Odds and Ends: Boeing helps create new competitor; Home for the 777X; CSeries backlog

Mitsubishi MRJ: The Seattle Times has this profile of the Mitsubishi MRJ and Japan’s emerging role in global aerospace.

What particularly struck us was the narration about the benefits Mitsubishi gained from Boeing in designing and building airplanes. The next point is old news: the MRJ will use a metal wing and fuselage, not composite. Mitsubishi said long ago it would forgo a composite wing, and a metal fuselage was never in the cards for this small aircraft.

We recall that during the 2008  IAM 751 strike, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney sent an email to all employees justifying the need to cut costs because of the new competitors. We wrote at the time, Well no kidding: Boeing is helping create these competitors with its outsourcing. Although the MRJ is currently a 70-90 seat aircraft, a 100-seat version is envisioned. If these are a success, we certainly see the day when Mitsubishi will have ambitions for a 150-seat class of aircraft.

Thanks in no small part to The Boeing Co.

Building the 777X–in Everett? The Puget Sound Business Journal has this story trying to read the tea leaves where Boeing will build the successor to the popular 777-300ER.

Then there is this story from Reuters about the prospective launch of the 777X.

CSeries Backlog: Richard Aboulafia likes the design but otherwise has never had much good to say about the Bombardier CSeries. Take a read of this, Rich. (For those who don’t know, we’re good friends with Aboulafia and have a friendly and public debate over the viability of the CSeries future.)

19 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Boeing helps create new competitor; Home for the 777X; CSeries backlog

  1. “Thanks in no small part to The Boeing Co”

    More of a disruptive gift, isn’t it?

    Give the runner up in a market segment a leg up to force competition.
    This keeps the participants entrenched and consumes resources
    that could be used to gain access to the upscale market. ( For now )

    • And how does Boeing’s outsourcing manufacturing and some engineering to Japan differ from what Airbus is doing in China?

      • Principally not much different. Though I think there is a significant difference in
        how Europeans expand into new markets and leverage synergies from cooperation.

        Notice that I questioned the gift character. Then, the way you think about ideas as
        (Intellectual) Property or as Limited Privilege influences your way of looking at this.

      • When you get in the manufacturing bed with China there is no difference. They will reverse engineer and/or hack everything you know.

  2. Have seen thar CSeries backlog comment before. Flaw is that the industry is nearly three times as big now as it was back in the days of A320 launch. Conveniently overlooks NEO and MAX which surely are more relevant benchmarks today?

    • NEO and MAX are really not relevant benchmarks as they are upgrades to existing airframes, both with very large customer bases for the predecessor aircraft. The best comparisons, I think, are MRJ, MS-21, SSJ and the E-Jet.

    • AW should have checked with Aboulafia… there is not 192 firm CSeries orders, not to mention about the “quality” of the “backlog.” Just under 1/2 of CS300 orders is to an airline that has no home for their order after Airbus/CFM “bumped” the CSeries from Frontier. And then there is Air Baltic that is in a precarious state.

  3. In today’s globalized world, technology flows more freely to suppliers ;we cannot have the old ways of keeping tech intact and keep delivering to the world market -as much as Boeing and Airbus and for that matter stakeholders in and around Seattle /Tolouse would love to. It is tempting for entrenched players to access the world market but would keep the wealth creation in and around them/ their country.
    After all, where will B and A be without the fast growing world outside US and Europe?

  4. The AW&ST story about the C-Series being the 4th best selling airplane to date does not include the A-320NEO or B-737MAX models, which are currently #1 and #2 if they were on the list, moving the C-Series down to the 6th position. Still that is very good and it has sold better than the A-380 before it first flew.

    Boeing has painted themselves into a corner about the B-777X, to the point the HAVE TO LAUNCH IT. But, I think that has more to do with protecting market share than making a bigger twin than Airbus. If they launch the B-777X at this year’s PAS< I look for them to also announce firm orders from EK and possibly LH, too. The BA order for 18 A-3510s is small (as was the B-77W order, but usually BA has large WB orders) and BA only has a total of 30 Airbus WBs on order, with their first A-380 to be delivered soon.

    The Mitsubishi MRJ is just as much as a threat to the A-320 as it is to the B-737, which for now is no threat at all. It is an RJ with a max range of about 1800 nm (MRJ-70LR), so it is a bigger threat to E-Jet and C-Series airplanes.

  5. Rob Morris :
    Have seen thar CSeries backlog comment before. Flaw is that the industry is nearly three times as big now as it was back in the days of A320 launch.

    The Aviation Week post states that “while times have changed and it may be unfair to compare today’s types with those from the dawn of the jet age, it is an interesting comparison nonetheless.” Interesting indeed.

    I have been looking for a list like this one for a long time now, and I thank Brian Bostick for providing it to us. The only big surprise for me was the number for the Caravelle (0), for it turned out to be a very successful aircraft.

  6. It depends on what you are comparing against. Bombardier will probably sell more than one thousand CSeries planes like its previous CRJ and Dash/Q Series lines. That would be a decent enough result and they might do a lot better than that, even though it probably won’t achieve the thousands of sales Boeing and Airbus expect for their narrowbody lines.

  7. “Meanwhile, Leahy is feeling confident about Airbus’s chances in phase two of the BA campaign to replace the bulk of its 747-400 fleet, where the A350 XWB is up against the proposed 787-10 and “777X” design study. The airline’s chief executive Willie Walsh has said that he aims to reach a decision on this deal before the end of the year.”


    2008.. Boeing sure isn’t in a hurry. They probably need more time to understand what its customers want and what the A350-1000 will look like.

    Maybe JAL, BA, SQ, CX and UA can help them out on this.

      • There is semantic difference between “perfect” and “more”. ( Just look at some ladies 😉

      • I think you’ll prefer a wider A350XWB 9 abreast seat over a 10 abreast 777X seat. Probably Boeing will try to stretch the width of the 777X cabin, at the cost of cabin noise isolation. Maybe not, the 777 isn’t quiet & if flatter and better isolation was easy they would have done it already.

      • What is the better solution for 9 abreast seating:
        3 + 3 + 3 or 2 + 5 + 2 ?

      • It is a matter of preference and the airlines can decide. It comes down to in 2+5+2 most passengers are only one person away from the aisle, and when the plane isn’t full, the center seat is the most likely the one to be empty. However, the first look at 5 across is probably more depressing to the passengers.

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