Boeing suppliers ramp up schedule for MAX: 52/mo by July, 57/mo by August

Source: Boeing.

April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing reduced the production rate on the 737 line in mid-April from 52/mo to 42/mo in response to the grounding of the airplane by regulators worldwide.

The company and others said they didn’t know how long the airplane would be grounded.

But Boeing told suppliers to keep producing parts, components and the fuselage at rate 52.

The announcement was made April 5. At the same time, Boeing gave suppliers the rate ramp-up schedule.

LNA attended the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference April 9-11 and learned Boeing already had a ramp-up plan in place;

According to the information LNA learned at the, this is the schedule for ramping back up:

  • Rate 42/mo, April and May;
  • Rate 47, June;
  • Rate 51.5, July and August; and
  • Rate 57, September.

Boeing originally planned to go to 57/mo in June or July.

Southwest, American, United airlines and Air Canada announced they removed their airplanes from the schedules through July and into early August. The Seattle Times reported late Friday the FAA could lift its grounding order by late May or early June. Pilot training and preparing the grounded MAXes to return to service could push EIS to August.

It’s unclear how soon global regulators will lift their grounding orders.

 

43 Comments on “Boeing suppliers ramp up schedule for MAX: 52/mo by July, 57/mo by August

  1. Well then, they’ll be needing that recertification more than ever.

    Applying all that commercial pressure on the certification process doesn’t look great. It’s open to interpretation, like the company is daring the regulators to keep it on the ground. The mayhem that will result of it’s not returned to the skies would be immense.

    But more than ever, with reports of FOD, poor build standard control (according to the WSJ, airlines in the US didn’t get the AoA disagree flag afterall, despite what the books said), pressure on the emaciated FAA and the wary EASA and CAAC has trhe potential to backfire for Boeing.

    • While I am not defending Boeing MCAS action (nor others) if they have worked with the FAA and the MCAS is resolved, then they have to start planning for the process.

      That does not mean it won’t change, but they have an interest in getting back on track and airlines have an interest in those deliveries so they can get back on track.

      It what management is supposed to do, plan ahead.

  2. Assuming that deliveries will commence end of this year this means Boeing has to finance and park something like 400-500 planes. Possibly all of them in need of rework (at least software, but possibly hardware too). I’m impressed by the courage and confidence. Or is it despair? If that bet fails will Boeing go belly up?

    • Deliveries will resume in June (assuming the timeline is met) not the end of the year.

      Software loads take a couple of hours and you have X number of teams in one location doing so.

      Software will be sent to the field and available for install as soon as the ok is given.

      As software upgrades are common enough, I don’t see this an issue, MCAS is a key upgrade (vital) but its no different in loading than another upgrade.

      • When I put the word “assuming” in front of a comment that means it’s speculative. Your reply completely (purposely?) misses the point, as you simply negate the key assumption and obviously are in possession of a magic glass ball so you know already that the deliveries resume in June. I must say I’m mightily impressed. Could you please lend me that glass ball for a couple of days, so I can check some important myself?

        You also completely put the assumption aside that the Maxes will need hardware upgrades. That could be anything from just a cable to a new stabilizer. You seem to avoid that thought entirely. Are you on the leash of the Boeing lawyers and charged to move “dangerous” discussions into safer water while appearing to take a tough stand on Boeing?

    • They are betting the farm, because they are secure in being “too big to fail” so that they trust Uncle Sam will help them out.
      They may be right because so many military items depend on Boeing being around, but IMO management would not survive, and shareholders will have to take a radical hair cut.
      The Donald would not want to run for re-election with the stigma of helping big business a la Obama/GM.

      • If they can rely on Uncle Same at all, they can rely on him only up to a point. Not even the US government can force other nations to fly an American aircraft, if they don’t want to. In that sense, betting the farm might not be such a good idea.

        • In theory they can by telling the goverments that aircraft carriers and ICBM with nukes will protect them if their flag carriers are consitently friendly against the US. If not the US will come much later. France and Germany does not have the same global resources and can easily be distracted by infighting and with UK and Russia eagerly influencing events like many times before.

  3. Hmm, it appears as if Boeing is increasingly being hammered by the media. In fact, has there ever been so much bad publicity for an aircraft and an OEM?

    Meanwhile, the continuous, repetitive talking points by Boeing and its surrogates/shills concerning “third world pilots’ skills,” may appear to backfiring, big time. In due course, airlines in the developed world might stop ordering the MAX altogether.

    The recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes happened after pilots were unable to countermand the planes’ autopilot systems.

    But airlines may not favor increased pilot control of their planes because of “deteriorating pilot skills,” especially in developing countries where “pilot skills and training may not be on par with standards in the US,” according to analyst Richard Safran.

    Two experts told Business insider that modern commercial airliners are indeed designed to be flown by pilots with less experience.

    The trend could favor sales of Airbus’ A320neo which offers more automated flight control than Boeing’s planes.

    Experts are tentatively blaming the two recent crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX planes on the over-automation of Boeing’s flight system, which prevented the pilots from manually controlling the jets’ forced dives when their system wrongly concluded the planes were flying upward when they were not.

    You might think this would push airlines to favor aircraft where pilots had more direct control over an aircraft’d flight.

    But in the case of the 737 MAX, you might be wrong, according to Buckingham Research Group analyst Richard Safran. He sent a note last week saying that Airbus believed the autopilot system in its A320neo planes — the direct competitors to Boeing’s 737 MAX — gave Airbus an advantage precisely because it gives pilots less direct control over the aircraft. “Airbus told me the reason that their flight control system takes on more control authority is to overcome deteriorating pilot skills” — “the reason that their flight control system takes on more control authority is to overcome deteriorating pilots skills,” Safran told clients.

    The long-term impact of the MAX issues may be that developing world customers view the A320neo and the authority given to its flight control system as better suited to their needs, given that pilot skills and training may not be on par with standards i n the US or developed world.

    That could drive additional narrow body market share from Boeing (BA) to Airbus,” a copy of the note, seen by Business insider, said.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-737-max-crashes-deteriorating-pilot-skills-airbus-2019-4?r=US&IR=T&IR=T

    Among the shareholder votes taking place at the annual meeting is a proposal that would separate the positions of chairman and CEO, both of which are now held by Muilenburg. Boeing opposes that proposal.

    The resolution predated the current crisis, and there was a similar proposal at last year’s annual meeting that was defeated with the support of only 25% of the company’s shares. But two shareholder advisory firms have recommended votes in favor of the resolution this time.

    “Shareholders would benefit from the most robust form of independent oversight to ensure that the company’s management is able to regain the confidence of regulators, customers and other key stakeholders,” said one of those services, ISS, in a note urging support for the measure.

    Questions remain as to whether Boeing (BA) did everything it could to ensure the planes were as safe as possible. For example, four Boeing employees called an Federal Aviation Administration whistleblower hotline to report damage to the wiring of sensors, CNN has reported. And Boeing made airlines pay extra if they wanted an alert that lets pilots know if two sensors are contradicting each other. After the crashes, the company said in congressional testimony it would make that feature standard on planes in the future.

    Muilenburg defended that earlier decision to include the alert as an option in his prepared remarks.

    “We don’t make safety features optional,” he said. “Every one of our airplanes includes all of the safety features necessary for safe flight.”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/29/investing/boeing-annual-meeting/index.html

    Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism

    Packed in the 737 fiasco are all the economic problems we face: crony capitalism, regulatory capture, offshoring…

    A veteran commercial pilot and software engineer with over three decades of experience has just written the most damning account of the recent Boeing 737 fiasco. At one level, author Gregory Travis has provided us with the most detailed account of why a particular plane model once synonymous with reliability became a techno-death trap. But ultimately, his story is a parable of all that is wrong with 21st-century capitalism; Boeing has become a company that embodies all of its worst pathologies. It has a totally unsustainable business model—one that has persistently ignored the risks of excessive offshoring, the pitfalls of divorcing engineering from the basic R&D function, the perils of “demodularization,” and the perverse incentives of “shareholder capitalism,” whereby basic safety concerns have repeatedly been sacrificed at the altar of greed. It’s also a devastating takedown of a company that once represented the apex of civilian aviation, whose dominance has been steadily eroded as it has increased its toxic ties to the U.S. military. In that sense it mirrors the decline of America as a manufacturing superpower. And finally, it shows a company displaying a complete loss of human perspective in the “man vs. machine” debate.

    https://www.salon.com/2019/04/27/boeing-might-represent-the-greatest-indictment-of-21st-century-capitalism_partner/

    • How about just posting the relevant links and analysis and not installing a version of War and Peace in the blog?

      • Yes. I second that. People need to be concerned about this because of the frequency of “big business as usual” getting away with these terrible acts. Boeing, Wells Fargo, the fossil fuel Business (BP), etc.,… In my home state, Big Business is putting in Toxic copper-nickel mines right next to the largest FRESH WATER reserves in the World. Never has copper-nickel been mined without polluting all the water around it, including the water table. (See the state of Montana – the film “Dark Money.”) Dark money refers to paying off politicians – kind of like those elected officials who gutted the FAA.

    • It is the FAA/CAA’s that shall have the resources and skills to certify aircrafts and the aircraft manufacturers to follow the given path of regulations, calculations, testing to certification. So for the FAA, the US goverment must provide money, authority and regulations to FAA to be able to do a top notch verification and certification job as they cannot invoice the aircraft builders for their certification work.

  4. I hope this isn’t to confuse and steer perception. They can ramp up, produce & the aircraft is still grounded. If FAA approves but CAA / TCCA need more time, passenger won’t board in Dallas. Welcome in the new world.

  5. Good luck to them, I say with disgust. I grew up admiring Boeing, but not anymore.

  6. This adds confusion. At least initially this was an option, but not clear if it was on NG etc.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-southwest-airlines-boeing-737-max-aoa-sensor-alerts-20190428-story.html

    Less turned off than not enable if it was not paid for.

    It never should have been an option, both the Disagree and display status should be standard (now are after 347 dead)

    But also does no good if you don’t know what the consequence of an AOA disagree and how MCAS would work with a single bad AOA either.

    Add more to the overall stupidity involved with this.

    Agree Muilenberg needs to go.

    Doesn’t mean it will happen but we can hope.

    • It was easy, non optional, if AOA disagree, don’t take off. If in flight, disable MCAS. (auto trim)

    • Nevermind, but FYI I’ve already posted a link (2nd link) to that article up-thread, with excerpts — you know, the “war and peace” stuff. 😉

    • It’s for the 787, but the parts affected echo current 737 issues
      “This AD was prompted by reports of hydraulic leakage caused by damage to aileron and elevator actuators from lightning strikes.”

  7. https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-ceo-will-be-on-first-737-max-flight-return-to-service-2019-4?r=US&IR=T

    Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg announced on Monday that he will be on the first flights of the Boeing 737 Max when it returns to service.

    Good idea!

    Perhaps Mr. Muilenburg should forfeit part of his salary and all of his bonuses, as well, for breach of fiduciary trust by the flying public in the 737 MAX — i.e. breach of trust; as for not having grounded the MAX after the loss of flight Lion Air Flight 610.

    Part of Mr. Muilenburg’s salary and all of his bonuses could cover part of the legal compensation payments for the crash victims.

    We know every person who steps aboard one of our airplanes places their trust in us,” Muilenburg said. “Together, we’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/04/04/boeing-ceo-dennis-muilenburg-apologizes-lives-lost-ethiopian-indonesian-plane-crashes/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d9b0b98c1e31

    • It been suggested all of his pay and bonuses for a year and I think 5 years.

      Oh and his job.

  8. It’s not often that a Boeing CEO meets the Press. In fact, it’s highly unusual that a Boeing CEO answers questions from the press that are not scripted.

    In contrast to Airbus, where the top management of the company don’t seem to mind the risks of facing the press during freewheeling annual and airshow press conferences, Boeing’s top management only seems to talk to reporters during the earnings call, with its scripted commentary and obligatory analyst/investor question and answer period.

    After Mr. Muilenburg’s pathetic/disastrous performance, one might wonder if Boeing had long since copied Airbus on how to deal with press — i.e. by letting their CEO, CFO (etc.) face the press in freewheeling press conferences — Mr. Muilenburg would perhaps have been better trained on have to handle critical reporters. Thus by training, he’d have had a better strategy, stamina, endurance and confidence on how to respond to hostile questioning about the MAX.

    At the brief news conference following Boeing’s annual shareholder meeting at Chicago’s Field Museum, Muilenburg faced one question after another about flaws in MCAS but repeatedly declined to admit that it was badly designed.

    His statements hewed closely to the line he followed on an earnings teleconference last Wednesday, when he said the MAX crashes were not due to any “technical slip” by Boeing during the jet’s design or certification.

    He took questions for less than 15 minutes. Finally, after parrying a question about whether he had thought about resigning and a final question about blame for MCAS, Muilenburg walked out grim-faced.

    As he strode briskly from the room, many reporters had not been called upon. One of those shouted after him: “346 people died. Can you answer some questions?”

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/facing-sharp-questions-boeing-ceo-refuses-to-admit-flaws-in-737-max-design/

    From @AlexInAir:

    A clearly frustrated Boeing CEO walks out of press conference (on #737Max) after just 15 mins: https://bit.ly/2V3kLQW

    • I bet he was glad to get off that stage. Looked like he was beginning to fray a bit and wouldn’t be good for Boeing for him to slip up on his words. Also seems Boeing has decided to take their previous sharing out of responsibility and Max it to the entire air transport industry. So generous of them.

      • Appalling from beginning to end. No question answered, most completely ignored and talked over with rote learntgibberish. I thought he was going to explode around minute 14.

        This man exuded a strange mixture of arrogance and fear. If he did not control the company from top to bottom as executive Chair he would be perusing situations vacant in the morning. He is fast becoming a laughing stock and taking Boeing with him.

        Deny Muilenburg, the man who thinks that if you say the same thing enough times and loud enough it becomes true.

        • >if you say the same thing enough times and loud enough it becomes true

          This is actually true, not in the field of engineering, but certainly in public opinion and possibly in any trials that may follow.

          A rational course of action, and possibly the best forward is, to fix any 737 issue as quickly as possible AND deny there every was an issue. Hence “safe plane safer” etc.

          It may not be a “good look” but could be very effective.

          • I think he learned his skills at Trump University.

        • @Sowerbob

          “This man exuded a strange mixture of arrogance and fear.”

          Excellent observation. To me it seems like the behavior of a weak CEO who is not confidant if his board is behind him. It is perhaps also reflective of someone who is out of his depth being a CEO in the first place, someone who has only gone places by the virtue of others patronage and playing the typical cutthroat corporate politics as opposed to getting somewhere based on his own abilities (having a patron is pretty much the only way of rising up through the ranks at Boeing). At the same time he is worried he would be found out for his true lack of capacity for leadership in this crisis (hence the fear you observed).

  9. I think it’s not fair to blame Muilenburg entirely. He is speaking for the company.

    It seems now, a few weeks further, Boeing feels they can use advanced communication tactics to slowly start bending public perceptions.

    In my opinion, they have yet to fully realize their target public has changed, from nationals, stock holders and politics to the international aviation community.

    Culturally different, warry of pride, stock prizes and politics. What works for the loyal home team might deepen distrust outside. Where Boeing sells two thirds of their aicraft, and that have to re-approve the 737MAX.

  10. After the software fix I would have no qualms about flying on the MAX. AA, DL and UA it seems never experienced any such problems as on the other two planes. Some mention was made about a pilot in the jump seat of one of the two planes who had to advise the pilot on how to recover control just a day before the crash. Could pilot training have contributed to the crash?
    Boeing handled the 787 problem quite well while talk was rampant that the 787 would never fly again, granted no lives were lost but the 787 has a good safety record and people continue to fly on them.
    In time the MAX will recover.

    • Boeing can and does make safe airplanes, but there is a difference between the 737 MAX and other Boeing airplanes.

    • The more the execs talk the less confidence I have in Max safety.

  11. Meanwhile, a European Union trade lawyer apparently belittled claims by the U.S. Trade Representative as “frankly childish” at a WTO dispute hearing in February.

    In a statement that ran to 100 minutes, Flett accused the United States of using double counting and unreliable data to inflate the amount of damage caused by Airbus subsidies and to erroneously claim that the damage was recurring.

    In fact, the continuing effect of the subsidies was “precisely zero”, Flett said, describing it as “an inconvenient truth”.

    Substantial parts of the evidence required to support the U.S. case were “missing, incomplete, inconsistent, non-verifiable, and in fact, wholly unreliable”, he added.

    The U.S. case included price data for Boeing planes, but it was distorted because the prices mainly related to VIP customers, he said.

    “This is really serious, Mr. Chairman, because at the moment, what you’re looking at is numbers, apparently, that have been provided by Boeing. Boeing has a massive commercial interest in the outcome of this process,” he added.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-usa-aircraft-wto/eu-belittles-u-s-claims-as-frankly-childish-at-wto-airbus-hearing-idUSKCN1S62QW

    If it’s true that the U.S. case is based upon distorted VIP pricing presented to the WTO as representative to what airlines typically have to pay for a Boeing civilian aircraft — when it’s well known that VIP BBJ customers buying a single plane aren’t going to be able to negotiate the kind of bulk discounts that airlines receive — it would just confirm that stating falsehoods and corporate deception appears to be the norm and not the exception, at Boeing.

  12. According to Flight Global, Spirit are staying at 52/month, with Boeing paying at 52/month!

  13. Hmm Spirit just announced the ramp to 57 is off, whats going on?

    • Maybe the 10 extra frames a month being produced by Spirit would be used by Boeing in any ramp up before changing production rates with that supplier.
      After being quite sanguine about the 737MAX I now will avoid ever flying them.
      Time for Boeing to get going on the NSA. Get a couple of years of design under way then announce. The grandfathered 737 is getting wrinkley!

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