Pontifications: EU tariffs on Boeing airplanes in effect; ~60 at risk

Nov. 16, 2020, © Leeham News: The European Union implemented tariffs Nov. 9 on Boeing and other US products in retaliation for the Trump Administration tariffs on Airbus and EU products.

By Scott Hamilton

This is the latest in the 16-year trade battle between the US and Europe over subsidies and tax breaks found to be illegal under World Trade Organization rules.

The US was authorized last year to impose tariffs on Airbus and other EU products. The Trump Administration initially imposed a 10% tariff on imported Airbus aircraft. A320/321s assembled at Airbus’ Mobile (AL) plant were exempt, even though major components were imported.

Trump increased the tariffs to 15% in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted worldwide. As a result, few Airbus airplanes were delivered into the US since then.

15% tariff

The EU imposed a 15% tariff on Boeing aircraft that will be imported into the EU. With recertification by the US Federal Aviation Administration of the 737 MAX coming as soon as this week, theoretically some 737s could be delivered this year, subject to tariffs. However, Europe’s EASA, the regulator, also must recertify the airplane. It previously said this could happen this month, but a definitive date hasn’t been announced.

According to data seen by LNA, there are more than 50 MAXes scheduled for delivery next year to EU-member carriers and lessors. The largest number, 30, is to Ireland. This is home to Ryanair and many leasing companies.

Now that the United Kingdom exited the EU, only five 787s are scheduled for delivery into the EU next year.

How many of these planes will be delivered next year may be a matter of conjecture. The COVID-10 pandemic is a wild card. A new, devastating waves of infections is underway in Europe. Deaths also are spiking.

Seasonality works against Boeing in normal times. It’s the slow winter season.

Boeing said on the 3Q earnings call it expects to deliver half the ~450 stored MAXes next year and the remainder the following year, depending on remarketing canceled airplanes. Production of new aircraft is at a low rate (LNA understands it is about 7/mo).

Net cash gain

One might ask why any customer would take delivery under the present circumstances.

Because it’s possible to raise cash if they do. If the airlines finance the airplanes, virtually a certainty in this environment, they could recover their pre-delivery payments as part of the financing. If the airplane is sold and leased back, there is a possibility the proceeds might exceed the price paid to Boeing, for a gain. This isn’t the slam-dunk it used to be in a healthy market. But American Airlines, for one, is banking on a net cash gain.


128 Comments on “Pontifications: EU tariffs on Boeing airplanes in effect; ~60 at risk

  1. Let’s hope the upcoming new administration and the EU sort it out quickly. This has gone too far and neither side wins (loss on both sides)

    • Yes, time to bury the hatchet. After 16 years, the result is an equal tariff on both sides, and the only progress has been both sides voluntarily giving up the objected subsidies. That should be enough to reach agreement moving forward.

    • Few people will care.

      They talk a lot, but its all spewing and no action.

  2. Scott, are these tariffs related to the List Price of the aircrafts, or discounted Prices, and do these tariff’ affect Airbus, as well, for having their Production/Assembly plant based in Alabama?
    Boeing, additionally has the B737 MAX drama to deal with, besides a the future labour moves with in Renton moving their B737 Max production/assembly to the Carolina plant, and not to mention the continuous or cancellations, and new orders at a standstill.

    • Tariffs are based on invoices not on list prices and are payable on delivery.
      They are applied to whatever good is specified. When only complete planes are subjected to tariffs, wings, fuselages, engines or any other component remains free.

    • @Norm: As with any government action, the answer isn’t necessarily simple.

      The tariff is on the contract price, not the list price. However, in the case of US tariffs applied to Airbus, Mobile-assembled A320/321 are exempt (Alabama elected officials lobbied Trump for exemption, and AL has been the state where Trump had the highest approval ratings in the country). However, the US left open the possibility that imported fuselages, wings, etc., could be tariffed at some point.

      But tariffs aren’t applied to US content. A320 family has, by value, a large amount of US content (the biggest chunk is the GTF engines by P&W). This is exempt. This article from early this year explains: https://leehamnews.com/2020/03/04/us-imposed-22m-in-airbus-tariffs-in-2019/

        • As I understand it, the LEAP A320 engines come from Safran part of CFM. GE supplies the LEAP on the MAX.

          So its a coin flip as to engines.

          • That too is just another ‘final’ assembly line. Some parts will have duplicate sources, which could be anywhere, others not.
            The airbus wings come from UK, which is out of EU now, but some wing sub assemblies are made elsewhere.
            Then there is the cabin interiors!
            Working it all out must be like the tailors who create technicolour dreamcoats

          • The A320 engine is a bit different than the 737 engine.

            Safran of course is vastly closer to Toulouse than is Connecticut.

            The agreement in the CFM world is that Safran supplies Airbus engine and GE Boeing.

            Parts and pieces may get mixed but assembly is in respective US or Europe.

            GE probably has the better part (or had) with no second engine on the 737 while Safran splits with PW the A320NEO.

            But with the MAX debacle Safran is ahead right now. It will be years before GE catches up (though they have 1000 or so already built sitting on various ramps.

  3. The Ryanair ones are not necessarily for ‘Ireland’, Ryanair is in the process of moving a lot of aircraft to the Malta and Poland registers

  4. If the airlines finance the airplanes, virtually a certainty in this environment, they could recover their pre-delivery payments as part of the financing.

    If airlines also cancel their 737 Max order, they will receive their full deposits returned (after going to court, of course, because…Boeing) and not have to have unused assets sitting around which require maintenance.

    20 months, that aircraft has been grounded.

    • Leasing companies will soon be at a stretch, as it becomes ever more difficult to place the planes they have on order anywhere. Taking planes from healthy airlines and lease them back may still be profitable, but even the largest and most powerful airlines face growing problems with mid-term (3 years) profitability and liquidity. That is why I expect a lot more cancellations for the MAX to come in, as soon as Boeing “threatens” delivery.
      (My speculations are based on 2021 still being hampered a lot by Coved-19 and a relatively slow recovery over 3-4 years, which again will be hampered by growing concerns over climate change.)

  5. The USA can imposed tariffs up to 7.5 billion dollars while the EU can only impose up to 4 billion. The advantage is still with the US.

    • I think the US is hurting badly and there is no advantage involved, just sadness.

      Its not a horse race, its peoples lives and businesses and both economies as well as good jobs on both sides.

    • This is a bit comic. It appears that most people don’t seem to understand that tariffs are paid by the receiver/customer, not the supplier/exporter. So it is fundamentally a tax.
      The Trump government used them to make a show of “protecting” American companies, while in reality they tried to compensate for tax reductions. What tariffs do is they damage and disrupt the economy in the countries where they are applied. When you really want a booming economy you avoid all tariffs and tax property/wealth. But that doesn’t sit well with rich donors, so it’s not done in countries who pretend to be true democracies.
      You will find that the EU is not really rushing to collect those 4 billion in tariffs they are entitled to. All they will do is try to negotiate with a more sensible new US government to scrap them.

      • Yes, the EU is ready to negotiate now, hopefully the US will be too. No longer any advantage to the WTO route if both sides have given up their subsidies.

        • Gundolf:

          Your take is an unrestrained capitalist one. You deliberately falsify what a tariff is and how they work.

          Tariffs serve a different purpose , be it sane or insane (in the current case there is zero strategy and all a BS spin)

          Its not a simple, its not a tax.

          They can be used to stop dumping (Harley vs Japan back in the 80s) which was happening.

          They can be used to protect a valued industry or a strategic one (think PPE for Covd)

          They can be used to protect a strategic interesting such as ship building capacity (do we want to depend on China for ships?)

          Back in the day we paid the same price for Korean Sinkers and US made sinkers. I curse Korean sinkers. Soft and bend. Who benefited from the cheap ones? It sure was not the poor slob on the hammer who had the damned things bend (US did not)

          Once a trade system is in place, Tarrifs can be disruptive not because of their cost but retaliation.

          China has lied, stolen, cheated in all their trade.

          Frankly there should be tariffs on all imported good to reflect what it costs to US workers as we adhere to vastly higher work (SS, Medicare, Unemployment) as well as environmental regulations.

          Like any tool, Tariffs can be mis-used as can words that call them a tax.

    • @Daveo

      On top of the $4 billion, EU sources have said the EU could also use an additional $4 billion-plus of dormant tariffs awarded in an earlier case, giving it firepower similar to that of the U.S. Trade Representative.

      An obscure and largely forgotten European win in a previous illegal subsidies case against Boeing and the United States before the World TradeOrganization (WTO) opens the door for immediate retaliation against Boeing if the Trump Administration levies tariffs against Airbus


  6. Well it doesn’t seem to effect Boeing’s stock today.

    That being said, other aerospace stocks such as Airbus and Spirit are up as well.

    • Boeing is a huge defense operation as well.

      All that money they wasted on stock buy back though.

      • Stock buy backs are not money “wasted”. They are money returned to investors rather than money left in the company for future product development. Many an investor may rather have a dollar now than two (or a half one) in the future and that is a legitimate, though somewhat American, perspective. Actually encouraged by US tax law.


        • @jbeeko:

          Maybe not a “waste” however that money could’ve been used for better purposes – such as developing new planes and paying down debt.

        • The primary reason for stock re-purchases Is done for the benefit of the executive, and the board of directors as they are usually the company’s largest shareholders as they are compensated massively in shares.

          So stock re-purchasing is fundamentally a direct conflict of interest as there is otherwise no good reason for doing it except in rare circumstances and this did not warrant that. It used to be illegal.

          If you really want to reward shareholders then pay a dividend or something else.

          • @Steve H

            Exactly right

            There is the misunderstanding that corporations are owned by the shareholders, as the directors have become as well, therefore the justification for the pay outs


            “”Paying too much attention to what shareholders say they want may actually make things worse for them. There’s a growing body of evidence (for example, Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s “How Great Companies Think Differently,” HBR November 2011) that the companies that are most successful at maximizing shareholder value over time are those that aim toward goals other than maximizing shareholder value. Employees and customers often know more about and have more of a long-term commitment to a company than shareholders do. Tradition, ethics, and professional standards often do more to constrain behavior than incentives do. The argument here isn’t that managers and boards always know best. It’s simply that widely dispersed short-term shareholders are unlikely to know better—and a governance system that relies on them to keep corporations on the straight and narrow is doomed to fail.””


            “”Third, corporate directors are not required to maximize shareholder value. As the U.S. Supreme Court recently stated, “modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so.” ( BURWELL v. HOBBY LOBBY STORES, INC. ) In nearly all legal jurisdictions, disinterested and informed directors have the discretion to act in what they believe to be the interest of the business corporate entity, even if this differs from maximizing profits for present shareholders. Usually maximizing shareholder value is not a legal obligation, but the product of the pressure that activist shareholders, stock-based compensation schemes and financial markets impose on corporate directors.
            The Shareholder Value Myth , Eur. Fin. Rev. Lynn Stout (April 30, 2013)
            The Ideology of Shareholder Value Maxim (Watch), Evonomics””

          • Steve and Gerrard, that’s a nice theory, but Boeing insiders hold 0.12% of the total shares. So far and away, the beneficiaries of the stock buybacks were the market shareholders.


            People within the company may have positions within the institutions that hold the stocks, in addition to through the company. But the notion that was done out of some insider conspiracy is beyond crazy.

        • jbeeko:

          Right, the moon is made out of green cheese.

          Have you heard of a thing called a dividend?

          Or have you heard of a thing called using Shares to pay the management?

          Have you heard of corruption?

          That is why we have share buy backs.

          • Yes and Boeing paid dividends as well. There are differing tax implications, basically dividends trigger a tax bill now the tax on buy-backs is deferred. Both are a way to return funds to shareholders. Using a mix of mechanisms is not uncommon.

            The bigger point is that Boing took the “return funds mantra” too far and now finds itself without the cash on hand to develop a new product.

      • @transworld:

        I’ve been incessantly stating that on seekingalpha.com as well.

        What a total waste.

        • Stockholders may not feel that way, and they own the company. So waste is a relative concept.

          There was value in those actions, and we can debate forever whether it was the best value to be had. My view is probably not, it wasn’t wrong but in hindsight from the present circumstances, they might have decided differently. Bottom line, it’s done, for better or worse, can’t be changed now.

          • “A shareholder, also referred to as a stockholder, is a person, company, or institution that owns at least one share of a company’s stock, which is known as equity. Because shareholders are essentially owners in a company, they reap the benefits of a business’ success.”


          • @Rob:

            Many great companies don’t pay large dividends, etc. however reinvest their cash back into the business.

            Boeing didn’t do that and on top of it didn’t have competitive products (i.e. to the A321NEO,etc.).

            To make matters worse, rather than working with Bombardier, they decided to file a lawsuit against them which failed. Not only failed, Airbus came in .

            IMHO, the A220 plane/platform is something Boeing will have to address in the future.

            So now they have the A220 platform/plane, A321NEO and A351XWB frame to deal with (I don’t see the B77X being as competitive).

            On top of that, they have a pandemic, mass cancellations of their B737MAX.

          • Gerrard, I own a corporation, with two other founders. We all have a third of the common stock. The articles of incorporation specifically state that those shares constitute our ownership, including our share of the wealth and worth of the corporation. That is why they are called shares. They are valid in a court of law.

            This is privately held stock. The rules for public trading are somewhat different, but the same general principles apply. That doesn’t mean you can walk in and carry off the furniture while claiming you own it. Decisions are carried out by the directors. But you do own the wealth of the company.

          • @Rob

            Read the Cornell article, and links

            What a shareholder owns and what rights that gives him and what responsibilities he owes are carefully defined in law

            He does not buy a part of the corporation, nor does he ’own’ any of it’s assets, the shareholder has certain claims and rights only

            Please read both the Cornell piece and the Harvard Business Review article to understand how and why the exclusive consideration shown, on many occasions, to the sole interests of the shareholders is not only, very often, illegal, it is also in general misplaced and unproductive

            The case of Boeing is germane : no one is suggesting that this was a conspiracy, it is stated that the Directors were fools acting as fools to the (short term) benefit perhaps of the shareholders but to the detriment of every other stakeholder and to that of the corporation itself

          • Gerrard, the rights include ownership. Presentation of the shares in court is proof of ownership. Ownership rights are restricted if the shares are distributed. That doesn’t mean there is no ownership.

          • @Rob

            Please educate your self about the legal status of a corporation – it is and was carefully designed to solve problems raised by ownership, and to use concepts such as claims contracts and obligations instead – ownership is a simple minded concept which here does not apply

            From the Financial Times

            « But shares give their holders no right of possession and no right of use. If shareholders go to the company premises, they will more likely than not be turned away. They have no more right than other customers to the services of the business they “own”. The company’s actions are not their responsibility, and corporate assets cannot be used to satisfy their debts.

            Shareholders do not have the right to manage the company in which they hold an interest, and even their right to appoint the people who do is largely theoretical. They are entitled only to such part of the income as the directors declare as dividends, and have no right to the proceeds of the sale of corporate assets — except in the event of the liquidation of the entire company, in which case they will get what is left; not much, as a rule. »

            The corporation is an entity separate from any consideration of ownership , it is this legal entity which is legally responsible for it’s actions, the shareholders are not

            In fact the key advantage of the corporation is the avoidance of personal liability and the creation of corporate liability, which is not an evasion of the issue by vesting liability back into ‘shareholder/owners’

            The share certificate is proof that the shareholder owns the share issued by the corporation, which gives them certain rights and claims only, ownership of anything else other than the share may not be proved with a share certificate

            To make it simple -The stock certificate does not indicate ‘ownership’ of the corporation but of the stock

          • Gerrard, this has become ridiculous, so I’m just going to stop. I’ll continue to believe I own my company, and you can believe I don’t. I’m fine with that.

          • @Rob

            You should believe the law, but you’ll have to take steps to find out what this is

            It may appear to be ‘simpler’ to believe what you want, but this seldom is of much use

            If you are unwilling/unable to find out what the law is, you should take instruction from institutions such as those represented by the links I have sent you

            Ignorance is no excuse in Court, to mislead from ignorance is a personal, not a public, liability

            By the way discussion is about public companies, not private : the law makes clear distinction, to confound the two is further to error

            The links refer to public companies

    • This rumor has been circulating for awhile now. The Boeing name is still officially MAX. Neither Boeing nor any airline has confirmed any change.

      It wouldn’t fool anyone anyway, people would quickly learn the new name. and the rename itself would be viewed negatively, as it is in this article. So it would be pointless. But it feeds the press with a negative story as the MAX returns to service. We can probably expect more of that in the next few days.

    • We are getting all sort of hype right now. They spew out stuff to fill the white spaces.

      Nothing new, people are cancelling for good reasons and have been doing so all along.

      Boeing management shot the company in the foot but along with that is the issue that hits both A and B and that is Covd. Airbus is getting deferrals as well.

      I would rather be Airbus of course.

      Really the issue is Boeing management put the company in a box canyon with one modern product vs Airbus with two fully modern, one good one (A320/21) and the 767 of the Airbus world (A330NEO) that does not look good but stay tuned and see what is on the other side

      • Leeham analysis did find the A330 neo almost as capable as the 787 but for quite a bit less money.
        Since when did the 767 get a new engine and FBW?
        It’s another example of not updating the product for nearly 40 yrs

    • @Bryce
      The airlines and Boeing should introduce a social credit system to relaunch air travel, with full state and federal support (ditto in EU)

      This will divert negative media attention away from the Max

      After all airlines have greater need than most in securing co operative disciplined and well behaved clients

      Social credit will be covid linked, if not prioritised, plus points for mask wearing and the rest of the usual suspects, as well of course as volunteer work in hospitals community centres, etc

      And pave a smooth way for a vaccine launch : a big component of social credit would be public display and acclaim of the first vaccine pioneers, with priority booking seating and regular upgrades : benefits for children likewise, especially in school publicity systems designed to reward good behaviour

      This would be the positive and coherent opposite of the social discredit system currently operated in the US, and allow the authorities to counter and to reign in irresponsible dissidents such as their anti vaxxers antifa etc they are so worried about, and perhaps obviate some of the need for open censorship, and the desperate recourse to idpol divide and rule

      • Well, maybe if Boeing changes “MAX” to “VAX” it might fool people into thinking that they’ll somehow be immunized while on board…after all, the plane is full of new technology, right? 😉

        On a more serious note, it won’t be particularly feasible to require proof of vaccination for anyone planning to get on a plane in the near- to mid-term, because pre-natal, pregnant and post-natal women won’t be getting vaccinated any time soon (women in those categories are explicitly excluded from the present clinical trials).

        And since the announced efficacy values of vaccine candidates are less than 100%, bubble countries will probably still be requiring pre-entry testing (and maybe even some form of quarantine) for some time to come.

        Here in the EU, there’s already some talk of only allowing entry to concerts, etc., if proof of vaccination can be shown. The first lawsuits are already being discussed…one point being that, in such a scheme, certification should be based purely on blood titer of antibodies (and/or T-cells), regardless of the mechanism by which that is obtained. In that regard, methinks that 2021 will be a year of many lawsuits 😉

        But I don’t think this article is the correct place for a discussion like this, because Scott probably regards it as being off-topic.

        • The benefit of vaccination of vulnerable populations at first, will be less severe consequences of infection in the general population, therefore greater tolerance for those infections. Increasing as vaccination spreads into the general population. This will help to lower the risk of opening things up again.

          The percentage of pregnant women in Europe and the EU is about 5% of the population. So not really a major impact if they cannot be vaccinated while pregnant. That may change with future research. Same with children, they may or may not need this vaccination, or may need it at the transition to adulthood.

        • @Bryce

          So the anti vaxxers may join forces with the anti maxxers !

          But the points you make are still valid – the way to re launch airtravel, especially international depends on a huge number of co ordinates

          This requires very high levels of administrative skill as well as determined co operation

          Are there any such initiatives being organised or already up and running, even intra EU? even….?

          I read that travel bubbles are very very few and far between, HK and Sin did’nt work out, the NZ put one in with the most socially distanced country on the planet the Cook Islands, also a dependency, a few thousand people distributed over 10,000 square miles of sea…but otherwise…

          I have seen very little press on this question, and wonder why – all airlines have accepted billions in subsidies, no one can work out any travel plans?

          As for access to concerts etc Ticketmaster in the Sates has a t&t scheme with IBM that’ll make your eyes pop –


          « « Many details of the plan, which is still in development phase, will rely on three separate components — the Ticketmaster digital ticket app, third party health information companies like CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass and testing and vaccine distribution providers like Labcorp and the CVS Minute Clinic.

          Here’s how it would work, if approved: After purchasing a ticket for a concert, fans would need to verify that they have already been vaccinated (which would provide approximately one year of COVID-19 protection) or test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The length of coverage a test would provide would be governed by regional health authorities — if attendees of a Friday night concert had to be tested 48 hours in advance, most could start the testing process the day before the event. If it was a 24-hour window, most people would likely be tested the same day of the event at a lab or a health clinic.

          Once the test was complete, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company, like CLEAR or IBM. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee’s COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event. If a fan tested positive or didn’t take a test to verify their status, they would not be granted access to the event. » »

          It’s for sure they are serious, and getting their nose into the starting gate, you can see this bug is paradise for the digital surveillance nerds

          « « To date, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any third-party companies to provide the complex technology needed to deliver real-time vaccination results, but Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich expects the demand for digital screening services — which will be needed for airline travel, employment verification and theme park entry — will attract a new wave of investors and entrepreneurs to fuel the growth of a new COVID-19 technology sector. » »

          • Wow…that sounds almost Orwellian 😉

            There are 75 million “women of childbearing age” in the USA…so, if a sizable fraction of them are not vaccinated, that’s already an unpleasant dent in the aviation market. That’s then compounded by the fact that, if (aspirant) mum can’t fly, then dad and the kids won’t be going without her. So, in essence, a lot of (if not most) young families will be excluded. Note that the link I posted above explicitly refers to the fear that continues to reign in the pharma industry since the Thalidomide disaster.

            Then there’s the problem of people with autoimmune disorders — about 20 million people in the USA alone. There are very considerable fears that mRNA vaccines may illicit a serious (acute and/or chronic) autoimmune response in (some of) these people, so I can imagine that many of them may be advised to wait for a non-mRNA alternative, of which there are several (including the present Russian and Chinese offerings). Once again, if one family member is thus excluded from flying, the rest of the family will probably stay on the ground also.

            So, where aviation is concerned, still several clouds hanging over the “silver bullet” theories.

          • @Gerrard White
            In reply to your query:
            As in the rest of the world, there are zero (known) substantive initiatives in the EU to get air travel re-started next year. Most executives are still assuming that “when the vaccine comes”, it will magically cause all problems to evaporate. They seem to have little understanding of the many complexities associated with vaccination, e.g. regarding types, distribution, issues of age-dependent and time-dependent efficacy, infection prevention vs. just illness prevention, partial exclusion of women of childbearing age, etc.
            No news regarding vaccination/immunity certificates.
            The members of the European Commission have plenty of time to fuss about whether the EU budget is “green enough”, but are less-interested in the strategies required to (start to) smoothly re-open society next year.

          • And the listing of illusory truths continues. Women of childbearing age will have access to the vaccine, unless pregnant at present, and will be able to travel. There is no evidence to the contrary.

            People with auto-immune disorders are again around 5% of the population. They are routinely vaccinated. The rate of adverse reactions is higher but still generally not serious. In some cases the risk of an adverse reaction may outweigh the risk of contracting the disease. With COVID, the risk of contraction is likely higher.

            Both would be individual decisions according to doctor’s advice, and not reasons to doubt the efficacy or benefit of a vaccine to the general population.

          • @Bryce

            Thank you for your information in the three posts

            What do I think ? I am half amazed that the EU, as the rest of the world, has not had teams working on various solutions for 8 months now, and has not at least tentative proposals to make

            On the other half I am sure that everyone, the nerd class, Wall Street and that strain of EU administration which is determined to build a major power block, is in fact thinking like Ticketmaster

            That is –somewhere out there there is a overall solution of UI, T&T, digital cash, social credit, maybe even track and trace built directly into the vaccine shot, automatic debits or fines for missing re-shot or mandatory check ups (no more antivaxxers)

            That this overall solution is going to have to wait until the dust settles a little, but meanwhile the chaos serves to soften up the populations for a very climate change friendly more modest lifestyle especially where airtravel is concerned, while a new health passport goes a long way to stem if not stop illegal immigration and is the perfect justification of closed borders

            Meanwhile render the OEMs and the airlines dependent on gvmt/PE hand outs so that their instrumentalisation is guaranteed

            In other words back to the future


            « « “If you want to resolve climate change and we need to redesign [aviation], then we should start at the top, where a few ‘super emitters’ contribute massively to global warming,” said Stefan Gössling at Linnaeus University in Sweden, who led the new study.
            “The rich have had far too much freedom to design the planet according to their wishes. We should see the crisis as an opportunity to slim the air transport system.” » »


            This comment seems like common sense : add to this : Attention NZ – constant fresh outbreaks planned worldwide, stay at home, lock all doors

            « « Because a pandemic can be overcome only when it is overcome everywhere, embracing an every-country-for-itself approach would seem irrational. And yet, as the unseemly competition for vaccine doses indicates, that is exactly what many countries have done. Unless we change course, global health apartheid will become increasingly entrenched and drive inequality to new heights. And the pandemic will still be with us. We will have merely added new problems to the one we didn’t solve. » »

          • Gerrard White:

            Wow, Tolstoy War and Peace. Well done.

            How about we vaccinate the population and then not worry about it?

            By the time you build your tech Covd vaxed empire I will be dead and gone – or I can get vaccinated and resume my life? Nah. I mean really, it just makes too much sense.

            Those with smart phones would have to find another app to play with. Ohh the Humanity.

          • Or, perhaps: “Just close your eyes and jump”.

            I read/hear more and more reference to the blanket term “anti-vaxxers”. For example, I just heard on the radio that France’s efforts to start a vaccination campaign in January will be hampered by the fact that about 30% of the French are “anti-vaxxers”. The term is being used in the same way as “fake news”, i.e. as a convenient way of dispelling anything that doesn’t suit the narrative. Anyone who questions any aspect of a vaccine is now put in the “anti-vaxxer” box…which is strange in view of the fact that science is all about questioning. Even highly intelligent points asked by experienced medical professionals are enough to get them labelled as “anti-vaxxers”.

            Maybe it’s time to introduce the concept of a “blind vaxxer”, as a counter to the “anti-vaxxer”. The “blind vaxxer” is an innocent soul who is prone to walk off cliffs and shoot himself in the foot, an ideal candidate for use as cannon fodder, who will gullibly do what he’s told and will then lament his lot when things backfire. The “blind vaxxer” is what pharma nerds refer to ex post facto as “an unforeseen consequence” or “an unfortunate development, not encountered in our clinical trials”. A severely eroded quality of life due to a mishap will be labeled merely as a statistic.

            What do you think? It’s an important topic, that may be of critical significance to re-starting aviation and other societal activities.

          • Bryce, this is an amusing attempt at role reversal. The blind-vaxers are mindlessly following the science, while the anti-vaxxers are independent thinkers.

            Nice try, but the opposite is true. The science group follows evidence and fact, while the others follow belief and opinion, in opposition to the science.

            The consensus of the medical community is crystal clear, no matter how many outliers you bring forward. The truth is that vaccines have always been a huge benefit, and will likely turn out to be this time as well. Denying that won’t change the truth or the outcome.

          • Make an informed decision as best you can?

            Nahh, that is so ?????????????????

          • @ Gerrard White
            I posted below on a similir United initiative that has already started.
            It seems that the airline execs in this new initiative *have* heard of a false negative, unlike the simple souls at United.
            Sounds like a start…but should be augmented by serological tests for IgG and/or T-cell titer.
            I doubt it will be enough to satisfy the paranoid authorities in bubble countrirs like NZ, Aus, China and Taiwan…though it may be enough for Singapore (South Australia has gone into (a short) lockdown again).

          • @Bryce

            Thanks for this – it does not look if the ‘authorities’ will pass this one

            The fact that they are currently clue less forbids them, but furthermore they will wish to take the benefit from any such measures once initiated

            The fact that those efficient Asian countries have not managed to put in a solution is indication of how difficult a problem this is

            Looking for an easy way out is not going to work –

            Even the WHO have started a campaign of information to try and educate concerning the vaccine, although I suppose that this does not qualify the WHO as antivaxxer, even if they are vilified as being paid by China hacks (by some notably in America)

  7. Another Covd vaccine test at 94.5% effective tentatively

    Easier distribution as not nearly as temp sensitive.

  8. Some read re-certification tomorrow,
    some read last chance to cancel orders and get the down payments back.

  9. Well, well, look at what’s on FG:
    “All Boeing 737 Max will be inspected for foreign object debris (FOD) prior to returning to revenue service, according to Boeing.”

    What will this entail? A cursory inspection with a flashlight to see if there’s a spanner sitting in an engine? Or a thorough combing behind panels and in seldom-accessed bays to look for metal shavings?


      • And how do they get shavings out of intricately-shaped fuel tanks?
        By partially disassembling the wings? And then using a powerful vacuum cleaner?

        Back in Spring last year, a Boeing whistleblower also indicated that there might be an FOD issue in the avionics.

      • Bryce:

        I love it, spanner sitting in the engine !! (there was in fact a WRENCH in the 787 rear electrical distribution box that sacrificed itself to ensure they knew the isolation system did not work right!)

        Probably have to find the dead rats and kick out the squirrels.

        Then PITA gets into it

    • I think part of it are the additives used in the fuel, that’s why some aditives aren’t allowed anymore. Additives are used to prevent bacteria grow but won’t help during storing.

    • As I am eligible for some of the earlier vaccinations, if it proves out to my satisfaction (Dr Fauchi takes it!) then I will get it.

      Probably 6 times in my life I lived or died by a whisker. I will take the odds.

      We get down to 30% and we are at or close to herd immunity.

  10. A new study out on COVID immunity today. Not yet peer reviewed but just published online.


    The finding was that although antibodies decline after recovery, the T-cell response remains. There is now a body of work building to support this result, and it’s consistent with observation in the general population.

    This bodes well for the vaccines that have proven effective in generating both antibody and T-cell responses.

    • Consistent with what Ugur Sahin said in his BBC interview w.r.t. vaccine-induced immune response: a vaccine will predominantly be an instrument to prevent illness, with only a minor role in preventing infection. Just like the infection-induced immune response described in the NYT.
      Unfortunately for this theory, several second-time infections produce more severe symptoms than first-time infections, an effect that is posited to be due to ADE. Of course, the existence of ADE is vehemently denied by blind vaxxers.

      • No, these are once again falsehoods, Bryce. Repetition is not a substitute for truth.

        I posted Sahin’s direct words from multiple interviews, he said he expects the vaccine will substantially reduce infection. Even without his view, by simple reasoning, an increase in immunity translates to a lower infection rate, since people need to be infectious in order to infect others.

        Right now there are not enough second time infections to be meaningful (25 worldwide by your post), and the severity results would reflect the fact that their immune systems were compromised in some manner. They either did not fully recover or failed to achieve the immunity that the many millions of others in the world have attained.

        Lastly this handful of reinfections cannot be ascribed to ADE for a vaccine that has not been administered yet. There is no evidence as of yet for an ADE reaction to COVID, only speculation from a few outliers. So you are three misrepresentations for three here, Bryce.

        Lastly this article does not discuss transmission at all, only that immunity may be longer-lasting than previously thought. It builds upon previous work showing similar results with similar causes. But as above, a reduction in transmission rate from immunity can be inferred by simple math.

  11. I saw Scott’s Tweet about the Chron article above, so looked into it a bit.

    With regard to the infamous NASA call from Loverro to Boeing, the unsourced allegation is that Loverro informed Jim Chilton that Boeing would be rejected from the lunar lander program, out of fear that Boeing would file a protest and delay the 2024 landing. Boeing then responded by filing a revised proposal, which triggered the investigation and Loverro’s forced resignation. I’ll reserve judgement but it seems like more went on there. We can’t know as the investigation is underway and no one is commenting.

    On the POGO report about $1.5B in Boeing misconduct, I did an analysis and found that included all public and private settlements that are known over the last 25 years, since around the time of the McD merger. So I broke them down and ranked them by type:

    Sears/Druyun Hiring Scandal ..…………. $615M ( 3)
    Inherited from McD Merger ……………… $204M ( 3)
    Labor Actions against Boeing ……………. $151M ( 9)
    Penalties for Defense Programs …………. $138M (14)
    Penalties for Pollution & Cleanup ………. $135M ( 8)
    Investor and Securities Claims …………… $ 93M ( 1)
    Private Commercial Lawsuits .……………. $ 56M ( 4)
    Penalties for Commercial Program ……… $ 53M (10)
    Export & Arms Violations …………………… $ 48M ( 7)

    I was curious so thought I would share. The two largest (and over half the total) are related to the hiring scandal and McD merger (A-12 program). There are another 20 cases pending or unknown. Among those are 6 related to the MAX grounding. So the total is sure to grow.

  12. An article on CNN on United’s attempt to provide “CoViD-free” trsnsatlantic flights.
    No allowances made for the fact that every CoViD test to date produces high percentages of false negatives (at least 15%). Just look at Elon Musk’s recent testing debacle, for example.
    One aspiring passenger tested positive, after being through the airport. He was denied boarding, and put into isolation.

    • @Bryce

      Check out Pfizer market cap, back lower than in October or March – the pump and dump worked for the CEO but not for the shareholders

      In principle the discovery of such an effective vaccine should give the market confidence that the company will receive certification and successfully be able to ‘distribute’ a product which will boost revenues and margins and thus be considered a good stock to buy

      Why is the market not buying Pfizer PR ?

      • Well, after the initial “euphoria”, I’d imagine that it wasn’t long before investment managers started to hear the chatter on the wires about the severe low temperature storage/distribution challenges
        Then Moderna came with it’s announcement…and without the low-temperature hassle.
        Moderna shares are up about 20% on the week, and 400% in the past 12 months. Pfizer shares are more-or-less flat on the week (and month, and year).

        • @Bryce

          The Pfizer ‘euphoria’ was as well devised as any vaccine – It was 100% effective for the CEO, it was a sign that Wall Street was prepared to honour their own, but 0% for the world : Wall Street needs a much cheaper champion and one that will not prove an Everest to distribute

          Perhaps Moderna – more likely one of the more traditional candidates to come on stream next year, perhaps – Moderna may also be a pump and dump op

          The circumstances of this bug panick are perfect profit opportunities for WS, and they have much to be gained from maintaining this

          My opinion ? Boeing is too

      • Well, maybe there’s also some disillusionment among investors as a result of the illness vs. infection issue. In this article from 3 weeks ago, Dr. Fauci also warns that early vaccines will not stop infection to any great degree, but will predominantly serve to mitigate post-infection illness. It’s not just Ugur Sahin who’s warning of this. Investors probably see that the initial “silver bullet” is morphing into a lead birdshot.

        This may also explain why the Dutch government wants to intensify testing in 2021: if vaccination doesn’t prevent infection to any great degree, but predominantly decreases severity of illness, then healthcare infrastructure can still be overloaded if another upsurge comes before everybody is vaccinated.

        • @Bryce

          I think investors in this general Wall Street sense are very much aware of the failings of (US especially) Pharma, of the holes in the trialing system they have been exploiting for a long time- what is politely called cherry picking the data

          And of the likelihood of severe replication problems

          Yet such is the panick confusion that it is hard for WS to resist the pump and dump, the bucks are just too easy

          And – but yet – the people seem to be very wary, as in the US as in NL and EU : great vaccine, maybe, but few will take it because they trust neither their Pharma nor their gvmt

          The nerd class open eyed in shock – the poor distrust the rich ! Who’d have known ?

          The Dutch gvmt is beginning to make sense with this widespread testing program, if this is followed by other countries who’s gvmts seem to have retained the trust and respect of their people, an alternative to the foolish miracle seekers may have been found, and trust and collaboration in the construction of social medical policy renewed

          If not you get the absurdist situation on the US, where middle class racialism demands the priority vaccination of those subsets of the population most likely to be in danger, but also most likely to be suspicious of this policy, and treat it as using once again the subset to trial a potentially dangerous drug for the sole purpose of making sure it is safe for to give the white ‘folk’

          They’ve got themselves into an impossible situation in which any and every proposal policy or action is merely divisive, another step over the brink

  13. It seems that the penny may be starting to drop as regards CoViD testing strategy: the government in The Netherlands has announced that it wants to switch on March 1 to a system of blanket testing the entire population every month. This is in line with the approach in Singapore. After all, when at least 40% of cases is asymptomatic (recent research suggests the figure may be as high as 75%), what’s the point in just testing people with symptoms?
    It should produce some interesting data…despite the high false negative rate of current tests.
    Interestingly, it shows that the Dutch government does not have high expectations as regards vaccination effects in 2021.

    • @Bryce

      NL policy is only sensible : everyone tested all the time may work for awhile, people will get reluctant, and allow time for vaccine uptake confidence to improve

      Will provide a data feast, assuming they can line up their computers and their software and t&t half as well as AMZN

      Is NL gvmt organising this testing, or are they getting someone else in?

    • @Bryce

      Last post today on this I promise

      But this is so germane to the WS Pharma pump and dump ops that I had to include the link


      “Covid-19: As lab execs sell shares worth millions, questions arise” [Medical Express]. “Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax: executives at several American laboratories developing COVID-19 vaccines have recently pocketed millions of dollars by selling shares in their companies—raising questions about the propriety of such a move in the midst of a national health crisis.

      On the very day that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced preliminary data showing its vaccine was 90 percent effective against the coronavirus, its chief executive Albert Bourla sold shares worth $5.6 million….

      Under the same rules, several Moderna officials have sold shares worth more than $100 million in recent months. That company has not placed a single product on the market since its creation in 2010, but the federal government has committed to paying it up to $2.5 billion if its vaccine proves effective…. Executives at Pfizer and Moderna were operating under a rule put in place by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2000 to allow company employees to sell shares without facing insider-trading charges….

      It allows them to set up a plan determining the trades of their shares at a price, amount or dates specified in advance, but only when they are not in possession of privileged information that could affect share prices.

      Once such a sale is planned, it cannot be modified at the last minute, even if its timing might ultimately raise questions.

      Still, this use of the rule by Pfizer and Moderna appears ‘legally questionable,’ according to Daniel Taylor, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, who has been studying the big pharma firms since the beginning of the pandemic. ‘The question is, what did the executives know at the time that they pre-scheduled the trade?’ he asked.” “”

      • I have no doubt that the SEC will soon begin to sniff around this issue.
        Certain “reality impaired” idealists think that this behavior is entirely according to the rules, but even a half-baked turkey can see that this stinks of unclean hands.
        Remember that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines…a type of vaccine that has never been tested on humans, and that has potential issues as regards adverse autoimmune reactions (denied by Blind Vaxxers). Maybe the execs can see issues down the road, and want to take the money and run while they can.

        • @Bryce

          I agree – please find a personal report from another site from a doctor about these vaccines and about the state of the Union, I know this only one man’s point of view, but it has the ring of truth

          “”I am a physician – Internal Medicine.

          I go all the way back to the AIDS pandemic when I was a young doctor filling out the death certificates of 8-10 patients daily.

          What has triggered me about these vaccines?

          First of all for the first time in my career – we are given basically glossy happy face smiley press releases from drug companies instead of cold hard facts – randomized controlled studies in journals. I have never been asked to give any new vaccine to a patient based on pharma glossies – much less something that is completely novel like these are. We have no experience whatsoever. What could possibly go wrong???? — Look at the story of Dr. Alton Ochsner, his grandkids, national TV, and the polio vaccine from 1955. Another year of angst over a pandemic – and extreme pressure for a vaccine. The grandson did not make it 8 days – the granddaughter was handicapped the rest of her life. Too long ago for you? – Look up the story of Dengivax – and the Phillipine kids that are no longer here. It was a “similar” approach to the mRNA vaccine – not exactly the same – and when quite a few of the vaccinated kids actually were exposed to the real dengue virus – they became very very ill and many died. And it appears the drug company may have had a clue this would be an issue and proceeded anyway.

          Secondly, Pfizer is known as a corporation that really plays games with the truth. (Look up NEURONTIN – Look up BEXTRA – and read – the deceit is breathtaking considering people’s lives were involved ). Moderna has never done anything of this scale before – it is like a 4th string quarterback.

          Thirdly, I have seen various reports all summer that multiple people were having at least Grade III vaccine reactions to both of these vaccines ( meaning not enough to kill you – but certainly enough to be in the ER or the hospital.) A bit of perspective from someone that has been doing this for 30 years. I have had 2 Grade III vaccine reactions in my entire career – out of probably tens of thousands of shots. And yet – on the glossy press releases we have been allowed to see – there are reports of complete safety. My point – somebody is lying. Either the reports this summer were not true – or these two companies are now playing the time-worn pharmaceutical game of disappearing side effects in your trials.

          Please commenters – how am I supposed to in good conscience even think about recommending these vaccines to my patients? It seems to me we should be having a national conversation about risks and benefits – I hear nothing but cheerleading.””

          (In the US) Cheerleaders are everywhere – realists are few- debate/discussion is impossible

          Perhaps this is one reason why the US is in a state of collapse

  14. The 20-month grounding of the 737 Max could end as soon as this week, but Boeing’s mounting costs have soared to tens of billions of dollars. That means the plane maker’s repeated safety oversights and mismanagement were not only tragic but also rank among the expensive corporate mistakes in history.

    Boeing has detailed about $20 billion in direct costs from the grounding: $8.6 billion in compensation to customers for having their planes grounded, $5 billion for unusual costs of production, and $6.3 billion for increased costs of the 737 Max program.

    The company also spent nearly $600 million for jet storage, pilot training and software updates that are not included in the company’s overall cost estimate. It also established a $100 million victim compensation fund, which is also not included in Boeing’s $20 billion in estimated costs. So the costs of the grounding released by Boeing total $20.7 billion.

    Boeing’s legal liability will almost certainly add to that cost. Published reports show that the families of the first 11 victims to settle with Boeing received at least $1.2 million each. That means the total cost is likely to top $500 million.

    Interest costs are adding up, too. Boeing borrowed billions of dollars at a roughly 5% interest rate to keep building 737 Max planes it can’t deliver. The company built 450 Max jets during the grounding, but it hasn’t delivered a single 737 Max plane in that nearly nearly two-year period.

    Boeing will not comment on the prices paid for its planes or any discounts. But the expert said it might be as much as a $20 million discount per plane, or roughly $25 billion total — more than doubling the true cost of the grounding.

    Discounting many of the 3,300 other Max orders still on the books could make Boeing’s total cost of its 737 Max debacle climb even higher, perhaps past the $68 billion price tag of Deepwater Horizon.


  15. In the continuing “one-upmanship” in the vaccine world, Pfizer has now announced that its vaccine “appears to protect 94% of adults over 65 years old”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t specify what it means by “protect” in the case of this age group, i.e. protect from infection or protect from illness.
    The generic efficacy figure has also risen to 95%, up from the 90% quoted 10 days ago…based on 8 symptomatic cases in vaccinated subjects, out of 170 cases in total.

  16. All this stuff about Pfizer and Moderna may be interesting, but it’s being beaten to death here. Can we get back to talking directly about aviation?

    • It’s your site, so I’ll unreservedly respect your wish.
      Anything I post here is with re-commencement of aviation in my mind, since that process will depend critically on vaccine performance. But I appreciate that this discussion is not prima facie aviation-related, so I’ll drop it.
      I do hope, however, that the site will continue to publish vaccine-related articles, in view of their importance to the “re-opening” process.
      Thanks for allowing us to post here.

    • I fail to understand the comments made here

      I have responded to your post to keep on subject of airtravel which I have, yet another commentor is using childish language & uniquely seems concerned to defend ‘the vaccine’ and Dr Fauci’s role

      This is resolutely off topic, and in direct contradiction to your wish to re centre comments to aviation

      It is clear that the subject of airtravel requires some discussion of overall context, but this debate about travel and context must be conducted with reason and allow for debate not such panicked expressions of fear

      This is indeed part of the stalemate : the failure to discuss and the recourse to insults of those who have different opinions appears to be an indication of a fairly common mindset and hence a major reason for the general international failure to come up with any proposals for systems ways and means to provide a consequent degree of safety which will allow re-launch of air and other international travel, and indeed in some cases domestic

      The WHO and other organisations have drawn attention to the guaranteed failure of nationalisitic or isolationalist approaches to finding solutions to the crisis, nowhere is this more evident than in airtravel, and nowhere is this more frustrated than by a national champion mindset

      It was this mindset which has dogged Boeing from the very outset of the Max crisis, the immediate reaction to blame the ‘foreign’ pilots and maintenance and to defend the plane at all cost : it took a great deal of time and pressure to dial back this attitude and impose reasonable modifications to the airplane

    • @Scott Hamilton

      These links are on topic



      Such is the unreasonable confusion about international airtravel arrangements and the lack of well organised systems of t&t, that in previously law abiding countries (as far as social medicine is concerned at least) many people are prepared to break the law in a very dangerous for themselves and for others way, reminiscent of the very poorest countries of the third world in which a flourishing trade immediately developed in many cases with the active connivance of their gvmts

      But here too gvmts and authorities are remiss in not establishing secure systems – the Zimbabwe blockchain experiment – Vaxiglobal- sounds promising, but looks not to be scalable, given blockchain’s continuing ‘outsider’ status as far as most governments are concerned, and may not be exportable to other countries

      A related but relevant topic to address would be to consider the role of aircargo in upcoming vaccine distribution, much of which will have to take place by air

      A very few hints, usually extremely optimistic, have been emitted by DHL and Fedex, but I know of no systematic and authoritative study or proposal from any organisation or government

      Vital Details such as the shipping of vials and other accessories, mainly manufactured in India as far as I know, should also be dealt with, along of course with PPE equipment in general

  17. @Scott Hamilton

    The discussion as to how to get airtravel up in capacity both domestically and especially internationally is the main concern and starting point

    The key to this issue appears to be co ordination between airlines, authorities and gvmts as to understanding the measures to be taken and how best to implement/administer such

    Very few travel ‘bubbles’ or co ordinated and international measures have been initiated worldwide, although I understand domestic airtravel in China is back up

    It would appear that the key reason for this lack of action so far is perhaps unwarranted and maybe misplaced faith in the speedy invention and worldwide distribution of a very effective vaccine which would solve the travel problem

    This faith has contributed to lack of efforts to invent a system or systems which provide an alternative to worldwide effective vaccination

    It would be more reasonable and more prudent were discussions to take place on alternatives to the vaccine ‘solution’ – however willingness to do so, and to broadcast such, would give the impression that the authorities have less faith in the vaccine solution than they have long proclaimed

    Even if such a vaccine were soon to be invented, and certified, worldwide distribution would take maybe 18 to 24 months at the very minimum, and most likely considerably longer

    This result is a stalemate

    • Sorry Scott, I have to respond to the many lies put forward here, but will keep it very brief and respond only to the most egregious example.

      In Dr Fauci’s interview, he said that the goal of EARLY vaccinations was not to stop infection, because not enough people can be vaccinated initially to block transmission in the general population.

      But as I have stated many times here, and Dr. Fauci has as well, the INITIAL benefit in vaccinating the vulnerable is the prevention of severe disease and illness in that population.

      However as the vaccines become more widely distributed, they WILL stop transmission as well, D Fauci knows this and would not want his statements co-opted or used as an argument against the vaccine, by the anti-vaxxer idiots.

      Especially by someone like Bryce who has worked tirelessly here to undermine the vaccine. D Fauci’s work and message have been tirelessly in support of providing a vaccine, including funding the Moderna vaccine though NIH. So these are two different sides of the intellectual, moral, and ethical coin.

      To Gerrard, I will only say that the concept of a “stalemate” on the vaccine is a joke, ridiculous even in the context of your many crazy statements here. The entire world is lining up orders for the vaccine. All factors point to success. Vaccination is going to happen and the world will be better for it. You are certainly welcome to bow out if you don’t accept that result.

    • @Scott Hamilton

      It is curious that discussion for some appears to strained, and that these see fit instead to use word like ‘lies’ and idiots’ in order to … to do what exactly is not clear except to reveal an inability to debate without vilification

      This is indeed part of the stalemate I referred to, which I specified to the search for a general solution for airtravel, rather than to the invention of one or more vaccines

      I have not discussed, nor denied, whether it is possible that some vaccines may do some good, I have discussed why it seems that international travel, if it is to depend on universal effective vaccination, which seems to be the case, will not be back up for some good long time

      • Indeed.
        Throwing a tantrum because the clear content of a link on a reputable news site doesn’t suit his narrative.
        And pretending to know the inner workings of the mind of Dr. Fauci: “…they WILL stop transmission as well, D Fauci knows this and would not want his statements co-opted or used as an argument against the vaccine”.
        Nothing short of delusional.

        • I stand by my statements, they are truthful and correct representations. Which are obvious in the case of Dr Fauci, given his hundreds of interviews on the subject of COVID, where he has constantly proclaimed his hopes for the vaccine, and his desire for it to be successful.

          Never doubting it, undermining it, advising against it, calling the scientists nerds, questioning the science, calling it flawed, or any of the other absolute crap that has been posted here.

          With his help and support, the vaccines should roll out successfully and be a major benefit to the world, and that will be done in spite of those who attempt to discredit it.

  18. On the clear subject of aviation in the era of CoViD, aimed at the broader public:
    CNN has run an article, with an eye to the upcoming Thanksgiving mass movement of people. It discusses ventilation in the aircraft, but also highlights the risks in the pre-boarding and post-boarding travel trajectory. It notably states:
    A “silent epidemic” of asymptomatic Covid-19 infections is behind the latest surge of cases, according to Dr. Robert Redfield, the director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    That means safety checks put into place by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — as good as they may be — aren’t likely to catch anyone who is shedding the virus without obvious symptoms such as cough or fever.
    “If you’re on a big plane now there’s a reasonable chance that someone who’s infected with Covid-19 is going to be on that plane.
    “I believe that with the pressure to get home for Thanksgiving there are going to be people who test positive (for coronavirus) who are going to jump on the airplane anyway,” Rubin said.


    • @Bryce

      What are the safety checks the TSA operate?

      Are they along the lines of the testing proposals from the BA group recently linked to?

      Presumably they are less serious than these, there is no mention of testing or certificates

      Can you clarify the situation?

      If there are no adequate safety measures in place, why not?

      Surely this is a Federal matter and so the CDC is responsible? or not?

      The article you quote, while critical, is very short on detail

      • I asked myself the same question.
        It seems that the reference may be to some form of temperature screening…although, if this is occurring at all, then it would appear to be only at a limited number of airports:

        Temperature screening is *very* limited in its ability to pick out CoViD infections, since *very many* CoViD patients do not exhibit fever as a symptom. Still, it’s quick and non-invasive, so it can’t do any harm…and it will detect the odd feverish passenger here and there. Singapore still has great faith in it…and the authorities in Singapore are not idiots. But, in the context of the article on CNN, this type of screening gives no guarantee that there will be no active CoViD patients on a flight.

        The AA/BA triple-testing approach proposed this week (you posted an article on this above) is probably the most sensible approach at this juncture, and I hope it gains traction. But that has nothing to do with the TSA.

        What the TSA *could* do is introduce breathalyzer CoViD tests:
        These are quick, cheap, easy, and provide proportionally very few false negatives. They do tend to provide the odd false positive, but such cases can be re-tested on site using a rapid antigen test.

        • @Bryce

          The criticisms in the past of the TSA in their established role as part of Homeland Security have been numerous

          Their role is primarily security in the old fashioned sense not bio security

          Why is TSA and not CDC or specifically a health authority mandated to design and install the necessary for health screening measures which may allow first domestic US travel and international airtravel to and from the USA to develope ? Ditto EU equivalent

          Why is the Federal Government (USA & EU) not taking this issue more seriously ?

          The WHO seems to lending some support to the VaxiGlobal blockchain initiative, but the WHO does not seem intensely nor with success to have lobbied gvmts to install this or any other systems

          If not the appropriate international health organisation, then who ?- and please, let’s not even mention the ICAO ‘guidelines’

          At the very least all those billions of dollars given to the airlines recently should have come with some program of restoring pax numbers – there were no conditions incentives proposals attached ? This seems negligent

          Perhaps Mr Hamilton could envisage an article about this issue, which seems to be crying out for attention

          • That’s a very interesting link.
            Confirms a suspicion that I had relating to CO2 produced by sublimation of dry ice in an aircraft hold.
            On a related note, I’ve now seen video material of the “magic boxes” being proposed by Pfizer. It seems that the thermal insulation in the boxes is nothing more than polystyrene (looks to be about 3cm thick), with a loosely fitting lid. The lid is pulled off (no clamps), some dry ice is literally chucked out of a bag onto the contents of the box, and the lid is laid back in place. And that’s expected to maintain a temperature of -80C for 5 days!

            Of further relevance:

          • @Bryce

            As per cardboard boxes I read a comment which I copied and pasted here a few days back, the comment was exactly the same as your’s, he’d seen such boxes only used for -4C max, and was of the opinion Pfizer just did not bother

            Great link mentourpilot – both about cargo capacity, cargo flights in the absence of cargo travelling on pax planes, permits, etc

            He does not link to any proposals which have thought this through – it is curious that most if not all adminstrations experts and so on are behaving like frozen headlight deer : why is nobody doing nothing, except praying for a miracle ?

            You’d have thought this was the sort of career making MBA problem, how difficult can it be to work up a proposal ?

            He’s absolutely right, amateurs talk about… but generals talk about logistics, I’m fairly sure Julius Caeser said that, and Napoleon too

            Normally speaking war analogies are tedious, distracting and irrelevant, but this one is bingo

            I have a suspicion that no one (really) cares about an interim and partial solution to specific problems such as airtravel, they are looking at a grand Credit System like China’s : digital DNA t&t, mandated, etc etc

          • @ Gerrard White
            Per your link: professional cargo haulers seem to be taking it seriously: they don’t trust (or are restricted from using) the magic box approach, and are instead using approaches such as liquid N2 cooling apparatus and/or ultra-cold transport containers provided by Va-Q-Tec in Germany. Such apparatus also offers a glimmer of hope for distribution in developing countries with poor road infrastructure, such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, etc., not to mind equatorial Africa. Not sure to what extent such apparatus can fit on bushplanes. I wonder is the WHO doing anything to sort this out, or are they just assuming that DHL will fix it?

          • Bryce, not sure what you saw, but here is an article that describes the construction of the Pfizer shipping container (magic box), with diagram.


            It’s substantially more involved than you describe, there is a sleeve that is filled with dry ice that surround the entire carton, with temperature sensor and GPS reporting. The container remaining life based on temperature history is known at the time of delivery.

            In the video I saw from a company supplying the freezers, that showed the container transfer process, the dry ice was in a pouch that could be refilled. The insulation was much thicker as well. The sublimation rate is slow enough in the container, that CO2 production would be no worse than a shipment of ice cream.

            I agree there are challenges that will need to be met. The test run for distribution should give a better idea of how successful it will be.

            I agree with Gates that the preferred vaccine may shift as more become available. Market forces will eventually take over. I think Pfizer knows this too, they will be first to market but won’t hold it unless they come up with a more stable version of the vaccine.

        • @Bryce


          Another sign Wall Street is pulling against Pfizer – Bill Gates – he’s more interested in the world market

          Needless to say he criticises Pfizer vaccine logistics, but does not offer any clues as to world wide distribution problems

          “But Gates is troubled by the logistics of vaccine distribution, which he said has been left to states to manage without adequate federal guidance to lead the way. At issue: getting vaccine to people who need it the most, tracking their two doses, making sure the vaccine doesn’t expire because of the need to keep it so cold, and following how people are doing in case there are “breakthrough” infections.

          Protecting the innovation that will save us from the coronavirus

          Potential changes run the risk of hurting the type of innovation that enables our quick response to the coronavirus. It’s important to get the right policies in place.

          “I’m worried about vaccine distribution not going to the right people,” he said. “Wow, it is a dysfunctional set of people at the moment.”

          Gates said the military’s part in distributing the vaccine is opaque right now. “I wish I understood better what people think the military role is here,” he said. “I don’t, and I don’t find it clearly articulated. Is this being left up to the states to do?”

          Gates is less concerned about whether people will want to be vaccinated. “There’s always vaccine hesitancy. There’s left-wing vaccine hesitancy, there’s right-wing vaccine hesitancy,” he said. “Hopefully it doesn’t become like mask-wearing, where one party thinks it’s a sign of surrender or a lack of freedom.”

          He said the vaccines likely to reach the market a bit after the initial shots could have advantages. While Pfizer and Moderna have been the first companies to report early, encouraging results in late-stage clinical trials of their mRNA vaccines, Gates said the levels of antibodies elicited are much higher in more conventional vaccines being developed by Novavax and Johnson & Johnson; AstraZeneca’s comes in a little below the mRNA ones. Gates also said the cold-chain requirements and the cost of scaling up mRNA vaccine production “is not as attractive” as the other approaches.

          “The fact that Novavax and J&J are above Pfizer makes us very hopeful that in the first quarter [of 2021] those vaccines will get approved and those we can make in many hundreds of millions per month in these developing world factories.”

          • @Gerrard White
            Gates’ comments with regard to the different vaccines are interesting…though I’d love to know how he’s already (seemingly) managed to get hold of comparative data in this regard.
            I’m reminded of the “Salk versus Sabin” debate w.r.t. polio in the 50s. Salk came first with a KV vaccine, and Sabin came later with a single-dose LAV vaccine. A shoddy manufacturing issue with the Salk vaccine caused unintended infection of 40,000 people with polio. The Sabin vaccine subsequently went out of favor because of a very small risk that it can cause the odd case of polio. Back in the 50s, relative merits of vaccines could be discussed without the risk of being labelled an “anti-vaxxer”.

            All that’s needed to kill the Pfizer vaccine will be a few transport mishaps, resulting in lost batches. Or an early realization that transport of the vaccine is just too complicated and expensive. KLM are already planning a practice flight to see if the required temperature can be maintained during a longhaul flight.

      • @Bryce

        Sorry! to ask you so many questions, as if you are the author

        Yet- You have only yourself to blame as you have long initiated this subject of complete failure by country gvmt airline and airport to implement adequate safety measures for airtravel

        What do you think of the blockchain idea?

        • On the subject of Blockchain, I suspect that you mean initiatives such as this?

          I’m not an IT expert, but “Blockchain” has become one of those relatively vague terms that it’s fashionable to use. I don’t consider the present problems to be complicated enough to merit widespread use of Blockchain technology, but maybe the IT people think differently about that.

          What I am glad to see is that some entities (very few at present) are starting to realize that, even with potential vaccine approval on the horizon, the CoViD problem for aviation is not going to just evaporate in 2021. With Norwegian being the latest airline to look into the abyss, with others such as Malaysia and Thai in a highly precarious position, and with most legacy carriers dependent on soup kitchens (AF-KLM needs another $10 billion), we’re in a situation where every week counts. So, until the whole world is vaccinated (if that ever occurs), clever intermediate solutions are going to be required. In that regard, it’s interesting that AA/BA announced their triple testing plan yesterday…even in the midst of all the vying for attention by vaccine producers.

          • @Bryce

            The blockchain initiative I was referring to is described in this link – which is a practical, well described as practical, solution to one of the issues that your link re. the congressional caucus offers as potential uses of blockchain


            It seems the WHO support this system and they as well as course as VaxiGlobal the inventors and installers of this system, so far up and running only in Zimbabwe, are trying to expand into other countries, starting with SA –

            But of course the problem appears to be that everyone, apart for one or two ideas as the BA/AA proposals, is counting on the vaccine to save their bacon – but, as you say, and the WHO say, sufficient worldwide coverage is going to take a lot of time, if not forever

            Why is this ? Specific airtravel solutions must be possible; even if limited will add a lot of pax to airlines chewing though millions per day with no other end in sight than to figure out how to fly passengers

          • @Gerrard White
            As you can see from the IATA link that I posted, IATA is asserting that, since about 45% of air freight worldwide is carried in the hold of passenger flights, there will not be enough cargo capacity to ship vaccines around in a timely manner unless regular passenger traffic can be gotten up and running. A chicken-and-egg problem.

            I don’t know to what extent this issue is a true bottleneck: in addition to dedicated cargo planes, there’s also lots of cargo capacity in military transporters. Jet-powered military transporters could probably do a satisfactory job on longhaul flights, and turboprops would be fine for intra-regional transport. But doubtless Scott could provide clarification on this point. One way or another, the air transport logistics of shipping vaccines around would be an interesting subject for an article on Leeham.

            Of course, personally I hope that IATA’s comments do indeed contribute to efforts to reinstate regular passenger traffic.

          • @Bryce

            I missed the IATA link

            But this comment that pax planes will have to be put in to provide cargo capacity to distribute the vaccine is very pertinent

            And another crucial reason why safety systems should be worked out for airtravel other than relying on very effective vaccine to solve all your problems with one product requiring no other measures

            If everything is as interlinked as increasingly must be acknowledged, why are….etc etc

            I quite agree – this is a big topic worthy of a series of articles here

        • @ Gerrard White
          Your subsequent comment above regarding the VaxiGlobal initiative has put your blockchain comment into perspective…sorry that I didn’t get the point at first.
          Strikes me as an interesting initiative. Obviously, some form of standardized, international, fraud-proof system is going to be needed — preferably electronic, or chipcard-based. Stickers in passports probably aren’t going to be satisfactory.

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