Pontifications: Transitions, clearing the decks and turmoil at Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 26, 2018, © Leeham News: With the naming of CFO and COO officers-in-waiting, Airbus Group has completed the extreme makeover of its executive ranks.

The full transition won’t be complete until April. It’s widely been reported that these changes, including retirements and pushing out people who were not yet near retirement age, was a necessary step to settle fraud and corruption investigations undertaken by England, France, Germany and even the United States.

The latest appointments, announced last week, are for the successors of CFO Harald Wilhelm and Airbus Commercial COO Tom Williams. Dominik Asam, 49, replaces the 52 year old Wilhelm in April. Michael Schöllhorn, 53, replaces the 66 year old Williams Feb. 1.

Transitions

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders, 60, retires in April. His successor is Guillaume Faury, who succeeded Group president Fabrice Bregier last year. Bregier lost a power struggled with Enders and had hoped to succeed him. Faury was previously president of Airbus Helicopters.

John Leahy, now 68, retired from his position as COO-Customers in January. Health issues had long been a problem for Leahy and at the IATA AGM in Cancun the year before, he told reporters that his doctor and his wife said it was time for him to retire.

His deputy, Kiran Rao, was named to replace him. But the board of directors, responding to the corruption and fraud investigations, decided the position should go to an outsider—even though the broad internal investigation by Airbus lawyers determined Rao had nothing to do with any improprieties.

Enders’ preferred candidate after Rao’s disqualification was Christian Scherer, then president of ATR and before that a long-time Airbus executive. But because of the demand for an outsider, Eric Schulz of Rolls-Royce was brought in.

He lasted less than a year. He, too, lost a power struggle (this one with Faury and Enders). This time, Enders named Scherer.

Williams, whose focus was production and program development, was overdue for retirement. He was asked to stay on past his planned retirement age to help work through delivery delay issues this year.

Didier Evrard, EVP Programs, also is past his planned retirement. Like Williams, he was asked to stay on due to current delivery challenges. A new retirement date hasn’t been announced but is expected next year.

A host of other executives below the C-level previously left the company, some through retirement, some caught up in the investigations.

Clearing the decks

Clearing the decks was deemed necessary by the board because of the investigations, but some were unfairly caught up. Rao was one of them. Scherer was unfairly blocked, initially. Wilhelm’s departure is really unfair—he blew the whistle in the first place that started the probes.

Enders, in my view, also is unfairly caught up in this. He’s aggressively sought to clean up the improprieties. But, as CEO, the buck stops with his desk.

Enders has done more to make Airbus a true commercial enterprise than anyone else. He’s reduced the French and German government influence on the board of directors. He openly fought with the German government over his failed attempt to acquire BAE Systems. Enders has been vocal over the years about his criticisms of government influence on Airbus.

I can’t help but wonder if this [forced departure] is payback for all this.

2019 turmoil

I think next year will continue to be a year of some turmoil for Airbus.

Because the executive ranks transition won’t be complete until April, more retirements are coming and because new execs invariably like to bring in their own teams, I think uncertainty will continue.

Airbus said it will still be another year before the engine delivery issues for the A320neo will be caught up. (Pratt & Whitney and CFM continue to run late.) Rolls-Royce is late on engines for the A330neo.

I don’t look for real stability at Airbus until 2020.

52 Comments on “Pontifications: Transitions, clearing the decks and turmoil at Airbus

  1. The sad and sorry saga seems to point at the overly political nature of Airbus over the years. Reading between the lines from the admittedly fairly limited press exposure most of the senior and middle management caught up in the process were not guilty of wrongdoing but more of turning a blind eye.

    These are not stupid people and so I suggest the reason for them doing so was an unwillingness or inability to act due to the conflicting national interests that have riven Airbus from its inception. Did Enders finish Bregier over this?

    Enders will be lauded in the future for trying to eliminate much of this interference, I sincerely hope that it does not creep back into the organisation. I understand he had an awareness of wrongdoing at an early stage and so had to go.

    It is going to be a long road back to a position where we have a board at Airbus that can impose control over its operations and define a strategy going forward. So often the competition between the two big boys is not defined by excellent strategic decisions nut instead depends on the other Guy dropping the ball.

    • Not having ever operated at the illustrious heights of the above, what I can say is that when the nail pokes up its head, it gets smashed down.

      So yes, anyone will take a hard look at their career and often turn a blind eye (can you say VW?)

      The best I ever did with a manager was a draw, usually you get your butt handed to you.

      Do as I say, not as I do. Integrity is preached but not practiced.

      The most honest one I ever heard was a top guy telling his sales people (for some reason we got on the internal memo list), you know, these are not just buzz words – this is our product and the companies future! ROLF.

      And we are supposed to know this how?

  2. I think we shouldn’t link big developments in a company too much to who is in the top at that moment. Mainstream press often can’t see much further than executives and quarterly results, but the main developments have their roots over longer periods and across many layers and people.

    So if May 2019 Guillaume Faury grabs the headlines kicking off a fresh & powerful strategy launching A320XLR variants , it is not really him, but a group of people working under Enders for years. That’s not how media works, I know.

    • While that is not wrong, its not fully right either.

      Its really something in between where R&D works on things, management decides if they will see the light of day.

      So every0one benefits from the background, Enders did on the A350 etc.

      Do you have the Cojones to launch the product?

      If Faury cuts all R&D and no future investment, then his successor has no arrows in the quiver.

      Boeing ran into that prior to the 787. My take was they were considering exiting the Commercial Aircraft Business.

      And while parts of the R&D did deliver on the 787, it had to be sold as a no possible cost to Boeing program, ie. all the outsourcing and partners taking the risk.

      So its not just R&D inside tech, its how a company structure itself and looks at the future and prepares leaders (or on Boeing’s case, not so muchy , aka the KC-46 program that can’t get out of its way for a non big leap – thin to no bench that the only have a couple of program managers worth a hoot)

  3. I like the Bloomberg article that suggests a new narrowbody and a re-engined A350. The reason is that Airbus have the technology and Rolls-Royce have the technology. So why leave it on the shelf until circa 2032. I think Airbus/Rolls-Royce will launch sooner rather than later with in-service date of 2026/7.

    Specifically:

    An all new carbon narrowbody, 25%-30% better than the A321. The basic varient the same size as the A321. Then a stretch of 4/5 rows. In other words, 180 to 240 seats. Ultrafan engine. Short haul but with medium haul performance (5500nm). Wings are getting bigger to improve performance, so enough room for quite a lot of fuel.

    An A350 with a new 3 shaft engine using all new Advance technology from Rolls-Royce. Able to fly Sydney/London without restriction and without auxiliary fuel tanks.

    In my mind the A350 as always been the bellwether. They keep advancing performance and it is getting cheaper, much cheaper to build. The A350 will go cash positive next year. After that it is a cash cow.

    Time to cash in on an awful lot of R&D. Words that apply to Airbus and Rolls-Royce. Lets hope the leadership is there, fo both chompanies.

    • I’m not sure we’ll see an “Advance” in service. To me it looks like a development vehicle for the “Ultrafan”. The Advance is basically a development engine to get a full understanding of the different pressure distribution. In the meantime they develop and test the gear. When both technologies are mature they will make a decision for which size of engine this will work, at best it will be useful for both the A320 successor and the A350neo.

      (The Advance has probably been in the focus for the A380neo, but with dwindling demand for the plane and the engine not advanced 🙂 it didn’t pan out.)

      But you are right, with another 10-15% efficiency gain, there will hardly be any limits for whatever route.

      It will be really interesting to see who will be first with a mass produced CFRP narrowbody fuselage, but my guess is that the next step will be more like the 777X and A220: Aluminum fuselage and carbon wings.

      • The issue is the gearbox. It is one thing to qualify a 30000hp gearbox (GTF), it is another to qualify 100000hp gearbox. I’m not sure I would take the risk first time round. Maybe second time round. A 3 shaft Advance would be enough to do London/Sydney.

        Remember they are using a Trent 1000 for the LP stuff and the combustor and a Trent XWB for the IP/HP stuff. So they do know how to take the insides out of a Trent and replace it all with new technology. Think of Pearl, a BR715 but everthing inside is spanking new technology.

        Perhaps they are doing a Pearl, but not telling anybody. The plot thickens

      • With regard to the A380neo, the original thought was a Trent XWB derived engine. With improvements to the A380 performance would be improved by 8-10%. Not enough, I agree.

        If Airbus do do it, they need to look at a performance improvement of twice that, 16-20%. They can do, but for one customer. Questionable.

        Airbus will build the A321XLR. But rewing? I think the customers will say what they said when Airbus offered a rewinged A330. Do the fuselage too.

        They will have cheap carbon and better carbon by 2026/7. No turning back. For me, a lower weight, re-engined A350. A new carbon narrowbody, slightly bigger than the A321

        • There’s no such thing as cheap carbon. There is a fundamental difference in the production cost of the raw material that will never disappear. You have the same fundamental difference again when it comes to producing something out of the fibers vs. out of sheet metal.

          I don’t think that CFRP parts will become much cheaper than they are today, but they will become better. The key is reduction of parts. But that’s something the engineers still have to figure out how to design and manufacture.

          The other question really is how to manufacture large quantities, like needed for the 737/320 successors. Manufacturing CFRP components takes a lot more time than cutting and riveting metal. So you would either need to find a way to speed up the process or need production facilities 2 or 3 times as big.

          Then there is the question who will bear the cost and risk of developing this production. Will for example Spirit go all in or will Boeing build a new factory – this is a new key technology after all.

          I’m really not sure when the time is right for a full CFRP single aisle, and I’m not sure Airbus and Boeing are sure. 🙂

          • We are not far apart. Let’s see.. It took two hundred years to understand Al. Let’s see how long it takes to understand Carbon. So today Cardon isn’nt cheap. Tomorrow is a different story.

          • Gundorf is right. Cheap carbon is a myth. You have to remember its a composite and the exact chemical formula and the methods of infusion of the resins with the fibres are normally proprietary and cant just be shopped around for some one else to make cheaper. There is still enormous wastage in production, and of course cannot be re used like Al alloys ( maybe for low grade carbon composite products)
            Aluminium for aircraft has only had a history for a 100 years, ( they were still doing wood and canvas up till the 40s) and of course is still getting better , eg Li-Al alloys and has a way to go as additive manufacturing.

          • To make sure we are on common ground here regarding production cost of a plane…

            For our rather fine CF prepregs that we buy in small quantities we pay around 100 €/kg. That’s regular fibers. High modulus fiber are quite a bit more expensive. I presume that prices for thicker standard materials in huge quantities may be less that half that. But aluminum is only 1,50 to 2 €/kg.

            So if we assume 20.000 kg of aluminum used for a fuselage makes 30.000 € in raw materials. 12.000 kg of CF at 40€/kg would total 480.000 €.

            Regarding production cost in terms of labor, machining, tools etc. I assume the cost for CFRP should be around 2-3 times that of aluminum.

      • It will be really interesting to see who will be first with a mass produced CFRP narrowbody fuselage, but my guess is that the next step will be more like the 777X and A220: Aluminum fuselage and carbon wings.

        If you go to https://www.ntnu.edu/alumni/network-conference-in-brussels and click on the first presentation, the document describes a new automated production system for the A320 fuselage, using a different material. If the timeline and approval are to be believed, the production system would go into effect early next decade.

        • In both cases of Aluminum and Carbon, it will hit a flat point you can’t make it for any less.

          Aluminum due to its alloys is not cheap exactly either. Its highly energy intensive (unless you use recycle cans!)

          Where it falls out in the future? More likely Carbon but they keep working on Aluminum alloys.

          Like LEDs, suddenly came down.

          But you have to pay for the ones that burn all the time, they are rated in so many hours a day, add up the total use in continuous and fluorescent still wins.

          So it can work nicely for home shop lights, but if the shop goes 24 x 7, not so much. That will change.

        • You have to smile at the NTNU ( Norwegian Science and technology University) conference paper about Fokker.
          The timeline gives his first plane in 1911 and then next event is ‘first factory in Netherlands 1919’. Ignoring of course the Fokker factories and planes in the Reich from 1912-1918 and only moving to the Netherlands after the Versailles Treaty with the Allied Control Commission in hot pursuit.

          But back to the A320, the material is FML ,Fibre -metal-laminate for fuselage panels. Seems to be a further usage/development on from the GLARE ( which is FML too) used in A380 but not the A350.

          • Yep, just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention. The A321 diagram shows where the different FML sections will be applied and the number of layers, thicknesses, and GLARE grades to be used, so Airbus has had a pretty good idea what it wanted to do with the A320. I’d question their timeline for implementation for the new production system. It seems risky to switch over while in the midst of filling the A320 family’s huge order book, though I suppose there’s no ideal moment for that. It’s amazing that the plans have been hiding in plain sight for the last two years, though!

            If Airbus makes a new narrowbody, I’d guess it would be the Airbus equivalent to the Boeing 757 – using the same cross section as its previous models, with new wings, tail, and landing gear. The FML/GLARE production system would probably be used on the new narrowbody as well.

    • Short hauls with mediu haul perfomrance? Huh? Then its medua halul. There are single aisle economic and twin (un.ess Bopeonmg ,ales tjhe NMA happen)

      As for wasting a new engine on the A350, you have got to be kidding.

      A program has to make money or its toast. RR has one failed engine (and impacted the whole downstream line)

      Not to even consider why would you NEO with a lower tech engine when a much better one is on the way?

      It makes so little sense as to be in negative numbers.

      Well let NEO the A380 while we are at it and loose a whole lot more money and see if we can bankrupt both RR and Airbus.

      • The A350 and A330neo will make money. Airbus have sold 900 A350, that will clear the non-recurring costs for the A350. Airbus have sold 200 A330neo, that will clear the non-recurring costs for the A330neo. If I took a guess, come 2026/7 Airbus will have made $25-35 billion, perhaps more, on the the A350 and A330neo programmes. A very tidy sum. Time to move on with regard to long haul twin aisle. A re-engined A350 with lower empty weight and more tweaks to the aerodynamics will produce a world airliner.

        I’m very happy characterising the 180-240 seat market as short haul with medium haul performance. I think it will be by far the largest market. Short haul is upgauging. Given the numbers for the A321neo and continuing conversions from A320 to A321, I think at least 15000 airplanes over 20 years in the market segment of 180-240 seats. The new work horse of the skys.

        • Lets take it from the top.

          A: RR make how much money on the A350? Two all newer engine. And that is also affected by B:

          B: How many A350CEO get axed because there is a better engine? All of them. As soon as this hits the market, sales will stop. Well it has so…..

          Talk about killing your golden bird.

          And RR has to come up with two new engine or one that does both?

          And we are going with advance and not Ultra?

          It boggles the mind.

          • I would think a A350 neo is more about getting a GE engine on the plane. Thats seen as a risk factor to having only one supplier.
            Maybe RR has some of its new goodies ready for release by 2025 as well ? After all the A350 prototype/MSN 1 began final assembly in 2012, so the engines are a few years older than that, could 15 yrs by 2025. A further stretch for a 350-1100 couldnt be out of the question as well, with a new engine.

          • I was addressing the margin on the A350/A330neo not RR. The margin is going to be very high, about $30milion/airplane. They will easily sell another 1000 A350/A330neos between now and 2026/7. Having said that, RR will also make a heavy profit.

            The only difference between Ultrafan and Advance is a gearbox replaces one of the 3 shafts allowing a much more efficient IPT/LPT. I haven’t said Ultrafan is a bad idea, I think it’s risky for a 97000lb engine.

            With regard to GE, they can’t match the Trent XWB never mind Advance/Utrafan

          • Doesn’t matter what the margin is or is not.

            As soon as an NEO is launched, all but the fully committed down payment wise/imminent delivery are going to demand a swap. Airbus said no on the A320NEO but had to “give” big time on that. A huge back order “managed” them through it but that is not a wide body program.

            So there goes all your production, and RR has to deliver a brand new engine, again.

            They don’t make money on the engine, its the parts and support and all their stuff is old and going away, the new revenue stream is not there.

            If the A350 does get an NEO 15 years from now, its going to be a GTF.

            An NEO with less than a GTF is like a GE90 on a 777. More a stretch of existing (which has not done so good – and we will see that play out in the A350 engines)

            The only reason we got the Trent 10 was the 1000 is a failed engine improvement wise (and then they carried the unseen failures over into the new engine) – its only benefit is they don’t have that many out there.

            GE indeed has nothing to challenge the Ultra. The Ultra is being tested at 100,000 lbs. So if RR has a future it has at least the key piece to do so.,

            GE is unknown. They are behind the 8 ball. They sure don’t have anything for the A350 (one or two types) and its not an NEO if they did.

            And if all the players got together with Elton and did some3 weed and decided on a NEO, then its the Ultra not the old generation advance they would do it with.

            And if you follow whats going on, RR has shifted the Advance into the core for the Ultra.

          • Of course GE has ‘something for the A350’
            The GE9X would be a good choice ( its 90K-105K lbs thrust)
            The RR XWB runs from 75k-97K.
            For the A350-1000 and possible 1100? models they ‘wouldnt have to change anything’
            GE has long passed the days it could part fund Boeings programs, and is now heavily in debt. Selling more GE9X , a lot more is very much in their interest.

          • I would love to see the GE9X on the A350 if only for comparison purposes. It won’t happen for GE won’t let it go head to head with the Trent XWB never mind Advance/Ultrafan.

            Airbus have already signalled a 2022 evolution of the A350 with Trent XWB engines. I think it will involve an empty weight reduction, further tweaks to the aerodynamics and perhaps a PIP for both engines. MTOW will increase for the -1000 and perhaps for both. Airbus have Qantas project sunrise in their sights

            Airbus will want a range of > 8700nm for both versions, the expected range of the 777-8

    • The A321 developments with new wingbox and wings has probably been worked on for close to 10 years by now and its higher thrust engines are setting the pace. It is probably similar with the A350/A380, the new RR Engines are targeted for them around 2020. RR and UK would not have spent so much money unless they know they would have a real application for them and to match the GE9X performance numbers.

  4. @Keesje

    Fair enough but the Airbus sales juggernaut has ground to a near halt in the last couple of years and there are a host of key decisions that can only be made by an established and settled senior team, from the developing the product offering, to establishing cost efficiencies/ process improvements to compete better with Boeing.

    What is the A320XLR? There are many options open to Airbus but a sign off of a single programme is hardly the same as a coherent study of the whole range. e.g. some decisions that have massive long-term implications could be:

    The large TA conundrum
    – Close the A380 line?
    – Develop the A350 – 1100?
    – A350neo?

    The Dreamliner issue
    – Cost reduction on the A330 line
    – Sales strategy of (A330neo vs A350) vs B787
    – Investing further in the A330 space or not

    NMA
    – What is the competing product, TA or SA?
    – investing in the A321 or going new and when?
    – Range or capacity or both?

    A320 vs A220
    – How to manage the potential for competing in-house products
    – Upscale the A220 and focus on larger A32o
    – Milk the A320 for how long

    These are just some of the medium term issues, there are more fundamental long-term matters as well, and of course decisions will interlink between a number of these strategies. The issue is that the outgoing team have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to all of these but at some point they will have to come off the fence and make clear decisions that will impact on the company for decades to come.

    I see Boeing have gained back the initiative at present, particularly on the TA market with aggressive sales and a more coherent offering and message, in simple terms they know where they are going. I don’t see the same for Airbus.

    • Lots of open questions. I agree Boeing is doing well with the 787-9 and hopefully the -10 in it’s slipstream.

      To be honest for the rest of the Boeing portfolio (737, 747, 767, 777, NMA) we see lots of medium term question marks.

      They won T-X, that’s IMO the best news of 2018 🙂

      • T-X lends nothing to the Commercial side. It may cost big time the corporate side as it was a huge (another) underbid project (good thing, its a pretty neat aircraft and with SAAB involved its also highly interesting adder)

        The KC-46 is relevant as it adds to the 767 production base keeping it viable. It also highlights how poor Boeing management is with no depth to the bench. The good production people running around playing whack a mole.

        737 is fine in the medium term, the crash problem is easily dealt with technically, its not a built in fatal flaw (the image end is not) – clearly long term it needs to be replaced.

        777? Stay tuned. The last big aircraft standing. Or is it the A350 and the 777X was and is too big as well?

        747? Lives on or dies as a freighter. Few more years to see.

  5. Scott, sorry to strongly disagree on Enders. Have you read the 10/06/17 The Black Sea article on Airbus corruption? (Original reporting by Der Spiegel and Mediapart.) It certainly appears he was waist deep in corruption since the early 2000s at EADS Defense on the Austrian Eurofighter deal and the related setup of Airbus’s hidden Vector entity. And certainly appears (again, from the article), even back in 2002, he had to have full knowledge of EADS International and its International Operations unit—“a secret service who handled dirty tricks”. Vector looks to have shortly later been expanded to corruptly support “consultants/middlemen” on Airbus civil deals. Then as all these issues later leak out to the press and public, we have—shades of Nixon—“modified, limited hangouts” through AB public statements and Airbus limited scope law firm investigations and opinions! He should thank his lucky stars he seems to be avoiding prosecution by stepping down as ceo, and the difficulties prosecutors seem to have in finding direct “smoking guns”.

    • @Montery: I have not seen those articles.

      If Enders were culpable, why wait until April 2019 and why wait for a retirement? Noel Foregeard was ousted immediately in the wake of the A380/insider trading scandal.

      • Yes, these government cases take YEARS! There are apparently still ongoing negotiations with the U.K. Serious Fraud Office and French equivalent on the size of the fines—$1B equivalent, $2B, or more—take your pick. The US also is separately investigating. All “at time” culpable C suite execs are to leave as part of the negotiations—that’s a deal given. Delay on Enders exit is probably both AB’s need for a negotiator who “knows where all the bodies are buried”, and , quite frankly, “.politics” slowing things down: (in Britian: “Brexit”; France: well, a national pride/competitor.) I’ll admit, I’m a little puzzled to be honest that it appears only the Austrians were trying to go after Enders on the Eurofighter deal. And, the Austrian government has swung from conservative, to liberal, and back to conservative. (The Eurofighter deal was done in the early 2000s under the Austrian Conservatives, and they’re now back in power. Could be they’ve decided the investigation should be “slow-walked”?)

        • Actually, the conservatives have been continuously in the government since 1986, most of the time with the social democrats, sometimes with FPÖ but there has never been a liberal government.

      • https://theblacksea.eu/stories/airbus-corruption-allegations-point-straight-top/

        Not so sure its a reliable source as its main feature is Football scandals.
        And some of the ‘ scandalous deals’ are normal practice:
        “Vector has thus financed a technology park in Carinthia, the electoral fiefdom of FPÖ head Jörg Haider, for four million Euro.”
        Seems other companies like Phillips, Siemens, Infineon have plants there as well. Who knows why they chose the region, but social-political reasons often come into it and the EU encourages this sort of thing as well.
        Sounds like a lot of the story was written by interns/graduates with no real business understanding or world experience.

        • As noted in the article, most of the story reporting was from Der Spiegel. I just cited this reprint as it was most web-handy. You can google the same article on Spiegel Online, 10/09/17. There’s a very detailed layout of Airbus corruption (EADS Defense) involving Enders from the early 2000s. This corruption/slush fund activity expanded over time onto the Airbus civil aviation side through the original Austrian Eurofighter related, Airbus-owned Vector Aerospace LLP, along with the major, ongoing activities of Airbus International’s/Sales and Marketing Organization’s activities. (Since 2016, the units been shut down.) Airbus didn’t settle with the Munich prosecutors for over €81 million earlier this year for nothing. The Vienna prosecution is still in play, apparently. I recommend those really interested read the full article. And, beyond the Brits, French, and Austrians, there’s the US. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trump card RICO incitement (“treble damages”) after the Europeans’ pass on of their investigation files.

          • I think Mr Enders is up to his shoulders in do do. Like I said at the top of the comments he is definitely fingered for turning a blind eye to dubious practice and quite probably more.

            The recent Der Speigel article stated:

            ‘More than anything, Enders is risking his job. Indeed, it is now coming out that the executive, known for his toughness (his nickname is “Major Tom”), apparently wasn’t interested in uncovering corruption at all for many years. Rather, he played down the problem. And he may even have been an accessory. That, at least, is one reading of the Munich investigation files that DER SPIEGEL and its French partner, the online magazine Mediapart, have obtained.’

            My understanding from many years of studying Airbus management structures is the ‘silo like’ mentality of decision making along national lines. This would have meant that instead of acting in a rational manner too often management would use a weakness in other silos as an opportunity to push their own agenda.

            Mr Enders has a lot to answer for but his influence and power has allowed him to manage his own demise so far. It is startling the impact on the wider company.

          • No idea why, but “Der Spiegel” seems to hate EADS/Airbus with a vengeance.
            Also they are not the bastion of democratic values they have been seen as in the past. ( back at the time they had this spat with Franz Josef Strauß.)
            Thus Spiegel reporting should be taken with the same caveat the lockstep US press should have gotten for their screeds on WMD in Iraq.

          • Uwe: No matter what issues you have with Der Spiegel, it’s pretty clear they’ve outlined in detail that Enders knew exactly what he was doing on the EADS Austrian Eurofighter deal. He knew back in 2002 to 2005 what sort of outfit Airbus International was. Tried to get them to “help” directly, and when he couldn’t get them to “play”, cherry-picked the two Germans in the organization to come out of it, and do the necessary “dirty work”. His hands are all over this corruption mess, and he was actively involved with Vector, and its subsequent nefarious undertakings. He can thank his lucky stars Munich was “satisfied” with just a heavy fine, and Austria probably just wants it all to go away. This is what used to be known as “third world stuff”, and, actually, will resurface broader scale as such as the UK Serious Fraud Office and French equivalent are investigating Airbus civil bribery actions in at least China, Emirates, Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Kazakhstan. You want parallels? How about shades of Nixon and his staff, and “limited modified hangouts”, more than Iraq. And, similarly, like Nixon, he’ll fly away with no jail time.

  6. This is more interesting than the speculative stuff.

    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/air-france-considers-a380-fleet-reduction-453878/

    Looks like two for sure and likely 5 total A380 will be returned.

    I call those the rubber meets the road events. Real world actually happening.

    MA never placed their 6. One from the much less desirable early units from SA is in ops.

    So what does Emirates do with theirs as they come up to expiration dates (and dump the leases?)

  7. The are a few things being missed in comments so will post on a main line reply.

    The Advance has been shifted to be the core of the Ultra – not initially planned.,

    The Ultra gearbox has been tested at 100,000 lb thrust. RR clearly sees it as the future and its supposed to scale down.

    PW believes they have to change gearbox types to move up (the NMA thrust level may be within the existing tech)

    At this point for RR there is no Advance to be put on an A350, it would be the Ultra (and its not going to be for 15 years)

    • The UltraFan gearbox has not been tested to 100K. It’s limited to 70K. That is a first, by a long, long way.

    • not so much that they need to change “types” of gearbox as they need to change which gearset you take the power from.

      today the input is the “sun” the “planets” are held in fixed orientations and the “ring” is connected to the fan.

      to go to 4:1 (for higher thrust engines) they need to have the “ring” be the fixed gear and connect the “planets” to the fan (Bjorn did a whole article on this)

      80% of the internals (gears/shafts/bearings) could be reused for a gearbox that could handle up to 50-55k thrust @4:1 with new castings for the case to change which gears are fixed and which are power takeoff.

      • I stand corrected on the Ultra Fan. Test unit was 70k. Designed to go to 100k.

        As that is the design and if it works at 70k, the engineering wise you have proven your design basis.

        Clearly going to 100k was and is a major target.

        Bilbo: Was the article by Bjorn behind the wall?
        Will look for it, find it hard to believe I missed it but odder things have happened.

        • Found the Article but it did not go into the changes. I didn’t see the one type vs the other you mentioned.

          Changing from one type even to another is a major change.

          That may be where P&W was going with a revamp, and maybe why RR went where they did.

          But all the loads change so its not a simple thing either.

          P&W feels the bypass can be upped, so where they cross over to a new design vs the original is ?

          Gearbox design certainly is not in anything remotely what I have done. Worked on a lot of them yes.

          I would think you could change gear ratios in either type but……

          • https://leehamnews.com/2017/01/13/bjorns-corner-geared-turbofans/

            The critical problem for gearboxes – and why Pratt took so long- is the shock loadings. Steady state conditions are complicated in themselves but extreme conditions change everything. A bit like carbon -fibre composite for front fan. The British research establishment invented it in the early 60s and the VC-10 used to run with the front fan made of carbon fibre. For Rolls Royce scaling it up for the RB211 on the Tristar as ‘Hy-fil’ was a disaster for them and they had to go back to an Al fan.

          • @transworld, paragraph below figure 6 in the article linked above by duke

    • “they don’t even know what the engine looks like and they gave it 180 ETOPs”

      What do you mean ? The story you linked said this:
      ‘It requires an approval plan to be submitted to EASA, including a validation test simulating ETOPS service comprising 3,000 full start-stop cycles, from take-off through to landing and reverse thrust, plus three simulated diversions for the ETOPS level sought.”

      Surely you know that new engines are tested both on the ground and in the air before EIS with an airline. Its been 3 years since the first demonstrator engine run ( Nov 2015)
      3000 full start stop cycles is completely different to ‘dont know what it looks like’

      Why arent you concerned about the PW4000 series engines that have been catching fire on Deltas A330s amoung others
      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pw4000-engine-fires-prompt-faa-to-propose-engine-che-453734/
      https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/delta-a330-makes-emergency-landing-in-lagos-445891/
      And even on 747s
      http://aerossurance.com/air-accidents-incidents/contained-failure-pw4056-delta/

      or is there a rule of thrumb that says it takes 10 GE, PW ( or GP or CFM) major engine failures to gain attention for every sing RR engine.

      • Duke:

        What I mean is the same thing we saw with GE and the turbine shed (changed the coating) or PW with the seal.

        If you have a new item, system etc, then you test it.

        If there is a question on ETOPs, you don’t give ETOPs, you withhold that or you have the engine torn down at 1000 hours not 3000. You give provisional at 1000 if it is meeting the metrics. If not, no ETOPs.

        If it is going to be dropped back at 3000, then it should meet it before that.

  8. I just don’t follow the logic behind recent Airbus executive decisions. The individuals chosen appear to have good business experience but frankly aren’t there more qualified people already at Airbus. I don’t see how making dishwashers and coffee makers prepares me to run an aerospace company.

  9. Maybe RR can offer Boeing the new engine for the 777X, the 777X NEO :0 20 777X ‘s sold since ’14 in a booming economy. If Chicago is comfortable with that, something’s wrong.

    • the world economy (and even the US) isn’t really booming. the correction cycle is coming and soon. The GOP tax cut just provided a short window of profit taking and cash repatriation for the 0.5% and corporations, while the silly tariff actions are slashing our industrial hamstrings.

      the lack of orders for the 777X (and the A350-1k and 747 and a380) are directly related to international economic weakness and political turmoil driving lower long haul traffic growth than forecast 3 years ago.

      • I would say the lack of viability for the 747 and A380 are the cause. AF is looking to return 5 leased A380.

        A350 and 777X may well be conditions.

        Or it may be the A350-1000 and the 777X are just too much aircraft in today’s age.

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