Pontifications: Did Boeing telegraph its decision in February consolidating 787 production?

Aug. 24, 2020, © Leeham News: Did Boeing telegraph plans to consolidate its 787 production in Charleston last February?

By Scott Hamilton

That’s when Boeing announced it asked the Washington Legislature to cancel tax breaks granted in 2003 to locate what was then the only 787 production line, in Washington.

Given subsequent events in which Boeing in July said it will consider consolidating two lines into one, one must wonder if the decision is already made. There’s near unanimous conclusions by outsiders that Everett’s days producing the 787 are numbered.

When Boeing said it asked the Legislature to cancel the tax breaks, officials said it was doing so to comply with a long-ago decision by the World Trade Organization that the breaks were illegal.

The WTO has yet to agree. It’s their call, not Boeing’s whether compliance was achieved.

But what is unequivocally true is that if Boeing moved 787 production out of Washington, those 2003 tax breaks would disappear. Gary Locke, who was governor in 2003 when the Legislature approved them, told me in 2008 this was the case.

A decision already made?

This begs the question: if Boeing wants to consolidate 787 production in South Carolina, it will lose the Washington tax breaks. So why not ask the Legislature to cancel the breaks and look like you’re comply with the WTO decision?

If this is the case, then it is logical to conclude that Boeing may already have made the decision, in principal, to consolidate to Charleston.

The study announced by CEO David Calhoun on the July earnings call may be just nailing down the details of the savings and what must be done to implement it. Risk-reward factors will be outlined.

Or, as Boeing’s touch-labor union fears, it could be a gambit to wring more concessions out of the union. Or all of the above.

A look back

I’ve been following Boeing as a reporter and an analyst for more than 20 years. This scenario, which is entirely speculative, is in keeping with Boeing’s methods.

This is not a criticism. Boeing is very good at gaming as many scenarios as it can think of. True, it’s not always as good as gaming the outcome. One only needs point to the 787 production debacle or the gross miscalculations leading to the 2008 IAM strike or pushing Bombardier to sell the C Series to Airbus for $1 as examples.

But these mistakes don’t take away from the multi-dimensional chess game thinking that I’ve observed at Boeing all these years.

This scenario reminds me of the 2008-2009 Boeing actions, and telegraphing its punch, in the run-up to the decision to locate the second 787 assembly line in Charleston.

Jim McNerney, the CEO of Boeing at the time, was clearly engaged in open war with 751. He was intent at weakening the union, regardless of the risks.

Boeing’s internal study, called Gemini, clearly concluded that opening a second line in Charleston created more risks than benefits. But busting the union was so important that Boeing went ahead.

Things were so obvious that in April 2009, six months before Boeing made the announcement, that I predicted the second line would be located in Charleston. I also predicted that the replacement for the 737 and 777 would be outside Washington.

A look ahead

The 777X is not a replacement for the 777, it’s only a derivative. But even this was a close thing. Despite skeptics at the union and elsewhere, Boeing was serious about locating the 777X line elsewhere. When a true replacement for the 777 comes along, we’ll see what Boeing does at that time.

A replacement for the 737 must be announced later this decade. The best place to put it will be in Everett; LNA thinks it likely the Renton plant will close in 2033 at the end of 737 production. It’s certain Boeing will compete the site location across the country.

Boeing’s current study

Boeing is expected to complete its study by the end of next month. I expect an announcement on or before the third quarter earnings call, Oct. 28. And I expect it to consolidate 787 production in Charleston.

60 Comments on “Pontifications: Did Boeing telegraph its decision in February consolidating 787 production?

  1. Ha, that was exactly my second though when the news about consolidation broke. It was probably planned beforehand.

    • It was my conclusion when when we saw rates of 6 or 7 being discussed.

      I fully agree with Scott, the Tax Break rescinding now makes full sense.

      What is fatally funny is none of this was a business decision. It was all about a personnel vendetta.

      And or course they will shop any future aircraft around, and abandon even more already paid for facilitates in Washington doing so even though it costs them billions more.

      We have to0 understand, they can’t help themselves. Being stupid is part of Boeing management DNA. They are selected for it by a long breeding program.

  2. “The 777X is not a replacement for the 777, it’s only a derivative.”
    New wing, engines, fuselage, empenage, cockpit. new aircraft to me, but separate discussion. The efforts, costs, risks and investment make it the foreseen 777 replacement.

    “A replacement for the 737 must be announced later this decade. The best place to put it will be in Everett; LNA thinks it likely the Renton plant will close in 2033 at the end of 737 production.”

    I think a 737 replacement must be announced within 2 yrs. No one wants to order MAX anymore and the backlog is imploding. In itself that makes using existing facilities and resources more likely, to save time, ramp up.

    The supply chain may get more international though. The NSA investments need to be shared and GE isn’t GE anymore. Maybe Collins / UTC will throw a life -line? Boeing was fighting UTC over the last decade, so they’ll probably try to find new friends.. in the East?

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see multi locations for final assembly for the next single aisle program (e.g. China (30% of 737 production)) As for Everett the next single program, I doubt it. What has the WS taxpayers learned with $11 billion subsides for 787 and 777X, no claw back clause, no guarantees, no jobs! By 2030, Boeing will be two trick pony, 787 (25 years old by then) and next single aisle will be in South Carolina

    • Keesje:

      No one wants anything right now, the deferrals for both are like an Avalanche just starting.

      737MAX when approved again will have some takers and some will dump it

      You don’t see any A320 orders increasing do you?

      You can’t dump A320 (defer yes) but you can MAX, so it makes full sense right now and for some time to come (and negotiate a better deal if and when you need them again).

      No 737 replacement, Boeing thinks they can make an viable aircraft to 100 years service.

      • You can cancel as many MAX as you wish without a penalty but you can’t A320 – this rule will drive post-Covid-19 situation on the market.

      • Why do they think so? Isn’t it time they start really (as in really) listening to their customers, instead of selecting confirmations of their own ideas?

        What will it take? Southwest ordering 200x A220s ? AA committed to 600 A320s & created the MAX. Now United doing a whammy? CAAC calling it a day on the MAX? What does it take to finally smell the coffee?

        • Frankly, nothing short of a Boeing financial meltdown will do it.

          Its so baked into their DNA that anything else is impossible.

          Its like they can’t see in the full spectrum, its not really their fault (mgt) that they are blind, they were trained that way.

          As I said, I don’t think Boeing will ever come out with a new aircraft again.

          The goal is to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, just delay it enough that you get your big bucks before the goose croaks .

          • If Boeing made a research decades ago and came up with the 767 cross section, its really sad they won’t do a new 767 size.

            I think Airbus might do an A322 one day, but maybe it would be only 2 rows longer, so a new Boeing 7-abreast would make sense.

  3. It seems more likely that Boeing acted for the reasons given. They had a win at the WTO with their case, but were at risk of having that countered by a loss on the Airbus case. Ending the state tax break was consistent with ending the federal tax breaks & funding that were also listed in earlier WTO rulings. Those would not depend on keeping the line in Everett.

    This put them in the clear as to future trade actions. Whether it clears them for past actions is up to the WTO. But as we’ve seen with Airbus recent efforts and earlier WTO signaling, there is a perception on both sides that clearing future infractions will mitigate compensation for past infractions. But again it’s up to the WTO to decide.

    Additionally, there was not foreknowledge of the massive drop in demand for air travel and aircraft due to COVID, which is the dominant driver for the current study.

    Perhaps there was strategic thinking at Boeing that the loss of the state tax break wouldn’t matter if they eventually consolidated at Charleston. But I doubt they expected to have the decision forced on them within a few months.

    Calhoun has said he doesn’t want to close either location and I would feel the same way in his shoes. I hope the study identifies alternatives, and that the loss of workforce and investment is considered along with cost reduction.

    • Why would you need a tax break if there are no profits?

      • The tax incentives were for business and occupation taxes, as well as sales and use taxes. These are based on gross revenue and expenditures, respectively, not based on profit. In addition they are for the aerospace industry in general, not just Boeing.

        The incentives had the intended effect in that aerospace activity in Washington grew by almost 40$ between 2013 and 2020. Most of those are high quality jobs above $100k. But because the Boeing percentage of that shrunk in the same period, there was criticism that Boing didn’t fulfill their pledges.

        There’s no doubt that Boeing’s presence and activity contributed to the growth, as they have turned more toward outsourcing and have fostered growth. But that impact is hard to quantify into hard numbers.

        Boeing did fulfill the promise to keep 777X development and production in Washington. The expansion of the 787 line in Charleston occurred before the incentives were passed in 2013. But there’s no doubt that consolidation in Charleston would be a loss to the state, and be viewed as Boeing walking back their commitments.

        • The 777X production/FAL had to be in Washington once they decided the wings were going to be all Boeings IP which includes production.
          I dont think there is a dream lifter around that can carry the wings.
          The previous 777 wings were made in Frederickson, just south of Tacoma (along with 737 wing structures) and were still a big job to move to Everett plant.

    • All corporations run a Crisis center and Boeing would have seen what was going on in China and the alerts would have been out.

      Of course they keep it internal.

  4. Maybe. But could also be they had an in on this year’s WTO Airbus vs Boeing adjudication. Or they were toe dipping, something else or multiple things. But certainly a strong possibility and makes sense with the rate reduction anticipated at the time.

    As for the 737, its replacemet, and Renton, as I commented a few weeks ago to me it would make sense to relocate one of the lines to Everett during the downturn, using the reduced demand to iron kinks out for an output trouble free switch to Everett being the main 737 centre, even if Renton is just tapered down and not closed entirely before 2033. Use the switch and space available at Everett most importantly to introduce as much new production process as possible to get at least some of the learning done that the NMA was intended to provide.

    Overall though, I find the idea of Boeing concentrating either single aisle or the 787 in one factory worrying (777X not really), given that all of their current factories are in areas at some risk of catastrophic damage. The takeaway from Covid, that the model needs resilience, really should be hammered home and acted upon. So I’d like to see Everett and Charleston both running 787 and NSA (or whatever), even if it reduces 787 margins slightly.

    • If you want to ensure the risk, you have to address every single point of failure that can stop the aircrat

      So, you have to duplicate Japan (wings and center body) Italy (aft fuselage and tail feathers) Charleston (fuselage and join) and Wichita (nose for all)

      And then there are the fuel pumps, A/C Units electronics etc made by a single firm (landing gear). All have to be duplicated.

      Up here they have got on the food security kick. What a joke. We can’t begin to grow what we need and that totally ignores we make nothing up here, so all the rest is not available.e

      It sounds so cool until you acualy flesh it out or really understand the supply system and logistics.

  5. Maybe instead of playing games, Boeing should focus on building good airplanes again?

    Concentrating the B787 production at the line where you have massive quality issues sounds appealing in terms of financials, but this is Mc Donell Douglas at it’s best.

    Don’t want to see the production issues playing out, this must cause hull losses sooner or later.

    • But then they make half the birds at Charleston and we reduce that to half the hull losses due to quality?

      Or the FOD issues out of 767 in Everett. Or the fuel FOD out of Renton?

  6. Management get the unions they deserve. Moving the same management out of Seattle to a State less union friendly may buy them some peace for a time but if the working conditions are bad then the product and the company will eventually suffer.
    Seattle is in an earthquake zone and the longer it was to the last big one means that it is getting closer to the next one. So somewhat unexpectedly Boeing has an opportunity to move out. Whether moving to Charleston which has a hurricane about every three years is the right choice is debatable. And with climate change hurricanes are getting more frequent end more violent Whilst the factory is probably hurricane proof the ramp isn’t and the houses of their low paid workers likely won’t be either;

    • That is both low paid and low lying (Charleston region is referred to as The Low Country). AKA, its a Swamp (I actually went through there lo many years ago, UNGH. )

      Seattle region would be hurt by a quake, but they would be relatively immune to the vastly more devastating Tidal Wave (unlike Japan) –

      Smaller towns on the outer coast wold be slammed but hopefully they know when to run for high ground as Alaska learned.

    • Charleston has the dubious advantage of experiencing hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. No huge wildfires yet, but that is not impossible there either. Apparently tsunamis are unlikely in that area of the Atlantic though.

      OTOH much modern human settlement in the Tacoma-Seattle-Everett area is build on solidified mud from the last big eruption of Mt. Rainier ~ AD1500, so there’s that to look forward to.

  7. This all seems to make sense moving forward, but we must also figure in the debt load of Boeing and the future constraints of government participation in infrastructure funding…. Absent in this discussion is the 747 production ending and that space availability. I suspect this would be a good time to move that 737 to Everett. They have excess capacity tooling sitting on the floor at Renton that would allow that move to be near seamless. I suspect the NMA will go to Everett because the wing facility there has so much headroom and it cannot be easily duplicated anywhere with the WTO rulings moving forward. The termination of the 787 in Everett and the end of the 747 program leave a cash strapped Boeing with a solid choice in staying in Everett. The Unions are basically broken, removal of the defined benefit programs and the retirements of the union stalwarts have seen to that. Ironically, the unions may actually become very useful to Boeing moving forward… I would expect the Unions role to become one of policing its own thru ongoing education, training and the implementation of an actual union journeyman’s program. I can see a future where the union provides qualified workers on demand to Boeing in a similar fashion to unionised electrician’s and welders of today….. It would solve so many of Boeing’s HR issues and remove the retirement component, shifting it to the union………

  8. Can they bring 737 fuselages by rail to Everett, or are they too long for that route up the hill to the factory?

    • You can move them by truck if needed but Everett won’t be building 737s.

  9. This business strategy echoes McDonnell Douglas’ withdrawal from the airplane market, and the decline of manufacturing in the US, in general.

    Boeing has diverted over $70 billion to shareholders since the merger. That’s more than enough money to change the way executives think about the business.

    • “Boeing has diverted over $70 billion to shareholders since the merger”
      thats being silly …Boeing isnt a bank who stores money, they make money in order to give returns to shareholders AND reinvest. Yes there probably has been some billions lower amount invested ( shortcuts were taken with the 737 Max) but then there hasnt been a boom like the previous decade in plane ordering and building either.

  10. I don’t think Boeing will ever make a new aircraft again.

    As the 737 dies off, they will flap and wring their hands and do nothing, 767 will die off, 777CEO or X will die off.

    In 20 years the 787 will peter out and that will be the end.

    Boeing management DNA is to exploit, tear down, not build.

    This is their perfect opportunity.

    13 Billion bucks borrowed for Share Buy back, not a cent for research, actions speak volumes and words are meaningless.

      • For different reasons they are as inept as Boeing and nothing is going to change that.

        Boeing is management DNA

        Comec is communist (dictatorship actually) DNA.

        • But Comac is ordered (yes, by Communist Party) to bring success and has big motivation and big talents, what is lack is experience, but they will get it eventually.

          Boeing is stuck with themselves, and lots of experience workforce, R&D included is gone.

          So, in 10 years will have different situation on market. Unless B will wake up and di something with quality, which I wish to be done.

          • Pablo:

            Sometimes you can wind up at the same result for totally different reasons.

            In Boeing case its management exploitation of the firm to get their big buck payoff before they kill the Golden Goose.

            In Commacs case, you have a structure that is managed to national pride and owned by the Government lock stock and tomahawk.

            Airbus was allowed to go their way without each government win the fingers in the management pie (finally yes)

            Comac exists by and for the Communist (or so called) government, decisions are made to ensure its not one guys fault and the other takes the blame and there is no innovation allowed because that is risk.

            Its as Corrupt as Boeing for other reasons but its a failed operation.

            The Chinese are clearly very capable, but Comac has its hands tied and it will not be. Its all about jockeying for power and making sure someone else gets the blame for problems.

            The only aircraft they pass on are internal China and each Airlines is beholden to the Govt are stuck with an equal number (which if you check are parked as much as possible while still paying lip service to the Govt)

          • @TransWorld

            Maybe Comac is slow and not very imaginative, but they want to learn and have infinite founding from its government. It’s only matter of time when they will figure it out.

        • “Comec is communist (dictatorship actually) DNA.”

          Yes it is. So what? In China, the Communist Party has proven quite capable and efficient over the last 40 years. Ever since Deng Xiaoping the Chinese Government has consistently focused on results-driven methods and eschewed ideology. As Deng Xiaoping once said, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” China’s fabulous economic results are the proof this anti-ideological bent is effective.

          You call COMAC communist, but I disagree. I think – like China itself – COMAC will be whatever it needs to be to thrive, and it’s got a strong government partner that will make sure it happens.

        • Maybe communist, but already has “invested” $25 to $30 billion into their three commercial programs…ARJ21, C919 and CR929 One thing is needed for Boeing is good US relations with China with 30% of deliveries going there. Comac has more modern automation (riveting systems) than Boeing 737 (e.g. Spirit) for their C919. China buys the best. Remember China national policy Made in China 2025, building commercial aircraft is in the top 3 As for aircraft assembly technology, China (companies) own Kuka Robots, Brotje Automation and Artiex. As for composite production, they are block from getting US technology but they will it thru Italy (Leonardo-CR929 production) and EU with MTorres (automation) and Japan Toray (material)

      • I think an Airbus monopoly is a likelier possibility.

  11. I think the 787 quality problems had a lot to do with abuse of FAA delegated certification and quality control (ODA). Abuse that was wholeheartedly supported by senior management and US congress. Competitiveness, jobs and stock price were the top priorities, while quality and safety were assumed a given, mainly build on reputation & pride.

    Embedded congress members used FAA re-authorizations to “Streamline” (drain) FAA authority. (And are keeping a low profile now).

    Now Boeing is fined, but who is independent enough to call upon congress for their significant role over the last 10 years? Very few people so far..


    • Regulations are a balancing act. The regulations were not rolled back that far, but it was enough for some at Boeing to become overconfident and feel superior to the FAA. That has cost them dearly, and the regulation will likely be restored now to the earlier powers.

      The FAA also now has the upper hand with Congress, whereas Boeing had before. FAA now is pretty free to discipline Boeing without political objection. Boeing has lost their credibility to complain. Awareness of that was the major shift between Mullenberg and Calhoun.

      So there will be restored and probably even greater scrutiny and oversight going forward, which is a good thing and as it should be.

      As far as politicians taking their share of responsibility, good luck with that!!! Never in my lifetime have I seen it happen, except perhaps in the failed Iran hostage rescue mission, where Jimmy Carter accepted full responsibility. Not sure if that level of integrity exists today.

    • Sad that it isn’t mentioned when the pressure and harassment happened. But if FAA only “considers” it’s weak.
      Vice President of the 787 program and {edited}

      • That article is prior to the fine that has since been levied, for Boeing manager interference with ODA activities and inspections, on the 787 line at Charleston. So old news but still an important reinforcement of the proper role of FAA and ODA. Notably Boeing did not object to the fine in their response, so it was levied in the full amount. There wasn’t really any defense. I’m sure those managers will face internal consequences as well.

        • I never knew a lack of a valid defense stopping them from going on like there was.

          Good news is just wait and they will revert to the usual. If they actual.y had ethics we know for sure that life had ended and the meteorite would hit us and kill us all.

          • Boeing needs to improve their safety culture and that’s a work in progress. Complaints were made and they were investigated and addressed, as is appropriate. Events like that should help things along. The FAA is keen on this as well, based on the statements and plans of Dickson to institute SMS at manufacturers.

            So things are not as pessimistic as you say. Boeing will design and build new aircraft again, and they will improve their culture. There are signs of that already. They face challenges, as does the entire industry. But this is hardly the end for Boeing, no matter how many times that is implied here, or how extensive one’s personal feud with Boeing is.

        • There was a fine around $180,000 for ODA pressure in February.
          This CONSIDERED $1,25m fine is a different one.

          Why even use pressure when Boeing won’t deliver the 787 anyway. What is missing in this story is they didn’t mention the bonus the “Vice President of 787 program” got.

          FAA should give the ODA staff some tools, Taser or Bullterrier and some cages for the monkeys.

          • No, the two investigated incidents were fined together, with total $1.25M. This is two incidents at Charleston, both involving the same management group, out of 1,500 FAA ODA delegates at Boeing.

            If the Boeing 787 VP got a bonus, it surely wasn’t for permitting or encouraging ODA interference. There would have been no connection. Interference is against Boeing policy, as stated in the response letter.

            You’d do well to remember that Airbus deferred criminal conviction with a $4B fine, for bribery activities that were absolutely sanctioned by Airbus top executives, to the extent of formally organizing units to handle corrupt activities. This was not a couple of clueless managers breaking company policy, this was a massive and lucrative worldwide effort, kept off the books until dug up by government fraud investigators.

            It was the policy of Airbus to do this, as a routine and necessary aspect of doing business. The CEO and COO of Airbus were ousted because of it. Airbus survived this only because they were being prosecuted by the same governments that own 25% of the company, as well as their economic importance (too big to fail). The $4B fine was nothing in comparison to the competitive advantage that was gained, but there is no court or trade organization that can rectify that outcome.

            Yet even with all this, we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We recognize that Airbus also has many hardworking people who had nothing to do with this. And when they say they are working to do better, we give them the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise. There are measures in place to punish them further if they don’t.

            We do this because there is always the possibility of redemption, and the world is better with Airbus than without. Airbus activity supports many thousands of well-paying jobs. The same is true for Boeing.

          • I admire how Rob sticks to the “whataboutism” play, pointing at Airbus as if it absolves Boeing from lack of ethics and/or technical competence (which, by the way, ended 350 lives). As I have said before, the Boeing PR playbook needs a total rewrite. We need people like Rob to champion that on the inside.

            For those who are unfamiliar, from Wikipedia:
            “Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument.
            Whataboutism is particularly associated with Soviet propaganda. When criticisms were leveled at the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Soviet response would often be ‘What about …’ followed by an event in the Western world.”

          • Nothing whatever to do with ‘whataboutism”. I’ve always acknowledged the problems Boeing has, and advocated for their solution. Nor have I sought to deflect or distract criticism where factually valid, which is the purpose of “whataboutism”.

            I was putting the criticisms of Boeing into context with crimes committed by Airbus, thus pointing out the contradictions that occur when criticizing Boeing alone. But I also pointed out why it’s important to acknowledge progress as well as faults, whether Boeing or Airbus.

            People who are unbiased toward Boeing or Airbus will understand this. People who only seek to discredit Boeing will not.

          • @A Jones

            Good observation. Some believe that obvious mispresenting, hypocrisy or sociotechniques are worth same as valid argument. But these only underlines the emptiness and lack of sense.

          • @ Rob,
            I am not seeking to discredit Boeing. I believe credit should only be given when it is due, otherwise, it means nothing. The real question is, what does exactly Boeing deserve credit for? Let’s review the past 15 years: Boeing 787, total disaster, was grounded for two incidences of “thermal events”, is in the hole for 20+ billion dollars in “deferred” costs via funny accounting after delivering 977, the rate is less than half of what it was supposed to be at this point (14) and likely falling, and the program is soon to be subject to a declaration of reach forward loss. 747-8X/9X, waste of a good 5 billion. Obsoleted in ~10 years. The 737 MAX was going to be the easy win…the mantra being, ‘spend 2 Billion, Collect 100+ billion’. They ignored the most rudimentary engineering principles and destroyed 350 lives together with causing the biggest crisis in Boeing’s history and untold damage to the brand. The backlog is down 700+ airplanes this year and counting. 777-X: very large CapEx, shrinking market, canceled models, failed structural tests, dwindling orders, has a dubious basis for certification, two years late (and counting). On the military side: Tanker, a huge technical disaster, 2+ years late and still not fully operational, has dangerous quality issues. F-15: an obsolete product being replaced by the F-35A. F/A-18: an obsolete product, being replaced by LMT F-35 B/C. T-7A: not really a Boeing designed product, a massive underbid on the contract, remains to be seen. Starliner: unmitigated disaster, failed in a mission simpler than that of Gemini-8 (1966), will be several years late, overpriced, has made Boeing the laughing stock of a startup called SpaceX, still remains to be seen if it will ever have a “survivable mission”. There is no question that Boeing has an amazing history, but that’s all there is. Critical discourse is an important part of a free economy. It enables efficient discovery and allocation of capital and motivates fundamental change. We have a systemic problem at Boeing that needs to be addressed before another humbling accident. By being a Boeing fanboy, you are doing a disservice to Boeing (I am sure you mean well). And as for bias, as opposed to you, I don’t collect a Boeing paycheck, I have no stake in this other than a genuine personal interest in the well being of the US industrial base. And Robert, you seem to be spending an awful lot of time forming well-worded responses here to call yourself totally unbiased. Take it for what it’s worth.

          • You claim you are not trying to discredit Boeing, but the rest of your post is an attempt to do exactly that. Boeing has no redeeming value, and everything they’ve done either has failed or will fail. The only remaining value is in their history. That proves my overall point about bias, although like others here, you are unable to see it.

            Bias is confirmed by considering only the negative. Also in presenting exaggerations and incorrect facts. Also in the continued comments about my association with Boeing, which are yet another falsehood put forward in an attempt to lend credence to your case.

            Most observers would not make or agree with the assessment you’ve presented here. If they did, Boeing would cease to exist as a company, No one would ever deal with them. But we know that is very far from the truth. So what is the motivation for representing otherwise?

            All these things point up the role of bias, and why it’s so important to present a more balanced view, which I try to do here. There are enough legitimate problems without having to engage in intentional misrepresentation.

            To wit, Boeing has had many problems in their programs, mostly to do with development and initial profitability. Also recently due to market shifts and especially COVID, but these have affected everyone. Profits have to be viewed over the long haul. Initial losses don’t mean there isn’t profitability in future support, upgrade and maintenance programs.

            787 – an excellent aircraft that continues to be in demand, even with the downturn in widebodies. It had an initial major issue with new-technology LiIon batteries, which was resolved with better quality control and switching battery vendors. Since then has been well received. Hardly a total disaster.

            737 – a good aircraft with a costly flaw that contributed to two accidents, but was not the sole cause, as all airlines understand. Also still in demand with over 4,000 aircraft on order. Airlines in COVID-related trouble have the right to cancel order slots undelivered in the last 18 months. Future slots can be deferred, and I’m sure we’ll see more of that, as we will also at Airbus.

            777X – another excellent aircraft, that is coming to a COVID-suppressed market. It attracted sufficient initial orders to make the business case based on projections at the time of inception. It will struggle now without a recovery, but that is hardly Boeing’s fault. And we have seen similar market issues develop with the also-excellent A380, not the fault of Airbus either.

            747-8 – a smaller program Boeing undertook due to interest of customers, and to leverage advances from the 787 program. Forecasts grew and then shrank 50% due to market conditions and the shift from quads to twins, as also happened with A380. Boeing still dominates the worldwide freighter market and the 747-8 plays a role in that. Almost all the originally forecast freighter versions will be built, the shrinkage occurred on the passenger version.

            KC-46 – the future of the US tanker fleet, with solid Air Force commitment and future orders with upgrades planned over a long service life. Initial loss due to the fixed-cost contract. Three serious problems, a boom compatibility problem which was an Air Force fault, the vision system which was a Boeing/Collins fault, and the pod certification problem which was a contractor documentation issue. Already tested & certified for most US receiving aircraft, and progress continues to be good. Observers expect ultimate success.

            F-15 – still one of the best fighters in the world. Finding a new multi-role purpose with strike capabilities, will be part of the US 4.5 gen fleet for many years to come. More capable than F-35 in firepower, but F-35 has superiority in stealth and survivability, so their roles will be optimized.

            F-18 – will remain the backbone of US carrier fleets for the foreseeable future, ordered 3 to 1 over the F-35. So a long career still ahead of it. Not anywhere near obsolete. Significant improvements by Boeing. Similar relationship to F-35 as F-15.

            Starliner – a new and unproven spacecraft that had two software glitches in first test flight. Otherwise performed well. Still has full NASA backing and support. Problems will be fixed and another test flight made to confirm before initiating service to ISS. Gemini also flew two un-crewed test flights.

            SpaeeX has done very well, but they have received funding with development and experience over a much longer period due to commercial cargo. They have had mishaps as well, including complete loss of vehicles and payload. We didn’t declare them a disaster when those events happened. I wouldn’t seek to diminish their accomplishments, but as with Airbus would put things in proper perspective.

            As I’ve said many times, it’s important to emphasize the factual truth, with a representation of the full story. There are many negative aspects of Boeing, and much room for improvement, but also positive aspects that should be acknowledged.

            You claim that I do a disservice to Boeing by supporting their positive actions, yet I have also advocated for improvement in their culture, and supported the FAA in their disciplinary measures, You completely trash them at every opportunity, without a positive word or thought. So who is really doing the disservice?

            As long as the positive is absent and the intention is to discredit, I will present the more positive view, to the best of my ability.

          • “”No, the two investigated incidents were fined together, with total $1.25M. This is two incidents at Charleston””

            NO. There was a fine around $180,000 for 2 incidents with 787 certifications happend in February 2020.

            The aeronewsx.com story Keesje provided says in the headline that it is a CONSIDERED fine. This story is about 3 other 787 incidents.

            The fines are bla bla bla. Who believes that Boeing has to pay a single Cent.
            Important is that these storys are in the media and they describe in detail what’s going on inside Boeing. I’m sure most Boeing employees don’t like the climate and don’t like their jobs. This leads to not so good work and not so good quality. But the presence of management and being forced to hurry certification work is another dimension.
            This is exactly why the MAX crashed. Quality safety work can’t be done when management harass from behind.
            Boeing is self-certifying 96% of the work. 96% questionable certifications and some people call it excellent. I’m sure Norwegian is using this in court to give all their garbage 787 back to Boeing.

          • Leon, I can find no record online of the alleged $180,000 FAA fine at Boeing Charleston from February 2020. If you have a link, could you please share it?

            All I could find was the recent two fines at Charleston totaling S1.25 million from August 2020. As far as I can tell, those are the only two fines for ODA interference.

          • I read the $180,000 story few weeks ago, I mentioned it here at that time and it was only this story where 2 ODA engineers were doing certification work, 2 different incidents. I found it interesting because it was about the 787 and under Calhoun.

            The other story about the considered $1.25m I only know because Keesje mentioned it.
            Before I said it were 3 incidents which is wrong, it’s about 3 Boeing senior managers with multiple incidents maybe hundreds or thousands.
            Accusing the vice president of the 787 program. How high do we need to go. It comes from the top.
            Pressured, Harassed and Threatened !!!
            Sad the bonus the vice president of the 787 program got for doing his job isn’t mentioned.

  12. A Jones and Rob:

    You make good points in contrasting views. But tone down the personalized nature of these remarks.


    • Scott, I will do as you ask, but would like to point out that I was attacked for mentioning the Airbus deferred conviction, and not for the first time.

      In response, I pointed out the contradictions & bias in the accusations made against me, and against Boeing, but did not personally attack the others. I just want to be clear about that. I didn’t call them fanboys, imply that their arguments are empty or senseless, imply that they receive a paycheck to express a corporate view, or imply that they are intentionally distracting from the true issues. All of those things were said about me above.

      Instead I tried to show the validity of a balanced view, both positive and negative, neither absolving Boeing nor condemning them, but recognizing they have problems which can be resolved, and potential for improvement.

      If your preference is for me not to respond to those attacks, you can specify that and I will comply. I respond because otherwise those comments stand unopposed.

      • @Rob

        Just to clarify. We were talking here & now about 787 situation and that Boeing got the fine for compromising SAFETY.

        And that was nothing to do with Airbus and its fine, but 3/4 parts what you wrote was about Aibus crimes etc. etc.

        Crimes? you call what Airbus done by selling totally safe aircrafts. But I don’t see that you call “crimes” when Boeing was compromising SAFETY for profit in many occasions.

        @AJones observed “whataboutism” and I observed “Boeingitis”.

        Sorry @Scott Hamilton, sometimes things need to be addressed directly.

        • My comments to Scott stand, Pablo. I did not attack you personally as you have repetitively done to me, again now as well.

          I raised the Airbus criminal deferral to point out that we all accept that it happened, yet we don’t condemn Airbus for it, as Leon has condemned Boeing. He implied with incorrect facts that a Boeing executive was paid a bonus for interference with the FAA, which would be a criminal act. But that was not and is not true.

          He has called Boeing criminal many times, as have you, but the fact remains that Airbus is criminal, as proven in a court of law by their own shareholding governments. No such ruling has occurred for Boeing. Yet Airbus does not attract the same criticism or condemnation from you.

          I also pointed out why we don’t condemn Airbus for their failings, because in the end it’s counterproductive, it does more harm than good. They were judged and paid their fines, as has Boeing in this case. So we should apply the same standards to both.

          The fact that you don’t apply the same standards, is an example of the bias I referenced. I will always speak up against that when I witness it, as well as unfounded allegations. It’s the right and just thing to do.

          • After everything we know now, how can Boeing’s bulletin after JT610 not be criminal.

            FAA calculated around December 2018 that the MAX will crash 15 times and they didn’t ground the MAX and after ET302 they still didn’t want to ground it, saying that they don’t have enough data LOL sure they had data with 15 more crashes.
            How is this not criminal !!!

            Now FAA only want to check parts which led to the crashes.
            JATR mentioned the “novel” use of the stabilizer. The crashes happened because the elevators were not working, either the elevators are too small or the stabilizer too big. But FAA is not checking the “novel” use.
            There might be humdreds other faked self-certifications from Boeing and FAA is not checking them. They are just waiting for another crash. Criminal

            I read that FAA calculated much more than only 15 crashes but they threw it into the garbage bin because how could that be true. Boeing who owns safety SMH

            It’s really sad, this has dimensions I never expected.
            Who wants to be a crash test dummy because FAA is too lazy to check?

            MAX faked and is still faked
            787 faked
            777X must be a Frankenstein too

  13. I’m closing comments.

    This is not a forum for personal attacks and counter attacks. Get this through your heads, people.