Update 2: (adds earnings call information): Update 1: (adds Calhoun on CNBC): Boeing cites grounding, COVID, 787 quality issues in 3Q/9 month loss

Oct. 28, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing released its 3Q2020 and nine months financial report this morning and, as expected, it wasn’t pretty.

  • Boeing burned through more than $4.8bn in cash during the quarter from losses. Another $262m in cash was used on building additions.
  • For nine months, Boeing reported an operating loss of nearly $6.2bn.
  • Debt remains at $61bn.
  • “Commercial Airplanes third-quarter revenue decreased to $3.6bn, reflecting lower delivery volume primarily due to COVID-19 impacts as well as 787 quality issues and associated rework. [Emphasis added.] Third-quarter operating margin decreased to (38.1) percent, primarily driven by lower delivery volume, as well as $590m of abnormal production costs related to the 737 program,” Boeing reported.
  • Boeing Global Services revenue declined by nearly $1bn and earnings fell by slightly more than $400m, impacted by the decline in commercial aviation because of COVID.
  • The value of the commercial airplanes backlog at Sept. 30 was $312.68bn vs $376.59bn. Boeing delivered 98 airliners in the nine months compared with 301 in 2019. The MAX was grounded March 13, 2019, with deliveries halted then.

The press release is here.

The earnings call is at 10:30am EDT. The call includes a Q&A session from analysts. Boeing canceled the media Q&A normally held afterward. LNA will update the earnings report following the earnings call.

Update 1, 0620 PDT:

Boeing CEO David Calhoun sees a more rapid, and robust recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic than previously forecast.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Calhoun said vaccine development is advancing quicker than historical timelines. If vaccines get into global distribution in the first half of next year, Calhoun sees a quicker recovery in the second half, which could be “robust.”

The spike in infections in Europe is his top concern now, he said. Asia traffic is recovering. US and European traffic lags previous hopes. Airlines thought they would be at about 40%-45% capacity by year end. Calhoun said it will be closer to 30%.

Boeing continues to ramp down production and the low point will be about mid-year next year, he said.


Boeing outlined its BCA production plans in the 3Q earnings call. Source: Boeing.

Update 2:

First Hexcel, then Raytheon and now Boeing each said on earnings calls that passenger traffic is expected to return to pre-COVID levels earlier than previous forecasts.

Hexcel sees a 2022 recovery. Raytheon and Boeing now see recovery in 2023. Consensus forecasts were 2023-2024.

“Expect passenger traffic to return to 2019 levels in ~3 years,” Boeing said on its earnings call. A “return to long-term trend [will come] a few years thereafter.”

Boeing summarized its transformation plan on the earnings call:

Question and Answers

On 777X: Calhoun gave a warning of sorts about EIS of 777X. Already pushed back to 2022, he said on the earnings call certification could push it back further.

Production: The reality is the industry will build less in the coming years, said Greg Smith, EVP and CFO. Boeing needs to help its supplier partners recalibrate for this new reality.

Cash flow: Smith said Boeing expects to be cash flow positive in 2022.

MAX deliveries: Calhoun said Boeing is confident planes are ready, with modifications, and the certification process has been “rehearsed” with regulators. Return to service is “conservatively planned.” The production rate will be “hostage” to the RTS of the stored airplanes and the modifications required, including for white tails.

787: Most of the inventory of 50 airplanes is heavily weighted toward quality control and rework, not a lack of demand, said Smith. Deliveries will pick up in 2021.

Losing share to Airbus: “Without a doubt we’ve lost some share,” Calhoun said. Future competitions: “We won’t give up any ground,” Calhoun said. He admitted the Airbus A321 has an advantage, but says 737-8 has advantage over A320. He says Boeing has advantage in widebody.

“We have some incredible underlying technologies” to use for the next new airplane. Deferral of the NMA will “advantage us” for next point design airplane.

“I believe we have a very competitive product line” and will not give up “any room” to Airbus, Calhoun said.

KC-46A: “The tanker is going to drag on us for three or four years,” Calhoun said. (Another write off this quarter.)

Moving 737 line to Everett: Smith noted that facilities aren’t fully utilized and didn’t rule out moving some or all of 737 final assembly lines from Renton to Everett. But Calhoun said he doesn’t want to move lines from one place to another “just because it’s available. We’re not just going to try and fill it.

“We know we have great skills in that area, but we’re not just going to try and fill empty space. That would not be in our best interest,” Calhoun said.


102 Comments on “Update 2: (adds earnings call information): Update 1: (adds Calhoun on CNBC): Boeing cites grounding, COVID, 787 quality issues in 3Q/9 month loss

  1. Mr Calhoun needs to get real- the MDC – GE virus and Welch mantra has fogged his glasses. Cutting the ‘ bottom’ 10 percent every year to keep stock prices up only works for a while.

    Even Jack admitted years later he was wrong

    • Can’t agree more and the Roundtable (right wing business organization) that McNeneary was such a proud member of has said the same thing, you can’t rob peter (product) to pay Paul (shareholders and execs)

      • Short term gain, long term GE is selling stuff off left right and center to pay for it.

  2. “Calhoun said vaccine development is advancing quicker than historical timelines. If vaccines get into global distribution in the first half of next year, Calhoun sees a quicker recovery in the second half, which could be “robust.””

    One wonders whether he actually believes this, or whether he’s just saying it for show…or to talk the stock price up. I’m reminded of Muilenburg, who told us on a daily basis that the MAX would probably be ungrounded “next month”.

    • The vaccine comments are based on the reality of what we know today. There have been no negative results thus far. We have multiple vaccines coming becoming eligible for approval, on a timeline of middle of next year, as he said.

      Initial availability will be for those most at risk, then moving out to essential workers. That will take time. Then into the broader population over a period of two years or so.

      During that time, travel will increase as the risk of death or serious illness will decline with vaccinations of the at-risk populations. But concurrently with this, countries still will need to keep up best practices and minimize their new infection rates.

      So that puts us into 2023-2024, which seems achievable with good practice and a concerted effort to get the world’s at-risk populations vaccinated. We need the US back in the WHO for that, so if there is an administration change, hopefully that will be a high priority.

      • With the proviso of long term immunity or not.

        Also not discussed if it morphs and how fast you can adjust.

        Worst case might be bi seasonal.

        Not fun being a Petri dish.

        • A new study today that followed recovered patients, showed protection out to 5 months, which is the limit of the data we have at present.

          As with the British study, the first-responder antibodies drop off fairly quickly, but slower-responding antibodies linger longer. These are produced by bone marrow and are more targeted to the virus. It’s thought that they remain in marrow for a long time, but how they respond in reinfection is not well understood yet.

          Researchers are looking for compounds in the blood that correlate to the strength of all the individual immune responses, so as to be able to test the longevity of immunity directly. Not able to do that at present.

  3. ““We have some incredible underlying technologies” to use for the next new airplane. Deferral of the NMA will “advantage us” for next point design airplane.”

    Now I’m impressed and 100% convinced that Boeing has a huge technological advantage over the competition.

    Actually, I’m not. All this says is: “Sorry folks, we have no idea what we should do next. The NMA was scrapped because it was a stupid idea from its inception. Way before that we had failed on developing a 737 successor when there still was plenty of time because we were focused on milking our cash cow instead of looking into new engine technology. We have instead developed a 747-8 because our pride was hurt with the new queen of the skies, the fat and ugly A380. Besides we were so wound up with the 787 mess (which is still going on by the way) that we ran the 777X development on half steam. Over the past year now we’ve been so busy with fixing the super-clever MCAS, so here we are with no idea what to do, with no useful research and development projects, and apparently Airbus is way ahead with future technologies and studies. In short, we have fallen back terribly and have no ace left in our sleeves, but I dream of it being so and that’s why I tell you. It kind of in vogue these days, isn’t it?

    • Sounds ominously like another “moon shot”, doesn’t it? It’s going to have to be done quickly and involve considerable technical risk to have much chance of overhauling Airbus.

    • Gundolf you forgot:

      He admitted the Airbus A321 has an advantage, but says 737-8 has advantage over A320.

      I’m guessing he hasn’t seen the Leeham article with the Max line at a 35% share of the market. Even if you focus on the Max 8 vs the A320 Neo, it’s about a 2 to 1 advantage in favour of the Neo. I’m guessing no one told the airlines.

      But hey! Look on the bright side. The Max could be back before EOY and he gets to pick up his $7 million bonus. Now there’s something worth working towards…

      • I think the -8/9 area the 737 is about equal to the A320.

        Its the A321 that beats it 2-1 though the A320 is chipping away with the MAX debacle (cancellations) and future shifts possible

        • Bjorn mentioned in an subscription article that even before the crashes the A320neo was favored over the MAX-8.

          I even favor the A320 over the A321, so I understand why the A320 was the best seller in the past. A321 needs bigger wings.
          Stupid that the most sold planes are restricted by the 36m airport C gate. This should have been changed long ago.

          • I don;t have the NEO comparisons, but the MAX8 has a slight edge over the A320NEO because its a bit longer, another row or two of seats.

            Now the data set is slewed due to the MAX debacle.

            That is Boeing management responsibility, its all a system and it only takes a failure in one part (MCAS 1.0) to screw it up.

          • The A320 is a 150 seater, the A321 is 7m longer, a 200 seater. MAX-8 and -9 are in between, but MAX-7 and MAX-9 are more fuel-efficient configured than MAX-8. Makes we wonder why MAX-9 didn’t get more orders, it only needs more fuel for better range.
            A320 has less MTOW than MAX-7, it helps to burn less fuel per trip, and it’s over 1m longer, helps to get in the sweet 150 seater spot.
            MAX-7 is good for range. I wish the A320 could get higher MTOW, then it would be a cheap XLR with even more range than 4700nm. But long range has one problem, additional crew is needed that puts everything down, maybe a reason why an A320XLR isn’t considered.

    • “… that we ran the 777X development on half steam.”

      Did they actually?

      IMU the 777X just consumed more resources going forward than expected ( or boasted about . Whatever .. )

      Some things just did not turn out as expected, time burned: discontinued robotic fuselage assembly.

  4. I DETEST this current crop of Boeing management and BOD. Instead of investing in planes and paying down debt, they fueled the stock gain and bonuses via BILLIONS in “stock buy backs”, not wanting to pay employees a decent salary, etc.

    Now the rooster has come home to roost and Boeing ostensibly can’t seem to control its self-inflicted problems.

    Boeing needs to start by first removing the CEO and putting in someone who actually “gives a damn” and knows what they are doing.

    • Stock buybacks are favoured because of the US tax laws that involve double taxation of dividends….once as company profits and secondly as income for stockholders.
      Stock buybacks work as a roundabout way of increasing shareholder wealth.
      You have a misconception that the business is run to benefit only the employeees with higher wages and the airlines with cheap modern planes.

      • @Dukeofurl

        Perhaps, you would be able to better understand the issue at hand if you were actually able to grasp the fact that Airbus, for example, has much more of a stakeholder approach to how it’s running its business, whereas Boeing’s raison d’être seems to be to maximise stockholder wealth — you know, being able to understand the reasons for why the U.S. has been shackled by an overly Anglocentric perspective and how the cult of shareholder value wrecked American business.**

        In the U.S. and U.K. corporate governance is concerned with ensuring the firm is run in the interests of shareholders and its objective is to create wealth for them. Underlying this view of corporate governance is Adam Smith’s notion of the invisible hand of the market that he laid out in his seminal book The Wealth of Nations. If firms maximize the wealth of their shareholders and individuals pursue their own interests then the allocation of resources is efficient in the sense that nobody can be made better off without making somebody else worse off. In this view of the world the role of the firm in society is precisely to create wealth for shareholders. This fundamental idea is embodied in the legal framework in the U.S. and U.K. In these countries managers have a fiduciary (i.e. very strong) duty to act in the interests of shareholders.

        In many other countries there is no such consensus. Japan is perhaps the most extreme example. Instead of focusing on the narrow view that firms’ should concentrate on creating wealth for their owners, corporate governance has traditionally been concerned with a broader view. One way of articulating this view is that corporate governance is concerned with ensuring that firms are run in such a way that society’s resources are used efficiently by taking into account a range of stakeholders such as employees, suppliers, and customers, in addition to shareholders.

        In countries such as Japan, Germany and France, it is this broad view that is often stressed. Rather than being concerned only with shareholders a wider set of stakeholders including employees and customers as well as shareholders are considered. In fact in Germany the legal system is quite explicit that firms do not have a sole duty to pursue the interests of shareholders. This is the system of codetermination. In large corporations employees have an equal number of seats on the supervisory board of the company which is ultimately responsible for the strategic decisions of the company. In Japan, managers do not have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders. The legal obligation of directors is such that they may be liable for gross negligence in performance of their duties, including the duty to supervise (Scott, 1998). In practice it is widely accepted that they pursue the interests of a variety of stakeholders (see, for example, Allen and Gale, 2000).

        “Hiroshi Okuda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and of the Japan Federation of Employers’ Associations, told the assembled money managers that it would be irresponsible to run Japanese companies primarily in the interests of shareholders. His manner of doing so left no doubt about the remaining depth of Japanese exceptionalism in corporate governance.

        …Mr Okuda made his point by telling guests what Japanese junior high school textbooks say about corporate social responsibility. Under Japanese company law, they explain, shareholders are the owners of the corporation. But if corporations are run exclusively in the interests of shareholders, the business will be driven to pursue shortterm profit at the expense of employment and spending on research and development.

        To be sustainable, children are told, corporations must nurture relationships with stakeholders such as suppliers, employees and the local community. So whatever the legal position, the textbooks declare, the corporation does not belong to its owners.

        No matter that all the research shows that stock markets respond favourably to higher research and development spending. Nor that the audience consisted chiefly of long-term investors, such as pension funds. The chasm between Japanese and AngloAmerican views on what companies are for and whose interests they serve could not have been clearer. “In Japan’s case,” said Mr Okuda, “it is not enough to serve shareholders.””

        Source: http://finance.wharton.upenn.edu/~allenf/download/Vita/Japan-Corporate-Governance.pdf

        ** https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/09/09/how-the-cult-of-shareholder-value-wrecked-american-business/

          • It is and I agree overall Aribus is far better.

            But they to were doing stock buy backs.

            It turns out the Airlines were as well. So rather than stock cash for a downturn (yep we got it) no, short term gain and long term pain.

            No they will never learn.

  5. What’s actually wrong with 777X certification now? We can rule out the engine, as its now certified. I am beginning to suspect some sort of terrible MAX type controls trap.

    • I’m not sure anything’s wrong with it per se. But with every customer deferring deliveries, there’s absolutely no need to go full steam ahead on certification, have dozens of planes ready for delivery, but no customers willing or able to take delivery. As it is, 777Xs are likely to be sitting around PAE (or other locations) for a good few years.

      • My take as well, slow it down as there is more loss in product built and not delivered.

      • Yes . I cant see the flight envelope or the flying controls being an issue ( its likely to be a further improvement of the FBW used in the older 777 and the system for the 787- hopefully they are using new computer processor chips)
        The flying surfaces of the 777X are all new- the complete wing/engine and complete empennage, so that means its designed as a whole rather than on the Max where it was just a new engine placement caused a cascading series of issues.

      • If there wasn’t a problem, why would you deliberately slow it down? I can’t see anything to be gained, you don’t have to actually build them and if you don’t build them your workforce is doing nothing. Either they are tweaking or there is a major problem.

        • Metering of resources. They will take their time on certification since there is not an immediate pressing demand. It may also take longer if other regulators want to have more access to the certification process, as they have indicated.

          The saying goes, you can have cheap, good, or fast, pick any two. They are choosing cheap and good.

          • You might want to rethink cheap and try low cost.

            After all, that is what Boeing uses to justify all their bad decisions.

            But it was lower cost.

      • No, its Plastics! (The Graduate – circa way too long ago)

    • Grubbie, I am reposting this from another site. OP is someone who works there;

      OP: The shoptalk is that there may be a nacelle lift issue, the tail volume coefficient is optimised for cruise and it might be a bit small for high alpha pitch curve compliance……

      Q: That can be adressed via the FBW system as is done on other FBW aircrafr as well, right?

      OP: Perhaps not….. There are a couple of flys in the ointment.

      • ” .. nacelle lift issue ..”

        amusing.a real new never seen before problem.

        “lack of control”

        IMU the engines have been moved further apart!
        So this may not be limited to pitch control?

    • For many years I’ve been amazed how the 777x could be certified as a minor modification of the 777-300ER.

      The minor changes being a new fuselage, new wings, new engines, a new tail and new cockpit.

      All grandfathered design and requirements to save costs and time.

      We know now (737MAX), congress members, comittees made sure the FAA was “streamlined”, cooperative, certification delegated to Boeing via a series of conditional FAA re-authorizations.

      For years here and elsewhere many explained, argued everything was ok with 777x certification. Well, it isn’t. And Covid & engines delays can no longer mask it.

      Probably the 777x test fuselage rupture root cause analyses opened up a Pandora’s box. That’s why we never heard much about it.

      • The crux of the question though is the fact that the 777 is a FBW aircraft.

        Aircraft get new wings all the time, those have to past test like an original.

        The fuselage is not all new.

        A300 underwent even more changes to become the A330.

        737 is a particular issue (as would be the 747-8) as they are based on 60s tech and not FBW.

        In reality, it was software that got the MAX not hardware.

        That will be in place on the 777X and I don’t see any of as an issue (yes it needs to be tested)

        The A320NEO had the same pitch up issue that the MAX did, they just tuned it out and its got triple backup on sensors so not subject to the pushover to make the MAX lethal.

        Frankly I like the artificial speed sensor as we have seen sensor all freeze up on A320 (and the problem with the Pitot tubes on all aircraft)

        • It’s the same all over again.
          EASA might want to see the INDEPENDENT software audit, not some self-certification.
          Even Tim Clark asked if there is new software.
          We know that an independent software audit was never made. How could Dickson forget this!!!
          How can trust grow if they do NOT WANT to follow regulations.
          Plane crashs again and Boeing and FAA will say AGAIN that they didn’t know that there is a software failure.
          Must be hard for foreign regulators to talk with these idiots.
          Is Boeing even producing the 777X now without certification?
          Boeing argued in court that the MAX was certified too. Criminal.
          Dickson? When will he wake up?
          Inspectors in the US who are checking fire-protection are wearing a gun. Why is Dickson not wearing a gun?
          I was in buildings with poor fire-protection in NYC. There was a note on the wall saying that the building wasn’t checked for fire-protection. How is this even possible??? There was no second way out, windows were fenced. Such a note should be on every Boeing plane to let people know before they enter the plane.

          • No disagreement the cross cert is dead and a deep dive into the process is fully justified.

        • “”The A320NEO had the same pitch up issue that the MAX did, they just tuned it out and its got triple backup on sensors so not subject to the pushover to make the MAX lethal.””

          The A321neo has the issue because it’s a long fuselage. The A320neo only needed the last seat row blocked on planes with high density seating. The A319 needed nothing. The same reason why a short MAX-7 was used for certification flights. But on the MAX the engines are higher than on the NEO. At elevated AOA the stabilizer is in the aerodynamic wash, so the stab can’t prevent a pitch up.

          • Huh? I understood that the 737-8 and -9 were tested earlier, present testing and demo is with a -7 because it still has flight test instrumentation.

        • Technically the MAX’ problem was system design, not software which just does what it is told to.

          MCAS software did what it was told to. Tellers were negligent.

        • “A300 underwent even more changes to become the A330.”

          But the A330 is not certified as an A300 variant, it (and the A340) were completely separate from a certification and operation perspective. About the only thing the A330 shares with the A300 is the fuselage diameter and nose gear.

          • My understanding is they used the grandfather clause.

    • “”What’s actually wrong with 777X certification now?””

      Foolish to think that under Muilenburg certifications were not faked. Even under Calhoun they were faked. FAA still didn’t check all MAX certs. What are they waiting for, for another crash to get active?

      There might be the same pressure from other regulators.
      Hard to gain trust after Muilenburg said in April 2019 “We own safety”.
      Trust needs to be earned.
      When Calhoun starts with “I believe …”, it’s garbage. That he still has a job tells everything. Nothing has changed.
      That’s why other regulators might keep the pressure.

      Maybe the change starts with Dickson, when he is losing his job soon. Dickson is too lazy to do his job to check certs. Stupid to take the job when there is no intention to clean the system. Ruined his reputation and goes into history as a clown.

      Two years after JT610

      • The difference is the 777X has the same basic systems as the 777CEO, other than tweaking the software, there is not going to be something like MCAS 1.0 put in.

        Dickson is not lazy, he runs a political agency that has issue and he was hired not to raise any more waves than he could help (ergo, he is not going to recommend it needs fixed and if he did he would be fired)

        Congress is the one that needs to reform the FAA, Dickson even if he wanted to (or a new admin come Jan 20) could not fully either as he is locked in by legislation allowing Boeing to run wild.

        • Sorry, but how do you know that for a fact? Everybody thought so about the MAXes too, no? Boeing concealed the MCAS and felt nobody needs to know about it.
          So, the question is, is there nothing new added to the 777x? Or has Boeing felt that some new systems don’t need to be mentioned because…?

          • The 777x is FBW, so like Airbus FBW, pitch augmentation is written into the flight computer control law. There is no need for a separate system like MCAS to perform that function, which is only needed when the pilot has full authority. With FBW, the flight computers have full authority in normal law.

          • FBW can fix stability issues.

            But working with limited control authority ( by way of undersized control surfaces or insidious aero behavior doesn’t make it a “duh, simple” solution path.

          • If an FBW aircraft looses all its computer (not just degraded control law) then its virtually unlandable.

            I believe it was Aeroflot found that out.

            And was it Air Asia pilot who pulled a CB and dumped an A320?

            The difference is MAX was an add in and that software is already in place in a FBW.

            The MAX also has a manual trim aspect.

            All systems have their issue and the A320 has its with CG and the pitch up. As long as they are known and have good safety backup, not an issue.

          • The claim of undersized control surfaces was never substantiated by any of the entities that investigated the MAX. It’s equally unlikely that the 777X has that problem. But it’s a good example of how these theories get started ,and persist long after disproved.

          • **Trolling Alert**

            “”Thee claim of undersized control surfaces was never substantiated by any of the entities that investigated the MAX.””

            Pilots control planes with elevators. How can pilots take control if the elevators are not working??? JATR, Indonesian and Ethiopian reports mentioned that elevators were not working and mentioned the “novel” use of the stab.
            Boeing knew this, but were too greedy, were only thinking about $$$ and EIS. So for the MAX they invented “landing with spoilers only” and hid it somewhere in the documents, no training needed, the last prayer before death.
            In the future a court might ask Dickson how he landed with spoilers since he test flight it.

      • From everything I have seen Dickson is an honorable guy. Not sure why you feel the need to cast aspersions.

        • Totally agree. Dickson has tried to be fair and responsive to all parties. Congress, public, other regulators, Boeing, everyone is heard and answered. Since he inherited the MAX crisis, he has tried to restore relationships, balance and normalcy.

          He said he would not certify an aircraft that he himself would not fly, and kept his word. He’s a class act, no matter how much he is attacked here.

          If there is an administration change, I hope Dickson will be kept on. His confirmation was a partisan vote, but he was complimented even by some Democrats, and has conducted himself in a manner that I hope will be recognized as extremely positive. Obama kept on some Bush appointees that had good records, Biden might as well.

          • “”He’s a class act””

            Dickson let the world believe that he flight test the MAX.
            Was he allowed to flight test an uncertified 737 over populated area at his age?
            At which age have 737 pilots to retire?
            Did he have a health testament that he is able to fly? He doesn’t look healthy.
            He didn’t fly for 15 years but should have tested the stall behavior of a plane that crashed twice within 5 months and he did that over populated area.
            He doesn’t care about safety.
            Class act he can’t be.

          • Leon, these are your usual unsubstantiated claims. Almost all of your negative views are based on things that you have invented for yourself.

            The MAX-7 test aircraft was flown by multiple regulators, all of them confirmed that the aircraft was appropriate for the certification tests.

            Dickson has an active 737 cert which he has maintained over the years. Additionally he took the newly required MAX training, as all MAX pilots will. Additionally he has flown Boeing’s simulator periodically throughout the software development process.

            Finally he flew the test patterns that correspond to the MAX training, in the actual aircraft. He did that so he could check for himself and speak authoritatively, and not just repeat what he’s been told. That is a class act.


          • Rob:

            Its your opinion Dickson is a class act.

            He is not an active flying commercial pilot and he had all the prep time and assist in the world for a one of event.

            The reality is a class act would be recommending changes in the FAA and he is not.

            Dickson is another politico hack as all those positions tend to be.

            He will be gone with a new administration.

            We may not get better, that is up to congress to correct FAA, but a class act would recommend terminating the ODA as it stands and a split of the FAA.

            There is not an independent expert in the world that thinks it was all fine that a bit of tweaking is going to correct.

            Any insistence on your part it has is purely conjecture, its not backed up by any facts and its disagreed with by experts.

          • TW, like Leon, you’re conflating your disagreement with Dickson’s policies, with an issue of personal character. That’s a perfect example of villainization. This is why there is so much division over most issues today. Anyone who disagrees with you is a classless jerk. Can’t be otherwise, right?

            The irony is that having that attitude demonstrates a greater paucity of character than anything Dickson has done. You can see that in the nature of posts here, and how many times posters have had to be admonished for their behavior.

            You don’t see Dickson behaving in that manner, so it’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a fact. Whomever he addresses, he is polite, honest, straightforward and open to other ideas.

            And for the record, Dickson has been open to improvements in the FAA, but he doesn’t think removing ODA will help. That has been echoed by most experts that are knowledgeable about the true process and the work required.

            Dickson would rather use enforcement of the ODA rules, which he has done in the recent past, and will continue to do. He is also open to the new legislation that gives FAA greater control of the selection and supervision of delegates.

        • Hello TaylorZ,

          the accidents happened because of self-certifications with undue pressure and Dickson is responsible for not checking ALL self-certifications till now.

          It’s like criminals burried some dead in the cellar but police is only checking one room in the cellar where they found some dead when there are hundred other rooms.

          Sure it’s smelly to dig for the dead. Dickson shouldn’t have taken the job if he can’t stand the smell.
          How many more people need to die? Next time it’s all about Dickson.

          Today two years ago, JT610 …

  6. Rolls-royce share price, absolute proof that the city has no idea.

    • You want to flesh that out, I can only look up so much stuff.

      • Halved in price with the onset of covid19. Defied gravity for 6 months.Then crashed. Doubled in price last week as everyone started raving it was under priced. Crashed again yesterday.
        The anylsts do not seem to understand that there is no money coming in and RR was already in serious trouble before covid19.

        • Grubbie, the stock price fell because shareholders overwhelmingly voted (99%) for a rights offering, to introduce 6 billon new shares, so as to raise additional capital from the market.

          Before the issuing, the rights could be used by shareholders to gain a larger share of ownership, at discounted price, to protect their position from the share dilution that occurs after the issuing.

          So that drop was expected and was approved by the shareholders. Whether or not it will be successful in raising sufficient capital remains to be seen. It lowers the cost of capitalization for both company and investors. But the future prospects of the company are still key to investor decisions, even at the lower share price.

          • Without running numbers it is a fair guess that the capital raised (plus the debt it unlocked) will be sufficient to avoid any liquidity problems so long as nothing makes the economic situation substantially worse.

          • This all makes sense.

            Stock buy back until you crash the business then offer more shares.

            Maybe pull them out of the buy back piggy bank? (or do they burn them when they get them back?)

            Why would anyone buy stock in a company that does that?

        • Analyst are flying their own kite.

          They have fully understood where jo-joing some stock value or other by way of funny pressers will meet less resistance. GE forex is “protected”. GE reported issues invariably lead to RR getting a heavy hazing.

  7. “787: Most of the inventory of 50 airplanes is heavily weighted toward quality control and rework, not a lack of demand, said Smith. Deliveries will pick up in 2021.”

    Well that says it in a nutshell, sad, pathetic, makes you want to cry.

    • Probably the most damning part of the whole report. There is usually zero tolerance by the street or most companies for not delivering because you simply can’t build them right when you’ve been building them for years. What are they even doing right now? Then touting not launching a NMA? They’d probably flush less money down the drain if they tried than the amount they spent trying to fast track the max and having it backfire while still not solving the competitive issues.

      • I agree Zoom. Was reading through all the comments and amazed no one else had even commented on it until TransWorld here.

        I really struggle to get my head around how such a high % of product leaving the line can be in such a state, even with the cultural problems inside Boeing. After all this is all highly paid people involved from initial sketches through to wheels on the apron who all ought to have a solid work ethic.

        • Comes down to the manufacturing environment and culture. The correct methods existed and were trained, but over time were not followed. So it’s a dual failure, as also not found during inspection.

          Part of the inspection problem may have been reliance on instrumented tools. The idea is good, if the worker can measure quality at the moment of work, that avoids rework. But the tool data have to capture quality, and also it shifts part of the inspection responsibility to the worker. That opens the door to hidden quality issues.

          So now they are disassembling tails and reassembling with the proper shims in place and correct methods. At least the aircraft will be repaired before delivery. I’m sure they are inspecting for other quality issues as well. What they learn will be transferred to the production line.

          The next question is what the FAA finds, and the extent of inspections that will be required in the existing fleet, then the degree of remedial actions required. They aren’t safety of flight issues, but still Boeing will be responsible for repair

          • “”So now they are disassembling tails and reassembling with the proper shims in place””

            And that is only one issue, then there are the horizontal and vertical stab issues. There must be other issues which are not reported yet if they never did QC for years.

            Seems that 787 in the future can’t be as cheap as in the past because if they do QC now production will slow down.
            Then the A330 will get the orders it deserves.
            Airlines which will order 787 will be in the spotlight and their brand will get damaged.

          • No, my statement encompasses all the issues, which are in the tail/aft section. Addressing these issues in the production line will not slow production, which is running below capacity, nor will it raise costs. There is no evidence for those assertions.

            More inventions, like your attack on Dickson’s character, which was equally unfounded, and hypocritical in the extreme. If you can fly the MAX, we’d like to see that. If you can conduct yourself with the character that Dickson has, we’d like to see that as well.

            When you attack me, Leon, when you engage in name-calling of others, that’s fine, you break the rules here so often it barely registers anymore. But to go after Dickson’s character as you do, is wrong. If you disagree with his positions and wish to provide your reasoning and evidence, you’re welcome to do that. But you cannot say he lacks class when his conduct has been extremely professional in all respects.

            There’s a difference between having an opposing opinion or view, and character assassination. One is allowed here, the other is not.

          • Rob:

            What you describe is a failed approach (very MCAS 1.0 like)

            Clearly they did not check out the inspection and confirmation process while running a parallel quality control program.

            Oh, this saves time and money, use it, we don’t care if you proved it works or not (well they do now)

            But Boeing has repeatedly failed, the ODA is a failure, MAX was a failure and getting rid of inspectors is a failure.

            The rational is our process is so good we don’t need them.

            That has proven wrong.

            Assuming Boeing has learned anything or will learn anything is purely speculative fiction from out in fantasy land.

            They will clearly fix the tail issues, but only time will tell us if they actually learned anything.

            The facts of the failures argue no.

            But facts are so annoying, lets just assume.

  8. Scott didn’t mention this, but reporting is that Calhoun said Boeing has had a team in China for two months working with CAAC on MAX recertification. So that is further evidence of progress on that front.

    It’s consistent with other evidence that airlines are updating their MAX’s, and MAX simulators are on order by companies providing pilot training in China.

    As with other regulators, CAAC has no timetable but action is not expected until a few months after the ET302 final report.

  9. Boeing has people in a hotel close to the CAAC. If that is prove of anything, please stay out of e.g. certification.

    • Its an interactive process, as they work through the items they expect answers from Boeing. Its not like a student exam.

    • Keesje, the reporting is truthful, and it also makes perfect logical sense. Why wouldn’t Boeing be working with CAAC, as with all other regulators?

      I know that this goes against what some people here want to see happen But recertification in China will happen at some point, in spite of the denials.

      • Of course Boeing is working with authorities. Their survival in commercial aviation depends on it. They have been for 2 years. But to see it as evidence of progress is based on nothing but hope from your side.

        • More than hope. I think. The facts given are true and do represent things moving forward. Also match CAAC statements of what they require for recertification. But time will tell.

          • I believe Rob has it right that Boeing is working with CAC and that the MAX will be certified again by them.

            If China had 400-500 C919 ready to go, different story could ensure (that is speculative by the way)

            At least for now China needs the MAX and the A320.

            It will always need a significant number of Single Aisle that can fly anywhere. At the very least China wants to play Boeing and Airbus off against each other.

  10. OK, so it looks as if the 777X is toast: putting it on a back burner like this is probably just a way of letting it die passively. The -8 was already no longer an item, and the -9 was increasingly doubtful, so no real surprises here.
    Next question: what will Emirates order instead? Extra 787s? Or (partially) switch to the A350-1000?
    Lufthansa, BA, SIA, Qatar (and Cathay, if it survives) can just order extra A350s.

    • The 777x customers have continued to express their support for the program, but needed to defer their orders due to the downturn. Boeing is cooperating with that schedule change since they are not yet in production. It now depends on when demand for WB will pick up again.

      Also in the meantime, some 777’s will be retired and those slots will be candidates for the 777x. Analysts have estimated the change in the order book to be 1/4 to 1/3. But the 777x will still be a viable program going forward.

      • Rob:

        Back to speculation.

        Equally valid is they find the flexibility of a 787/A330NEO/A350 is better overall and the 777X stays deferred.

        Boeing gave up the 777-300 slot and that was clearly a sweet spot.

        The A350-1000 is the inheritor of that.

        Cathay is in huge trouble, others as well. 777X could just as well be very small production.

        It will be 5 years before we start to get a good picture.

        • TW, the airlines that have orders for the 777X are on record as expressing their support of the program, and intention to take delivery at some point. That could always change in the future, but those are the facts as we know them today. So not speculation.

    • Bryce,

      I guess Emirates will need to use the Pre Delivery Payments somehow, so they will defer 777X orders to 787. They might have the chance to cancel some 777X for free because Boeing might not be able to deliver on time.
      Since Tim Clark asked about new software on the 777X, I think they don’t really want the 777X anymore.
      They deferred 35 777X to some 787 before. This could have been the 35 777-8, which looks like a mistake now because they might have canceled it for free.

      • Leon, I haven’t seen the terms of the sales contracts but, if delivery is delayed by years — for whatever reason — then the aggrieved party probably has a mechanism to cancel without penalty and with a refund of any prepayments.

        As regards the 787: I doubt Emirates even wants that plane type…I suspect they only took it because there was no other viable Boeing option available, and they had to stick with Boeing (at the time) to avoid cancellation fees. The A350 is much more in line with higher-volume carriage, and with the luxury image that they like to project. An acquaintance of mine booked Etihad from Europe to Australia last year because he wanted a quality experience: he was very unpleasantly surprised to be cramped against the wall of a 787 for 14 hours between Dubai and Sydney…didn’t sleep a wink. He swore “never again”.

        • Qatar is flying all their 787’s and A350’s, as both meet their present needs. Their support of the 787 is unequivocal and continuing. As for the 777x as well.

  11. Since this article is about 787 quality issues, I put it here.
    Bjorn praised in his subscription article how fuel efficient the 787-9 is and compared it with the 777-200ER.
    I don’t have the subscription, so I checked it myself and came to completely different results.
    The 787-9 is not the successor of the 777-200ER, the successor will be the 777-8. But if comparing cabin size, the 787-10 is closer to the 777-200ER than the 787-9. I will compare all three.

    The 787-10 can carry much less payload, so three 787-10 can be compared with two 777-200ER. Then the three 787-10 can carry 2% more payload but need 17% more fuel than the two 777-200ER.
    Five 787-9 can be compared with four 777-200ER, then the five 787-9 can carry 5% more payload and the four 777-200ER need 2% more fuel. But considering that the additional 787-9 needs four more pilots for 6500nm range it doesn’t look better 🙂

    When comparing payload and range (fuel-efficiency) the Dreamliner can’t beat the old 777-200ER. Boeing must know this, maybe that’s a reason why we don’t see new Boeing planes.
    If I would compare the A359 with the 777-200ER, which btw are very comparable in cabin size, I could show how fuel-efficient a new plane could be.


    • No response.
      I know it’s hard to swallow and painful to know.

      A re-engined 777-200ER would have been so much better than the 787 for airlines and much cheaper for Boeing.
      Airbus just did this with the A330neo.

  12. Waiting for a vaccine is a fool’s game.

    It has to be ‘safe enough’.

    Certainly many resources are into developing and testing, but I say timing is not predictable.

    And quality – recall the US’ CDC botched test kits, while blocking private development. In contrast, an entrepreneur in South Korea switched his company’s people into developing then making kits, which the government there approved in a week of its own testing. Test kits are low risk to the individual’s health, vaccines have significant risk. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615323/why-the-cdc-botched-its-coronavirus-testing/

    A proper approach to handling SARS-CoV-2 is explained by:
    – The Great Barrington Declaration, by doctors (https://gbdeclaration.org/ )

    I illuminate the huge collateral damage from obsessive shotgun measures in http://www.moralindividualism.conm/covextra.doc.

    Observe that THE risk is to people in poor health: https://www.timescolonist.com/long-term-care-cases-made-up-80-per-cent-of-canada-s-covid-19-deaths-in-first-wave-1.24228755
    Yet gummints failed badly, with a few exceptions like Florida which paid attention to Italian experience so moved quickly and assertively in care residences. (FL started with facilities that were less than great in their last yearly assessment. Smart government in FL, yet panickers trashed FL in media.)

    There’s an emotionalism not seen in past pandemics, that is scary for aviation which is under attack by eco-activists and other Marxists whose method of knowledge is emotions, never mind facts of history and reality.

  13. In contrast to previously reassuring work by Bjorn on Covid inflight infections, here is a paper showing inflight infections, even tho the plane was only slightly filled and the passengers wore masks. Some infections could have occurred in the airport, some infections could only have occurred in flight.

    “In-flight transmission was the only common exposure for four other cases (Flight Groups 3 and 4) with date of onset within four days of the flight in all but the possible tertiary case. This case from Group 3 developed symptoms nine days after the flight and so may have acquired the infection in-flight or possibly after the flight through transmission within the household.”


    It’s a brilliantly infective disease…..

    • “It’s a brilliantly infective disease…..”

      It certainly is!
      And then, to make matters worse:
      – At least 40% of cases are asymptomatic…with recent research indicating that the figure may be as high as 75%.
      – At least 20% of PCR tests yield a false negative…rising as high as 67% if the test is taken within 48 hours of symptom onset.

      No wonder that it’s set to become endemic.

    • What we all don’t want to hear/know. Let’s try discredit, neutralize the source..

    • This paper was presented and answered in a previous thread. The source of the infection was not determined, nor was the method of transmission.

      It shows that 5 of the 13 infected passengers have the same genetic strain, pointing to a common source. But also 4 of the infected sat together and were isolated from other passengers, with no interaction. The authors found that “interesting”. The inference is that being on the same flight alone was enough for infection. But that is not shown, and is contrary to all the statistical evidence we have, plus the scientific testing that has been done.

      The authors did not conclude that flying was an excessive risk, only that precautions need to be observed and contact tracing is needed when a cluster occurs after a flight. I would agree with both. I think it shows that the risk is not zero, but is still fairly low.

      On the same day this study appeared, another Harvard study concluded flying is safe when precautions are in place. That follows other research with similar findings.

      • The study sponsored by IATA & Boeing or the one by Boeing & DoD which suggested extreme low probability of infection based on confirmed infections, but without bothering testing or even sampling 99.9% of the passengers they took as reference? Stakes are high, perception management is all over us.

        • Keejse, this attacks the sponsors of the study and their motivations. It’s a way to disregard or discredit the results rather than answering with evidence or data. None of these studies are perfect, but they provide a scientific basis for understanding the statistical evidence that the risk is low.

          For you or others who don’t accept that evidence, you don’t have to fly. That is your choice. But others can/will/should make their own choice, and to do that they will look at the available evidence. These studies provide that, as do the few that found infection as well.

  14. No it didn’t’ show that it was an “excessive risk”. OTOH, one way or another, 59 people got the disease from the flight, whether in the air or on the ground. And reasonable measures were taken. Is it flying safer than sitting in a loud bar for 3 hours? Probably so.

    Safe enough for someone with risk factors? Maybe not. Especially when the quality of your “co-passengers” and their compliance is so iffy.

    • 59 people got the infection from infected persons on the flight. The after-spread resulted from lack of precautions, so the flight can only account for 13 or less, since we don’t know who was infected before the flight. We also don’t know how or why or where the transmission occurred. The assumption is that it occurred on the flight.

      I’m willing to accept that perhaps it did. I believe the risk is very low, but not zero. If you cross the street, the risk is greater than zero that you won’t survive.

      But even if it did, it would be an outlier from the millions of people that have flown without transmission. The overwhelming evidence is that the risk is low.

      Sometimes people look for an outlier, and then claim the existence of the outlier is the tip of an iceberg of unseen results, and all the other data is wrong. But that’s not appropriate science.

      In science, we don’t follow outliers if they don’t match the majority of the data. If the outliers multiply and skew the majority, then we follow them instead. There is no sign of that happening here. I’d be the first to switch my position if I saw that occur.

      If a person is at high risk of infection (compromised immune system, etc), then I agree they should reconsider flying. The airlines would give the same advice.

      Also the risk is only low with precautions in place. The authors said that, Bjorn has said that, I have said that, every source I have seen has said that. So fliers need to be cognizant of that, for their own behavior but also that of others around them.

      • Agree with Rob in that its one to keep an eye on, but we have not seen more than that case.

        It may be unique and not a standard to look at.

        Not to be ignored but for all the other flights going on and no issues have to be part of the data set for comparison.

        One data point is meaningless, it does not mean you don’t pay attention but you keep it in perspective.

        The Indonesian MAX crash is the opposite. There was more than enough questions surrounding that crash that the MAX should have been pulled and the assumptions gone through.

        But that had a lot of supporting data to indicate it was not a one off.

  15. Nobody mentions the 787 deferred costs any more
    this is a 18 000 000 000$ issue
    it has been mentioned every quarter these last years
    and now, not a word!
    and this is a very ugly issue!
    at 6 / month, the 787 costs are far higher than at 12/month
    It is obvious that there is no way the recover this mountain of deferred costs
    a serious auditor should depreciate a large part of these 18bn…

  16. The 787 development costs will be written off, if they are not recovered through sales, as is standard practice. All businesses do this.

    Airbus took a loss on the A380. Airlines have also taken substantial losses on the A380. At least airlines haven’t taken a loss on the 787. Since the costs were due to development, the damage was confined to Boeing.

  17. Comments are closed.

    Too many of you continue to get personal, in violation of reader comment rules.