ISTAT Europe: Aeroturbopower has this recap of last week’s ISTAT Europe conference and he takes a devastating hit at the Boeing presentation. We weren’t at the event this year but we’ve seen plenty of Boeing presentations and agree with Aeroturbopower’s assessment that Boeing takes liberties…something we’ve written about and something we’ve also expressed to Boeing directly. Comparing apples to oranges seems to be a common tactic.
But in fairness, Airbus also selectively chooses numbers that boost its case. We dissected one such instance in this column on AirInsight. Both companies play around with the seating configuration of their airplanes and the opposition to come up with numbers for seat-mile costs. We’ve seen Boeing compare ranges of the 737 NG and MAX vs the A320ceo/neo families by including the auxiliary fuel tank for the 737 but not for the A320, completely distorting the comparisons. Boeing relies on DOT Form 41 data and a study from 2006-2009 in Europe when comparing maintenance costs of the two families to argue the 737 costs up to 27% less to maintain. The figure, on its face, defies logic. If the A320 cost this much more to maintain, airlines would be hard-pressed to buy it. But more to the point, the methodology for the DOT Form 41 data is thoroughly discredited as a reliable source of information. Relying on a study that uses data up to six years old is also questionable.
All these manipulations of data is why we view numbers from both companies with a high degree of skepticism. In this column, we discuss this at the very end.
Manipulation of data like this harms the credibility of both companies.
As for Aeroturbopower’s report on the 737 MAX design not being frozen, this is true and it’s not news. Boeing said it won’t be until next year and this is what we are also hearing from customers. We’re hearing from a variety of sources that there are still challenges in achieving the advertised 13% fuel burn improvement over today’s 737 NG. We believe Boeing and CFM will get there, but it remains tough. We would not be surprised to see the 69.4 inch fan diameter increase yet again.
The Washington Post reports that the US has complied with the WTO ruling on Boeing illegal subsidies. Boeing didn’t announce whether it has repaid the illegal subsidies, as it pledged to do if it was found guilty of receiving them.