Odds and Ends: A380 & other Airbus tidbits; “SC-787-1” to be airborne soon

A380 & other Airbus tidbits: Aviation Week has this article about the latest on A380 wing cracks in the L brackets, along with some information on the A350 program, A330 production rates, a comment on the price war and the prospect of an A320 production line in Mobile (AL). A reader asked us for a report on the wing cracks; we’ll be in Toulouse next week for the Airbus Innovation Days and anticipate some discussion of this topic then.

“SC-787-1” to be airborne soon: The first Boeing 787 built in South Carolina will take to the air very soon, Boeing revealed during its investors day Tuesday. The Everett Herald has this article with some detail of production challenges and opportunities. There is also a reference well down in the article about diversifying production risk.

Speaking about that diversification: We were in Spokane (WA) yesterday addressing the Washington Public Ports Association. We urged the Port Authorities present to plan to propose to Boeing that the company should locate future assembly lines or supply clusters in Eastern Washington, away from the earthquake zones of Puget Sound. The April tornado in Wichita (KS) shut down 737 production for nine days and really brings home the potential risk factors to Boeing. This has been a song of ours since 2009 when we made a similar call to arms at another conference, which also was in Spokane. After our talk, one Port Authority commissioner noted that a computer model simulation of a Kobe, Japan-style earthquake concluded the ports in Puget Sound would be shut for three full months. The Boeing Renton plant is in close proximity to the Port of Seattle.

Sea of Foam: Check this out.

12 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A380 & other Airbus tidbits; “SC-787-1” to be airborne soon

  1. Boeing should move all their facilities to eastern WA, perhaps around Spokane.

    Airbus is saying the A-350 program is “challanging”. Does that mean there will be yet another delay announced soon? They have been assembling A-359 ship #1 for about a month and a half now, but have been very quite about it lately. Will it make it to the FAS this summer?

    • “Airbus announced today its structural assembly of the first A350 XWB aft fuselage destined for the first flying A350 XWB (MSN1) has been completed at its manufacturing site in Hamburg.

      We note with great interest how Airbus provides program information. Rather than the method used by Boeing on the 787 for a while, with regular conference calls every 90 days, Airbus sends out a picture and words to describe what one is seeing. …”
      Full text http://airinsight.com/2012/03/14/more-a350-xwb-progress/

      • AirInsight:
        “We note with great interest how Airbus provides program information. Rather than the method used by Boeing on the 787 for a while, with regular conference calls every 90 days, Airbus sends out a picture and words to describe what one is seeing. …”
        Full text http://airinsight.com/2012/03/14/more-a350-xwb-progress/

        AirInsight is truly revealing their naivete with this statement. In reality, both Boeing and Airbus release information and photos which serve their own interests. To believe otherwise is to be truly duped.

        That AirInsight (Scott, I presume) feels satisfied after eating from the A350 info stream, when the 787 info stream left him wanting, is simply a matter of hindsight (or possibly expedience). It is not lost on those of us working in this industry that Scott will attend Airbus’ upcoming Innovation Days at Airbus’ invitation. More than one aviation journalist has been “banished” by Airbus from this type of company event after being critical of the company (Geoff Thomas is one example which comes to mind). Boeing (nor other OEMs, that I know of) are known to do this. It is hard to measure how much of a chilling effect this threat of losing access has on reporters, which may otherwise be critical of Airbus.

        Since AirInsight seems to have given Airbus a pass on not explaining the many weeks of delay for delivering MSN001’s wings to the FAL, we have a great and current example to ask Scott about. Is it a matter of convenience or neglect this blog has failed to report a noteworthy delay in A350 program progress? It seems these kinds of glitches were big news for the 787 program.

        James

        • James, you presume wrong. That wasn’t me. I am also attending BBD’s media day next month and historically have been at the Boeing pre-air show media days and other press events, as well as PW’s. Several OEMs “freeze out” critical writers. Your facts are wrong on multiple levels.

          And although James gives a Bombardier email address behind the scenes (which is invalid in any event), his URL originates with Boeing Long Beach.

          Scott

  2. leehamnet :
    Your facts are wrong on multiple levels.
    Scott

    Thanks for the quick reply, Scott. I will accept that you did not write the AirInsight piece. As for the other “levels of wrong”, I have provided verifiable examples for each of my comments…

    Can you provide an example of BBD, or Boeing or another OEM “freezing” a journalist from attending their large industry events? I’m not talking about declining an interview or not answering a request for information. I’m talking about inviting the world to your industry events, but excluding your detractors. It’s a pretty powerful stick to wave at a trade reporter, when all their colleagues/competitors will get the stories and they won’t. The banishments certainly don’t sit well with their editors, I can tell you that!

    Further, can you explain why delayed Boeing deliveries to FAL were scrutinized in great detail here on this blog, but you have not mentioned the most obvious contemporary example of such a delay from Airbus? There may be a good reason, but it seems glaring in its absence, given the focus of past reporting here.

    • BTW I also attend the US Airways media event.

      But to answer your question, I have reported on A350 delays.

      http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/a350-eis-delayed/ (which refers to previous such reportings), http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/airbus-chief-bemoans-slow-pace-of-change-aviation-week/,http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/airbus-has-its-challenges-too/#more-3692, and other A350 tribulations http://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/qatars-ceo-on-a350-cseries/.

      As for other banishments and retributions, if you will give me a valid name and email address, I’d be happy to address this off line.

    • CRJ,

      I share your concern for the freedom of the press. At one point I was actually quite worried for Dominic Gates of TST. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he had been subjected to considerable pressure from Boeing to “stay quiet”. I also can understand that someone working for a company that is under public scrutiny might be particularly susceptible to any form of criticism directed towards his employer.

      But we might want to also look at the problem from a different angle. Just think of the Wall Street business analysts during the Dreamliner crisis. How did they respond to the various signals coming from numerous well informed observers? The vast majority of them acted like if everything was “under control”. What were they afraid of?

      In regards to Air Insight and Scott, I think you have selected the wrong targets. Here or over there you will always find a safe ground to express your opinion. Provided you don’t attack anyone personally. And if they are biased they try not to make it too obvious. The most important point though is that they are always respectful of everyone and expect others to act with the same degree of professionalism.

      That being said, I find your posts to be unjustifiably critical towards individuals who obviously strive to remain neutral under all circumstances. My observations tell me that they have to remain diplomatic with all the OEMs because they know how susceptible they all are to external criticism.

    • Hello, “CRJ” from Boeing:

      you will be happy to know Geoff Thomas is at the Airbus Innovation Days.

  3. CRJ :
    AirInsight is truly revealing their naivete with this statement. In reality, both Boeing and Airbus release information and photos which serve their own interests. To believe otherwise is to be truly duped.

    I think if you believe that was the only point of the Airinsight article you were truly duped.

    Airinsight’s point was that Airbus is able to communicate progress (whether you believe it to be real progress or not) without having to deal with awkward questions as Boeing had to do on its investor calls.

  4. thysi :

    CRJ :
    AirInsight is truly revealing their naivete with this statement. In reality, both Boeing and Airbus release information and photos which serve their own interests. To believe otherwise is to be truly duped.

    I think if you believe that was the only point of the Airinsight article you were truly duped.
    Airinsight’s point was that Airbus is able to communicate progress (whether you believe it to be real progress or not) without having to deal with awkward questions as Boeing had to do on its investor calls.

    There is some truth in that I guess. But Boeing itself is to blame. Since 2004 Boeing communication has been overly optimistic, arrogant and factual incorrect. After 3-4 rounds analysts and airlines found out Jon Ostrower etc. proved better informed then the Randy’s and Boeing VIPs. That continued for some embarrassing yrs. Now Boeing has to fight back to regain credibility. Until then independent journalists, analysts will remain “show me first” and suspicious on Boeings upbeat, sporty and positive views on their position in the industry.

  5. Regarding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This model is facing some issue regarding repairs to the composites used for the fuselage and wings. From what i have read and researched there are lots cancellation of orders from major airline players. Some issues and updates that I’ve gathered from http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/4fb3bae1c6f8fa2a2b000007/boeing-787?ev=10&evp=tl and http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/19/uk-boeing-idUSLNE79I02I20111019 clearly shows it will be a cloudy year for Boeing.

    • The cancelations have nothing to do with the delam problem, they were cancelled mostly because of very late deliveries. BTW, the delam problem only effects the non-structual section of the tail, not the wings. The question on the wings questioned thee repairs Boeing did on the wing/body join area. Those questions have been answered to everyone’s satisfaction.

      As to the 8 month old reuters story, many things have changed since then. Many of the various Chinese airlines have had the Airbus orders placed on hold by the Chinese Government over the dispute with the EU on the ETS scam. Boeing has dlivered about 10 B-787s to date, 8 of them in 2012. The “major” airlines of the world have not cancelled the B-787, so I don’t know where you got that from. Some airlines, like DL have delayed delivery themselves due to their business plans for the next several years.

      For the prediction that Boeing will have a ‘cloudy year’ (2012), I think the facts and numbers show that is not true. Through 5/22/12, Boeing had accumclated 447 new airplane orders, including 19 for the B-787, 4 B-767s and 9 B-777s. After changes, Boeing still has 418 net orders.

      http://active.boeing.com/commercial/orders/index.cfm

      Through 4/30/12 Boeing has delivered 188 new airplanes.

      http://active.boeing.com/commercial/orders/index.cfm?content=displaystandardreport.cfm&RequestTimeout=20000&optReportType=CurYrDelv&pageid=m15520

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