons learnt from the 380 and 787 programs.
        But the point is that he is prepearing the ground for slip of the FAL phase into 2012. No doubt these will be challenging 2 years before the EIS.

  3. ikkeman: “A350: assembly can start – but can it finish?” Do I sense what I
    heard at Boeing over the past 40 years, like: “the next Airbus program will
    cause Airbus to collapse from within?”
    Allow me to quote from Aviation Week, dated September 19, 2011:
    “Deep down, Chairman/CEO Jim McNerney and several other top Boeing
    executives- apparently unaware of their collective mistake- perhaps still see
    Airbus as it was in the 1980s, a subsidized challenger making good use of
    European payers’ deep pockets to buy market share. These executives
    may not have paid enough attention to the NEO because they (still) rank
    Airbus as an incomprehensible cross-border undertaking.
    This view might have been reasonable when the innovative A320 obtaining
    it’s go-ahead in 1984. Then Boeing’s leaders predicted the newcomer would
    be a failure despite the Europeans’ modest ambitions to sell 600 such aircraft
    over two decades. Airbus has now secured orders covering 7,932 single-aisle
    twinjets!”
    It has been my experience, that all Airbus aircraft, other than the A380, were
    delivered pretty much as contracted for, the A350 having had its 1st delivery
    date moved by 2 years after the project was launched, following changes to
    it’s configuration at the request of A350 customers.

    • So you think Boeing management is caught up in thinking that amercian exceptionalism is stunted to oblivion by some socialist countries inserting a measly billion or two of subsidies into Airbus?

      That is delusional ( on Boeings side, not yours ) to a degree well beyond my understanding.
      Hmm,
      on the other this fits in with the US political and economic system going visibly “fractal bananas” in the last decade.

    • Rudy, I remember reading that article recently. I think it is one of the most lucid piece I have seen in Aviation Week in recent years.

      Ever since Airbus started competing in the commercial aviation market Boeing has been in denial. They have never recognized their technical, commercial and industrial leadership.

      The following thought crossed my mind recently. Could it be that Boeing is in denial also about itself?

      We would normally think they know better than anybody else how bad the situation is at Boeing. My impression is they don’t truly see it. For example, they say the 787 will be profitable from day one. You know what? They probably believe it!

      They cannot afford not to believe it. Because if they did not believe it they would go insane! In modern psychology denial is recognized as a protective mechanism that the brain uses to prevent just that.

      • Not knowing in detail is the downside of plausible deniability.
        i.e. the inhouse buffer layer of information filtering allows
        management to make those marginally truthfull statements
        in public that so very well prop up shareholder value without
        giving false wittness ( They just don’t know any better ).

        Unfortunately this cuts the “manage” property from “manager”.

  4. Well the subsidies were a little more than a “measly billion or two”. They were $25 BILLION to $30 BILLION. But whats a few billion between friends and a WTO ruling, Wue?

    Rudy, did you forget the original A-300 was late, and didn’t meet its promised performance. Also, how is the French and German Air Forces liking their A-400Ms? Ooops, I’m sorry, that simple trash hauler is a little late, like 5 + years. The A-330MRTT was 3 years late, and that was, according to Airbus, a ‘simple’ mod. You already mentioned the A-380.

    Both OEMs have had several programs run late.

    • Trudging out the same old missinformation loosing all
      the fine detail again , …. and again.
      You seem to be cut out for a seat on Boeings BOD 😉

      • What’s really grating is that he never comes back and admits he’s wrong or take correction when he spouts BS numbers and stats about anything concerning Airbus, even on A.net. He’ll write some rubbish post intentionally skewering Airbus’ numbers, he’ll get called out on it, and a few days later, you’ll see him writing the same BS all over again in a different thread. It’s like head in sand or maximum delusion.

  5. Come on KC.
    You produced a wonderful piece last week that was applauded by all!
    Its a shame you have gone back to your Lord Haw Haw rhetoric.

  6. Actually I would not accept a position on the Boeing BOD if one were ever offered. I agree there are some troubling aspects and decisions the BOD made, or allowed others to make.

    Just because I like the products Boeing makes does not mean I would want to work for them in any capacity.

    • Life affords us the opportunity of liking all manner of things, customers selecting aeronautical products on the back of them liking them or the supplier has paid a not inconsiderable part in Boeings undoing.

      The aviation industry is a case in-point where commercial reality dictates that even the best established supplier/customer relationships will ultimatly surcumb to the supplier offering the superior product.

      With todays confirmed orders frequently reflecting delivery dates & not preffered choice & putting the delivery & capacity issue aside, its generally acknowledg EADS has the upper hand across the categories.

      The 787 is mammoth step forward, & still very much an unknown quantity & under threat, so perhaps with some justified arrogance we here acknowledge that Boeing only holds the competitive upper hand with its 777 family & delivery dates from the rest of its portfolio.

  7. I have to wonder about the MSNBC presentation on Big Bs 787 Dreanliner with a comment at the end stating that all future commercial aircraft will be built of all aluminum do to issues with the 787. Is this their conjecture or did it come from Big B? This comment make no since as the Busboys are moving forward with composite research and most of their current aircraft are full of it. I am further intrigued with a comment or question that someone put forth as to will the Busboys neo the A330?

  8. KCTB,

    I think the A-400M is totally underestimated in the US (Boeing, LM). Said that for yrs.

    The specs look irresistible & its proving to meet those as we speak. The trouble around the program was mostly political (who’ll pay the extra costs in a time of cost cutting).

    I fear LM/Boeing will soon be “chocked” again & start flag waving. Soon means 2012 when a A400M tours 6-7 US bases & impresses the folks they take for demo’s.

    Dirt strips & Mach 0.7, fighter/heli tanker, fitting 2 Apaches/ serious armoured vehicles / 38t, transatlantic range.

    At some point their will be some US Marines pilots behind the stick & then the sh.t hits the fan. Stay tuned.

    • Well, I supposed they would have to sell it for a lot less than what is costing the countries that ordered them, cause at that price, you could get a whole lot more of an airplane!

    • How much stuff that goes on a C-17 or A400M could go on a 777F or A332F more cheaply? How much dirt capability is necessary?

  9. keesje :
    KCTB,
    I think the A-400M is totally underestimated in the US (Boeing, LM). Said that for yrs.

    It’s part of the denial process we have been discussing above. The A400M is particularly irritating to the American players because it encroaches on what was until recently a US preserve. In the context of the A380, which ravished the crown from Boeing, the A400M is just adding insult to injury (to Boeing’s ego).

  10. Certainly are a great number of Airbus fanboys here. Spirit has already spilled the beans that the A350 will not begin FAL this year. They made it abundantly clear in their press release that not all parts of Section 15 will even be delivered to their own facility in Saint Nazaire this year. Rather hard to start a FAL with out a center fuselage.

    Oh, and Keesje, even the French Senat says the A400M is horribly over weight, not meeting specifications, and certain capabilities that were sold can’t be delivered.

    • Howard,

      – the A380 too was “horribly over weight, not meeting specifications”, too large & build for yesterdays network strategy (not point to point)
      – the A320 NEO would be leapfrogged by the NSA within a decade
      – the A330 would have been wiped away by the Dreamliner around 2010
      – 747-8i was experiencing massive interest and Boeing was discussing orders with a dozen airlines, because the costs per seat, cargo capability and range are superior.
      – A350-1000, undefined, too small, 773ER will take care. A350 will be a disaster anywy, it has to be.

      Now the 40t A400M is not worth noticing. The 20t, 50yr old C130 and extremely costly 80t C17 (ending production 2013?) will do the job just fine. LM was thinking so long finally Embraer jumped in.

      Now if Boeing PR says things like this, it’s ok. Frightening is, that it often appears Boeing senior management actually believes it to be accurate.

      Only an undeniable large surprise order from a customer assumed to be in the pocket seems to get the feet back on the ground.

      A A400M visiting S.Korea, would that do the trick?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdLq8z9dmK8&feature=related

      • keesje, why do you understate the the Max payload weights of the US products, and overstate the A400M??

        “Now the 40t A400M is not worth noticing. The 20t, 50yr old C130 and extremely costly 80t C17 (ending production 2013?)?

        BTW, the 50 yr old C-130J just got another order for 6 more!
        http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/dsca-notifies-us-congress-of-possible-india-c-130j-deal-364006/

        Additionally, since you keep bringing up cost? At least have the integrity to compare apples to apples. And not fly away cost for one vs. a real world delivery contract for the other. that include for example: (from the FG thread above) Quote:

        “The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a possible sale of six more Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports to India at a cost of $1.2 billion.

        The deal will be conducted under the US Foreign Military Sales mechanism, said the DSCA.

        The sale will include six spare Rolls-Royce AE2100-D3 engines, eight BAE Systems AAR-47 missile warning systems, eight BAE ALR-56M advanced radar warning receivers, eight BAE ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems, eight FLIR Systems AAQ-22 Star Safire III electro-optical/infrared sensors, eight Rockwell Collins ARC-210 radios and 3,200 flare cartridges.

        Also included are training, support equipment, updates, and other ancillary equipment and services.” End Quote…

        You continue to compare the still (unknown) fly away cost of the A400M, to the fully contracted prices that a country pays for a comprehensive support package (like the one above). Why?

        As far as the C-17 is concerned, It has orders to take it into 2014 already… And, there is talk that there will be more orders come Dubai. We will see…

        • How political is this price ? India is currently in the “wine and dine” phase of
          US foreign policy. Ms. Clinton was publicly willing to gift away fighters
          in the indian competition to gain exports ( certainly dearly needed ).

          And you still tender as comparable types that fit a different role.

          Airbus last comment on the A400M is that it meets spec or exeeds.
          The question may be what set of specs, but attributes like “horrible”
          are out of the way here anyway imho ( trudge them over to the 787 thread please ;-).
          Anyway the pushed back features ( terrain following ) aren’t to be
          found on the US specimen either.

          To close : you aren’t too far removed from Mr. TB in your ( not ) keeping to
          the facts line.

      • Keesje, if you have a problem with the statement about the A400M, then I suggest you take it up with the French government, since they are the ones who made the statements.

        Just one more thing on this. What is the difference between all of those commercial programs you listed and the A400M? Simple. None of the commercial programs had their contracts renegotiated to accept a sub par product, at a higher price, with no guarantee of improvement. A400M did.

  11. KC135T “did you forget the original A-300 was late, and didn’t meet its
    promised performance. Also, how is the French and German Air Forces
    liking their A-400Ms?”

    I was only referring to commercial Airbus airplanes and yes, the very first
    A300 prototype was late and “a dog,” but together with the Concorde, they
    were part of a Euro Government funded learning curve which eventually
    enabled Airbus to replace Boeing, the preeminent commercial airplane
    builder worldwide, by the beginning of this Century.
    I was a proud member of the that fabulous Boeing team for over 30 years
    and what continues to pain me, was the refusal by the “new Boeing Team,”
    headed up by “T” Wilson, which had valuable managerial experience build-
    ing and installing “Minuteman ICBMs on time and below budget costs, but
    knew little if anything about commercial aviation AND refused to listen to
    the “oldies” WITH experience, to prepare the Co. for the ever increasing
    and serious threat from Airbus, until it was too late!
    Consequently, they tried to get out of commercial aviation together in the
    early 70’s and to go back to what they believed was our traditional field of
    expertise, military a/p’s and other non-commercial types of business!
    Evidence of this new approach, is seen by the cancelation of the 737 pro-
    gram by “T”, later overruled by the Board with the assistance of Jack Steiner,
    insisting on building the totally uneconomical 747SP, to rescue the 747 pro-
    gram from the Trimotors and for almost that whole decade, wasted over a
    $Bill. on several diversification projects totally unrelated to aviation, which
    all failed, instead of expanding on the very powerful position Boeing had
    already achieved in commercial aviation, with the 707, 727, 737 and 747
    AND get ready for the upcoming and increasingly serious challenge from
    Airbus, for which I and many others warned them for many years, without
    avail!

    • Based partly on the experience in developing the 747 and even the S1-C (Saturn-V first stage) during the 1960s, Boeing changed course during the 1970s, when they seemingly were starting to pursue, from then onwards, a self imposed constraint of designing-to-cost on most, if not all of their new projects.

      While Airbus was proactive in introducing composites and fly-by-wire (etc.), for a long time Boeing was viewed as a quite conservative and cautious company when it came to introducing new technologies. Due in part to these self imposed design-to-cost restraints, Boeing’s management was in a reactive mode during the seventies and eighties. What transpired during this reactive period in Boeing’s history was nothing less than the rise of Airbus from an industrial upstart to a most serious contender; a striking example of a successful industrial policy that was initially nurtured by a sustained multi-state collaboration.

      Boeing vice president Jim Austin described the first Airbus product as “a typical government airplane. They’ll build a dozen or so and then go out of business.” Austin spoke from experience, and he was almost right. 😉

      http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/cit-sweetman.html

      • Nice summary OV! The irony in all of this is that Boeing has been perceived as an engineer company until at least the turn of the century. In reality it was no longer the case by the time the Airbus A300 made its first flight.

        Like I think Rudy has tried to convey in his last post, T started to stifle the engineer spirit after the 747 debacle in the early seventies. Therefore, the Boeing engineers who had been highly creative until then started to be reactive instead.

        The first shock they had was the A310 with its highly computerized two-man cockpit. I presume that was the time when Rudy and a few others must have started to get really nervous and rang the alarm. But the captain pushed the master caution to cut it off, oblivious to the great danger they were facing.

        And right after that, the A320 came out with FBY technology. They not only got rid of cables and push rods, but they also threw out the control column and yoke. That was a really devastating knock-out punch from which Boeing has never truly recovered. Airbus was so far ahead of Boeing that the latter was left unable, and apparently unwilling, to respond.

        By the time Boeing produced the 777 and tried to market it like if it was the greatest invention since the Wright brothers, the A3XX was already on the drafting tables. And by the time Airbus had started to put together the A380, Boeing had responded with the Dreamliner, like if both aircraft were fighting for the same market. That must be the greatest fallacy in commercial aircraft history!

        If you can’t beat them, ignore them. That’s the essence of denial.

  12. keesje :Do some research on what Qatar, India, Australia and Canada pay/paid for their C-17s.
    http://indiadefenceonline.com/1978/boeing-offers-to-reduce-c-17-cost/
    A400M’s, even with cost rises, aren’t even in the same category.
    I sense the same sense of blunt denial Rudy talks about in #6. Sometimes one feels someone has to grap them by the ears and shout it at them close range. (Like AA a few months ago).

    keesje, Australia is so disappointed in their C-17 capabilities, costs, and performance they recently order another one. Qatar and Canada both are equilly unhappy with their C-17s, and the UK is so unhappy they are looking for more of them. I suspect India has talked to the C-17 and C-130J customers, as well as the USAF, and looked at the operational history to evaluate the C-17 and C-130J for their own unique operations. There must be some mistake that India passed over the A-400 and Il-78 and ordered the C-17 and C-130J.

    How many customers are happy with their A-400Ms? Oops, sorry, no customers have any, yet, and won’t have one until the first delivery some 18-24 months from now. Did you notice that Germany is so happy with their A-400M order, and the price of them that they are offering about 14 of them for sale upon delivery from EADS? What will the availability of these German A-400s do for potential new orders from EADS? So they (the EU customers) cannot truely evaluate their investments in it on missions they will be actually flying, not the carefully planned missions of the fligh test program.

    BTW, the A-400M at max cargo weight (38 tonnes) does not have TATL range, it can only fly some 1780 nm (3300 km), with required fuel reserves. Even at a cargo weight of just 30 tonnes, it only has a range of 2450 nm (4540 km), which is just bearly TATL range. From CDG it has to land at YYR or YQX for fuel. It has to go down to a cargo load of just 20 tonnes to be able to fly non-stop from CDG to ADW, or a max range of 3450 nm (6400 km). This is only about 600 nm more range than the C-130J carrying the same 20 tonne payload (2835 nm or 5250 km), but the A-400M costs (fly away) more than 3 X the costs of a C-130J (A-400, $190M to $240M USD, C-130J, $60M to $75M USD, airplane alone, no packages or discounts at todays exchange rates).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_with_distance_circles_to_paris.svg

    BTW, none of us have a true idea of what an A-400M future order will actually cost, when spares, training, maintenance packages, and performance garantees are added in for each airplane, like they are today for C-17 or C-130J orders.

  13. Spreading confusions TB?

    – nobody says the C-17 isn’t ok, it’s freakin expensive though.
    – I won’t discus the prices of the aircraft mentioned again. You have to be focussed and determined to keep ignoring all the pricing info available from a string of sources on A400M and C-17. But that’s what we discussed earlier in this blog.
    – C-130J-30 fies 2,417 miles (2,100 nautical miles) with 35 klbs payload according to the USAF. nowhere near the claims you make.
    http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=92
    – you probably know the C-130 cargo is mainly height limited anyway. That’s why LM is playing around with a Fat Herc spec & Boeing with a C17 Light.

  14. Uwe :
    How political is this price ? India is currently in the “wine and dine” phase of
    US foreign policy. Ms. Clinton was publicly willing to gift away fighters
    in the indian competition to gain exports ( certainly dearly needed ).
    And you still tender as comparable types that fit a different role.
    Airbus last comment on the A400M is that it meets spec or exeeds.
    The question may be what set of specs, but attributes like “horrible”
    are out of the way here anyway imho ( trudge them over to the 787 thread please .
    Anyway the pushed back features ( terrain following ) aren’t to be
    found on the US specimen either.
    To close : you aren’t too far removed from Mr. TB in your ( not ) keeping to
    the facts line.

    Uwe, are your comments directed at my post?

    • Yes, towards your numbers on the indian C17 arrangement.

      ( wordpress losses indentation levels, no idea why so many
      comment section have issues, a good commentary function
      is a solved problem, look over at slashdot.org )

  15. Observer :
    Uwe, what specific C-17 numbers are you referring to?

    The DSCA numbers you cited.
    my assumption is that those are soft to political interests.
    The US currently is very keen on being liked by India.
    Cancelation of the EADS tanker contract on no money grounds
    and the following order swap to the C17 indicates that this
    must have been quite a bargain.
    Compare to Ms. Clinton’s quip on the Indian fighter selection
    potentially offering F35 well under cost to reforce their way into
    the competition.
    The US has offered a range of other goodies too.
    (Politically this is trying to fix blowback blunders by way of
    raising another willing henchman who is supposed to fix
    those unpleasant problems ( at the moment PAK and the ISI ))

  16. My only comment on the C-17 were in response to Keesje’s quote: “extremely costly 80t C17 (ending production 2013?)”.

    Where I replied: “As far as the C-17 is concerned, It has orders to take it into 2014 already… And, there is talk that there will be more orders come Dubai. We will see…”

    The DSCA numbers I cited, were in regard to yesterdays article about the new Indian C-130J order (link below).

    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/dsca-notifies-us-congress-of-possible-india-c-130j-deal-364006/

    Which brings us to a crossroad… Is it? Quote(s):

    “Cancelation of the EADS tanker contract on no money grounds and the following order swap to the C17 indicates that this must have been quite a bargain.”

    As you say, or?

    “Do some research on what Qatar, India, Australia and Canada pay/paid for their C-17s.
    http://indiadefenceonline.com/1978/boeing-offers-to-reduce-c-17-cost/
    A400M’s, even with cost rises, aren’t even in the same category.” & “extremely costly 80t C17”

    Is it as Keesje tries to imply (as his link above implies the IAF spent $5.8B on 10 C-17’s)?

    It can’t be “must have been quite a bargain” and “extremely costly 80t C17” at the same time… Now can it???

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