Transcript: RR told Boeing before end of 2018 it’s out of NMA competition

Feb. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: The announcement today by Rolls-Royce that it has withdrawn from the competition to provide an engine for the Boeing New Midmarket Airplane came as a surprise.

Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce. Source: Youtube.

This leaves CFM and Pratt & Whitney as the remaining competitors.

RR’s withdrawal wasn’t the only surprise.

CEO Warren East revealed Boeing had been notified shortly before the end of 2018.

Attractive from strategic view

East, at the RR earnings conference today, said he’s talked many times about the “NMA potentially being an attractive proposition from a strategic point of view.”

But, he said, RR could not complete sufficient testing in time to assure maturity of the technology before Boeing’s desired entry into service in 2025.

The following is the transcript from his prepared remarks and the Q&A.

Achieving maturity

It was all a matter of overlapping our Ultra Fan development program with the NMA requirements and seeing if we achieve a sufficient overlap to make a sensible answer from a commercial and risk point of view.

There is not sufficient overlap in the Ultra Fan architecture within the Boeing timeline at a sufficient level of maturity to tick those boxes in terms of risk and commercial common sense.

We notified Boeing shortly before the end of 2018.

If you don’t achieve a certain level of maturity, you lay yourself open to all sorts of in-service difficulties and potential customer disruption. That’s not a good place to go from a risk and commercial point of view.

Boeing have a specific engine program they are working toward. The exact specifications are not tied down yet in terms of requirements. Based on the extensive work we’ve done with Boeing in tracking those specifications and looking at how that overlaps with our Ultra Fan program, we simply couldn’t find sufficient overlap. There would have to be additional work that needed to be done specifically for the engine that would be required for NMA.

Bitter experience

Technically, we could make that work. That wouldn’t be a problem. But, we do know form bitter experience that you need to do a huge amount of very rigorous testing work to ensure a certain level of maturity when the engine enters service. We simply couldn’t find enough hours in the day, even if you threw many more bodies at it, and much more money at it, there would not be enough hours in the day to do all that work in time to get to a sufficient level of maturity in time for Boeing’s time scales.

It comes down to what makes commercial sense and how much sort of risk do you wasn’t to put into that program. We chose to be completely open with Boeing and our customers and our investors that rather than get into a program and get toward the delivery date and say, sorry, we can’t do this, we need an extra year with more testing, once we just couldn’t make it fit in the timescale to get to that level a maturity, we had to withdraw.

That means we can concentrate on our Ultra Fan architecture development, which as you rightly observe, is going pretty well at the moment.

Future of Ultra Fan

(East was asked what the future is for the Ultra Fan, possibly on an Airbus A350 stretch or a Boeing 787 re-engine; and of the growing Airbus-RR and Boeing-GE exclusivity.)

It’s certainly not our intention that the Airbus-Rolls, GE-Boeing thing is accentuated. To that end, it would have been very good to have been able to participate in the NMA program. We’ve gone into why we couldn’t participate.

As far as Ultra Fan is concerned, it’s a scalable architecture. It’s scoped to scale from about 25,000 lbs of thrust through to about one hundred and teens thousand pounds of thrust. That means we can go after wide body, we can go after single aisle.

We expect the first opportunities will be in wide body, things like you suggested in the question. Obviously, and offer of new airframes is a matter for both Boeing and Airbus, but I can assure you that our relationship with Boeing is very rich and very healthy and over the last 12 to 18 months while we’ve been working very closely on the Trent 1000 program, it’s been a great opportunity for some of the Boeing engineers to wander around in Derby and get a much better idea of how our Ultra Fan program is developing. So, I’m actually quite optimistic with both airframers for the future of Ultra Fan.

(Would RR partner on the NMA?)

Would we partner with somebody else? Well, we will have to see what happens and who gets selected.

We made our decision in terms of our proposed offering. If we can do something useful and it makes commercial good sense to partner in the future, then of course, we’re open. But let’s see how the future unfolds.

80 Comments on “Transcript: RR told Boeing before end of 2018 it’s out of NMA competition

  1. Do you think RR have learnt something from having to get the Trent 1000 out of the hutch too quickly for the B787…… They said at the time that it was a short development period and they were foolish enough to commit to the initial timescales giving themselves something like a whole year less than GE to get their engine out.

    The consequence was an under performing engine in spite of PIPs and in service issues leading to the blades fiasco. the development cycle on the XWB was far more realistic and as a result performance on entry exceeded performance guarantees. Go figure.

    Presumably yet another nail in the coffin of the NMA launch.

    • It was going to be a tremendous and risky undertaking for RR to go it alone, build an all new mid-thrust level engine and to do it in just 5 years.

      You can even say that GE is risk averse about it. They opted against going it alone and have Safran as a 50% risk sharing partner through CFM, even though it exceeds the thrust agreement.

    • Hmmm, with Trent 1000 being sorted out, Ten, 7000 and XWB doing OK, this gives cause to wonder what it is they’re so busy with to 2025 that means they’re not able to accommodate Boeing. AFAIK (better informed commentators, please correct me!) there’s been no official engine development programme announcement, just lots of potential pull through from a very busy R&D department.

      They must surely know what it is they’re going to do with all this new technology. Time will tell, it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.

      • Well for one they probably have a different view on the NMA that what is communicated publicly. And why should they start to develop a specific engine for the 797 when even Boeing hasn’t decided to lauch? There’s no ther application for exactly that engine on the horizon.
        Instead they got the very solid offer from Airbus to develop theUltrafan for the A350neo. I know what I would do.

      • I agree with Gundolf. Rolls-Royce could do it if Boeing had launched towards the end of last year. Now we are being told there will be an engine down select this year but the decision on launch will be next year. I don’t know why Boeing think they can do that? An engine OEM pouring resources into a programme that may not happen or may not happen in it’s current form.

        What Boeing are doing is simply a repeat of the 787. Unfortunately, the engine OEMs must assume a 2025 entry into service even though the entire world knows Boeing can’t do it. So the engine OEMs get stuffed and carry the can!

        As other commentators have said, Rolls-Royce may not be convinced with regard to the NMA in it’s current form. I’m not as I have said elsewhere

        So something solid is necessary and Airbus are offering something solid in an A350neo. They will have to launch at the Paris airshow for 2026 entry into service or at Farnborough, next year, for 2027 entry into service. So it’s not long before we find out.

      • The need for risk assessment has been thoroughly rubbed in at RR and it would seem that maybe Boeing might do the same -737max8 fiasco comes to mind. We are talking peoples lives here, not somebody’s thoughts in a office. Engines, all, are at the very limit of technology and human know how and no matter what the Airlines would desire, I admire RR for coming right out and saying we need more time for your dreams to come true. Making money, is the aim but peoples safety should always be the criteria. As to the future of RR Ultra, there was talk last year of an A350-2000 (stretched A350-1000 ) to compete with the 777x and although the XWB97 engine would be powerful enough, its the Ultra that was mentioned too.
        Its as always, speculation, and that gentlemen is all it can ever be, until its built!

  2. Dear Leeham News team, small remark: although the Engish pronounce it “Darby”, the town where the RR factory is loacted is “written” Derby…

      • It’s also pronounced Derbados sometimes, because of the fine weather, blue seas, ocean views, tropical vegetation and a high density of top end holiday resorts.

        • “Technically, we could make that work. That wouldn’t be a problem. But, we do know ” FORM” bitter experience”

          I see a typo in the second sentence, It should be from and not – FORM.

          Maybe RR should actually look at details and not assume?

        • Yes, most successful advanced programs are designed in some not so pleasant surrondings, like GE Evendale Basement building 200..

          • Or the enchanted windowless dwellings of the basement of building 800 in the same plant…

  3. “But, he said, RR could not complete sufficient testing in time to assure maturity of the technology before Boeing’s desired entry into service in 2025.”

    The weird thing about this reasoning is that it appears to be taking Boeing’s 2025 EIS wish seriously. Does anyone serious really believe that’s going to happen at this point?

    • Boeing have seen for themselves just how bad go, go, go can be with the 737max8. I agree with RR far better to be sure than feed the shareholders.

  4. This could mean that a Boeing NMA is going up against an Airbus competitor which has RR’s Ultrafan, GTF, etc. P&W might bring GTF to NMA; I wonder if Boeing now absolutely need P&W to give them that, otherwise NMA is not happening, or at least not worthwhile?

    And, can P&W do it in the required time frame? Probably not… RR with their scalable architecture are probably the closest of the three companies to having something as a a starting point for designing the engine. If they can’t do it, who can?

    So is this the consequences of Boeing’s strategic paralysis beginning to show up?

    • It seems to me that 2025 is already lost as far as NMA EIS is concerned. It will take seven years to re-wing and re-engine an existing aircraft.

  5. So the RR NMA engine could not be developed in 6 years though it is in ‘advanced’ development.
    Ok. Hum. RR must be strained and/or market limited and/or not yet as ‘advanced’.
    Better not bet the house.

    • Clean Sky has the Ultrafan reaching only TRL 6 by 2023. Technology takes time.

    • Development process and EIS for airlines are different things, parts can be expected to break during development which is a no no for airline use and Etops certification.

    • One thing is to have an engine thru certification, the other is making its owners, customers and employes happy as well. RR must be sure they can produce it profitably and that not so easy with a brand new engine and its first iteration with Boeing wanting a slice of the cake as well. You also have to find £5-10bn in your coffers not booked as shareholders return..
      I think the 797 is already designed 1-2 times over but the manufacturing process to make it at a profit is not proven yet. Most likely is Torres, Electroimpact and other composite robotics companies quite busy now showing Boeing their stuff. Boeing might just replace Honeywell and Collins/Ham Sundstrand with some new key suppliers that will profit alot over time..

      • Helo Claes Eriksson,

        Regarding: “Boeing might just replace Honeywell and Collins/Ham Sundstrand with some new key suppliers that will profit alot over time.”

        And one of those key new suppliers will be Boeing’s new internal avionics unit which has added hundreds of employees since 2017 and will reach 600 employees this year? The excerpt below is from the 7-31-17 AINonline article at the link after the excerpts.

        “Boeing has established its own organization to develop and produce avionics and other electronics, the manufacturer said on July 31. Plans call for delivering products in the next decade, positioning Boeing to compete against avionics suppliers such as Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and GE Aviation.

        In an internal memo to employees provided to AIN, Boeing chairman, president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the objectives of creating the new organization are to drive down costs, integrate avionics as a vertical in the aircraft production process and gain Boeing entry into the services aftermarket.

        The Boeing avionics organization is focused on producing navigation, flight-control and information systems for both commercial and military aircraft. There are currently 120 employees involved across different sites, with plans to staff up to 600 employees in 2019, according to the memo.”

        • It is some logic to do avionics and most software in-house as you done so much of it when developing the aircraft to give it all to a vendor to further devlop it and verify the vendor boxes and systems at aircraft certification work.
          To do all composites robotics for automatic manufacturing that will meet all cost and specs is costly and can take time. The robots have a large impact on required blue collar man hours once they work per spec, so you risk become very dependent on the robotic system integrators.

  6. Entirely right. But that is what appended with the 787. Engine OEMs were told the time was fixed. Both engine OEMs failed, the rest is history.

    Rolls-Royce have clearly said ~7 years from the time of launch. As Boeing have said it is 2020 before launch, that’s 2027 or more, not 2025.

    We keep being told that Boeing are coming down on their suppliers. Perhaps their suppliers don’t want to know. They will do business elsewhere!

    Boeing NMA service date of 2025 is a non-starter.

    Let’s see what Boeing do. But pride comes before a fall. The 787 cost Boeing $50 billion because of their behaviour. Did Boeing learn anything. No.

    Not doable. But then the NMA does’nt have a market. Somebody had to tell them.

    • Never beggar one’s suppliers, especially if there’s only really 2, 2.5 of them. For Boeing’s NMA there’s now only one and a half of them, and I can’t see either of those being keen on the timescale either (unless they’ve done an awful lot very quietly).

      I wonder if GE might be beginning to regret not offering anything for A350? P&W must be counting their lucky stars GTF is looking pretty good now on a variety of high volume aircraft.

      • Phillip:

        It would be better for you not to keep repeating a lie on the 787 program as far as the 50 billion cost.

        It was around 33-34 billion.

        You are clearly ignorant or willing to twist facts when you do.

        Its not a way top gain respect in a knowledgeable community.

        As far as engines go. GE clearly did their homework and while both were deficient , GE less so and has pipped its way to meeting the specifications without replacing the whole engine. They have over 60% of that market.

        RR clearly did the same on the A330 with the Trent 700.

        The issue is that RR started a trend with the 1000 and we don’t know if its fruly resolved or not.

        The 1000 initially had corrosion issues and those blades were replaceable then they started cracking. The cracking came out last year or layyrt2017 after a long time in service.

        The XWB could have those issues as well, only time will tell.

        • TransWorld

          It’s not a lie. The $32-34billion is the deferred costs. Deferred costs don’t include the R&D. Add the R&D and the number is ~$50 billion.

          I’m not responding to your insults. Not worth it. But I will keep correcting you.

          • Deferred cost do include R&D.
            My figure was at top external, not yet recovered outlays, of 40B$ which did include the cost of the idle hardware (Boeing only, not supplier, and you can imagine…) while waiting for delivery during the 3.4 years delay up to first delivery. But @TWA is correct. Accounting loss was max 32-34B$ at one time… slowly being resorbed.

            Now, the 787 is a mean, mean marketing/cost weapon.

          • Ivorycoast.

            No. An example. Early build 787s were moved from the deferred cost coloum to the R&D column thereby reducing the deferred cost but increasing the R&D cost.

            Look it up.

          • No Philip, only about 15-20 airframes from the terrible twins are have been moved there and far from a total loss. Not enough to get to 50B$ by far.

            a) They still got sold:

            **More importantly**:
            b) Deferred costs for sure include R&D AND the lost $$ on those airframes as these $$ are moved to the R&D column.
            Deferred cost definition in Boeing 10-Qs: “deferred
            production costs, unamortized tooling and other non-recurring costs” Non-recurring costs include R&D.
            A bit of accounting trivia: Boeing took xxx M$ ‘loss’ on whatever costs they could not recover from let’s say terrible twin 15 or 16. It’s a ‘loss’ in the sense that it went to inflate the total 787 program deferred costs — money was already out of the door but the gray area was really about how much could be recovered. Of course, that new xxxM$ is spread across xxxx airframes. But it removes what is called a ‘material witness’ in the sense that the street still had some uncertainties as to what Boeing said/maintained they could recover from selling the airframes by forcing Boeing to remove the fiction they could be sold as ‘normal’ airframes sold to customers. When you have many of these, the set becomes one material witness the revenue recognition/auditor guys hunt you down for.

            How about this for a *look it up*?
            Data is always better than partisanship. We should know.

          • @ivorycoast

            So you’re saying that Boeing has included all of the 787 R&D in the ‘non-recurring costs’?

          • No ivorycoast. Just type into goggle

            “R&D write off 787”

            You will find a series of articles. For example, the seattletimes makes clear that Boeing had already spent $32 billion by 2011, $15 billion on R&D and another $16 billion on the first 40 airplanes.

            Boeing then continued to lose money on each airplane until they reached a lot more than 500 deliveries.

            Reuters and Forbes have articles with the switch of early airplanes to R&D.

            Three things happened to the terrible twins.

            1. The first few were redesignated R&D and broken up.
            Boeing then declared a write down because of R&D.

            2. The middle group remained deferred costs and broken up.
            3. The later group were sold at a huge discount because they were massively overweight. I think 6 were sold to Ethiopian.

            So no. Perhaps deferred costs should be re-defined as ‘deferred production costs’, for the $32-34 billion refers to that. Then add the R&D of $15 billion.

        • To add ivorycoast.

          Teens not Twins, of course.

          The seattle times article, written in 2011, predicted $4 billion deferred production costs per year until 2015 and a total of $35 billion deferred production costs. Break even happened in 2016 with total deferred production costs at $32-34 billion. So the prediction wasn’t far off.

          The article also makes clear that R&D of $15 billion is an estimate. If right it will be more than that now for it doesn’t include improvements and the 787-10.

          $50 billion is about right, it’s what many others think.

          • Sorry, break even means the production costs per airplane went positive in 2016.

            As it stands Boeing are still more than $40 billion out of pocket.

  7. What rolls clients at this point would even do a new plane with an all new rolls engine if other options are on wing? DL is all I can think of.

    And, Boeing pushing for service and parts royalties etc is particularly at odds with rolls power by the hour model.

    Question though, if it scales from 25 to 115k, how does it not quite have the architecture for NMA?

    • I think RR says technically they can do it like on the RB199 of 3 spools, but competition with established LEAP and PW1100G engines makes RR target windows where competition is weak. Like for 35k-55k engines below GEnX and slightly over 105k GE9X thrust. You can charge more for big engines both in sales and service contracts. When Airbus do the A350-1000ULR for Qantas they probably need an engine certified around 125k thrust (RR likes to have the highest thrust engine certified, the GE90 was a sharp nail into RR’s soft body) and derate to 110k. EK would look at it and demand 125k dataplates. Operating at huge hr/cycle ratios really help and if you charge customers by the hour you reach break-even quicker.
      For these 18-23hrs flights there will be few cycles per year and it helps creating time for RR to solve any low life limit hardware issues during the first years of operation.

  8. Interestingly, if you read the remarks carefully, they are going to do an A350NEO, sooner rather than later. The words are ‘we expect the first opportunity in widebody’

    • “Meeting Boeing’s timetable would have required accelerating our demonstrator programme and withdrawing from the process will enable us to have a high confidence in engine maturity towards the end of the next decade”

      End of next decade isn’t soon…

      • Which tells you there will not be an NEO on the A350 in 2025 either.

        RR has been working on R&D, but none of it has resulted in a flight capable product yet.

        With both an all new core and the GTF its going to be 2028 at the soonest.

        I would say P&W is in the catbirds seat as it can cross with either GE or RR.

        • They may be much further on developing a large thrust engine ( for A350 2000 say) than they are at the smaller end of the range for the NMA.

          While the others , GE and P&W are just going to upgrade their existing engines with some new tech.
          GE by implementing stuff from the GE9X and Pratt by probably implementing the variable area bypass ‘exhaust duct’ ( which they had ready for GTF but didnt need)

          • Duke: I get a hoot out of some of your comments.

            RR is upgrading their Ultra with some new tech!

            Granted, using the 1000 core like they did had some serious downsides!.

            RRs plan was to come out with the Advance. That has been shelved and the Advance is not the core for the Ultra (well it would have been anyway)

            Clearly for the 797, you don’t want a lot of new anything due to the instability to a mature product, so you go with the best of what you have.

            RR could not, what they and was failed (XWB is still????)

            P&W core may well be as good as RR. Certainly it has growth.

            RR could not even beat GE GENx with an all new engine on the 787 (2-3% improvement) and it still has the old core from the 1000 (with some tweaks)

            P&W has more than the variable bypass up their sleeve you can be sure, they have been working on applications for the larger aircraft for some time and have a setup designed (not tested)..

            GE will have a response. I don’t think its as good future prospects ad PW.

            PW can over time do anything that GE or RR do to their core and the rest, until you have a GTF on wing you can’t match that.

          • I said GE and Pratt are using existing engines with some new tech for NMA, not Rolls (as they don’t have one in the 35k range)

          • Transworld, “Advance is not the core for the Ultra”. Maybe you aren’t aware that there is more than one “Advance” (bit clumsy naming idea IMO) but either way Clean Sky seem to disagree with you (Advance3 the ‘component’ is the core for both Advance and Ultrafan – and Rolls Royce seem to disagree with you (” –

    • An additional model of A350, not currently in production could be offered?
      As well a 787 neo could be on the cards after 2025

  9. “CEO Warren East revealed Boeing had been notified shortly before the end of 2018.”

    Can we take it that there’s been some ominously stoney silence from Boeing on NMA so far in 2019, and that they’d have had plenty of time to shrug their shoulders and carry on as normal anyway if they’d got the option to do so?

    RR telling Boeing at the end of last year can’t have been the first hint to Boeing that the timescale wasn’t going to work for RR. They must have been talking for months and months about it.

    So, if I may be permitted to speculate wildly… Had RR been the slackers in the NMA programme and everyone else was ready to go, one might imagine that Boeing would have launched it anyway, leave RR to catch up if they wanted. That’s not happened. And it’s still not happened even though Boeing knew RR were out of it 2 months ago. So, assuming that Boeing have their own house in order on NMA, none of the other potential engine suppliers are ready either.

    In which case the timescale is going to have to change (which might kill the whole programme commercially), or they drop it all together and work on something else (but what on earth would that be?).

    Also, does this mean RR were critical to Boeing’s NMA plans?

    • Yes, RR doesn’t buy it. They figured it’s a technological excercise or maybe a case study or maybe just a smoke screen. For what? For Boeings most important product, the 737 replacement. We all know that the 737 needs to have a successor, but nobody knows exactly what it shall be made from and what engine will power it. But most of all Boeing doesn’t what this to be discusses publicly, as that might weaken the position against the A320 further.

      • If you don’t have a product ready to go then you can’t get into the game.

    • Looks like he sees a different ‘hole in the market’.
      “Is there an opportunity, for a very large, short range aircraft?”
      “twin aisles ave. 2K miles, single aisles ave 550 miles”

      The market data is there for a 3,ooo nm A322 simple stretch, or a larger short range aircraft.

      • @Ted: Even if one looks at the data for airplane types specifically, one would find out that for instance, despite being fully capable of longer ranges no operator is flying their 757-200s much longer than 2000 nmi. Clearly it would have made sense to do so if there was a solid customer demand.
        In my experience, there are two things that marketeers forget when they seek holes in the market:
        (1) Basic demand. Yes it may look like that there is an unaddressed market for a number of airplanes on the passenger seat vs. range plots, but is there actually a solid customer demand to fly those routes, sufficient to warrant an all new airplane? That is mostly having to do with enough people living in certain parts of the world being able to easily afford the tickets and have a desire or need to fly to far away destinations. e.g. in case of the NMA, is there enough demand for the JFK- Timbaktoo type routes to justify an all new airplane? I don’t think so.
        (2) Network considerations. Small is beautiful for airline customers for many reasons, top among them is routing flexibility. A smaller (low pax) airplane is easier to fill on any route in an airline network, so a small airplane can be easily rotated in and out of routes that have a cyclical low demand, and easily fit elsewhere in the network where demand may be present. For short routes, it is more economic to increase frequency (i.e. more flights) to accommodate peak loads, instead of using a larger airplane that the rest of the time might operate at a lower cabin load factor.
        More than anything, the choice of an airplane has to do with optimizing the utilization of the fleet, by allowing the flexibility to re-allocate airplanes during less busy times. It is more difficult to do so with larger airplanes.

        These and some other basic airplane design considerations prevent a 300 pax/500 nmi airplane from being feasible as a new product: Once you size the wings to be able to lift the 300 pax payload, you have the volume to fly 4000 nmi or more, and the gains in efficiency are minimal by reducing tank volume or MTOW.

        • In order for air transport to remain a healthy industry through the climate change era, the global fleet must get its fossil fuel-burned and CO2 tonnes-generated onto dramatically reduced trajectories during the 2020s and 2030s instead of capped at a billion tonnes a year per CORSIA or the current business-as-usual CO2 trend of doubling (or more) over the next 20 years of the growth forecast by Boeing and Airbus.

          I believe that the most important next new airplane would be a large twin aisle, 7-8 abreast, ~300 passenger, single class ~ 32″ pitch “green” seating, domestic short-haul for N. America, W. Europe, China, India, S.E Asia markets. At first it would complement the 100-200 passenger single aisle fleet and later out number them maybe 60/40. It would be light weight. Wings, wing boxes, fuselage would be composite. Fuselage cross section would be more elliptical — flatter bottomed than Boeing’s NMA. Twin engines, on wing, might be mature CFM’s and PW A320 neos with upgrades. Design range would be ~2000 nm, cruise speed .72 mach, and these passenger planes would carry no commercial cargo.

          I’m expecting ~40% lower fuel burned and CO2 generated per seat mile than the A320neo, 737Max, C919 and M-21.

          It flies 4000 nm efficiently with one stop.

          It needs to be and could be in service in 2026

          The flying and non flying publics would welcome some loss in convenience for a less polluting fleet.

          • @ jim krebs
            Your assessment will be true only if the individual passenger made the airplane purchase decision instead of the corporate airlines. The reality is that 99% of ticket purchase decisions by the passengers are made based on ticket pricing, so customer demand isn’t really chasing comfort. The passengers that are interested and can afford to fly in comfort, can always fly first class (the option is available). Airlines have to cater to the costumer preference for the cheap tickets in order to survive and environmental aspects get very little consideration if any at all. I am not saying that this is ideal, just stating the facts.
            95% of passengers don’t know how many engines their airplane has, much less the type of that airplane, so to think the flying public will change their behavior to fly in a 32″ twin cabin is unsubstantiated.

          • That was the original Airbus A300 idea. But structures and engines at that time was not good enough. Today we know more, still not easy to have robots building the structure and convince Engine manufaturers that there is a big market for a 40-50k Engine that stays 15 000 cycles on wing. Pulling 2ea new super efficient $15-25M Engines off wing at 1500 cycles for shop visits for $7M/each quickly ruins the business case for these missions.

  10. As I recall RR was the LEAD engine mfg on the 787.

    How does that tie in with a year less and not able to deliver?

    GE did.

    (and please, lets not hear about the ice issue, RR had that on their 777 engines, it was not a tech bust as much a tech decision that had an unseen downside in both cases)

    • If GE was the second one (and RR was the lead on the Trent 10 as well) and the bids were put in at the same time, it seems to me that both were at the same point.

      In short, how is one selected to lead over the other?

      GE was smarter to be number 2.

      P&W was the lead on the Airbus as well, certainly the GTF could have used some more testing.

      Unlike RR they did not have to come out with a new engine.

      Seals and bearings and such are not huge issues as long as the fan core itself is solid and there have been no problems reported with that.

    • … i want to talk about the ice issue … No, won’t bother. But they still haven’t fixed it. Oops!

      GE didn’t meet the timelines either. The LPT of the first version of GENX had to be redesigned because of performance shortfalls. Not enough blades, apparently.

      And of course GE have redesigned and are replacing the entire hot section because of durability issues. See You found it last time. Groundhog day.

      • Yes GE has its own PR department on secondment to Bloomberg business news, any engine problems are pr spin as ‘supplier problems’ not really GE problem. I’ve showed their stories before …. I guess they will be on 24/7 watch as the GE9X does it’s flying testing – all hush hush up till now, can’t do that so much once in the air

        • He’s the info from Ainonline about GEs 787 engine problems…they took 2 attempts to fix it…
          “The new durability upgrade—which includes modifications to the GEnx-1B’s high-pressure turbine (HPT) first-stage nozzles and blades, as well as its combustor lining and fuel nozzles— will offer operators of GEnx-1B-powered 787s approximately 30 percent more time on wing, according to Mackenzie. It follows an earlier, less major durability upgrade that GE introduced….”
          Fix ups are called durability upgrade…. PR spin of the highest order…and the chumps buy it

          Some media have covered it as it was:
          “Airlines flying Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets with the latest General Electric engines were ordered to repair them, or swap out at least one with an older model, in an urgent safety directive issued after an inflight failure.

          A GEnx-1B PIP2, part of a family of engines plagued by issues related to icing, suffered “substantial damage” in the January 29 incident, when ice on the fan blades broke loose, the US Federal Aviation Administration said in an order published on Friday in the Federal Register…”

  11. 2025 is Boeing’s EIS target. But I wouldn’t be surprised if all 3 engine makers submitted bids hoping NOT to be the lead engine if it gives a bit more time to test and mature their product.

    With RR dropping out, which of the remaining two will be forced to go first? In the past few programs GE has been given the benefit of going second as in the 787 and the A320neo or extra time, 7 years with the 777X.

  12. What may be missed is that when they talk about hours, there are 8,000 house in a year (close)

    If you want 40,000 hours of run time, that is 5 years (assuming you could even run steady that long)

    Running faster is not an option (you can with an engineer or a compresso9r) but you also do not know if that accelerate a non issue into being an issue.

    Computer modeling only goes so far.

    It will be interesting to see if they can come up with programs to do that.

    RR tried with the 1000 engine issues, it failed to assess correctly and the problems came sooner.

  13. I think Rolls-Royce’s press release is interesting… “withdraw from from the “current competition” (paraphrasing) for the NMA.

    Does that mean Rolls-Royce will re-enter the competition if Boeing come to their senses?

  14. I also think the timing of announcement(s) is interesting.They dropped out over 2 months ago but nothing was released.I wonder if Boeing asked them to remain silent until the competition was over.That was Boeing gets the best price possible from one of the remaining OEM’s and RR stays friends with B for helping them in that way.
    If true someone has now been selected. Imagine GE

    • Share price most likely. Most CEOs, in the UK at any rate, fixate on that and wouldn’t do anything that might upset it unless and until they had to. At an earnings conference he really couldn’t have not mentioned it, that would be considered ‘lying by omission’.

      That said, it sounds like the right decision – for lots of reasons apart from (or as well as) the one they’ve given. Rather like Honda announcing their pull-out from the UK as down to ‘World market conditions’ when in fact they are being polite in that Japanese way, allowing the UK government to ‘Save face’. Rolls-Royce possibly think the NMA is too late, too risky, too expensive and not a big enough market to sustain two engine suppliers – but it isn’t politic to say so.

      A separate point is that it is easier to re-organise an institution the size of Rolls-Royce if there’s a hiatus of some sort and they’re not log-jammed with different projects. Rolls-Royce desperately needs rational reorganisation and no-one knows that better than Warren East who’s background is design of silicon chips. An actual engineer in charge of an engineering company! Good things could happen.

      • Honda arent being polite . Their numbers through the plant are half what they were 10 years ago, and Japan is negotiating a deal with the EU on removing tariffs on new cars from Japan. Together that removes most of the reason for a European car plant.
        This was all spelled out in the motoring press.
        GM has closed its plant in Canada too and sold off Opel…it happens all the time due to ‘world markets’
        Europe isnt a nirvana for new cars …theres been hell to play over diesel emissions as well, for the majors its home turf they cant close up like tiddlers such as Honda are doing
        You could say VW is struggling in US ….world markets again ( more usually we arent making cars customers wont to buy)

  15. The NMA is already under development AT FULL SPEED. In stealth.
    For competitivity reason, Boeing is not launching it the traditional way. It is ‘experimenting’ on production tech, etc. ?? = BS. They are already building it.

    The new french Dassault digital tools is allowing them to commit to a final design MUCH MUCH later. But the designSSS (get my point?) are progressing very fast virtually. Production experiments are validating costs/feasibility of components.

    I am seeing this exactly going on in complex shale oil/fracking engineering marvels being modeled/built in Texas’ Permean basin. It’s amazing.

    Then in xx months, they’ll come out and say ‘voila’. EIS fairly maintained, costs dramatically lower, number of designs meeting different shades of the market.

    Everyone will be supposedly stunned.

    Btw, the US/FR CFMI has already won the NMA sole source competition. It’s over.

    • Boeing is a public company….it can’t say things different to reality as the stock market demands full information qtr by qtr. As well suppliers have to provide information for their stock holders.
      The DS software has been used for many years at Boeing, like other airframe makers nothing surprising about that

      • Nope. That’s not how things are done now. Having been a C-level for many years in a US publicly traded company (in R&D), you can pass many many things into research & dev. before you come out as ‘voila’. US rules allow this to a large extend. See how they release their earnings releases. The last 10-Qs show a major rise in R&D. See the line “Research and development expense, net” in some of these. Trend. 777X does not by itself explain this. Defense? Hum… maybe but most of that is black anyhow.

        They ‘extend’ by quarters the ‘imminent’ NMA launch. You think they are not working hard on options? We can wish the BC is not there but a new airframe is existential for them. Though they may do a soniccruiser-to-what-the-airline-really-want-787 switcharoo and go single aisle.
        My money is its happening by stealth and they’d win 2-3 years of the seam-to-be-usual-7-years needed. EIS still by 2024-5.

        Why would suppliers not work like that either?

        I believe your knowledge of DS software is a bti dated. Today, its very different from 7-8 years ago. What i am seeing in practice with the full digital mockups/twins and ‘scenarios playing’ could not be done in the like of 2012. Then it was still crude. The accuracy now is above to 99%. When you feed that with targeted production tries to verify the produced kit and costs, you know for real.

        • Just like the GE9X engine development progress has been a key driver to the entry-into-service (EIS) for the 777X — i.e. 7 years from launch to EIS — the NMA engine development progrees will be a key driver to the EIS of a NMA. Believing somehow that the NMA would be able to enter into service some 4-5 years after an official launch next year is totally unrealistic

          • Those 7 years were more about the strong tail in 777-300ER orders than actual development time needed. As well Boeing needed to digest the big overun in spending on the 787, as the revenue from sales was far exceeded by the 787 cost of sales.
            You dont do a crash program under those circumstances, and it worked as only in the last year or 2 have 777 deliveries involved a ‘lot on money left on the wing’- as they would say in US .

        • Where are all the people Boeing and its major suppliers need to design and develop the manufacturing side… its a tight labour market and the numbers of ads arent there, and its thousands of people needed.
          Where is the plant that this new plane will be built at?

          Scott has his ear to the ground in Seattle …they cant move an office desk , or give someone a special promotion in Tukwila without him knowing about it. Seattle isnt a soviet style closed city nor is Wichita or Savannah….its the US …people talk and journalists listen…even the Pentagon leaks like a sieve

          • Hello Dukeofurl,

            Regarding: “Where are all the people Boeing and its major suppliers need to design and develop the manufacturing side …”

            According to the excerpt below from the 1-29-19 Wichita Business Journal article at the link after the excerpt, Jon Ostrower’s “The Air Current” is reporting that Boeing has more than 1,000 people working on the NMA.

            “According to a report from The Air Current, Boeing (NYSE: BA) now has more than 1,000 people working on plans that people familiar with the company’s timeline tell the aerospace publication will be given the internal green light near the end of the first quarter.”


            Those with a paid bizjournals subscription may also find the May 17, 2018 Puget Sound Business Journal article at the link below of interest on this subject. A 900 million dollar budget for an allegedly still non-launched aircraft back in May 2018? As long as Boeing says that the NMA is not launched, Airbus feels no need to respond?

            “One employee said he’s developing production plans for the potential new mid-sized aircraft program, while another said he’s responsible for a $900 million budget.”


            Boeing has been running lots of job listings with language like that below. Only Boeing, the people hired, and maybe Jon Ostrower know which program they end up working on?

            “This Engineering position will focus on detail component design serving both current (e.g., 737, 777, 787, etc.) and future airplanes (e.g., 737MAX, 777X, NMA, etc)”


            “including programs such as the 737MAX, the Presidential Airplane, the new generation 777X, and the next all new airplane like the NMA. This role will be based in the Puget Sound region of Washington.”


          • Another factor to consider regarding manpower for the 797 is that the first 777-9 is now being painted and should be officially rolled out this month, and that the first 737-10 is scheduled for final assembly in a few months. Thus 77X and 737 MAX design and production design work is winding down, and the army of engineers who worked on the 777X and 737 MAX must soon (or already are) be put to work on something else, or let go if there is not something else new for them to design.

          • Duke: I do have to remind you that Scott did not hear anything about the 737 backlog developing?

            Jon Ostower has much better contacts in the work force where you know what is going on.

            Scotts business is not inside intelligence on Boeing, its where markets are (or not) and computer models on aircraft.

            He does bring up up to date news and comments on the events when they hit the headlines (which I appreciate)

            If he had sources we would have known RR had bugged out lat year.

            As for space, Boeing has the surge line in Everett not being used, they have combined the 767 and 747 work forces and have access to retire workers who will work for a time. Serious production would be 6 ye4ars away, you can build up infrastructure easily during that time.

            Aircrafdt assembly is just a big open space.

          • Duke: Sad to say you are wrong about the production software.

            There have been huge advances in it and Boeing is going all in.

            Its not just aircraft design, its the entire production system that is going digital.

            Boeing has more than the 797 that is being worked on with the new system and there will be cross learning between all of them.

            I am not saying they can pull this off for the 797, I have followed it and its not smoke and it will be a major change.

            Who supplies the engine is unknown. If CFM and P&W align, they have massive resources in a time when no new engines are takign their time.

            That whole entity would be GE-Safran-PW-MTU-Japanese Aero Corp (Kawasaki, IHHI, Mitsubishi)

    • Hello ivorycoast,

      Regarding: “Btw, the US/FR CFMI has already won the NMA sole source competition. It’s over.”

      Is this a prediction based on the merits of CFM’s and PW’s proposals, or something that you have heard has definitely happened from someone in a position to know?

  16. I still don’t see MOM happen.
    Too much is unclear.
    Business case, size of market.
    Engine, fueselage, wing.

    RR is up to deliver a major upgrade with a geared fan engine for widebodies, do you really want to launch a plane just before a jump in tech?
    Or did Boeing already get P&W in with a larger version of their PW 1000G?

    With B787, Boeing said they gonna construct it in 4 years. They did need 8, and it was a suffer.
    RR and GE failed with the engine, RR more due to less time.
    Even if Boeing already startet, it’s 7 years from now, so 2026.
    Yeah, software and construction might get more modern, but no, it’s not gonna be easier. There’s more system integration, there is more certification – i don’t see chances to cut time.

    And the case is not valid yet. Boeing needs to push the MOM to be their B737 Max sucessor also, Airbus will take a close look and then counter.
    They have the CS, the NEO is selling better than the MAX, they have a solid selling widebody (A330neo) and the most modern widebody (A350) with potential to derivate.
    Their trouble jet (A380) is gone, and A330neo looks better now.
    Airbus will wait for RR to pull out their Ultrafan and then reengine it’s A350.
    Until then, they will hava another A321 LR version and maybe even another stretch A322, closing the gap for MOM.

      • Well its an interesting opinion. Boeing I think has somewhat more say about all this than we do.

        You can flip a coin as to the need for GTF with the 797. Its a unique slot (if viable) that does not require it (better yes)

        As for the A350, as fine an aircraft it is, its a bit older on the tech end as it went with bleed air. The amazing part was they did it with a frame and skin system (to me).

        Per Bjorn it matches up as equal to the spun Boeing operations. Does not seem right but you really get into weeds on that one and I go with Bjorn every time.

        This is also a trial system for Boeing and new production systems. So any down stream product (if it works as a system) benefits from it.

        We can only stay tuned.

        My take is its good to see Boeing pushing at the boundaries. We have not had structural changes in a long time that are major in fuel burn improvements (most of its been the engines). Composites are an advance but only 5% or so over the 767 (roughly). The rest was engines.

        • So with just a small improvement from the engine side, the NMA will likely have a similar CASM compared to the A321LR? But having to wait until at least 2025 for something of that level isn’t very attractive.

    • Yep. Still a good summary! TransWorld just confirmed it!Thanks Sash!

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