Odds and Ends: Coming soon–new Leeham News; Boeing v SPEEA; 86-seat Q400; Boeing 326; Budapest Air Show

Coming soon: We will be rolling out changes this month to Leeham News and Comment.  We will expand our News and Analysis, providing the most insightful commentary of aviation issues of any on-line publication. Most on-line news resources either collate into one portal news from around the world, or report news without analysis, or offer superficial analysis. We’re famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) for providing insight in a no-BS manner.

We often report the news before anyone else, and we spot market trends long before others.

For example:

  • We concluded in December 2013 that Airbus had to launch the A330neo program, at a time when other on-line publications were still muddling along and even Airbus hadn’t reached its conclusion.
  • We were the first to report that Airbus revamped its A350-1000, ahead of the company’s own announcement and before any other media tumbled to the development.
  • We’ve been the leading publication to focus on LOPA (Layout Of Passenger Accommodations) and IAC (Integrated Airplane Configuration) when comparing Airbus and Boeing airplanes at a time when other publications didn’t even know the terms.
  • Our aircraft economic analysis has the advantage of aerospace engineering background to take into account detailed understanding of aerodynamic improvements, down to the last percentage point.

These changes include transformation into a combination paid and free content site. We’ll have paid content several times a week in addition to our free content.

Changes are coming to Leeham News and Comment this month. Watch this space for details.

Changes are coming to Leeham News and Comment this month. Watch this space for details.


Boeing vs SPEEA: The Seattle Times reports that a company executive launched a personal attack on the executive director of SPEEA, the engineers’ union, and it was a highly personal attack.

The Times makes a couple of points:

  • Boeing appears to conclude that SPEEA is weak and it’s out to play hardball.
  • Boeing claims a better relationship with the IAM machinists union.

On the first point, no kidding. We reported throughout last year and this year that SPEEA is the weaker union and Boeing can more easily move jobs from its membership to other areas–and that’s exactly what the company is doing.

After winning a bitter contract battle in January/February 2013, Boeing quickly moved to transfer jobs out of state despite getting nearly all of what it wanted in the contract talks. As we put it, the war on SPEEA intensified and it continues to build.

As for better relations with the IAM–not if you ask the local branch, District 751. If you talk with their headquarters, there is nothing sanguine about the relationship with the company. Perhaps Boeing has a better relationship with the IAM International leadership–but certainly not the local.

As for jobs being moved out of Puget Sound (Seattle), the IAM 751 and SPEEA both complain that the 777X $8.7bn tax deal didn’t guarantee jobs, either for the X nor for elsewhere in other programs. Boeing hasn’t announced how many jobs will be associated with the 777X, and for an obvious reason: there will be fewer jobs because Boeing is going to automate the 777X program more than exists on the 777 Classic.

86-Seat Q400: Bombardier has delivered its high capacity, 86-seat Q400 turbo-prop to Nok Air. The airplane is an effort to stimulate sales of the venerable airplane.

Airchive has two reports on the Q400. This one discusses the high density and cargo combi versions while this one is an analysis of the entire program. Both are well worth reading.

We sat down last week with an official of a Q400 operator and asked his views about the Combi. The Combi can be configured to seat 50 or 68 passengers and carry up to 8,500 lbs of cargo or baggage.

The Combi only makes sense for revenue cargo, not excess baggage from passengers, this official believes. The operating costs of the airplane–which are higher than the competing ATR-72 in no small measure due to the higher capital cost–currently are spread across 78-86 seats. Reducing the passenger count doesn’t reduce the operating costs, so the lost revenue must be made up from somewhere–and that’s revenue cargo, not more passenger baggage (even with bag fees). This official’s view toward the Q400C was cool.

Boeing 326: Has anyone ever heard of the Boeing 326?

Yes, it was a real concept. Here’s a link to several images.

There’s little information on the Internet we could find about the 326, but it was announced 15 days after the Boeing 314 flying boat flew. World War II intervened and the 326 never was built. The proposal was for Pan Am, which launched the 314 Clipper.

This book apparently has some information on the 326, but not in the sample pages on the Internet.

Budapest Air Show: These stunts in proximity to the locale would never be permitted in the US, but this is pretty awesome flying.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0px9HFIVYjY&w=560&h=315]

31 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Coming soon–new Leeham News; Boeing v SPEEA; 86-seat Q400; Boeing 326; Budapest Air Show

  1. Does this essentially mean “Odds and Ends stay free; everything else costs” ?

  2. Leeham.net engineering (ie flight cost-related) scrolls are dependable, excellent, outstanding, but your ability to formulate an APEX-encompassing vision of the Revenue side of the Yield equation (whereof Product Differentiation and line freight contribution) on which also Marketeers and Strategists of airlines round the world may depend to understand the full Yield picture … is still missing, wherefore your Readers need to complement their surfing with visits now and then to eg RGN and similar blogsites to shop for mind-opening ideas to correctly drive their Airline Businesses as the fully informed Decision-Makers they all endeavour to act as … further, your interest in aircraft when on ground – rotating @ airports – is at the most sketchy. The result = effects such as eg increased Productivity are not apprehended.

  3. As a general aviation fan, I will be greatly saddened if Leeham news converts to paid content! Over the last several months of following your website, I’ve found the analyses to be spot on and reliable.
    Hope your free content continues to have juicy content for us fans not affiliated with the industry.
    Sahir Siddiqui

  4. I understand the business needs but this is an unfortunate trend in this sector (ex. airinsight).

    One of the great advantage of the site in addition to content was its free nature, hopefully the free content will remain of interested and I will still visit.

  5. On Boeing’s labor relations, Richard Aboulafia made an interesting point about the recent Al Jazeera documentary in his latest newsletter. Mr Aboulafia concurred with Leeham’s criticism of the documentary, but pointed out that Boeing employees were keen to come onto the program in droves and express their disgruntlement with their employer and the product they make. That alienation will inevitably affect the quality of the product, even if it’s not actually unsafe. Well worth a read:


  6. Back when there was an airshow in downtown St. Louis (Missouri, USA) the routines were all flown strictly parallel to the river and well clear of bridges. No flying under the Eads Bridge for sure!

  7. So, this means that the A350 will enter history books as the last newly developed airplane, whose development was properly and profoundly accompanied by free leeham analysis?

    I am not so happy hearing this today, given the fact that Leeham is one of the 3 homepages I check every day (my hotmail account already included).

    • Well, the A350 is going to be the last newly developed airplane other than CSeries to enter service until well into the next decade, by which time I hope to be long retired…. All the rest are derivatives.


  8. Grab a brew- make a large bowl of popcorn, sit back- and watch the the coming episodes of “The BA  Cowering game ”

    I’m shocked !  shocked !- Boeing against the Union(S)?  It appears that the majority of posters here are getting up early and waiting for their bus to grammar school.   A bit of history ( recent )

    1) For the first time ever- Boeing took advantage of the IAM governing documents and negotiated ( I use the term loosely ) NOT with the local, but with the National president Buffenburger- and the local vote became at best window dressing-

    2) SPEEA doesn’t work that way.  And recently SPEEA has caught BA with its  hands in the employment cookie jar, what with a major  multimillion dollar screw up in stiffing out of state BA workers (read Palmdale )  out of pay and benefits for over a decade.    SPEEA filed several legal cases against BA and seems to be winning on most. This secret info ( not usually published in the local papers) can be found on the SPEEA site.

    3) BA has had a record of anti employee behavior since it became MCBoeing in the 90’s.  Read the book ” Turbulence ” for some factual data.

    4) BA has not been able to corrupt  union leaders as in the past. ( james Baker IAM for but one example )  

    5) Jim McNearny  is a GE Jack Welch wannabee with his dump  the bottom ten percent employees every year except in management to improve shareholder value- a method which even Jack has admitted is wrong headed.

    6) And who was it that bailed out the 7 late 7,- Jim ? 

    7) And it was the MDC types that fouled up the first tanker contract years ago- and spent a few days in club fed.

    8) SPEEA has had ONE- count them if you can – strike in its history ( not counting the one day protest in early 90’s )- due to the management types imported from MDC. 

    • My comments re MR Keating are summed below- the result of an email sent by him to retirees re Ex_ IM Bank support and signed by him

      from the Boeing site anyone can contact the BOD

      Contact the Board of Directors
      Thank you for your input!

      Below is your submission. Please use your browser’s Print button to print a copy for your records.

      RE An important update for Boeing retirees on the Export-Import Bank
      TO MR Keating
      It is truly unfortunate when an Executive of your rank takes to making public your and the companies’ personal animosity towards Mr Goforth under instructions and with the approval from the CEO.
      The Boeing I retired from had much higher integrity in its dealings with employees and unions
      Bill Allen would have fired you before the end of the day, and apologized to Mr Goforth, the union(s) and the employees for having promoted such an incompetent employee to a managerial position.
      May you live in interesting times . . .
      Don Shuper Retiree and stockholder
      Name: Donald Shuper
      Telephone: ——
      E-mail: ——–

  9. Scott, as a lurker I read your news and analysis with a lot of appreciation because of your way of approaching issues. That appreciation only increased when more and more superficial content from a number of outlets disappeared behind a pay wall. Ultimately that superficial information was/is readily available on other media outlets for free! Why would I pay for that? I dont and wont!
    However, Leehamnews gives, as you say ‘insight’ which as I stated before, I appreciate very much, and therefore I am willing to pay for ‘content’ provided that it fits within an average persons budget:)

  10. That was to be expected. You do this in a professional context. When I started reading your blog three years ago I thought you were doing this as a plane enthusiast, like me and many others who follow you. But I soon came to realize that you were a key player in this industry. And your blog is for you only the tip of the iceberg, if I may put it that way.

    So it’s only natural that you would ask a retribution for your hard work. I had the same reasoning when Airinsight took that route. Incidentally I originally came to LeehamNews via Airinsight. And I had come across Airinsight while doing a research on the CSeries. But for reasons hard to explain your blog is attracting considerably more participants. Over the years the other posters have actually become like family members for me. I just hope the new formula will not affect this incredible spirit.

    Nowadays we are used to have everything for free. Personally I am reluctant to pay for a subscription, but that doesn’t mean I am against it. It only means that I don’t need all this valuable information for my work like many among your clientele probably do.

    That being said your blog remains for me a source of information like no others. And for all the reasons you mention above. But what is unique about it is the level of participation from the aviation community. And by level I mean it in both senses of the word: The quantity and quality of the posts. Your membership is also a nice mixture of professionals and dilettantes.

    I just hope that this is not the beginning of the end but only a new beginning.

      • The word “rétribution” in French means to get money for a service. But you make me realize that in English it has a totally different meaning. Almost the opposite in fact.

        So whenever I write something that sounds odd you now have an idea where it might come from. I have written hundreds of posts here so I am quite sure it must have happened more than a few times.

        I love the English language and I try to write as good an English as possible. Unfortunately I occasionally slip. But in this case let me reassure you that it was not a slip of the freudian variety.

  11. With weak unions, Boeing executives now feel at liberty to be themselves. Be what they are. And embarrass themselves and the company with unseemly, foolish and above all pointless statements.

  12. Scott!

    There are two reasons I visit this site daily:
    1) Your pieces (and, if you can forgive me, even more so Leeham EU’s)
    2) The comments from Keesje, TopBoom and (almost) everybody in between

    Having been out of work for quite some time, my means are limited. But if your fees
    are even remotely within reach, this will be the one site on the interwebs I’ll pay for,
    dinner be damned!


  13. I join the crowd of disappointed enthusiasts who are terrified that they may not be able to afford the cost of their (healthy) morning addiction.

    Scott, have you considered a Wikipedia-style voluntary contribution model? Potential benefits:
    (1) keeps access for *everyone*
    (2) gives *each* one of us a chance to contribute what we can
    (3) most fundamentally, protects the essence of the forum: instead of becoming an exclusive place for people who merely share a *business* purpose, it would remain an open forum for a far more diverse community of enthusiasts who share a common passion.

    Aviation triggers strong passions – one need only listen to people talk about their airline passenger experiences or read the vitriolic comments that Airbus-Boeing debates generate! – yet I think many people here will agree that there is a dearth of places on the web where fellow enthusiasts with an analytical and strategic penchant for the topic can meet. Based on the comments I see here, you have quite an avid followership, and that’s precisely because YOU fill a gap and respond to a need in a way that no one else does.

    I’m convinced that these enthusiasts will happily contribute what they can afford to protect and enrich their community. Because this is about community and shared passion, not just about business.

    And if I’m wrong, well, the option of paid subscription will always be there.

    • This site is not really intended to be for enthusiasts, to be perfectly honest–that’s what Airliners.net is about. This site is intended to be a a resource for industry professionals. As we’ve evolved content during the past year into more technical detail, the decision has been made not to give this away–hence the migration to a paywall for some, but not all, content. There will still be free content with news and reporting. The technical stuff will largely go behind the paywall.

      We’ll be announcing the pricing shortly. We joked that it will be less than a daily latte, and it will–by a large margin.

  14. I guess this paywall is logical. Bills have to be paid. Comments writers could move to other places if attractiveness decreases.

    Lets hope there is a clear cut line between enthusiasts and professionals and the way they use social media.

    Paying enthusiasts, savvy profs, enthusiast that used to be profs, enthusiasts that know more then most profs.. complicated business.

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