COVID production rates “firm” up

By Scott Hamilton

July 30, 2020 © Leeham News: Airbus and Boeing refined their COVID production schedules this week slightly downward in some cases.

Airbus largely held to its previously announced production schedule. It dropped the A350 rate by one, to 5/mo from six. The A320 rate remained at 40/mo, as did the A330 rate at 2/mo. The A220 rate is returning to 4/mo in Montreal and 1-2/mo in Mobile.

Boeing rates

Boeing will drop rates for the 787 and 777 to six and two/mo from the previously announced 7 and 3/mo.

The 737 is muddled. Boeing will slow the ramp to 31/mo in 2022. The 450-470 stored 737s (the number varies depending on who is talking) must be delivered on top of the initial low-rate production. Based on information, the 737 is currently being produced at a rate of about 7/mo. Boeing expects to increase the production rate gradually in 2021.

Boeing said it hopes to deliver the inventory within about a year. This equates to about 39/mo with 470 stored aircraft. This seems optimistic. Some of the storied aircraft are now white tails following canceled orders and the collapse of some airlines.

Demand also doesn’t seem to support this delivery rate.  Nor does it seem to support the delivery rate for the A320. Airbus has 145 airplanes in inventory now, produced for customers that can’t accept them.

14 Comments on “COVID production rates “firm” up

  1. Collins won’t produce MAX parts for one year. This might be the reason why Boeing wants to deliver the 450 stored MAX within a year now.
    Maybe Boeing has already stored Collins parts to produce 7 MAX per month.

    “”Collins is a major Max supplier. Its portfolio of components on the Max include landing systems, wheels, brakes, sensors, electric power generation systems, cabin connectivity products, display systems, flight controls, guidance and navigation systems and various cabin products.””

    https://www.flightglobal.com/systems-and-interiors/collins-will-not-deliver-max-components-until-second-half-of-2021-says-raytheon/139514.article

    • Collins is responding to Boeing guidance for future component orders, based on the production rate Boeing foresees for 737 MAX. They are not limiting Boeing production, Boeing is limiting their parts orders.

      We know that Boeing acted to invigorate the supply chain after MAX production ended in January. That may have involved stockpiling components.

    • note on Flight Global, you get 4 articles a month now.

      As near as I can figure you don’t get anything for the plain sign in account other than one of those 4 can be a special.

      If you have more than one computer then you can get 4 on each.

      • “simpleflying” is becoming very competent. They are now reporting on every news story on commercial aviation. Maybe not as authoritative as Flight Global but it’s a well done, good looking website with an acceptable amount of ads.

  2. BOEING, expects too much too soon. I wish they left the FAA and the International Aviation authorities to indicate the B737 MAX expectations.
    In respect to Airbus’s production, their production projections are in line with current Airline demand scenarios, and hopefully for a future recovery.

  3. Missing is the certainty of 787 production being moved to Charleston exclusively (many comments by Boeing)

    Also 747 ceases produion when the last firm one is built. They lost a key supplier and can only assume its not deemed profitable to replace them.

    They can’t even stock long term parts for a possible up tick in orders.

  4. I think this is a misinterpretation on the 737 MAX. Boeing said, “We have also assumed that the majority of the 737 MAX aircraft in storage will be delivered during the first year after resumption of deliveries.”

    It seems more likely to me that this means 20-25/month (i.e. 240-300 in the first year), rather than all 450 in a year. That still may not be achievable, but at least it’s plausible that Boeing has customers willing to take that many deliveries by late 2021.

    • I think its a some and some.

      Also keep in mind they are production 7 a month x MAX now from the report.

      Airbus is stacking up A320 series as well.

      There clearly is no way Boeing is going to clear 47 x MAX a month.

      • Wondering if 40 month A320s isn’t partly a supply chain thing. Esp as a lot of suppliers have already been hit badly by the MAX.

        • A320-family deliveries in June were 31, in May 18, April 12, March 30 and in February 40.
          Seems 40/month is not so bad. It effects everyone, not only suppliers, Airbus too.
          Bad is that covid was spreading much the last week and more restrictions might come.

  5. As Airbus has 112 A320s in stock now, we should not add 9 planes to 40 products for a total of 49. Boeing only produces 7 planes per month. On the table Boeing seems to produce more MAX than Airbus produces A320s.

    • There is a big difference.
      According to Bjorn’s article Airbus gets paid for a postponed delivery.
      Boeing gets nothing for parking their MAX.

      And later when the new synthetic AoA system, the new crew alerting system and the stickshaker cut out switches are installed, the MAX need to be parked again.
      4 weeks ago when Scott mentioned these 3 systems, he said that Boeing has a year to install these 3 systems. I wonder when this year starts or if it already started 4 weeks ago.

      • I think Bjorn means that if an aircraft is completed and ready for delivery, but the customer defers, then Airbus asks for payment for the deferral and storage, since the contracted work is completed. The alternative is for the customer to accept delivery in full and begin payments, then store themselves. Assuming they didn’t want or ask to cancel the order in advance, and assuming they don’t have demand for the aircraft.

        That will be true of Boeing as well, and for the MAX once the inventory from slots delayed by the grounding is cleared out, if customers are still deferring at that point.

        Also if Boeing has already paid airlines compensation for undelivered MAX, then Boeing could also charge for deferral & storage, if the airline so chooses.

        The required MAX changes over the year following recertification can be done whether the aircraft is in storage or during maintenance windows. Some of it will be a software upgrade. The 3rd AoA will be hardware of some sort, but might just be an addition to the electronics bay with software interface.

        But it will finally be true that the grounding isn’t being extended by improvements unrelated to the accidents, as has occurred since last summer. And the pressure on airlines will be reduced. If they are deferring delivery, the work may be done during the deferral as well.

  6. Some of the storied aircraft are now white tails following canceled orders and the collapse of some airlines.

    Anyone have any idea on what percentage of the Max’s stored in the employee car park are white tails? 5%? 10%?

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