Readers’ vote: What’s the most momentous event of 2011?

What do you think was the most momentous event for the following companies in 2011? And what do you predict for 2012?

16 Comments on “Readers’ vote: What’s the most momentous event of 2011?

  1. Scott, have you noticed just how quiet things are at Boeing’s executive suites in the windy city?

    James McNerney hasn’t been seen nor heard from in awhile. He’s gone to ground. But Jim Albaugh has been in the funny papers almost constantly. He’s the DE-facto leader right now, the supernumerary, the sin qua non.

    I smell something in the wind, a change……. A graceful exit to “spend more time with family” or “pursue other career objectives” or some such tommyrot.

    After all, McNerney’s scorched earth ideology regarding unions seems to have been given a pass, and one wonders if he was overruled by the B.O.D……..

    Just a thought………………maybe nothing to it……

    • That’s the strangest thing — especially considering John Leahy identified McNerney as his toughest rival salesman at Boeing yet in – I think – a Reuters interview

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  3. The most significant and monumental event for Boeing in 2011, has to be their
    last minute decision to offer the 737MAX, after GE/SCECMA suddenly and
    unexpectedly offered to reduce the fan diameter of the GTX engine!
    Had that NOT happened, Boeing would have taken their time to the end of
    2011, to offer an all new airplane to replace the 737, to compete with the
    A320NEO!
    It appears, that Boeing planning folks were again asleep at the helm, by not
    recognizing the extremely strong demand for much more fuel-efficient aircraft
    in all categories and especially in the heavily travelled single-isle category!

    Fortunately, the 737MAX will now be able to share that market on a 50/50
    bases in competition with the A320NEO, for many years, if not for decades to
    come!

  4. I read the 50/50 comments regarding the MAX / NEO, the balance has restored, parity is there, everything is back to normal.

    Personally I think there is a lot of hope there & the MAX is bit of a compromized stop gab. I see 40/60 as a possible scenario this decade.

    • Correct, with an insight of how fans perform, neither offers a clean sheet, you rightly identify the Max enters the fray as a compromise, tackling to match the apparent NEO solution.

      Whilst Boeing struggles to curb single aisle customer drift, some loyal customers will resist the NEO temptation, for those in the know the MAX data released thus far indicates the criteria for doing so will be more aligned to delivery dates than operational economics.

  5. Rudy, can you stop that!

    CFM did NOT suddenly, out of the blue, offer a reduced fan diameter LEAP-X. Boeing did not ask for one first, since they where thinking about a new airplane.

    When MAX was on the table, the max fan diameter was rediced over the NSA and CFM updated their NEO offering with a reduced fan diameter version. It takes months to work through a new engine concept, and does not _suddenly_ happen… and definitely not without Boeing asking them to…

    The engine is LEAP-X, GTF is Pratts engine… GTX would be a nice combo though 😉

    • Right mneja!

      That’s the second time his posts that rubbish. He wants everybody to know how smart he is by pointing that out. As was said before, the 737NG isn’t that bad when it sold over 550 of them this year, even while the so much more superior NEO was being offered.

      • On the contrary, Rudy offers valuable insight as a a retired Boeing sales director in Europe. IMO, nothing to do about “showing-off”, or whatever.

    • IMHO you are not following that chain of thinking through to the end!

      It is nigh certain that Boeing previously had all the possible permutations checked out.
      Their professed objective of a “New Technology” NB airframe appears decades away due to near term lack in maturity of design and production methods.
      Not long ago Boeing admitted as much and thus joined up with Airbus position over an expectable timeline for an achievable technology step providing worthwhile efficiency gains.

      Concidering this and the fact that they only offered the MAX under duress indicates that for Boeing as a profit oriented entity this is a step done for keeping market share but unprofitable. They would have preferred to tide over customers with a stream of prommises,
      another revolutionary product barely visible in futures haze.

      The nonexistant customers for a reengine existed all the time. They may have had reservations about the 737 having the potential for an upgrade and thus more an eye on a new design but looking into the eyes of hard facts and the unavailability of same they are limited to a reengine ( or no change at all ).

    • Are we talking about a reduced fan diameter or a shrunken core with a reduced diameter fan? The former is a relatively trivial undertaking in comparison to the latter. I agree with Rudy that offering the MAX was a pretty monumental decision-making event for Boeing in 2011.

      BTW, Happy New Year, everyone!

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  7. I don’t see a contradiction between what Rudy says here and what mneja and others have to say on the subject of the MAX go-ahead.

    Boeing’s first choice was the NSA. What made them gradually change their mind was the mounting difficulties with the 787 program (and 747-8). It became evident that they had to find a Plan B on the 737 replacement in order to preserve cash. In the end the MAX was forced upon Boeing by the situation with the 787 and increasing pressure from various key customers. But they were ambivalent to the last minute.

    Why were they so ambivalent? First, they probably did not all agree on the right course to take. I am quite sure they had internal fights about it. Second, they lacked focus. Their minds were preoccupied by labor problems, delocalization of the 2nd 787 line, 747-8 and 787 delays, suppliers issues, the Tanker bid, etc… You can’t see clearly when there is so much fog around you. Third, they would have to spend a considerable amount of money on a new program at the worst possible time.

    The decision to go MAX was a last minute decision that had been in the works for some time. So Rudy and mneja are both correct. The 737 MAX was planned for (mneja), but it was a last minute decision (Rudy). The decision looked improvised, with very little hard data, but an enormous amount of Boeing Spin (BS). For an outside observer Boeing looked like if they were in a state of panic, forced to take a decision under extreme pressure and against their will.

    But it was a sound decision and it was the only sensible one to take under the aggravated circumstances. It’s too bad though, for Boeing lost a great opportunity to blow away the competition. The NSA would have made the NEO instantly obsolete, a stillborn. Airbus made the first move and Boeing had them in the ropes, but they were unable to deliver the final punch because their hands were tied.

    For me the new contract agreement with the union remains the most important development of 2011 because it was totally unexpected and the best thing that could happen to Boeing. But the NEO/MAX fight was by far the most interesting one. And the 787 first delivery remains a non-event.

    The year 2011 will go down in history as a decisive year for Boeing, much more so than it was for Airbus. Will the year 2012 be less exiting? Maybe for Boeing, but not for Airbus with the A350 and Bombardier with the CSeries.

    • IMHO the NSA is not deliverable in a timeframe compatible with making the NEO stillborn
      and Boeing is aware of this limitation.

      The NSA would have been a repeat of the Dreamliner project only “flooding” the company over an even longer timeframe killing the civil airliners division on its way.

      With the MAX it will hurt but BCA will live.

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