Odds and Ends: 787 donation; Alenia sues Bombardier over CSeries; 2016 777 delivery slots opening up

787 donation: The Boeing Co. handed over 787 test airplane #3 (ZA003) to the Museum of Flight Saturday in an elaborate ceremony marking an unprecedented donation of a modern airliner to an aviation museum.

B787 ZA003 Logos

Boeing 787 ZA003, which went on a world sales tour, was donated to Seattle’s Museum of Flight Nov. 8, 2014. The logos of customers bracket the #2 door. Photo by Leeham News and Comment. click to enlage.

To be sure, the donation was made possible by the fact that ZA003 (and 002 and 001) can’t be sold due to the massive rework necessary, and these three airplanes have been written off for more than $2bn. But this doesn’t make the event any less significant.

B787 ZA003 RR Engine

Rolls-Royce developed the Trent 1000 engine for the 787, along with GE Aviation developing the GEnx. Although RR’s engines entered service first, GE has the far greater market share. Photo by Leeham News and Comment. Click to enlarge.

The 787 is the first large airplane, and the first commercial airliner, to be built from composites; 53% of the airplane is the plastic material. New technology engines, a “space age” interior, the “all-electric” systems operations and more are all innovative features of the airplane. Taking all these advances in one go, coupled with the entirely new industrial partnership, design and production system adopted for the 787, caused years of delay and cost over runs in the billions of dollars, but there is no getting around that the airplane is popular with the airlines and has growing popularity with customers. About 1,000 of the airplanes have been ordered.


Boeing 787 ZA003 joins an impressive collection of commercial airliners at the Museum of Flight in Seattle at Boeing Field. Photo by Leeham News and Comment. Click to enlarge.

ZA001/002 are stored in Arizona. ZA003 was parked at Moses Lake in Central Washington and flown to Seattle, where a gleaming new paint job was applied. ZA003 will be on permanent display at the Museum of Flight, with part of the cabin in passenger and part in test plane configuration. The 787 join’s the Museum’s collection of commercial airliners that includes the Boeing 40A, Douglas DC-3 (both inside the gallery), a Lockheed Super Constellation, a former Boeing 707 Air Force One, a Boeing 727-200, a Boeing 737-200, the prototype Boeing 747-100 and a Supersonic Concorde.

Alenia sues Bombardier: As if Bombardier didn’t have enough headaches with the CSeries program, one of its major suppliers, Italy’s Alenia, has sued for $121m in lost profits, according to this report in the French language La Presse of Canada. According to the Google translation, which seems unusually coherent for this feature, “Alenia Aermacchi has been sent to the Quebec Superior Court to terminate the contract for the CSeries and claim at least 121 million in damages. The company reserves the right to claim further including investments to cover it might have to do before the termination of the contract, stocks and the claims of its own suppliers.

Alenia makes the tail section of the airplane. Alenia is also a major contractor on the Boeing 787 program and has been a consistent problem child. Early in the Bombardier program, BBD told us that it had its own personnel on site with Alenia to avoid issues similar to that of the 787 program. But, according to the Google translation of the Le Presse story, it’s Alenia with a beef about Bombardier.

“[Alenia] lost several hundred thousand dollars for each tail – two horizontal stabilizers and vertical stabilizer it delivers to Bombardier,” Le Presse reports (according to the translation.)

According to the Italian company, the problem is partly due to a sharp reduction in the rate of production of the CSeries.

“The decrease in demand for the empennage and low production rate lead to a significant drop in productivity and prevent Alenia and production staff to develop and improve the momentum in the manufacturing process, which results in higher costs and loss of earnings,” said the company,” reports Le Presse.

What’s particularly notable to us is the closing BBD statement:

“We want to work with this provider, which has an excellent reputation and with which we started a good relationship, said the spokesman for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Isabelle Gauthier, in a telephone interview with La Presse Affaires. Our goal is to continue the conversations to find a solution that does not impact on the CSeries program.

She added that if Bombardier could not find common ground with Alenia, it should turn to another solution for making the tail of his new device.” (Emphasis added.)

If this is accurate, it wouldn’t be the first time BBD turned to an alternative solution. Although Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in China is responsible for a section of the CSeries fuselage, BBD’s Northern Ireland plant initially produced the section for the Flight Test Vehicles when Shenyang fell behind.

CSeries was grounded for three months during testing after an engine mishap. The fleet is flying again, but the pace of flight tests remains low. BBD continues to say that entry-into-service will be in the second half of 2015. We believe it will be in the first half of 2016. We have checked with the customer base and we’re told that if nothing else goes wrong with the flight test schedule, meeting a 4Q2015 is possible, but the base remains watchful.

777 2016 delivery slots: Airline Economics reports that Air India wants to swap three Boeing 777-300ER delivery slots in favor of Boeing 737s. These are 2016 deliveries. We hear from our Market Intelligence there are 8-10 777 slots now open in 2016. Air India is also selling 777-200LRs in its fleet.

12 Comments on “Odds and Ends: 787 donation; Alenia sues Bombardier over CSeries; 2016 777 delivery slots opening up

  1. Pingback: Finmeccanica - Aviation News - 10 Nov 2014 -

  2. According to second hand information I doubt this statement: “that the airplane [787] […] has growing popularity with customers.”

    My sister lately complaint about a narrow aircraft she went on her last trip. She was not able to pull her “normal” carry-on trolley on the wheels because the aisle was to small. So she had to carry the trolley in front of her. Also the seat was rather small. I first thought of a 8-abreast 767 but it was a 9-abreast aircraft – a 787!

    LAN has an allowed hand baggage size of just 55 x 35 x 25 cm: http://www.lan.com/en_uk/sitio_personas/plan-and-book/baggage-info/baggage-policy/
    Just like LOT another 787 airline or Air France with 10-abreast 777. LAN switched from an A340 to a 787 on that specific route.

    IATA “standard” is 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm (BA or Iberia). Lufthansa is slightly less at 55 x 40 x 23.

  3. So Alenia did not and does not loose money on 787 work ?
    Or does the RiskShare arrangement force them to eat their losses with a smile 😉

  4. “If this is accurate, it wouldn’t be the first time BBD turned to an alternative solution. Although Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in China is responsible for a section of the CSeries fuselage, BBD’s Northern Ireland plant initially produced the section for the Flight Test Vehicles when Shenyang fell behind.”

    The situation with Alenia is totally different. The earlier shift in production away from Shenyang was only temporary. And it was due to Shenyang’s incapacity to keep up the pace. With Alenia it is the opposite, for it is Bombardier that cannot accept a higher rate of production that Alenia would need in order to lower its production costs. But that situation should improve dramatically when BBD will start delivering the aircraft to customers.

    The main point here is that it is Alenia who wants to terminate the contract, not BBD. But the problem for BBD is that the empennage is made entirely of composite material. And my understanding is that it is a different technology then the one BBD is using for the wings. So it will not be easy to find an alternative supplier. And it will be even harder to find one that will charge less than Alenia to produce the empennage.

    So it would be in BBD’s interest to negotiate in good faith with Alenia. Unless BBD thinks it could produce the empennage in house at an acceptable cost. But since BBD is suggesting to Alenia to go to Mexico or Morocco to lower its costs, I assume that is what BBD itself would want to do if the court terminates the contract.

    It is obviously in both parties’s interest to negotiate a settlement that would allow Alenia to recoup its investment over the long term. For I doubt anyone would be able to produce this kind of empennage at a significantly lower cost.

    • It’s not about price of production but about number of produced items.
      Same with the 787 pieces.
      Sitting forever on your haunches waiting for the expected large scale production to commence is expensive.
      PFW, “saved” by Airbus, is a rather good example in that direction.
      maimed by a number of projects that each successfully tried to best their predecessor in delays.

      Having a risk share arrangement with Boeing there probably is less room there to complain. So they try to get satisfaction from nonriskshedding customers.

    • J’ai lu l’article original en français…

      After reading the original article in french, this looks more like Alenia trying to put pressure on Bombardier to negotiate a better price than anything else.

      Considering the overall program delay for the CSeries, one wonders why Alenia is the only sub-contactror to publicly complain about its inability to make a profit.

      Also, it’s strange that Alenia is complaining about the low “cadence de production” (production rate), as the CSeries has not yet entered production.

      Usually, it’s the program leader who tries to put pressure on sub-contractors to lower prices. In this case, Alenia is trying to turn the tables. If Bombardier accepts an improvement in Alenia’s financial conditions, this could have a domino effect on other suppliers.

      • @BernardP: I agree with you that “this looks more like Alenia trying to put pressure on Bombardier to negotiate a better price than anything else.” It would be reasonable to assume that if the CSeries had entered full production earlier Alenia would probably not be complaining so much today. But if BBD is unwilling to re-negociate the terms of the contract it will probably take an unacceptably long time for Alenia to start making a profit.

        @Uwe: As far as I know BBD and Alenia are in a risk-sharing partnership. This probably means that they have sign an agreement over a minimum quantity. After the required quantity will have been delivered both parties should be able to end their partnership without going to court. But for the time being Alenia is forced to live with the conditions that were set for the initial batch. So maybe Alenia is only preparing the ground for the next production batch.

  5. The preservation of ZA003 at the museum will forever serve as a reminder of how not to run a new aircraft programme. Are there any other jetliners that ended up in a museum less than 5 years after first flight?

    • Maybe the museum should add a hint for future managements at ZA003:

      “An aircraft is no banana.
      Therefore an aircraft will not mature much at your costumers.”

      • They could have dismantled it for valuable spares but quite rightly, Boeing wouldn’t have wanted to cause further damage to the 787 programme’s reputation by doing that.

        I guess it will now live on to earn a small bit of revenue to the museum…

    • That’s true. Look at 777 WA001. They sold that to CX in 2000. Testimony to a true, properly engineered product. The 787 was a train-wreck. Boeing trying to get that bird turd off their hands.

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