Pontifications: Airbus almost certain to be hurt by MAX crisis

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 6, 2020, © Leeham News: This may be the year that Airbus is hit with the negative consequences of the Boeing 737 MAX crisis.

Most observers see Airbus benefitting with greater A320 family sales while the MAX remains grounded.

In LNA’s 2020 Outlook last week, we pointed out that the long-running trade war between the US and European Union could be coming to a head this year. Airbus and the EU are waiting for the World Trade Organization’s authorization to impose tariffs on US products. This decision is expected in May or June. Boeing is expected to be the first target. The Trump Administration last year imposed a 10% tariff on Airbus aircraft.

The MAX crisis could ratchet up tariffs on Airbus aircraft.

What we’re hearing

As 2019 ended, LNA began hearing some ominous reports from multiple sources about what’s coming this year.

  • The Trump Administration is thinking about increasing the tariffs on Airbus aircraft from 10% to 25%. It has WTO authority to boost tariffs to 100% of the value of the airplanes.
  • The Administration is said to be unhappy with EASA, the European certification regulator, taking the stance it has, insisting it wants to independently review and recertify the MAX.
  • And, unrelated to the MAX, the Administration is said to be unhappy that the EU is dragging its feet in approving the Boeing-Embraer joint venture.

As EASA flexed its muscles during the unfolding MAX crisis, in which the Federal Aviation Administration’s deference to Boeing became an issue, some wondered if there was some payback for the Trump trade war and tariffs on Airbus.

Independent observers say this isn’t the case. EASA, they say, is genuinely upset at having relied on the FAA (per standard practice for decades), but learning of the shortcomings as more and more authority was turned over to Boeing.

Some at Boeing wonder if EASA is being egged on by Airbus. Airbus says this isn’t the case and the MAX crisis is bad for the industry.

The MAX was grounded globally March 13. The FAA was the last to ground the airplane. EASA grounded it the day before. Airbus was quick, publicly and privately, express concern of the impacts as certification processes headed toward breakdown. This position was later echoed by IATA, airlines and others.

At the time, Airbus had not yet certified the A330-800. The A321XLR was launched at the Paris Air Show in June and will face certification for a 2023 planned entry into service.

China was first to ground the MAX, a move some suspected was politically motivated due to trade wars. We’re told CAAC, the Chinese regulator, was afraid a Chinese pilot would be the next to encounter an MCAS malfunction. (China hasn’t ordered a Boeing airplane since 2017 and hasn’t taken delivery of 787s; this is the clear retaliation for the Trump trade wars.)

Regardless of EASA’s motives, we’re told the Trump Administration is unhappy and is waiting until the MAX is recertified to retaliate.

Joint Venture

The EU requested 1.5m pages of documents and wants data on sales for the last 20 years, Reuters reported last month. The EU previously said it suspended review because Boeing hadn’t produced information.

All but two of 10 regulators approved the proposed joint venture between Boeing and Embraer. Approval by the ninth is expected soon. This leaves just the EU.

The Trump Administration views the EU’s delay and requests a direct result of the trade disputes that include but extend beyond Airbus.

And it’s not happy. As with the MAX, we’re told the Administration is prepared to retaliate once the JV is approved—if not before.

It’s LNA’s analysis that Airbus could get caught up in this as well, since Boeing is involved.

As we wrote last week, this is an election year and Donald Trump is running for reelection. Upping the ante in the European trade wars will make him look tough to his base. Never mind that the Federal Reserve concluded the trade wars are hurting the US economy, businesses and workers.

Airbus is almost certain to become a target for higher tariffs. I won’t rule out adding the Mobile (AL) final assembly line to sanctions despite Alabama being the No. 1 supporter of Trump. There is no way Alabama will vote for a Democratic challenger to Trump; it’s a completely safe state.

83 Comments on “Pontifications: Airbus almost certain to be hurt by MAX crisis

  1. All told the US will further sink into childish vindictiveness
    based on perceived but nonexistent slights.

    Expect “Wagging the dog” inversion of causalities.

    • Don’t put your head above the parapet or expect a drone strike.

      • Expect active cheering to be required in the future
        to avoid being droned.

  2. The US market represents around 16% on of global demand for new aircraft 2019-2039 (incl Canada). Europe and China around 45-50%.


    If US based carriers are forced to cancel Airbus orders, those aircraft will flow into other markets. The backlog is bigger than ever before, and they are the more sought-after aircraft at this stage.

    That said, I find it totally understandable the US government is worried about the Boeing situation. It is the biggest exporter, a major defense contrator, supports a huge amount of family incomes and is an aerospace technology stronghold. And they blew it with corny short term capitalism & greed.

    Maybe the adminsitration should go for a less defensive, more progressive approach. Boeing strategic weakness is the problem. Grand massive FSA tax custs, boost NASA funding, a new 787-10ER wing, order 300 Genx KC46B’s, forget WTO, retire the Boeing board.

    • That’s a good point. The biggest market for the 737/A320 will be in China. But as a CSeries/A220 fan, I really hope this doesn’t happen as the USA airlines count for almost half of the A220 orders, it is also the most comfortable (not to mention very good looking!) plane I’ve flown on. While the A320neo (which actually has 100+ more orders than the MAX in the USA) doesn’t critically need the USA market, the A220 does. Not to mention fact that even the Canadian produced A220s have more US content than the 787, and support thousands of US jobs, but since when does the current administration cared about facts?

      • At least at this point the 10% tariff is on aircraft built in Europe only. A220s are built in either Canada or Alabama so they are not included. And the WTO Airbus decision does not enable putting tariffs on Canadian aircraft so I think that’s far less likely.

        • The wings of the A220 are built in N. Ireland. The WTO case also included the UK separately, so if desired, the US could nail these parts even after UK withdraws from EU.

          • Delta, JetBlue and Moxy can pay the tariffs, good luck with that.

    • I think there is also the case that espacially the A321XLR or A350 will fly from other markets into the US and US airlines have to use other products to compete. United has 45 A350 on order while Delta has 12 left to be delivered. Maybe LATAM will receive the rest of Delta’s order and operate them instead of Delta.

      XLR maybe built in the US but taxation may change.

    • If one looks at it from a western civilisation point of view it is totally destructive for the US and Europe. Other economies and trading and political blocks advance because of this but Europe and US eat each other. 10% is a savage tariff. 5% should be the maximum and will have few disadvantages but still send a signal.
      It’s also rather redisclose that when trade with China versus Europe is considered because China has primarily state enterprises hidden as joint ventures the normal rules don’t that would lead to tariffs between EU/US are not applied. American corporations in particular profit from pressing a corporate face in Western countries but shifting engineering and manufacture of shore to the point the west is now irreversibly deskilled.
      Another factor is that if one looks at the huge military appropriations bill just pushed through the Presidential administration by the Congress and the Senate there must be good times ahead for Boeings military business and this should compensate for Boeings BCA MAX disaster. This unfortunately suggests that at some time a war may come about perhaps due to some nonsense in the middle east that may even involve CIS/Russia. Wars tend to lead to economic recessions and financial crisis and that effects air travel and the airline business but by then Boeing may be in the clear.

  3. From what you wrote, there’s nothing to “retaliate”. Probably you should rephrase that into the administration is attacking.

    It’s a trade war, and the US is again making the first move. The US is the one that starts it. I do hope that the Europeans will stand firm and will truly retaliate, by not only add equal tariffs, but actually add higher tariffs. It’s the only language your Impotus understands.

    • Merkel is the restraining voice of Europe, she’s on the way out. Extremism is on the up just as much in Europe as in the US. The EU are going to have their hand forced.

    • And therein lies the reversion to the protectionist policies of the early 20th century which has provided some explanation for the rise of fascism, world war and Armageddon. I think the problem is that we all have taken the relative calm and benefits of global trade apparent for the past 25 years for granted. We seem to be poised on the edge of a new world and I for one am quite concerned about the direction things are going.

  4. One could expect that politics would come into play at some point if the MAX issue kept dragging on. However, if the Trump administration indeed start trying to strong-arm the E.U. and EASA into submission, that would constitute an exceptional escalation, and things will get VERY nasty.

  5. So lets get this right. The US government is going to make Airbus/EASA suffer for the misdemeanours of Boeing/FAA.

    • Yep, blame anyone except Boeing. Heck, even McDonnell-Douglas is being blamed for all Boeing’s woes.

    • The “amusing” aspect is that FAA ( and the judicial system of the US in general ) leaning on foreign producers to “toe the line and then some” has forced those to principally offer better products while granting dispensation to the local heroes has blunted their products.
      History repeats. Steel production, shipping, automobiles, airplanes, …

      • As I have stated before, you are attempting to interject logic into this. It defys logic.

        Ultimately its all about feeding red meat to a rabid base.

        At the heart of it, political elites ignored a big slice of the US and a whiplash has developed.

        [Edited. Political commentary not relevant to the topic.]

        People compare his rise to Hitler, its far more Mussolini.

        But we are stuck with it and so is the rest of the world.

        • You already been Edited. I agree with your assessment … well, till next elections.

  6. I agree that the EU are being stupid with regard to the tie up of Boeing/Embraer. Boeing are only a threat to themselves and therefore not a threat to Airbus.

    But with regard to the MAX, EASA must take a look. Boeing and the FAA must accept that. There is clearly a pitch instability issue that’s caused pitch authority to be transferred from the elevators to the stabiliser in contravention of aerodynamic principles.

    If I get edited, I get edited.

    • I don’t agree about JV – EU is the most endangered market by Embraer-Boeing JV so they shall thoroughly investigate. Trumps shall not be mad, Boeing + Embraer shall simply send requested documents and wait a few months, that’s it. No shortcuts, not again.

      • I don’t see it. Please explain why the EU is endangered?

        • EU antitrust regulator job is to secure maximum possible competitiveness & choice on the market, and secure the possible equal / fair play rules for all users. And EU already has aviation industry, so new bigger & stronger player can try overpower market by any means eg. by governmental subsidies, hurt the market and by this local industry. Other markets don’t have local competition so there are less chances for dirty plays.

      • Let me be clear that I think the actions of the Trump administration are extremely unwise and poorly thought out.

        That said, Airbus-Bombardier was approved despite substantial overlap between the C-Series and the A32x family. Boeing-Embraer is far more end-to-end – there’s very little overlap between the Boeing & Embraer families. This ought to be pretty straightforward.

    • @Philip: This is on topic. Therefore, no edits.

      • Scott and Bjorn,

        I do wonder if you take responsibility for a lot of the political comment that I and others have to deal with.

        With regard to the MAX your compass has been well off from the beginning.

        It’s still well off as demonstrated by your articles on the Lion Air crash. According to you the MAX is nose happy and all pilots need to do is push the yoke forward. And we all need to move on. Job done.

        The MAX is grounded for 10 months for that? No, not for that. LNA’a analysis is seriously flawed. As I said, if LNA’s analysis is true, just turn off MCAS. It’s easy. MCAS is turned off every time the flaps go down.

        Interestingly, a few days after your articles have finished, the FAA issued a broadside at Boeing. A few days later the CEO was fired. A short time after, Boeing handed over more ‘troubling’ documents to the regulators.

        Your compass is way off.

        In my opinion, you need to address your part in the political commentary that you are dealing with. You have systematically characterised MAX issues as minor. They are not minor, they are serious.

        As I said, I will post on what I think the issues are. Careful reading of the official documents, the JATR report and the Lion Air crash report, offer the insight. It not hard, it’s even in Wikipedia. But there are more substantive references.

        I’ll leave it at that. Let’s calm things down.

        • @Philip: the political commentary at issue is Trump, the attack on the Iranian general and the embassy. I edited your remarks, and others, on these issues. Tell me how this has any relevance to aerospace. All your other stuff about “political commentary” is completely off the mark. You can whinge on about this, but now you’re just being obtuse.


        • Lets see, he throws a molotov cocktail in the theater and then tell everyone to calm down?

          Unfortunately the same sort of thinking that prevails in the white-house is the same we get in this case.

          Total lack of the understanding of the fundamentals but wants to be in charge but not the least bit deterred. Where have we hear I am the only one who can fix it?

          Well buddy, we have to take it with a grain of salt that is still down in the bottom of the salt mine.

          • Scott,

            And there you go.

            TW never let’s me down. I say the issue with the MAX is more serious. TW says I’m throwing bombs.

            There is your proof.

            But add Rob, Mike and others

        • I have similar concerns towards Leeham, but I didn’t feel like writing much about it separately. I see you are vocal about it, well so am I.

          Maybe this kind of deformation of view, which I call Boeingitis, is specific for American press, and it came from there, but I expect more from Leeham.

        • Scott,

          I’m not being obtuse. Your leading the debate by misleading. The behaviour becomes more severe as time progresses. Why? Those who mislead become more entrenched.

          Unfortunately the entrenchment is now so severe that some posters are talking bullets and bombs.

          Just tell the truth. The MAX isn’t just nose happy. Pilots cannot just push the nose down using the yoke. It’s more serious.

          • We all just need to wait till Boeing will say is ready, then FAA will do the job, then EASA will do the job, also by flying MAX with and without MCAS. Just wait, few months? Few years? Just wait, and see.

  7. not happy … LMAO
    they are responsible for the MAX crashes. If they don’t clean up their own mess they should wait decades for certifications.
    I’m sure all the bad guys in US jails are not happy too, so what.

    I don’t care about tariffs on Airbus. If US airlines want Airbus planes they have to pay the tariffs. What else can they fly, NOTHING. Let the MAX become a domestic plane, good luck to find crews. Boeing is a joke and Trump of course too.

    The rest of the world don’t need the US.
    If US airlines don’t pay the tariffs, other airlines will be happy to get their planes earlier and US contracts should be terminated. The EU should not allow new orders for Airbus planes.

    Retaliation … haha
    I wonder about the fines the criminals will have to pay,
    America First.

    • Winning by pulling others down instead of excelling themselves has a longstanding tradition in the US.
      ( Look at the last 10..20 elections to begin with :-))

      destruction is much easier than construction.
      Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya …

      • What a weird non sequitur to introduce. Ever hear of the Marshall Plan, for example? Chances are that’s the only reason you’re not speaking Russian. Unless you already do, that is.

        • If you have the time read about the conditions attached to Marshall Plan activities.
          Its primary purpose was creating a sink for US production and getting at European ( and some former colonial ) resources cheaply.

          Stuff the “we’ve saved you” language.

          • Also to feed and shelter many millions of people. And to help rebuild the numerous strong foreign economies we now both compete and partner with (most of Europe, Japan, Korea). That development was and continues to be a good thing, despite any temp0rary trade disagreements that may arise. We resolve those today in the WTO instead of in conflict, which itself represents progress and a good thing.

            The US is very far from perfect, but you might consider what would have happened if the defeated powers had won. Those free & strong economies would not exist today, and you surely wouldn’t have the freedom to post your dissenting views on their web sites, which you are allowed here.

            I notice that despite the horrors of the US, you actively avail yourself of its resources and freedoms. A little understanding and respect for that would be in order. You can disagree while remaining factual, truthful, and balanced in your discussion. There are at least two sides to every story.

          • Better yet look at the wondrous place Eastern Europe became under the Russians!

            Truly a Paradise comrade.

            The biggest problem became when they were capable, Europe had become co-dependent on the US.

            And there in lies some of the current admin base, resentment of those who can but won’t vs those who are willing to take endlessly and then believe they can operate without restraints to the benefactor.

            I am amazed it went on this long.

            And then we can talk about co-dependent on Russian gas and screams when we put a foot down there.

            And they wonder that Europe is not held in high regard but the US?

            But there are countries on the pointy end of the spear that just got out from under the wondrous Russian thumb who are putting their money where they mouths are.

          • Scott, can you please excise this garbage about Marshall plan, for and against. Zero to do with aviation.

    • “Our highest priority is ensuring the 737 Max meets all safety and regulatory requirements before it returns to service,” the [Boeing] spokesperson said.

      When will Boeing start to meet all regulatory requirements???

  8. I agree with @Matth it’s more attack then any retaliation. WTO soon will make a verdict against US because of govt back up to Boeing and real retaliation will start.

    Let them “retaliate” with tarifs – Comac will be more than happy to sell their planes in US for a very good price. Or airlines will be obliged to buy from Boeing for not so bargain price like now. Anyway US internally will loose one way or another.

    It’s all about Trump’s reelection / impeachment, at any cost, good old american capitalism :/

    Will I get edited??? If yes, don’t do political themes, because responses will be political too.

    I think EU is doing a quite good job investigating JV with Embraer. They asked documents, but didn’t get them. What to really be mad about? Send documents, and wait a few months, Boeing. No shortcuts, not again.

    • @Pablo: Your response is on topic. You won’t get edited.

    • Few of America’s capitalists are in favor of what the Trump administration is doing. You should try to get your head around that – it will make your replies far more credible if you do.

      • @enplaned

        To clear: I said “good old american capitalism” describing way of Trump’s administration is acting – “at any cost”.

        • enplaned: I hate to tell you this but those capitalist benefit beyond belive in the tax cut for the rich.

          There preference is dog whistle rather than the outright racism and mysogenic ops of El Presidente.

          Mulineberg and Boeing sucked right up to El Presidente.

          Given their desire the so called Capitalists don not want any restraint. You know, what is good for GM is good for the country?

          Most of us believe in strong guide-rials to keep it withing bounds of decency (you know, no children on an assembly line with lint and coal dust in the air hacking their lungs out?)

          Unfortunately (or fortunate, maybe we need to see this) the current administration is just the logical conclusion of Unrestrained, be it capitalism or otherwise.

        • Pablo:

          You are aware that no Comac product has ever been certified and the only place they can sell their stuff in the highly though of Zimbabwe market place?

          (well they can beat the Aluminum into cooking pots)

          • @TransWorld

            Yes, but only for now and they are gaining… Comac finally will be certified in US, if not 2021 then 2022, otherwise no new US aircraft will be sold in China. That’s true retaliation 😉

          • I’m sure China can do without Boeing.
            Chinese people follow what the boss ordered.
            Comac doesn’t need US market.

  9. Great,more A320s available to sell to the rest of the world, probably for a greater profit.The US has more to lose.
    If Trump really wants to hurt Airbus he has the corruption hammer available,a much better weapon.
    Europe needs to have an independent source for engines.
    Is Trump playing the mad unpredictable leader or is he actually mad?

    • Perhaps a combination of both, but for sure, throw in evil as well.

  10. All the potential conflicts associated with these comments are masking the bigger picture behind the scene. I believe what will really drive the outcomes is how it all relates to the financial industry, especially at the highest levels ( IMF and World Bank) since the funding of all the airplane purchases are massive amounts requiring borrowed capital, most foreign airlines are state-owned, and the Middle East is in turmoil. Even the regulatory agencies will be pressured one way or another based on those dynamics.

  11. Has EASA actually created a delay for the MAX recertification? The FAA has not yet re-certified the MAX and until it does the EASA can’t really so at one level EASA has not done anything to delay the re-certification.

    Is the consensus that absent input from the other regulators the FAA would have re-certified the MAX by now?

    • Exactly. They seem to be using Scott and the media to apply pressure to recertificate immediately after the FAA does.This seems to be the way Trump likes to do business,constant unpredictable gamesmanship. Its highly inappropriate in this situation.

    • Jbeeko, I would say that the MAX problems could have been addressed by now, if the sole goal was technical remediation.

      But the goal is now much wider than that, it’s re-establishing confidence and trust, between Boeing and airlines, regulators, and public. Also between the international regulators who need to trust each other to avoid a massive duplication of effort, as well as the bureaucratic nightmare of differing regulations and certifications for aircraft that fly all over the world.

      So for that, we have an extensive delay due to the number of agencies involved, and the number of concerns raised, which now range far outside the accidents. But as unfortunate as the delay has been, I don’t see any other way to achieve that goal, except global participation and transparency.

      I also think Mullenberg, being an engineer, saw it mostly in terms of remediation and the huge costs incurred by a technically unnecessary delay. Hopefully the new CEO will see it more in terms of the confidence and trust issues, and work to get those resolved.

      That was basically the message the FAA sent to Boeing last month. If they push based on technical grounds, that actually detracts from the perception of confidence, whether or not it’s justified. It’s why you don’t want to get yourself into an untrusted position.

      • No @Rob, the sole goal is technical remediation of MAX flaws. They just aren’t ready. You regain trust by transparency and reasonable technical approach. EASA has said more then once that if FAA will certificate MAX, soon they also do this after checking live, not on paper, if job was well done.

        • “”EASA has said more then once that if FAA will certificate MAX, soon they also do this after checking live, not on paper, if job was well done.””

          Foolish to expect that MCAS will be certified.

          A software fix only won’t work.
          Stupid that Boeing don’t know this. EASA will teach them.

      • There might be hundred other regulations Boeing didn’t respect.
        Good that Boeing wants to meet ALL regulations.
        But when will Boeing start.
        Checking everything won’t be finished this year.
        The fines might be an earthquake.

  12. If they are going to slap exorbitant tariffs on imports of aerospace goods from Europe that scuppers my plan to sell flying ‘Trump Babies’ in the US. Another great entrepreneurial idea scuppered….

  13. If the 8US market gets ruled out for Airbus, there is no reason for the EU to not subsisize Airbus all they want. India & non Chinese Asia are the next big growth markets, knock Boeing out & US market won’t matter to AB any more.

  14. I don’t understand what the EU is doing with the Boeing/Embraer tie up. As another poster said, the US agreed Airbus/Bombardier tie up without a fuss.

    The MAX is a different matter. What Boeing are attempting requires a broad peer review that must include, as a minimum, EASA flying the MAX with MCAS turned off.

    Boeing use of the trim stabiliser is unique. There is no precedent for what Boeing have done. It must be looked at closely by a broad and internationally recognised quorum of experts. Boeing should expect nothing less.

    Boeing clearly don’t want that review. Indeed they didn’t even want the FAA to review what they were doing. As far as I’m concerned, all JATR members need to review what Boeing have done and make the necessary decision on the future of the MAX. JATR members, in my mind, are a quorum of experts. That means all JATR members are involved in flying the MAX with MCAS turned off.

    I remember when Airbus introduced FBW and then their stall protection system. They were subject to extremely broad international review. Quite right to.

    Boeing are not being victimised with regard to the MAX. The rest of the world is just treating Boeing the same as everybody else is treated, especially when something new or unique is introduced. Boeing’s refusal to cooperate can only mean one thing. Something is wrong.

    • I don’t understand what the EU is doing with the Boeing/Embraer tie up. As another poster said, the US agreed Airbus/Bombardier tie up without a fuss.

      According to Jens Flottau, Guy Norris and Bradley Perret — in their “Defining Year” article in the December 23, 2019 to January 12, 2020 edition of AWST (page 86) — Boeing’s proposed takeover of Embraer’s Commercial Aircraft unit is still up in the air with the European Commission (EC), partly because the EC is concerned that the U.S.’ aggressive stance on trade matters and tariffs could lead to a de facto monopoly for Boeing in the U.S., with Airbus unable to export aircraft as tariffs rise.

      • Boeing and Embraer aircraft do not compete, so this rationale is senseless.

        • I think the point is exactly that: Boeing+Embraer would cover the whole market, and US trade barriers would prevent anyone else from competing effectively.

          • Embraer is much better without Boeing, especially when the MAX will never fly again.

            Should separate US and Boeing from the rest of the world. Let Boeing become a domestic plane provider and they are done. The rest of the world don’t need US garbage. Without Boeing the rest of the world would have a much bigger market for Airbus, C919, CR929 and MC21.
            MC21 is Russian, I know, but it might be better than Boeing dreck.

        • @Peter

          Au countraire. Boeing & Embraer are cooperting closely and soon became in practice one big company, so anti trust investigation makes a lot of sense.

      • OV,

        I understand your words. The EU have a right to check for a monopoly. But the EU must accept what are referred to as ‘strategic industries’. Boeing is a strategic industry. America must protect it.

        The EU must back off.

    • Just to remain factual, Boeing has fully cooperated with the reviews and investigations. To say otherwise is just not true. They have accepted the findings of JATR, as has everyone else.

      The scrutiny of the MAX is unprecedented, but it will go forward because we need to establish that the many allegations put forth are laid to rest, one way or the other. If flaws are found they need to be addressed, and if allegations are found to be untrue, that also needs to be established. This would include testing the MAX without MCAS.

      If that scrutiny goes on for a long period, without resolution either way, then that would be a reason for concern. But I remain hopeful that all actors involved would not behave in that way, that getting to the truth and having a safe aircraft are still the most important things for everyone. And that the delays are the result of careful analysis and checking.

      • Not true. We still don’t know whether MCAS is required or optional. That’s 14 months after the Lion Air crash.

        To use LNA. LNA write articles that say MCAS isn’t needed, then LNA quote a US pilot that says MCAS is a “required element of certification”. So is MCAS required or optional? Which is right.

        You are the one who fails the test of being factual. You are going to say I’m being personal, when you start your post with abuse.

        Check your facts. After 14 months we still don’t know whether MCAS is required or optional. You call that cooperating with regulators. I don’t.

        • Philip, agreed that we still don’t know, disagreed that not knowing is the fault of Boeing. There is no evidence to support that contention.

          The evidence that we have, is that the regulators did not accept Boeing’s data (which as Duke helpfully pointed out, came from flight simulation rather than actual flights), as being sufficient to resolve the question. Boeing never went back to check the original decision after flight began, as the aircraft had behaved well in flight and met the regulations. But the regulators want to check that decision now, by testing the actual aircraft.

          We further know that Boeing scheduled those flights for December, but they have not gone forward due to the on-going software audit, which must be completed first.

          We further know that the audit is required not only for the MCAS changes, which are relatively small, but for the entire FCC due to the reconfiguration to dual-master, which was a significant change, that was required by the regulators.

          We further know that in the meantime, Boeing has done a huge amount of testing with the new FCC and MCAS 2.0, but obviously, all of that testing is with MCAS active. Regulators want to round out that testing with the case of MCAS not active.

          We further know that Boeing could conduct the tests without MCAS, as they have tested with it. But the regulators have asked to be supplied with an aircraft and do their own testing, with their own pilots. They also don’t want to proceed with that until the audit is complete, so they are testing the near-final product.

          All of that makes sense, it’s a reasonable and prudent approach. There’s not really a reason to doubt any of it.

          If you have evidence to the contrary, please feel free to present it. In the meantime, please realize that you asserting something is true, does not automatically make it true. It’s not abuse to point out statements that can’t be verified.

  15. I have worked with the FAA, EASA, CAAC, and Transport Canada Directives. I can see why EASA is upset with the FAA. And let’s not forget that Boeing and Airbus have assembly plants in China, and that there were no accidents there. Similar situation on trust would have occurred. In the name of safety, and not WTO retaliations- I support the Airworthiness Agencies in making sure that passenger safety comes first.
    Scott is connecting the dots of the socio political and economic agendas. But above all Safety First should be the driver for the Airworthiness Agencies.

    • @Gus: A small correction. Boeing does not have an FAL in China. It has a “completion center” for the 737, where painting and interior installation is done for Chinese airlines.

      • However- most posters here miss that for buck years, in Xi’an china, they have been building 737 parts


        Boeing, Xi’an Aircraft Company Mark Milestone Installation of 3,000th Next-Generation 737 Vertical Fin

        ” The two companies’ 30-year history began with XAC supplying 600 vertical fins for the 737 Classic between 1984 and 1999. Next came a larger share of work on the Next-Generation 737, with XAC delivering its first vertical fin for that airplane in 1997. This month, XAC delivered its 3,000th to the Renton factory for installation on a Hainan Airlines 737.’

        As to WTO issue baseline for this thread-Most here are nearly clueless as to what – when the WTO-GATT92 games started and what Boeing v Airbus was in work in 1999-2000- 2001 re Countervailing Duties- which got interrupted due to 911.

        So the issue has been boiling long before Trump-Bush- etc
        and zip to do with current Bored of directionless

        benther- dun that- got the t-shirt

        And had the misfortune to be on a local tour of China in 1997 which included one Boeing mis-managemt type who nearly got us kicked out of the Terracotta Army site museum in Xi’an.

    • I completely agree with that.

      There is a dire need for the world to be able to rebuild trust in the FAA. Part of that is having the right kind of political noises coming out of Washington. The worst thing possible now would be for the political administration to give even the merest official hint that it’s thinking of trying to bully the rest of the world into taking the MAX back into their skies. That way lies disaster for Boeing (even if it’s Boeing asking for it).

      The likes of EASA have to be confident that the FAA have the political backup to do their jobs properly and independently of economic and political considerations. Any hint that it’s the presidential administration driving the show would force other agencies like the EASA to throw the certification in the bin entirely. They, that is the personnel, themselves personally, simply cannot afford to be seen to be complicit in anything other than a squeaky clean, by the book (re)certification process.

      And I’m afraid that if it wouldn’t help if it were the Trump administration applying the pressure. Personnel in the EASA would be weighing things up, wondering about awkward post crash inquiry questions (in the hypothetical scenario of a MAX falling out of the sky in European airspace) and how they would answer them if it emerged that they had in effect given in to pressure from the Trump administration.

      At least within the EASA, EU it’s only potential jail terms to look forward to for being recklessly negligent in such duties leading to fatalities. In China, they execute officials for such matters. The same also applies to the FAA; a MAX crash in the US attributable to enduring certification failings cannot be healthy for FAA personnel’s professions or futures.

      Set against those potential personal outcomes, especially with an aircraft with a poor reputation so far, built against a seemingly very unsatisfactory certification background, just how do whatever elements of the Trump administration making such noises to Scott expect foreign officials to respond?

      I’m pretty certain that the FAA wouldn’t want political interference either. Judging by the recent announcement by the FAA and Boeing that there’s work to be done on the MAX electrical system to guard against catastrophic short circuits, and also the general measured pace that the new FAA head seems to be taking with getting the RTS right (e.g. not bowing to Boeing’s preannounced timescales), I see no indications that the FAA is willing to go along with a “political” solution.

      There may be some initial differences between the FAA, EASA, CAAC, etc. but I can’t see those persisting once reasoned results / findings are exchanged. It’s far better that the politicians do nothing other than support their agencies in their work by funding them properly and otherwise leaving them alone, let time sort the issues.

  16. Scott, your Big Time article, for a change, on the Aviation and the Political side really had your aficionados excited with their very well thought comments. By now, the B737 MAX Fiasco is well digested by the Global Aviation community, but still with No defined future or known Remedy that will Cure Patient. On the other hand, I re@d yesterday that the WTO will give their final on the BOEING subsidies, which is more than double the amount claimed on AIRBUS’s. Time will tell, but these Worldwide Trade Wars Opera’s incremental tunes by this Administration is going to severely Hurt the US economy first, and the Rest of the World to follow.

  17. The Trump administration doesn’t just think of these things by themselves, this absolutely stinks

  18. I’m closing comments. Despite editing off-topic comments (and those making comparisons with Hitler), some readers haven’t got the message to knock it off. So the rest of you have to pay the price for the few.


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