DXB13, Day 2: A350 Regional; New Libyan airline; 777X production timeline; More on IAM-777X issue

It looks like the big news of the Dubai Air Show has already come-and-gone. There was little order activity on the second day.

A350 Regional: Etihad Airlines’ order for Airbus A350s include a regional version, with lighter weight, lower range and lower thrust. Aviation Week has details.

Libyan start-up orders Airbus: A new airline in Libya has placed an order for Airbus A350s and A320s.

Boeing produced this slick video to introduce the 777-8/9. As you might expect, the quality is top rate. Boeing has some subtle digs toward the A350, cleverly done as they were.



Headlines from the air show:



Bombardier may take the CSeries to Wichita (KS), where it has a facility, for flight testing if weather in Canada is poor.

Other News:

IAM 751-777X Vote

In Dominic Gates’ Seattle Times article taking a behind-the-scenes look at the IAM 777X contract fiasco,  Gates wrote:

Buffenbarger also raised a concern about the vote outcome. He said that the final vote tally Wednesday showed that 5,000 members hadn’t voted.

While he said he’s not alleging vote fraud, he said the absence of those votes leaves the outcome “questionable.”

“To have that big a number that didn’t vote stands out,” he said.

Buffenbarger needs to check his math. With 31,000 machinists, 5,000 “not voting” means 26,000 did. Sixty-seven percent rejected the contract, or 17,420, and 33% voted to approve it, or 8,580–a difference of 8,900. Even if all 5,000 had voted for the contract (a highly dubious prospect), it still would have lost by nearly3,900 votes. Buffenbarger’s comments to Gates (and we assume accurate reporting) further illustrates to buffoonery of IAM International in this entire mess.

Countdown to 777X site selection: Bloomberg News reports that Boeing will decide within three months where to build the 777X. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for the IAM to get its act together.

31 Comments on “DXB13, Day 2: A350 Regional; New Libyan airline; 777X production timeline; More on IAM-777X issue

  1. Seeing as the Libyan political situation right now resembles the plot of the Road Warrior, I’d say starting up an airline there is the absolute acme of human optimism. Good for them!

  2. IMO re voting. My * guess * is that while the majority vote was NO, it was NOT the 2/3 mentioned. The 2/3 number is essentially what it woud take to authorize a strike ( not an issue in this case ). The reason is simple – IAM International, having lost their rush to judgement game wanted to be sure the vote showed solidarity.

    This would be technically no harm, no foul since a majority voted NO – but simply a PR game.

    • Then International would have lied to its members and the media.

      But with all the people counting the votes, somebody would leak the truth.

      We were on site (though excluded from the room) during the night of the vote and we had IAM members coming out to us with regular reports, as well as some texting us directly from the room; they all observed the vote going down as ultimately reported.

      • But consider there are only a few who have access to the TOTAL tally. And as to the International lieing to its members – considering the strongarm tactics leading up to the vote, the censorship, and misleading numbers in the proposal, a ‘ white’ lie as to percentages would not be unheard of. Again, IF so, technically no harm no foul as long as real vote tally was say 55 to 45 with the majority NO. Vote suppression is not exactly unheard of in unions.

        For those cases, since it is an election of officers, the feds can do something about it.

        But on a contract vote or a recall, not being a ‘ regular ‘ election, feds have little or no jurisdiction.

        Democracy is hard work

  3. Airbus has taken a lot of chances with startups and while some have gone bust (Skybus in the US), many have done extraordinary well (JetBlue, AirAsiaX, etc.)!

    Congrats to Airbus on the getting the order!

      • ..There is a lot of anti-US sediment ..

        Yep got to watch out for that anti-US mud, it sticks to your combat boots !!!

      • Yeah it was a treat to see the local pickup-truck gangs demolishing ancient shrines and kicking over the gravestones of allied soldiers from the war after we saved Benghazi from being annihilated by Qghaddhaffhie’s troops. Bunch of charmers, these guys.

        • completely unsurprising.
          The intervention exchanged one set of goons for another set of even less sane goons. i.e. the Ghadaffi clan was ousted, …
          Just like Iraq there will be no improvement for Lybian people.

      • TB’s typing error intentionally or not & Don’s response is a tad more cryptic than many will imagine. The Libyan new boy order is small beer & carries a degree of risk, but as Don remarks US mud sticks & Boeing rightly or wrongly pay the price.

      • The reverse of this sentiment seems to be overlooked or forgotten by some here. I believe Boeing got some nice orders from airlines in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last 8 years or so. In the case of Iraq, it is less than surprising with the policy of “you fight and you can make a profit” of the US administration of the time.

      • Which in all essence can be deemed war spoils.
        First we break it then we let you pay us for fixing it.
        Electric Power Infrastructure repairs in Iraq were gifted on GE.
        ( Didn’t get their act together and had to involve Siemens to fix it )
        Same with a grafted on CDMA mobile network in a 100% GSM dominated region.
        Independent purchase decission tend to not go to the US these days.

  4. Looking forward to visiting the show tomorrow and taking a few pics and video of happy sales folk.

  5. RE: 777X production timeline

    I guess EIS and initiatial ramp up from a new FAL will not be the same from an existing line me thinks. Secondly select a new location and you still have to keep open the current 777 line for 7 years. And Boeing is a hurry to limit the A350 “damage” after 2020 period, after seeing their key customers introducing A350s in serious numbers in the 2015-2020 period.. Maybe IAM feels Boeing is bluffing a bit and there is more to get.

  6. Lets see, we are in a rush on the 777x because……..

    We want to be on the leading edge of the 747-400 (and 777-300) replacement.

    And keep in mind, just like the Hurricanes (or typhoones) the first reports are how well things went and how low the loss of life and then the casualites roll in. Read the fine pring on the contracts before we get excited

    Well the 747-400 replacement has been going on for some time. The A350 has been in design let alone bult and flying for some time.

    What Chicago does so well, lead from behind.

    • “What Chicago does so well, lead from behind.”
      They also appear to be pretty good with the Borgia Tool Box 😉

  7. So looks like everyone blew their wads on the first day. But let’s see what the rest holds. Boeing already confirmed there probably wouldn’t be any more 777X orders here.

  8. With 2 major airframers, are two lines per model going to be standard on major aircraft going forward?

  9. The IAM should give Boeing an offer for a defined contribution benefit for health/pension. Boeing wanted a to switch the step pay scale from 6 to 16 years, they should pick a number in the middle.

  10. iam 751 is a smoking ruin, They aren’t in any shape to offer anything. The international seems to have abandoned them to their fate. An offer would have to come from Boeing, and it could work in Boeing’s favor, making the union undesirable and Boeing the White Knight riding to their rescue.

  11. I am much more interested in the aircraft but again here goes: There is nothing even remotely unusual in what has happened in the Seattle votes – it is absolutely normal when the local workers have lost all confidence in the ability or desire of management to achieve an ‘equitable settlement’. Of course from now on anything can happen (and has happened in the dozens of comparable cases) but it is reasonable to expect the union to present a counter-offer. Naturally, since the absentee management (absenteeism being a huge, huge mistake on the part of management by the way) is detested and since cries of ‘betrayal’ will have floated around directed at the international, this will take some time. But time is what is needed and there are two plus factors at work. One is that the cost of rejection is becoming an issue not an emotion to the workers- the other than management is also under extreme pressure, accentuated I suspect by some secret qualifying clauses imposed by the Gulf carriers on the rate and quality of contract construction initiation.

    • Boy do I want to believe this, I’m just not sure that there’s sufficient motivation in the people who actually have to do the bargaining to come to an agreement. I think the onus is on 751 leadership to make the first offer since they’re facing dissent within their own ranks and they have to seize the reins or lose them.
      If I were Governor Inslee I would be engaging in some pretty furious shuttle diplomacy right now.

      • The interference of Patty M and Inslee is about the last thing the IAM needs at the moment. The first thing they need to do is get rid of the International crew who bullied the local. ( they can vote to disaffiliate ) and elect a negotiation team and get outside expert help to figure out just how bad/good various elements of the BA intimidation really are, and what might be a reasonable compromise for the members.

        I simply cannot understand why the International – out of town- folks got involved, let alone throwing the local under the bus.

  12. I wonder if that is all of the 777x sales, period. I am not trying to be snarky here but how many widebody twins does the world need over the next 15 years? Between the 787, the current 777, the A330 and the A350, Boeing and Airbus have sold a large amount of aircraft over the past 8 years. The vast majority of these aircraft have yet to be delivered. Is there really capacity for that many more to be sold? Especially for a rather old model with what some would argue, might be designed for a niche role.
    Let’s be honest here, despite the “future of flight” line at the end of the 777x promo film (by the way, Topboom must have loved the extra wide comment), the 777 is over 20 years old and will be a couple years shy of 30 by the time the 777x comes out. Kind of strange to be boasting about now new everything about this aircraft is, don’t you think?
    What if the next Airbus aircraft is a twin that goes between the 77 and the A380? Would that not be a rathe big and hefty blow to Boeing? Especially if they timed it right. Before there are too many 777x sales but just far enough into the program that it would be hard and very expensive to start new.
    What exactly does Airbus have planned after entry of the A350-1000?

    • See the A380 as having in the WB market a position simlilar to the A321 in the NB field.
      After 20years the A321(NEO) seems come out big.

      • After the -1000, A must give the 380 a lift. Apparently they are planning to improve the wing, engines get the next PIP, but the real big strike for the 380, the -900 ( which will ultimately be the best selling, just like the -400 was for the 747) will only come much later.
        To me it is obvious that they will do something in the upper 350 area. I assume, they take a similar road as B: improved and strengthened structure for the biggest model, then based on that a further stretch.
        Remember: 777-200 > 200ER > 300 > 300 ER, now -8x, which is a strengthened 300ER and the stretched -9X
        Biggest advantage for A: they have the NEWER platform, so if they play it clever it is the same story as 777-300ER vs 340-600 and 787 vs 350mk1 just with reversed roles.

  13. “What exactly does Airbus have planned after entry of the A350-1000?”

    I think a major A330 upgrade is a low risk option to consolidate marketshare in the twin segment. It’s 5 birds with 1 shot; it helps the -200, 300, Regional, Freighter and MRTT. The A350-900 is bigger, more expensive and sold out. They could adjust the A330 length e.g. stretching the -200 a few frames. Nothing to loose, lots to gain.


    However a killer plane would be a cheaper lower risk aircraft that would probably force Boeing into a NSA before they want too; a dedicated 200 seat A320 series. The biggest weakness in the A320 family / strength in the 737 family, is seat capacity. There is a huge gap between the A320 and A321; 7 meters/ rows/40-56 passenger seats. Both the 737-8 and -9 fall inbetween the A320 and A321 capacity wise.

    Airlines replacing 737-400/800s won’t reduce capacity be selecting A320s. Airlines replacing A320s hesitate buying the much larger/more expensive A321 and are stuffing their A320s. Many want to grow (AF, Ryanair, Jetblue, Easyjet) until the max seats limit for a 4 crew flight (199), but it doesn’t exist, yet..


    I’m not a conspiracy theorist but maybe Airbus is waiting for a kind of point of no return for Boeing (fully committed to MAX, 787-10 and 777X)

    • Doesn’t the NEO order distribution already straddle the A320 A321 gap?

      I am partial to an A320 3/4th. It could make interim sense like the A330-200 did.
      On the other hand the gap leaves a low pressure seat available for Boeing ( but in the immediate future only).
      IMHO just waiting for demand growth to center on the A321 could make more sense for Airbus.

      • Uwe the A320 gap remains. Very large A320 operators willing to organically grown seat capacity have an issue buying the way larger and more expensive A321. High density single class its a 30% jump. I never found out why Airbus decided to skip the 200 seater..

        I see Airlines are willing to pay and massive conversion if Airbus move ahead.

        And I see an accelerated Boeing NSA when the 737-8 (the 737 hinges on the -800/8..) gets an aircraft next to it that is a little larger, more efficient, spacey, cargo capable, quiet and has engine choice.

      • Keesje, my caveat is that the demanded capacity could well have moved to A321 center before an intermediate model could be available.
        Would Boeing marginalise their MAX range even before EIS ? I don’t think so if the pressure from Airbus isn’t turned up excessively.

        Boeing has published their detailed DAS13 results. Only 20 777x firm orders for LH. Interesting. Makes it really look like a direct swap from LH’s 748 supernumerary options. Then the other orders have a higher nonfirm percentage than previous press releases seem to have insinuated.
        The steps for the claimed DAS victory may only be a couple of glossy flyer paper thicknesses high.

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