Guest Column: Boeing’s Calhoun: Fantastic 9-month CEO or disastrous multi-year CEO?

  • Jan. 12, 2020: David Calhoun assumes his position as president and CEO of The Boeing Co. tomorrow. Richard Aboulafia of The Teal Group has some thoughts about this move.

By Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia

Vice President of Analysis

The Teal Group

Guest Column

December 2019

Dear Fellow C-Suite Watchers,

Person of the year awards go to people who did something noteworthy in the past year. Instead, why not appoint a person in advance, for the year ahead? That’s more exciting, since that person has yet to do the something for which he or she is being recognized. Incoming Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun is the perfect recipient of this, for the choice he will make. In 2020, he will choose either to be a fantastic nine-month CEO, or he will stay on, becoming a potentially disastrous multi-year CEO. This is a pivotal decision for Boeing, and for the industry.

Calhoun is replacing Dennis Muilenburg because the latter CEO’s year has been disastrous. The company’s communications with Congress, the FAA, international regulators, airline and lessor customers, suppliers, the victims’ families, and pretty much the entire outside world were a master class in bad crisis management. This month’s 737MAX line shutdown, with no guidance at all provided to suppliers, was the final swirl in a downward spiral. The company’s legal department chief, another key player in Boeing’s MAX strategy, has also departed.

Calhoun’s history

Calhoun, by contrast, handles himself well in public, and hopefully can get MAX recertification back on track. Until the MAX returns, it’s important to have a stabilizing force at the top. Yet when Muilenburg was appointed in 2015, he was given a horrible hand to play, and Calhoun was part of that context. Muilenburg played his cards disastrously, but this context is important.

The seeds of the MAX disaster were planted years ago. As I wrote in my February 2013 letter, Boeing needs to rethink the relationship between engineering and management, and where engineers fit into the leadership team. They didn’t re-think, and Muilenburg inherited a mess.

The 737MAX crash victims’ families, while understandably angry, directed their anger away from the people that indirectly created the circumstances that led to the MAXs problems. They also helped drive out Boeing’s first engineer CEO since 2003. Again, Muilenburg’s public appearances were tone-deaf, but it’s also possible that he was the fall guy for a dysfunctional system that might just be re-asserting itself.

For the past two decades Boeing obsessed over Return on Net Assets (RONA). This destructive term simultaneously encapsulated both an overemphasis on shareholder returns and a diminution of engineers, who, became just another expense to be minimized. Under CEO Jim McNerney, the RONA cult grew, but he also prioritized a destructive approach to labor-management relations. Engineers were further marginalized, and communications between aircraft people in Seattle and the top managers in Chicago were badly strained. But management did return a remarkable $78 billion to shareholders over the last 15 years.

Resume is concerning

This is where Calhoun’s resume is concerning. Aside from a few years at GE Aircraft Engines, he hasn’t been an aerospace executive. Much of his experience has been in top management in Jack Welch-era GE, the same as McNerney. Much of his recent experience has been with private equity, which can be useful in leaning out fat companies, but that’s hardly Boeing’s problem right now. And, as fellow commentator Scott Hamilton put it, “He’s been on the Board since 2009. He’s been part of the Board policy-making that led to the cost-cutting some say had deleterious impact on the development of the MAX. He’s been part of the Board decisions that shareholder value is the No. 1 priority at Boeing.” In short, Calhoun looks a lot like the people who brought Boeing to the position it’s in today.

Boeing’s focus on investor returns has “worked” for the past few decades thanks to investments made long ago. Today, it faces a huge challenge in the middle market (200/260-seats, 4,500-5,000 nmi). This market is growing fast, thanks to airline route fragmentation, and will keep growing for years to come. Airbus has been getting most of it. They’ve sold 3,200 A321neos since it was launched in 2011, or three times as many as the 1,049 757s sold over 25 years.

This is the wrong time for inaction. Boeing faces a serious crisis in this mid-market, one that will endure for years after MAX returns. Whether it builds the NMA, or a new large single aisle (my preference), it needs to do something. It can’t just take the R&D budget to repair the $15-20 billion hole dug by the MAX disaster and then resume aggressive dividends and buybacks.

Given this middle market challenge, Boeing needs a CEO with an understanding of aviation markets, program management, and most of all, engineering. That really isn’t Dave Calhoun. The best thing he can do, after the MAX problem is fixed, is to find a new CEO, one with this background, from inside or outside the company. If he does that, he’ll be regarded as a fantastic interim leader, the guy who declared victory and gracefully left the path clear for a better future.

Poster child of capitalism

If Calhoun does not do this – that is, if he just stays on and continues returning cash to investors and not investing in the future – that would make Boeing a poster child for late stage capitalism. A 50-50 duopoly can easily shift to 60-40, in Airbus’s favor, thanks to this mid-market situation. As McDonnell Douglas showed us in the 1980s, when market share begins to fall below a certain level, it’s hard to reverse.

The signs are not encouraging. As November’s Aviation Strategy noted, “Put another way, over the 12 months to end September 2019 Boeing increased borrowing by a net $10.7 bn but only $2 bn of this has gone to build up cash reserves while $2.3 bn went to cover the large Free Cashflow deficit and a remarkable $6.4 bn was used to support the share price through dividend payments and share buybacks.” [Emphasis added.] The buybacks have since paused, but dividends have continued. In other words, Boeing had a choice: either halt 737MAX production and jeopardize supply chain companies, or halt dividends. I’m thinking the decision didn’t take them long to make. Again, Calhoun was an active board member through this. In the future, they’re likely to make the same choice, prioritizing shareholder returns over new product development.

“If you can keep it”

Ben Franklin, when asked what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had just established, said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” This quote, now popular here in Washington DC, illustrates how fragile institutions can be. Just over 100 years ago, Bill Boeing, if asked what he had just established, might have said, “An aviation company, if you can keep it.” With Dave Calhoun’s appointment, we’ll learn a lot about Boeing’s future in 2020. We will soon know if Boeing will keep morphing into a shareholder cash return organization, or if it will return to its aircraft engineering roots.

With that, let’s hope for a better 2020, for Boeing, for the industry, and for the world.

Yours, ‘Til Next December Brings A New Person Of The Year For 2021,

Richard Aboulafia

71 Comments on “Guest Column: Boeing’s Calhoun: Fantastic 9-month CEO or disastrous multi-year CEO?

  1. ideal next boss: Louis Gallois ,not young , but a safe pair of hands under any type of difficult circumstances.
    Fabrice Brégier…

    • One has to find out why Daimler/Chrysler did not work
      while Fiat/Chrysler seems to function. ( But does it actually “work” ?)
      US style management is predominantly not creative but redistributive. i.e. High level scavenging, leaving about empty shells.

      • Fiat is not exactly a stellar example of a good balance between the needs of financial markets, quality, and customer demand over the last 50 years. The modern FCA seems to be doing a bit better than the disastrous 1970s & 80s, the but long term outcome remains to be seen.

        • Fiat have been Agnelli family. So they have suffered when generations change. 70’s and 80’s were not actually disastrous but they did not stick to any strategy was haphazard while being creative.

          Fiat 128 can probably be called the first “modern ” car.

          They have more reliable engineering – computers help that – but creativity went out of the window and the generation today does not care anything about cars. Only if they put someone that cares in top they might do good.

      • You paint with an awfully broad brush. Apple, Google, Amazon are some examples of creativity at work, and creation of immense value with novel business models that are engineering lead. All US.

        I don’t disagree that “late-stage US capitalism” is a thing. But it’s not the only thing.

  2. All the more reason why the entire bord has to be replaced.
    What happens when the cash runs out to pay dividends, start selling aircraft programmes?

    • The cash has run out – as per the article Boeing borrowed the money to pay $6.4 Billion in dividends and share buybacks.

  3. “Instead, why not appoint a person in advance, for the year ahead?”
    Amusing idea.

    That concept has been burned to fine ashes with Obama receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace achievements just
    for PR talk.

    I’d propose going ten years ( or even 25, 50? ) back for person of the year back then. Dust should have settled in the meantime. ( which actually is the strategy used in assigning the MINT Nobel Prizes while the fake Nobel “Prize in Economic Sciences” handed out by Sveriges Riksbank does nothing more than gilding the current ideological fad in that domain.

    • Brilliant idea. Of course the problem is that the Nobel Prize cannot be issued posthumously.

      • This could be changed?
        for the “Peace Achievements” one : Potential recipients are rather often murdered.

  4. “But management did return a remarkable $78 billion to shareholders over the last 15 years.”

    By selling off/converting the “house assets” and warring on the retinue ( to get some shareholder nods ).

    to quote Heinlein’s mantra: TANSTAAFL!

  5. After sporting in the cold rain, a sunday morning read from Richard A. Nice!

    Over the last 20 years I’ve been a kind of amazed by Boeing strategies. Aerospace basics are build them as light, cheap and efficient as possible, offer engine choice, cockpit commonality, meet the latest standards, assemble regionally . Phase out if technically outdated.

    Boeing focus seems to have been stockholder, Washinton focussed. Getting tax cuts, block competitors, flagwaving for tankers, have congress weaken regulators, push dependent countries, trade balance sales, hide debt by celebrating free cash flow, Ex-Im Bank, outcommunicate the public, drain long term assets, bullying supply chain for stock price growth.

    As long the million stock holders saw growth all was forgiven.

    Crusial is to have a look at the salary packages of the board. They largely are based on short term stock value. Not long term health.

    I would be for a fixed (high) salary and bonusses based on realistic 15 year portfolio & labor relations strenght, strategy.

    Long before the MAX crashes it was clear the MAX wasn’t good enough for 2030. Still every one kept repeating each other. Groupthink.

    The 777x is not a 777 anymore. It is heavy and expensive.. also nobody dares to see.

  6. As Gundolf (I think I’m right) once wrote, Boeing needed to put together a number of options for the MAX. As it stands the only option is MCAS1.0 becomes MCAS2.0. One software fix for another software fix.

    In the FAA’s response to the latest documents, the FAA said there was nothing new but it also said it was looking at Boeing’s ‘proposed solution’. The words are careful. It’s Boeing’s proposed solution, not the regulators and the regulators do not have to accept the solution.

    It’s been interesting reading the US media since the new year. The words have changed from ‘when NOT if’ to ‘when OR if ‘ with regard to the return of the MAX. Prior to the new year, the US media were overwhelming in their view that the MAX would return and be roaring success.

    I and many on this web-site have said for many years that Boeing need to return to it’s history, a history of engineering excellence. Exclude the last two decades.

    I notice the success of the A330neo. Boeing’s one successful airplane, the 787, under extreme pressure from an airplane that is supposed to be old technology in comparison to the 787. The 787 has not outsold the A330 since the launch of the A330neo in 2014.

    • “The 787 has not outsold the A330 since the launch of the A330neo in 2014.”

      I’m afraid this is simply not correct. While A330 orders were significantly higher than the 787 in 2014, 15 & 16, in both 2017 & 2018 the 787 comfortably outsold the A330neo (it could in 2019 as well, but not by much) – to the extent that many considered the A330neo to be finished.

      With 104 gross and 89 net orders in 2019, the A330neo shows it is far from finished.

      • Stgleath66:

        Did you mean the last line to read 787?

        Philip has been harping on this for a while, quite amusing.

        Facts are not relevant,

      • Year by year might not be the best comparison as there are ups and downs for both types.
        “The 787 has not outsold the A330 since the launch of the A330neo in 2014″…could also mean the period 2014-2019 ?
        How does that compare?
        Its good for the industry and the airlines that they are strong competitors for the bulk of the market

      • 2014: 161 A330 orders vs. 41 787 orders
        2015: 152 A330 orders vs. 71 787 orders
        2016: 102 A330 orders vs. 58 787 orders
        2017: 25 A330 orders vs. 94 787 orders
        2018: 37 A330 orders vs. 109 787 orders
        2019: 89 A330 orders vs. 84 787 orders (Boeing sales in December not included)

        Sum of the whole period: 566 A330 orders vs. 457 787 orders
        Therefore:
        1.) Philipp is right with his sentence about the whole period since launch of the A330neo in 2014: “The 787 has not outsold the A330 since the launch of the A330neo in 2014.”
        2.) Stealth66 is right with his sentence about the orders per year: “A330 orders were significantly higher than the 787 in 2014, 15 & 16, in both 2017 & 2018 the 787”

        Source:
        https://www.airbus.com/content/dam/corporate-topics/publications/o&d/ODs-December-2019-Airbus-Commercial-Aircraft.xlsx
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Boeing_787_orders_and_deliveries

      • He said A330.
        So you also have to add the A330-200 and A330-300 but these numbers are not so easy to get from Wikipedia. I checked it once. Since the start to offer A330neo Airbus sold more A330 (neo+ceo) than Boeing 787 from 2014 till 2018. Last year Boeing sold 84 B787 and Airbus 99 A330 (net).

        • Pick up the numbers from annual press briefings after declaration of results. Wikipedia takes time to update.

          • I retrieved data via Wikipedia and “View History “ because for A330 no annual orders are listed just for A330neo. I checked January 2014 and January 2019 to get the orders for the period in between. These figures contain cancellations.

            Airbus still sold 4 A330 last year (MRTT I guess).

      • Since 2014, there have been 337 A330neo orders placed vs 457 orders for the 787, based on figures in Wikipedia. So the 787 has been outselling the A330neo over the same timeframe, but the Airbus product has likely done far better than Boeing were hoping.

        I’m not sure that order count comparisons are particularly relevant anyway. The purpose of the A330neo is to give existing A330 operators a choice of upgrade path. Either they can go for the A350, or with the A330neo stick with something that’s already working very well for them but with a decent upgrade. The measure that matters is how many of those A330 operators reject both of those and opt for Boeing instead, a swing in market share.

        That number might well be zero.

        Which means that Airbus will likely keep all that vast market share built up with the A330, and stand a good chance of expanding it somewhat.

        Airline purchasing decisions are supposed to be the most hard-headed of all business deals, but with Boeing seemingly being in a very deep pickle all over (even 787 production quality is now being examined officially) there’s got to be more than a few airline executives wondering if Boeing is genuinely the right strategic partner for the next 20 years.

        One thing I do know – Airbus are recruiting in the Toulouse area; they’re after engineers. Can’t see them standing still over the next 20 years.

      • How about A330ceo + A330neo since the start of B787 ?

        Why was the A330-200 a success but the A330-800 not?

  7. If I’m not mistaken, 3-4 years ago the author published an eerily prescient article saying that Boeing’s sales, production rates and cash flow was so phenomenally impressive that the company was becoming complacent and at risk of something going badly wrong…a ruefully accurate prediction.

    • ” .. phenomenally impressive that the company ..”

      some things are too good to be true.
      Mostly “wagging the dog” curlicues.
      And they really bent over backwards to create that “phenomenally impressive company” impression.

  8. Bill Allen and Frank Shrontz were lawyers, and pretty good CEOs. Phil Condit and Dennis Muilenburg were engineers, and pretty bad CEOs. Boeing may or may not need an engineer to be CEO.

    Boeing needs a leader who has a vision, the communication skills required to change culture, and who can manage effectively. Really, that’s what CEO’s and Board’s are supposed to do in our Anglo-Saxon form of capitalism.

    It took Boeing about 4-5 years to demolish the old engineering culture, swap in new managers, and establish the cost-cutting business culture. It will take time to fix that. Again, that’s what CEO’s and Boards are paid to do.

    • I agree with Stan.

      It does not have to be from aviation nor an engineer.

      It needs a good leader who can balance out all the competing claims, including upholding the engineers when that is needed.

      They claimed Mulalley could not succeed at Ford because he was “not a car guy”. He succeeded at Ford because he was a good manager not because he was a car buy or an engineer.

      I would be full on stealing the highest guy from Airbus if he was any good (I don’t know the lineup at all) .

      I do agree that McNenearney was the one that did the best poisen job at Boeing.

      The top line should not be 787 Billion, it should be, he gutted the company and left it no future product development.

      No Moonshot is translated as No Product, any airliner is a high tech machine, what a joke.

      The Moonshot part of 787 was the way they set up the building of it scattered all over the planet with no oversight.

      In other words, a management screw up.

      • Yes. After sabotaging the Dreamliner program with all the out-sourcing, he could not look at his own irresponsible decisions, and continued to make them screaming: No Moonshots! No Moonshots! It took a fair amount of time after his absence to see his legacy, but here is Boeing today. He got away with it because McAir and Lockheed were mostly out of commercial, and Airbus was just making headway in the business.

      • “”I would be full on stealing the highest guy from Airbus””

        It would be like Luke Skywalker turning to the Dark Side.
        Not that it’s not possible but …

        • Rise of Skywalker essentially says “you _can_ escape your heritage”.
          In that respect it is a very topical movie.
          US needs to get away from its century old “dark” heritage. There is precedence. Germany overcame that dark spot in its history. okay, the intermission was much shorter 1000 years compressed in a dirty dozen.

    • Condit worked in the airliner side of Boeing , and on successful programs
      Muilenburg was in the military side of Boeing and was Chief Engineer of the X-32, the plane that was totally outclassed by the X-35 from Lockheed

      Also the article is incorrect on the details of Judge Luttig . He finished up as head of Boeings legal department way back in April or so and was promoted to Executive VP and had responsibility for F35 legal matters as an adviser to the CEO and Board. You have to wonder about this as it creates another bottleneck for information to the CEO and Board , sure its protected as ‘legal advice’ but you might wonder if it was also a way of rejecting valid information if it didn’t fit the legal strategy – like a prosecutor might do with some facts that arent presented to the jury.

    • Precisely. A good leader is a person that knows what matters and has a vision for the future of the company . Does not matter where he came from.

      And a warning, to use military as an example a good battalion leader might never be a good brigade leader, a good brigade leader that will never be a theater leader. and vice versa.

  9. Good to See RA write, well done Scott. I think he is off base quite often but its a good view and he supports it.

    I have a shocking one for CEO of Boeing

    The Ayatollah: Obviously a take charge kind of guy, he can deal with a bad situation and act relatively quickly to deal with it.

    • Doubt it. He’s ordered a load of Boeing aircraft for IAG, which might turn out to be a mistake. Last thing he’ll want is to be responsible for delivering them…

      • I thought the 200 MAX from IAG were only a Letter of Intent.

        Nevertheless, those MAX must have been cheap and if the MAX will never fly again those who ordered it might get compensated.

  10. I also believe part of the oversight problem at Boeing comes from senior management/executives being out of touch with engineering and production having moved HQ to Chicago from Seattle. They are so divorced from the factory floor that they’ve lost a sense of what they’re doing/making.

  11. I think we need to think one step further… Putting an engineer in the driver seat at Boeing will not solve anything. What is really needed is a switch in orientation away from shareholder value towards CUSTOMERS VALUE.

    Take Tesla or Apple or Airbus as examples: They try to meed the FUTURE demands of their customers. By this I mean the demand that even their customers may not know yet. Only this brings you ahead of the game. Of course you risk being wrong, as was the Apple Newton for example, or the A380, but you also have the chance to change (and win!) the market, like with the iPhone or the A300 and A321neo. The GTF is another such example.

    What is needed is a switch from a “holding” to an operation. You need an entrepreneur at the top, an Elon Musk or an Steve Jobs. Someone who is an idealist and has stamina and guts. You need to get rid of those guys who are there because they are tall, have a loud voice, been to the right universities but are otherwise as hollow as an empty fuel tank, no matter what all their diplomas say.

    What is standard practice in every successful company must be done: Research the markets deep and deeper. Look into new technologies, materials, methods that may become available in the near future. Understand your competitor. Develop scenarios on how the next 20 years may pan out (CO2 taxes for example). Then sketch up what you need to do. Find out if you have the right resources (manpower, technologies, factories,…). If need be, fix that and then start developing. Not one new plane, but an entire new fleet. Of course not all in the same timeline, but in the order of urgency (for your customers!). And so forth….

    • I see a lot of mixed metaphors in that as it were.

      You can separate out Tesla and Apple to start with. They make (or claim to) 10,000 thousands to millions of devices.

      Airbus and Boeing do not. They are hand built articles.

      Mistakes have huge impacts.

      Design cycles are a year to months in those mass produced areas, they are 25 years in the other.

      I guess Boeing could get into smart phones, otherwise is an entirely different mfg dynamic.

      What Boeing needs to do first and foremost is go back to a balance of the Company and Workers co-equal and the shareholders last.

      If the first two thrive, the last does as well.

      If the last one thrives, the first two are run into the ground.

      Its as old as the Parables, known as the Golden Goose. Its no complicated than that.

      For every Apple there are a million Kaypor’s and it was not vision or anything that saved apple it was MS.

      • TW, you obviously don’t understand my post. Then why can’t you stop yourself typing away?

    • There is little difference between engineering and good lawyering. Both involve logic, consistency and structure. I’ve seen great engineers become lawyers. The skill sets are similar. There may be a subset of engineers that lack in managerial skills but they are often not good engineers. Likewise for lawyers, they think in a structured way, and can certainly put in place the people needed but a few should stick to conveying property. I’ve found accountants good as well. It just needs structured thinking and the ability to understand people and systems. It’s is however extremely Important to have a pathway for talent and engineering to move up.

      • Now that’s a very interesting observation, William. Sadly, over here in Germany very few people ever change course in their careers, which is probably why I know no such case of lawyers-engineers.

        But I fully agree that you need to very clear minded people at the top. Some who are also willing to rack their brains about what their customers might need in 10 or 20 years.

      • There is a mindset difference.
        Lawyers tend to see natural laws just the way they see legal laws.
        “Something you can overcome with smart talk”.

  12. A similar to the Carlos Ghosn leading this SICK patient, would have been a good solution to resolve the lack of Resolve, Discipline, Corporate Culture, besides all the Technical Corruption in producing such failed B737 MAX, amongst other type of aircraft design/production issues.
    BOEING, should have a Leadership who works hand in hand with the FAA, and take no orders from anybody within the Political Establishment in the US. Involve only known professionals on their Board of Directors who know the Aviation Technical and Administrative, and the train their Work Force to be proud in their work output, rather than Management worrying about cutting corners in the name of PROFITS/DIVIDENTS to shareholders.

    • It really is not hand in hand with FAA, that is just one part of the entire business.

  13. Who or what is in control here?

    Aboulafia interestingly uses the phrase, “Late stage capitalism,” which, I believe is a Marxist idea. Capitalism, Marx argues, sows the seeds of its own destruction. What illustrates this better than the Boeing board and its executives ravaging what was an extraordinary company in order to increase share holder value?

    So, what is that “stage”? According to the popular and controversial Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Žižek: “Marx’s vision was that of a society gradually approaching its final crisis, the situation in which the complexity of social life is simplified into one great antagonism between capitalists and the proletarian majority.” He then adds: “The historical deadlock of Marxism resides not only in the fact that it counted on the prospect of capitalism’s final crisis, and therefore couldn’t grasp how capitalism came out of each crisis strengthened. ”

    Unregulated, 19th century-style capitalism, perhaps what one person here calls, “Anglo-Saxon capitalism,” is fundamentally unstable, with draconian booms and busts. It eats itself up. The Keynesian Economics of the early 20th century sought to save capitalism from itself (or at least delay its demise), inserting the will of democratically controlled governments that steered the anti-human ravages of the fictionalized idea of autonomous, sovereign markets that have their own logic, will and desires and rapaciously act outside of the control of nations, or anyone for that matter.

    Yet, since the 1980s, those regulations have been attacked as hampering free enterprise and undermining profits. They are represented by offices such as the FAA, which seems to have all but disappeared into Boeing. I’m not sure how this fiasco fits into all of this, but radical, more robust styles of corporate leadership must be found for Boeing to come “out of [this] crisis strengthened. .

    • Maybe instead of spouting Marxist criminal enterprise – a Social Supremacist ideology – look at what Keynesianism did to Great Britain and with its post WW2 consensus.
      20 years after WW2 they were poorer than an once destroyed Western Germany.
      For example you know that German economic miracle was made against the mantra of US and British occupation authorities controlled prices?

    • Excellent historical comment and fits perfect the current Failed BOEING’s REAL CAPITALISTIC approach in their Priorities. It is a Dying Capitalism in the process.👍✌️

    • “Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s former CEO, left the company with $80.7 million in pay and benefits, after being fired over two aircraft crashes that killed 346 people in total. His compensation dwarfs the $50 million set aside for families of the crash victims.”

      The supervisory board should read the ethics paragraph, try to explain their families and if they don’t succeed, change this compensation packages. Or are they in themselves?

  14. Reporting out of India this weekend suggests 737 MAX certification testing will begin in January. No other news outlet has confirmed this:

    “European aviation watchdog EASA has said it is likely to conduct flight tests of Boeing 737 MAX planes later this month, amid many airlines awaiting regulatory approvals to restart operations of these aircraft.

    In 2019, regulators banned flying MAX planes after two fatal accidents involving the aircraft. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also ordered grounding of these planes in India.

    A European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) spokesperson said the regulator is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing to ensure the safety of 737 MAX planes.

    “As part of this, EASA will indeed conduct flight tests of the aircraft. Our current expectation is that these will take place some time later this month,” the spokesperson told PTI earlier this week.

    However, the spokesperson did not specifically mention whether the flight tests would be conducted jointly with the FAA. Earlier this month, a senior SpiceJet airline official said flight tests of MAX aircraft were likely to be done by the EASA and the FAA together possibly in the third week of January.”

  15. Boeing needs to go back to square one with a freash design. If they want a design to hang a pair of LEAPS engines from, only T-tail has the growth potential start with an MD-80x & an MD-90x stretch if the MD jets cant be revived, perhaps a two engined version of the 727?
    Technically the ITKURSK MC-21 with all composite wings has already evolved to become the proposed NMA /797 concept.

  16. Boeing needs to go back to square one with a freash design. If they want a design to hang a pair of LEAPS engines from, only T-tail has the growth potential start with an MD-80x & an MD-90x stretch if the MD jets cant be revived, perhaps a two engined version of the 727?

    Technically the ITKURSK MC-21 with all composite wings has already evolved to become the proposed NMA /797 concept.

    • A 5-abreast single-aisle plane will be inefficient compared to a 6-abreast one. Length will become an issue at higher capacity (just as 7-abreast 767 couldn’t compete with 8-abreast A330 for passengers).

      The MC-21 lacks capacity and range to be an NMA plane.

    • Sure, but then Boeing in this case had not anything to do with this tragedy, so then it is not a problem to show good will. Agree it is positive, of course.

  17. No one here, not even Richard A. , refer toChinese way of conducting business
    I mean a very strong communist style of management playing with some capitalist laws
    A huge market (local= ROW)
    Finally
    able to build 26000 Km of fast track for fast train in +/- 15 years even if at this time some itineraries are big losses maker.
    able to build millions of mobile phones in entirely automated factories
    able to move factories from Cambogia to Africa saving on salaries (sewing clothes)
    Strong education system
    and so on
    Next step for Boeing is to recognize they are already out of business and sell all his businesses to well managed companies.Renton and its suppliers becoming another FAL for Airbus or Comac or Irkutsk
    if some money is left give it to shareholders if they do not want to have shares in the bying companies!!

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