Boeing should build 757 replacement in Washington


Dec. 22, 2020, © Leeham News: If you get a chance over the next few weeks – in between binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit, putting up the 79 extra feet of Christmas lights you ordered this year and figuring out how to buy surprise Christmas gifts for your spouse when you have a joint Amazon account – you should take 90 minutes to watch this video from our friends at the International Association of Machinists District Lodge 751.

By Bryan Corliss

The Machinists on Dec. 8 hosted (on Zoom, of course) a high-level panel discussion about the state of the aerospace industry and Washington state’s role in it, featuring a whole bunch of Brand-Name People Who are Smarter Than Me(c).

They shared their insights for those of us coffee-drinkers who are trying to read the tea leaves to divine what Boeing’s next moves should be as it tries to get back on its feet – and what the implications are for its home state.

The takeaway:

The problems for Boeing are obvious, and the solutions are pretty clear – but doing the smart thing would require a major cultural shift from an executive team that’s locked into a 1990s vision of how business gets done.

  • Boeing needs a 757 replacement this decade
  • It should get built in Washington state
  • There are concrete – and audacious – steps for the state to take
  • Can GE alum Calhoun change Boeing’s GE culture?

    Buzz about Boeing’s next new airplane returned this month to making a 757 replacement. Boeing photo.

First, the plane

A consensus seems to be growing – at least among the punditry — that Boeing’s next jet should be a straight-up 757 replacement: a single-aisle jet in the 200-to-240 passenger class, with a range somewhere around 5,500 nautical miles. (Think SEA-NRT, or LGA-TLV or MEL-BOM.)

This plane should take advantage of the technological advances in engines and systems that have taken place since the last ‘Five-Seven came off the Renton line in 2005. It might benefit from having a 777X-style composite wing.

The smart thinkers believe that Boeing should commit to this program in the 2022-23 time frame, with an eye toward a 2028-29 EIS – which would time nicely with the expected post-Covid recovery in air travel and aircraft demand.

And the obvious place to build it is in Puget Sound – probably in one of the Everett final assembly halls that will be emptied out by the end of the 747 program and the departure of the 787.

But while this is the obvious solution to the biggest problem staring Boeing in the face, it’s far from clear whether CEO Dave Calhoun and his board of directors will make the smart move.

“The exam answer is really clear for Boeing,” Richard Aboulafia of The Teal Group said during the call. “The necessity is really clear for Boeing and the mode of doing it is pretty clear for Boeing. It’s just, do they have the leadership and wherewithal to do it.”

Chicago has a problem with Seattle

The two sides are in a difficult place: Washington, by every relevant objective measure The Teal Group could think of, is categorically the best place for Boeing to keep its commercial operations. And Washington, by every subjective measure that Boeing uses, is absolutely a terrible place for Chicago to run its business the way it wants.

Since the 1997 McDonnell Douglas merger, Boeing adopted the Jack Welch/GE management model. Former CEO Harry Stonecipher was a Welch acolyte. So was his successor, Jim McNerney. Current CEO David Calhoun spent 26 years at GE, sitting on that company’s board of directors for eight years and rising to the rank of vice chairman.

The GE model is based on a foundation of ruthless competition, among suppliers, among employees and among communities where a company bases its business units. Welch famously once said his dream would be to put factories “on a barge” where he could move them – or threaten to move them – to lower cost sites that are “more competitive.”

That business culture clashes severely with the traditional Seattle culture, which is heavily, maybe obsessively, based on consensus building and “win-win” solutions. It also views unions favorably. (The state has one of the nation’s highest union densities, almost double the national average.)

As a result, Boeing senior management has been frustrated with being stuck in Washington, because it’s a high-skill, high-wage environment where none of these latte-sipping, tofu-eating tree-huggers seems to get that they must compete to earn the right to be part of the Boeing world.

State officials become frustrated

Increasingly, Washington state elected officials and community leaders have become frustrated with Boeing, because look, fellas, we keep giving you what you say you want, and then you keep coming back to demand more and more.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee may be Exhibit 1 in this category. During his first bid for governor, in 2012, he went around the state talking about building up the aerospace industry by investing in infrastructure and workforce training. In 2013, he sided with Boeing to urge local Machinists to give up guaranteed pensions to ensure the 777X would be fabricated and built in Everett.

But, during his presidential run this year, he said he felt like he’d been “mugged” by Boeing. After this fall’s decision to move 787 production to Charleston, he vowed to review Boeing’s Washington state tax breaks.

Boeing leadership responded by threatening to sell the BCA headquarters complex in Renton.

What should Boeing do?

There is always a chance that Boeing is doing all of this on purpose, and that Calhoun and the board have decided to follow the glide path of McDonnell Douglas and allow shareholders to extract as much value as possible out of the company while it slowly coasts into oblivion. (Boeing-watchers of a certain age will recall this was an oft-discussed theory in the second half of Phil Condit’s reign at the company, before the launch of the 787 on its shoe-string budget.)

If that’s the case, Boeing should do nothing about a 757 replacement.

But we’re assuming that the intention is to keep Boeing as a going concern in commercial aviation.

In that case, Boeing needs to get the new ‘Five-Seven launched, and soon. And it should just go ahead and build it in Washington state.

When it comes to a decision on building the plane, one can make any number of arguments about how Boeing has essentially ceded the middle of the market to Airbus and the A321 Neo and therefore must respond.

Most persuasive argument

But the argument that will be most-persuasive to Calhoun and Boeing’s board is the one made by analyst Ron Epstein from Bank of America: Wall Street expects it.

Epstein said during the Dec. 8 discussion that about two-thirds of the players on the Street think Boeing must move on a new mid-market aircraft. A like percentage of them support the kind of investment necessary to bring a new aircraft to market.

For a management team that for two decades has been focused on pleasing Wall Street above all else, that should be reason enough.

Boeing also should utilize its existing resources to build the plane, the panelists said. That means staying in Washington state.

The cost of standing up a new factory is not prohibitive, Aboulafia said. (We know Boeing spent at least $750m in Charleston to get the 787 tax breaks; the actual cost for property, plant and equipment was likely double that. In the context of a $30bn airplane program, a new building would amount to another 5% added cost.)

But “all the drivers of competitiveness tend to say (stay) with us, in terms of workforce, in terms of infrastructure,” Aboulafia said.

Risk is the issue

The bigger issue is risk, said panelist Kevin Michaels of AeroDynamic Advisory.

Aerospace has always worked best when design and manufacturing operations are integrated, Michaels said. “It is a much higher risk if you produce in a location that is geographically distant from where it’s developed, than if you’re developing and producing in generally the same area.”

That is the strongest argument in favor of building the next jet in the Northwest, he said: Boeing already has engineers and factories in place, and key suppliers are here too.

“With all of the risks that we’re talking about with this new aircraft program,” Michaels said. “We’ve got market risk. We’ve got financial risk. We’re going to have to take technology risks to get the operating economics.”

He continued: “If you add on top of that ‘Oh, by the way, we’re gonna build it in a new location which hasn’t built jetliners before and we’re gonna train up the workforce to do it and trust us, it’s going to be OK’ — you’re adding a whole new layer of risk to what’s happening. And as we’ve learned, something that seems small can quickly grown to $10bn and $20bn.”


We should also point out that there also is the issue of time. If the program’s to be launched in time to catch the industry recovery projected for 2022-23, Boeing doesn’t have time for a full-blown site selection search, with all public shake-downs and closed-door arm-twisting of elected officials that has always entailed. Nor does it have much time to get factories permitted and built, tooling ordered and installed, and workers recruited and trained at newly-stood-up schools. All this argues in favor of using existing facilities.

But the panelists also argued that Boeing is going to need a major shift in corporate culture if it’s going to thrive, or even survive.

“Is the company going to make the changes required to take it to the right place?” Epstein asked rhetorically.

Great Amplifier

The pandemic, Epstein said, has been a “great amplifier.” For companies like Boeing, the pandemic has exposed and amplified their weaknesses.

The strong focus on providing returns to investors brought Boeing to the crisis it now faces, Epstein said.

“Were the decisions that were made, did they take the company to the right place?” he asked. “The position they were in, and the weak position they were in going into the pandemic, you can blame on how the company was run, and the culture of the company.”

The relentless pressure on suppliers and workers alienated both, Michaels said.

“Boeing burned bridges with many of its leading suppliers even before this crisis,” he continued. Suppliers create 70% of the value of each Boeing aircraft, and yet Boeing has abused them with “unilateral price concessions, revised payment terms and other demands.”

Boeing also has been at war with its unions for the past two decades, even though labor accounts for about 5% of the cost of building an airplane. “Even if you cut pay by 20%, that’s still only 1%,” Michaels said.

Boeing needs the support of suppliers and workers both to rebuild the 737 MAX and launch the next new airplane. It’s time for a change in the way top management approaches both.

What should Washington do?

The panelists didn’t have much explicit advice for moves Washington state could make to ensure Boeing builds its next plane in state.

“The state of Washington and the workers have done everything they can, as far as I can tell,” Michaels said.

But they did provide enough insight for us to build an action plan for Inslee and Washington’s Legislature to address starting in January.

Wings – It’s quite likely (but not certain) that the new mid-market aircraft could have composite wings, Michaels said. If that’s the case, the obvious move would be to fabricate the wings at Boeing’s new composite wing facility at Everett. It’s hard to transport wings over long distances, so composite wings would mean final assembly would need to be nearby, he added.

So for state and local officials, we believe it should be a priority to fund further Puget Sound transportation improvements, which would give Boeing the option of assembling the new jet in either Everett or Renton.

Suppliers – There’s more to aerospace than Boeing final assembly plants, Michaels said. The trend in manufacturing is away from ‘90s-style global assembly lines shipping parts around the globe, in favor of compact regional supply chains. Eastern Washington, in particular, is home to “a massive aluminum cluster,” he said, along with a number of aerostructures plants.

In addition, Washington is home to a large number of companies that supply interiors components that need to be near the final assembly site.

Look to Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington – with its cheaper land and lower labor costs – should be an attractive alternative for aerospace companies.

So, for state and local officials, we believe it should be a priority to find ways to bolster the supply chain, through workforce development, state R&D funding and, potentially, a restoration of the lower Business and Occupation tax rate for aerospace suppliers that was part of Boeing’s recently repealed 787 tax incentive package. State and local agencies also should pay particular attention to potential manufacturing sites east of the Cascade Mountains, and to continue to invest in road and rail links along the Interstate 90 corridor that links Seattle, Moses Lake and Spokane.

Competition – Fifteen years after Vought and Alenia first opened for business in Charleston, the site still struggles; Boeing delivered zero 787s last month in large part because an undisclosed number of planes have been held back for rework due to Charleston quality issues.

Boeing’s adherence to the GE model of chasing low wages around the world no longer makes sense, Aboulafia said. For the company’s new aircraft, “it doesn’t have to be some kind of new start up or new zone of production like Charleston for it to make sense,” he said. “It’s not like there’s a giant sucking sound toward completely new aircraft production facilities. In terms of building aircraft, it’s been the traditional high-skill, high-wage areas that have been extremely successful.”

For state and local officials, we believe that when Boeing makes the inevitable announcement of a site-selection process for the next aircraft program and begins complaining about the high cost of doing business in Washington, the main thing should be not to overreact. Do make a deal, but don’t pressure the workforce into further concessions that make Boeing jobs less attractive than working in the service sector, and don’t give away any incentives without getting job guarantees in return.

The state needs to nurture

Yet Boeing and the aerospace industry do need care and feeding if they are to thrive.

We’ve outlined some ideas in the past – increased funding for aerospace engineering training at the University of Washington, for example, and rebranding the department as the Bill Boeing School of Flight.

Inslee also should raise the profile and funding for the Governor’s Office on Aerospace. One audacious way to do that would be to approach former top BCA executives (paging Ray Connor) to form an advisory panel or task force to make specific legislative recommendations. Boeing has a history of hiring high-profile Olympia insiders to negotiate with the state; it’s time for Olympia to show it can play that game too.

Boeing itself also could use a cash infusion, and soon. This is trickier: tax breaks are out, after the long-drawn-out ruling from the WTO, and Washington’s state constitution forbids direct cash payments to any private company.

However, state law could allow for one of the state’s port districts to do something bold. (Port districts are local economic development agencies authorized by the state to spend tax dollars to build and operate facilities that promote industry or tourism; the Port of Seattle, for example, operates Sea-Tac airport; the Port of Newport runs a shortline railroad and the Port of Walla Walla runs a winery incubator.)

Boeing has floated the notion of selling the Longacres office complex in Renton and moving BCA headquarters to Everett. The Port of Seattle could conceivably buy the site from Boeing and use it as an incubator for tech start-ups, or maybe lease it to a tech giant like Amazon.

Washington taxpayers

Speaking on behalf of Washington taxpayers, however, we find that idea a little dicey. The pandemic has sparked a sea change in Seattle’s tech industry, with remote working becoming the norm for tens of thousands of workers for the indefinite future. Companies are walking away from corporate offices, and with the region seemingly awash in empty Class A office space, so buying the Longacres campus seems like a risky investment of public resources.

But what about the Renton factory?

It would take an act of the Legislature — current law limits these kinds of deals to $500m and, based on current prices for Renton industrial land, this could be about a $3.5bn deal. But the Port of Seattle or other agency could then buy the Renton factory, lease it back to Boeing, and then use Boeing’s lease payments to pay off the bonds issued to purchase the site.

This could be a win-win for everyone:

  • Boeing gets a quick infusion of billions of dollars at a time it desperately needs cash — plus the flexibility to someday walk away from the Renton site, if it truly does decide to get out of the commercial aircraft business;
  • Puget Sound keeps, for the short-term at least, a major employer that provides thousands of family-wage jobs and buys goods and services supporting thousands more.
  • Washington taxpayers get control over an industrial site that either will be used by Boeing, or could be an incubator for the state’s nascent green aircraft industry, or even could be home for Blue Origin and other Space 2.0 competitors. And worst-case-scenario, the acreage on the south end of Lake Washington would be incredibly attractive for any major real estate developer in the nation, which would allow taxpayers to recoup much of their investment.
Will it happen?

Pulling off this kind of deal would give Boeing and the state of Washington confidence in their ability to work as partners – something that hasn’t really happened in a long, long time. But will it happen?

For any of this to work, however, we’ll have to see major changes, primarily from Boeing.

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we can see that the road to where we are today was paved the day in June 2005 when the Boeing board chose McNerney to be CEO, thus embracing the ethos of ruthless competition and rejecting Alan Mulally’s brand of “Working Together” leadership. Mulally went on to guide Ford through one of the greatest crises of its history; McNerney’s tenure led Boeing to … this, a situation so bad they’ve sold off the corporate yacht.

Now it’s on the shoulders of Calhoun, who joined the Boeing board just in time to endorse the decision to put the 787 second line in Charleston. Can he change the culture that he himself did so much to create?

“I wish I could be optimistic about this,” Aboulafia said on the Dec. 8 call. “The approach at Boeing for many years was … focus on the share price, the rest we don’t have to worry about.”

Boeing’s share price is down a third since December 2019 – about a hundred dollars a share. It is shedding market share, it has hundreds of undelivered planes in inventory and its credibility – with regulators, customers, financial markets, suppliers, elected officials and employees – is in shreds. The only thing for Calhoun to worry about is everything.

The first step to getting yourself out of the whole you’ve dug is to stop digging. The equivalent for Boeing is launching a 757 replacement to be built in its home state.

247 Comments on “Boeing should build 757 replacement in Washington

  1. Washington state could talk to Electroimpact Mukilteo, WA 98275 to boost their robotic aircraft assebly robots system by ordering them to build the NASA/Boeing Truss brazed aircraft fuselage by robots and put the result in the Boeing museum. Airbus knows it will be speed and cost of manufacturing that will be the differentiator, super advanced systems gives manybe 1-2 % in performance but robotic manufacturing on “design for manufacture” aircrafts parts and aircraft assembly can have 23-32% on cost.

    • Have to love those shoulds.

      You also should not spit into a Hurricane.

      Boeing will do or not do whatever it wants plane (pun intended) and simple.

      • Boeing really has to do little, just keep releaseing the work packages paid by NASA and then hand over it to Electroimpact and let them show how quick, safe and to what tolerance their robots can fabricate the structures including the wing tooling for ATL machines layup of prepreg in soft tools and autoclave bake. For a proof of concept structure you need to add the load carrying bits but the secondary structure can be omitted for the 150% max operational load test at the Boeing test facility. The 777-9 folding wingtip technology is important for a Braze Trussed 797 as the natural follow on to the 727, 757. Single pilot operation as well, Still the touch labour will only be a fraction of todays build but other jobs will be created in customer support, product support, repair development, hydrogen powered versions, certification of new processess and equipment in all the Standrad Practice Manuals to be better and more enviromentally sound solution, more automatic inspections reducing customer Line Maintenance hrs including data communication with airport service vehicles to speed up their processes and reduce “Ramp rash” like Tesla autodrive software qualified by Boeing into these vehicles for cargo, fuel, water, waste, trollies, deice…
        The massive amount of boxes made by the likes of Honeywell, Collins, Parker, Liebherr… that run the systems of cause has to be of +787 generation but better, more reliable, lighter and cheaper.

    • Those are very specific (rather than ballpark) % figures Claes, so I assume from a suitably well researched study. Are you able to share more?

      • Most countries have goverment/state funds for R&D. Just look at Gemany/France/UK/Japan In the US huge amounts of defence funds and Dep of energy gets to Universities/Labs and private companies for new technology applications that are not that visible. The US depends on new technology getting used by companies and start ups for commercial applications especially software, One cannot always wait for Lookheed skunkworks to come up with the new stuff. The idea is that Boeing will get a “kick in the b..” to see and touch what is possible today.

      • US Agriculture is a form of state socialism with all sorts of government subsidies and mandates.
        Some need to open their eyes, as even the Post office is a commercial operation in the rest of the world, eg Germanys Deutsche Post is listed on stock exchange but not US.
        This year of course US Fed is massive buyer of corporate bonds

  2. Excellent article.

    Unfortunately, I’m going to side with “poor management”.

    In fact, as much of a Boeing kool-aider I am, I absolutely abhor Boeing management and BOD. From only worrying about “stock bonus/buyback/compensation” to how they handled the B737MAX fiasco to how they’ve become “hell-bent” on “taking out” the unions (I’m not a really a union fan apropos), I have nothing but disgust for Boeing management.

    They’ve been so hell-bent on unions, that they have completely missed the “forest from the trees”. As the article points out, salary, etc. isn’t a really large part of over-all cost. The decades of talent, innovation, etc. is part of the Pacific northwest aerospace “DNA” and Boeing management in all of its hubris, thought it can outsmart everyone.

    Regardless, hopefully Boeing management/BOD will get some wisdom and figure out its in everyone’s best interest to start working with Washington again on a friendly basis.

    /Rant over.

    • Nothing wrong with caring about Boeing. Its been an Icon. Nothing wrong about caring abou the employees and the suppliers and jobs they create all across the US and the world.

      Hating Boeing management is hating someone who is determined to set the scuttling charges off which is what Boeing Management does.

      Attempting to interject logic into Boeing Management is like spitting in the teeth of a Hurricanes. Yes you can do it. It does not work out well.

  3. Developing a straightforward successor to the 757 and building it in Washington seems like the proper move, but is it?

    In the coming years we will experience the effects of global warming more and more and governments around the world (including the US) will do all they can to reduce CO2 output levels. (Climate deniers please abstain from commenting, I just can’t hear any more of that.) This means that any conventional future airplane will probably be an economical failure. This window for even a highly efficient kerosene-fueled aircraft (no matter its size) is closing fast, and maybe it is too late already.

    So the change that the Boeing management would have to do is not only a 180° turn in respect with their employees and suppliers, but also in terms of changing from an old cheap-oil driven company to a green one. What is the chance of that to happen with the current management? I give it 3%.

    So what will happen instead? Most probably a couple more years on the downward slope. Then we will experience carbon emissions severely cut everywhere, Airbus probably introducing their first “green” airliner, a serious dry up of orders for 737 and 878, and only then will we see a massive shake-up at Boeing happen and a new management installed.

    • “…will do all they can to reduce CO2 output levels.”
      Will they also do something about reducing base levels of CO2 already emitted in the past and currently present in the atmosphere (for many decades to come)? Or is that task going to be left to trees (assuming they don’t all burn)?

      Until that question is addressed, trying to reduce future emissions is just window dressing.

      • Bryce, no only do we have to stop deforestation, but have to seriously turn deserts into forests. It is possible and probably the most effective way to catch CO2.

        And no, calling out other industries, countries, companies, communities, people, to act before you do wont get us anywhere. Car manufacturer are already going electric and hydrogen, railways all have to be electrified, coal- and oil-powerplants must be shut down and wind turbines and solar cells installed, houses need better insulation, heat pumps and solar roofs,… yes and airliners have to go electric, hydrogen or at least methane.

        Oh, and it’s no longer the question if you or I want this to happen or not, humankind is on the verge of switching mode and for every business on this planet it’s either be ahead of the game with the chance to win big time, or be dragged along and possibly loose everything.

        • Seeing as most of us are in lockdown, we have extra time on out hands. You might want to use some of that time to:
          (1) Find quality publications on desert-to-forest conversion in a reputable scientific publication. Bearing in mind that deserts occur at specific latitudes due to Trade Wind patterns, don’t forget to do some research on how to change Trade Wind patterns so as to dump rainfall on these new forests. Get back to us with the results.
          (2) Do some research on the worldwide lithium reserves that are available for exploitation. With the “EV revolution” that Elon Musk is preaching, there’ll be no lithium left in 17 years. Try to look at reputable scientific publications…you’ll be amazed what you’ll learn. Again, get back to us with the results.

          Tip: spouting wishy-washy hot air is not going to solve climate problems.

        • Do you realize the environmental cost of going “all electric”?

          Most don’t, so don’t feel bad. It is enormously costly to the environment to extract the rare earth metals to sustain and grow “all electric”.

          • Bryce, Joe, I guess you want me to find publications that are sponsored by big-oil, right? There are in fact plenty of that out there and if you care to prefer those, so be it.
            What I have learned in my life is that the human civilization learns slowly, but it does. Like when I tried to convince all the people around me in the early 80s that wind and solar are our future for energy production I was faced with similar “clever” responses that remind me of yours. I was belittled as if I know nothing (especially by people who have not studied 10% of what I had). 99% of all people back then explained to me that we would always need nuclear power and coal plants for electricity. This year we are at ca. 50% renewable in Germany.
            Bryce, Joe, I don’t expect people like you being any help in overcoming the biggest crisis that mankind has ever faced, but please be so kind to at least step aside and don’t hinder those who actually want to help.
            But back on topic: If a company is in such deep and existential troubles as Boeing, what you have to do is develop a clear picture of the future (no wishful thinking!) and the future demands of your customers and then come up with something that brings your company back in the game. Volkswagen once did this with the Golf, Apple with the iMac, Burberry, Lego,…
            Kodak, Nokia, Polaroid, IBM, TWA, Enron,… on the other hand and many more have got it completely wrong.
            Maybe Boeing will do a GM.

          • Note that Gandolf did not address the horrific impact to the environment extracting rare earth metals, he just deflected.

            Also, any solution to energy needs not including nuclear power are not serious. Germany shut down their nuclear power plants and then used more coal power generation starting several years ago. Their power costs also skyrocketed. I wouldn’t look to Germany as an example to copy.

          • @ Joe
            It’s typical for greenie activists to label anybody that doesn’t agree with them as a exhibiting “climate denial”…the usual scapegoating. There are very challenging, complicated and inter-related scientific and engineering issues involved in addressing climate change, but greenies prefer to put their faith in hodge-podge ideas conjured up by stoned “gurus”. And, of course, everything is the fault of “big oil” — the standard greenie aversion to large corporations; unsurprisingly, the fact that we need a lot of oil as a raw material to make all the plastic used in solar panels, and the lightweight composites in electric vehicles, and the insulation on electric cables, is always conveniently forgotten. Perhaps we should switch to wood for those purposes?…oh, wait, using wood involves culling trees.

            You’re completely correct about nuclear power, but that argument is wasted here: I raised it here a few weeks ago, and got the predicable greenie reaction. Moreover, if/when we switch to nuclear fusion, we’re going to need a lot of lithium for purposes of producing neutron-bred tritium fuel; I’d prefer if Elon and his friends hadn’t used up all the lithium by that time.

            Greenies have always been more interested in chaining themselves to railroad tracks and hanging banners on cooling towers — actual, workable, real-world solutions are not interesting to them at all.

          • My take on the Environmentalist is that like the Media, they are not evil, they just are not technically informed or savvy.

            Emotional. But that does not mean they are wrong with the intent, somewhere, somehow someone has to apply solutions.

            A total drop of what we have solves the environmental issue and puts us back on the plains of Africa being hunted by the recovering predator populations!

            Equally that does not mean we should do nothing.

            Much like Covd, we have to crush the curve and still manage to keep society functional. Well have to is wrong, the consequences of not supporting the system are gruesome.

            Like Hydrogen powered aircraft. PR wise its got wings (pun) but making it happen economically ?

            EU can impose in the EU but not the rest of the world and then what does Airbus do (lobby for a DELAY!)

            One thing I have figured out, my sole voice means nothing on the scheme of things.

        • And Gundolf, cut the ‘deforestation’ falsehood – there’s plenty of trees, forests are reclaiming much land. CO2 is helping trees advance into desert areas.

          Do study history, learn of the Medieval Warm Period when Vikings farmed southwest Greenland, and the earlier Roman and other warm periods.

          Do look at government sea level gages, and at temperatures from weather balloons and satellite sensors.

          And at water vapour in the atmosphere.

          Study the half century or more of utter failure of alarmist predictions that FAILed.

          • ” (no wishful thinking!)” said Gundolf.

            But environmentalist scare stories are based on wishful thinking, and on a negative psychology.

            Note that most eco-activists believe the economics and ethics of Karl Marx, who theorized fixed-pie economics and drive-to-the-bottom ethics because he denied effectiveness of the human mind for life. The mind’s productiveness and collaborative ethics are evident everywhere. (Ayn Rand explained why ethics support human life in reality. Whereas Marxists support lying for the cause, even praising contradictions (it’s called ‘dialectic logic’.)

          • Ups, it seems I have woken up a real hard core climate denialist. I’m really sorry for that, so please beg pardon to everybody.

          • Keith and Bryce, you are right on. Great comments.

            Question for Gundolf: Exactly what is a “climate denialist”? How can one deny climate? The climate has always changed. Perhaps you can show me a time period when climate did not change? You can’t.

            The question is not whether climate is changing. The question is does the investment in ways to slow climate change justify the cost?

            In the 6th Century, there was a major volcanic eruption in SE Asia that sent the entire world into a nuclear winter lasting for decades. The impact of that was so profound in that it dramatically changed the world from an economic and political perspective.

            Perhaps we have greater things to worry about? It will happen again.

          • Ayn makes sense of context of what she lived and experienced.

            I was quite a fan at one time but like many things (Boeing Management ) I have become a critic.

            There may be a balance, but we are a pendulum species.

          • And make sure your ‘alterative energy’ calculations are correct.

            One shell game that climate catastrophists play is to quote installed capacity not generation achieved.

            News flash! the sun does not shine 24/7, the wind does not blow continuously.

            And cost calculations must be ‘all in’ – solar and wind require backup storage which has a cost, and backup generating capacity.

            Storage might be using some of the energy to pump water uphill to later run hydro-electric turbines, or costly battery systems like the US military spent on in HI.
            The favoured backup generating capacity these days is gas turbines without heat recovery – oh! the carbon! 😉 [By design gas turbines start rapidly – most are adaptations of aircraft ones, gas turbines with steam plant heat recovery take much longer to start up due thermal inertia, coal plants likely slower as they are entirely thermal, nuclear of course takes far longer. Hydroelectric turbines should be fairly quick but the reservoir may not be inexhaustible and in much of the world is artificial (human made and filled reservoirs, whereas the big dam on the Peace River makes a huge reservoir).

    • The discussion is for a longer ranged aircraft. I think they agree with you for the under 2000 mile segment, trains are taking over EU & China short haul & hydrogen the rest, I’d say over 3000 mile might pay for itself, if it’s done now.

      • Trains are good in their place, which is not where flexibility is needed.

        Airplanes can be moved quickly to different airports/routes as needs change, that flexibility can also provide disaster relief or extraction of people out of harm’s way.

        For example, Pacific Western Airlines had traffic on the CalgaryEdmonton shuttle drop 40% with a change in the petroleum industry.

        Trains require a dedicated right of way, which is a very costly investment.

        Rolling stock can be relocated/wold/leased (almost all RRs in Canada-US have same gage, freight cars roam all over, I have seen Sounder locomotives in Mission BC which is the eastern terminus of the Westcoast Express commuter service into Vancouver BC). But the track bed cannot.

        Funny financial RR story just for Leeham’s broad education in financial things:
        One Canadian RR had a surplus of freight cars, so didn’t worry about rapid return from afar because it got payment from an RR whose system a car was in. Some RRs were not good at returning cars, in some cases wanting to use them for revenue themselves, perhaps in some cases just waiting for a backhaul load (from BC they often carried lumber south), in other cases just sloppy tracking of cars. IIRC when the owning RR started to need cars it got busy and got them returned.

        • Overall true

          “that flexibility can also provide disaster relief or extraction of people out of harm’s way. ”

          There are no Trains in Puerto Prince. I have yet to see an airlift of any magnitude.

          Planes can go places (like Islands) that are not Train ready (or even able like the Intestate Link form California to Hawaii.

          Airlines think the solution to a transportation aspect is an aircraft when in fact the best solution is a mix.

          Airports to have right of way and build issues.

          • There have been many airlifts that really helped, I don’t have data on size of recent ones.

            (The Berlin Airlift long ago was of course massive for its day, but relatively small airplanes. About 6,000 tons per day of food and fuel were needed. Various re-organization occurred in air routes and procedures, including snack trucks to bring refreshments to pilots. 30 minute turns were routinely achieved with the DC-4/C-54 airplanes, of which hundreds were available. After about a year the Marxist regime of the USSR gave up, beaten by the productivity of the Allies and the people of West Germany.)

            Various military forces including Canada’s have flown to a number of disaster locations including Haiti.

            Airplanes can get there early, ships take a long time. Places like Haiti are close by ship to the US, places in the South Pacific are somewhat close to Australia by airplane or ship.

            Some countries have good railway networks – most of US and Canada for example though not in the north (AK and northern Canada). Occasionally barges are useful – the Mississippi of course, perhaps the Red River, the Columbia a ways, the Fraser not far, the MacKenzie quite a ways.

            As for airports taking space, it is local and need not be huge for infrequent and emergency use. (Ramp space is a potential limiter, so ground handling has to be good to turn the airplanes quickly.) Whereas train tracks are long so cross through much land and across road infrastructure.

            For volume transport of liquids pipelines are best they are underneath other things. But eco-activists and pandering politicians blocking construction have motivated people to ship crude oil by rail. Examples include to refineries in SW BC and NW WA (from AB, and ND/MT), and from the Dakotas to Montreal (the fire disaster in a town in Quebec involved light oil from the Bakken formation). Good news is that TMPX twinning is proceeding, that will triple TMP capacity from AB to southwest BC and northwest WA.

      • @ Martin A
        I live in the EU. I can assure you that trains are not “taking over” short haul. Apart from the fact that trains can’t get to/from islands (Ireland, Sardinia, Corsica, Crete,…), even the fastest trains still travel at only a fraction of the speed of an aircraft. So, for example, nobody is going to spend 12 hours in multiple trains from Copenhagen to Madrid when an aircraft can do it as a direct flight in 3h 30m.
        To date, only a handful of air routes have (semi-)viable air alternatives. Brussels-London, Paris-Lyon and Düsseldorf-München, for example.

        • The California problem is inexperience in train track projects and building tracks. Just look at the Union Paific part of the trans continental railway and the speed they achived by the end working by hand, dynamite and no computers. The trains the high speed cal train ordererd are probably just fine. We will see what the outcome will be, maybe selling it and the right of way to Union Pacific so they can hire massive amount of chinese workers again…

          • Note that most of the original transcontinental railroads in the US were money losers.

            Build hastily to get land grants.

            In contrast, JJ Hill built the Great Northern from Minneapolis to Everett WA on Puget Sound with private money, no land grants. He built it to earn a profit from operations. (What a concept! 😉

            He built the railbed well, without sharp curves, so it could run fast and heavy. He did bias the route somewhat to get closer to locations of business such as mines.

            He encouraged people who could be customers, notably farmers, giving them advice and building grain storage ‘elevators’ at key points on the RR.

            The GN quietly purchased control of the closest other transcon, the Northern Pacific, but ran them under separate names for years.

            (But Hill rushed the last leg too quickly, Stevens Pass through those nasty little Cascade Mountains with steep slopes and heavy snowfall was troublesome, until the current 6 mile tunnel was built.)

            The point I am rambling toward is that government is not a panacea,

            Indeed, private enterprise has done well for society in the panicdemic. A Korean entrepreneur shifted his company to developing, testing, then producing test kits. An entrepreneurial couple put their company’s resources into developing a vaccine using a relatively new method they had, then collaborated with a larger company that could make and distribute it.

      • @MartinA: In China, from what I read, one takes about 30 mins to travel from Beijing to Tianjin by train (roughly the distance between New Haven and NYC). Unfortunately, some are still stuck in the last century (or two).

    • ‘Gundolf’

      Your mentality is revealed by use of ‘denier’ for people who raise rational concerns about your negativity. I take it you cannot make a rational case for your catastrophism, so sneer.

      You don’t have to take affordable portable energy away from poor people, because humans cannot ruin global climate.

      That’s because the saturation effect of the overlap of the absorption/emission spectra of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and dihydrogen monoxide, which limits rise from CO2 to a small temperature rise most of which has already been realized.

      You’ve fallen for Chicken Little scare-mongering from people with a hidden agenda, people like David Suzuki who admitted on Australian TV that he doesn’t even know the names of the temperature data bases he bases his alarmism on. The David Suzuki who took some climate information off of his web site after I publicly challenged it, the nasty person who blamed business for environmental problems in his speech sanctioning the Occupy mob in Vancouver BC. The hypocrite who advocates population control after siring five children who are begatting grand children for him to indoctrinate into committing the crime of mischief in ‘protests’.

  4. Thank you Bryan for the nice long read on the Washington situation.

    While I can agree on the cultural / stock driven Boeing policies of the last decade (we all were indoctrinated that “free cash flow” was all that really mattered, forget debts & portfolio) I feel on the way ahead groupthink is visible. Production being boosted in Washington seems the pre defined outcome, not the result of discussions.

    Also the “solution” a 757 replacement seems out of touch. A big part of that segment is already in the Airbus backlog. Including DL, AA and UA.
    Plus, there seems a denial the 737 is not good enough for the next 15 years.

    Not acting in the 140-180 seats segment would give Airbus a fantastic next 20 years.

    • > Also the “solution” a 757 replacement seems out of touch. A big part of that segment is already in the Airbus backlog. Including DL, AA and UA.
      Plus, there seems a denial the 737 is not good enough for the next 15 years.

      Good call, IMO.

  5. “a 757 replacement 220 – 240 seater NMA …” ?? Hmm … Take 6 x 37 = 222 … already with 37+ rows 3+3 in a single aisle cabin you are reproducing the (in)famous “757 syndrome” (a string of in-flight service plus airport turn-around time inefficiencies), whereas 7 x 32 = 224 and 6 x 32 = 192 ==> going twin aisle 7 abreast 2+3+2 you’d have a cabin about the length of a MAX 8 … say, a so-called “Fatty” ? … In summary, if/when designing an NMA, Boeing engineers need to take aim very carefully, or they’ll come up with a tool to nail BCA’s coffin …

    • A321 NEO empty weight is 50t. Still it can do containers & Transatlantic & has engine choice. Ignore, do a SUV & get roasted (again).

      • And that with an undersized wing. I say Airbus will respond to a new 757 by putting a new “right-sized” carbon wing onto the A321.

        Will be interesting.

    • I don’t like 3×3 seating but that’s the most likely future architecture. Enlarge the diameter a bit and make the aisle wider. That’d make (de)boarding more efficient without messing around with weird elliptical shapes.

  6. Wow! An awesome post & Xmas treat on the “free to all” side of LNA – thanks, Santa! 🙂🎄

    LGA-TLV? More likely JFK or EWR-TLV as LGA lacks Federal Inspection Station & cannot accept international arrivals unless there’s pre-clearance on the departures side.

    Setting aside that relatively minor technical matter regarding NYC’s three major airports, let’s shift attention to PaxEx considerations:

    1) missing from the discussion posted above (I haven’t viewed the 90 mins video yet, so apologies if this issue is addressed in the video) is a discussion of the fuselage:

    a) are we staying with the (dreaded & obsolete) 1950’s era -380/707 (Boeing narrow-body) shape, width & dimension with those horribly uncomfortable 17-17.2” seat widths?

    b) Or is the plan for an all new, 21st century fuselage design that allows for seat widths comparable to those found on Airbus’s narrow-bodies (preferably the A220 [née Bombardier C-Series] , but NOT less than the A320-family) that are better suited for any flight longer than 3-hours, let alone the ~12-hour slogs between NYC & TLV?

    Sidebar: unless confirmed in a premium class, NOT A CHANCE I’ll ever book a flight aboard ANY narrow-body for a flight longer than 5-hours after being unexpectedly trapped aboard a packed 757 flight that morphed from 4.5 hours to just under 6.5 hours late last year (due to a 30 mins ground stop before take-off & nearly 90 mins of old school circling off the coast of New Jersey because of high winds after heavy rain ended & a cold front cleared the coast at JFK before landing) that I hated even in the 34” pitch extra legroom row (I cannot imagine how much worse it must’ve been in the 30-31” pitch main cabin rows).

    Nope. Won’t ever subject myself – or the passenger stuck in the middle seat who also had the “ick factor” of having their arm pressed against mine for what seems like an eternity unless I was leaning against the sidewall to provide some personal space for both of us – and that was with a perfectly normal, pleasant & very skinny/petite female that turned out to be the ideal neighbor for such tight quarters, where we could make light of the awkwardness of total strangers being forced to have physical contact with each other for a prolonged period.

    Now imagine having a less than perfect or less than ideal person beside you that you’re pressing your flesh against theirs for more than a few moments, let alone 3, 4, 5, 6 or more hours?

    **NO THANKS.**

    So, again, ~12-13 hours TLV-NYC on a narrow-body in coach/economy?

    Maybe aboard an A220 on the “2-side” of the five abreast, 3-2 seats that are 18-18.5” wide?

    Otherwise, that’s a hard pass on any 3-3 six abreast narrow-body. I’ll book connections via a hub for wide-bodies (preferably a 2-4-2 A330!) for the trans-Atlantic portion at a minimum.

    Fortunately, living in NYC, wide-bodies will still be available! (Thank goodness)

    Yep, I *HATED* being trapped in a window seat aboard a 6-abreast 757 for nearly 6.5 hours that much.

    Worse yet, are the 4.5-5 hours aboard 737s in all classes (1st/Biz, extra legroom & [worst of all] main cabin) that have also been flown with some frequency in recent years.

    Horrible. It really is past time for that garbage to go.

    Sorry, McBoeing, but it just is.

    You know it. I know it. Practically everyone knows it too.

    Surely, we can do better than 70-years old fuselage designs & dimensions.

    If you still think not, then you’re being lazy, greedy & simply not trying hard enough.


    Simply put, while obviously NOT gonna happen, just going to note how much I only wish it were possible to reprise the 757 AND 767 approach that was done 4 decades ago as narrow-bodies are great for 3, maybe 4 hour segments & barely tolerable up to 5 hours, while 767s are awesome for 5 hours or longer missions such as NYC-TLV from the PaxEx perspective anyway.

    Just sayin’

    2) Speaking of the fuselage, while the above summary discusses use of carbon composite wings, would said future “757 replacement” retain aluminum alloys or instead use 21st century technologies as the A220 does?

    Just wondering?!?!

    3) Also agree across the board that Boeing MUST ditch the 1990’s/GE/“Neutron Jack” Welch/failed McDonnell Douglas toxic corporate culture – the sooner the better (like yesterday, and even that ain’t soon enough…).

    A very thorough/top to bottom housecleaning/purging of the C-Suite & Boardroom, including Welch disciple Calhoun, would be a great way to get Boeing’s (belated, desperately needed & long overdue) 21st century reinvention/reimagining underway.

    4) 100% agree it’s also time to ditch “Neutron Jack’s” long ago discredited management philosophy (which, as the above summary notes, plays a big role in Boeing’s [accelerating in recent years] brand destruction) & instead forge a more productive/cooperative business relationship with Washington State & union leaders to design & build future aircraft models.

    The long-standing quality control problems at the South Carolina 787 final assembly line speak for themselves & the insanity of trying to do that again for a future model expecting different results is NOT a risk worth taking given how bad McBoeing has been at “managing” (as in STILL totally bungling) that situation.

    5) Bring Boeing’s HQ home to Seattle region.

    It’s time to get back to Boeing’s roots & purge it of the cancer that is the **FAILED** McDonnell Douglas’ toxic corporate culture once & for all.

    That need for that should be **beyond obvious** by now.

    • Some good points @Howard_Miller.

      I want to focus on point 5 as it is 100 percent correct and perhaps the key to fundamental change for the better at Boeing.

      Moving corporate HQ to Chicago was the start of the downfall. Boeing execs working and living in the deeply corrupt Chicago leftist political culture is never going to work out well for Boeing (or anyone). Those who bathe in a corrupt culture such as that offered by Chicago will also become corrupt. This is what has happened.

      Corporate HQ needs to be right where the products are assembled. Not thousands of miles away. The key execs should be located at the factories. This should include those at the highest levels of the company.

      Another way to fix Boeing is to make executive pay tied not entirely to the stock price (as is currently), but other metrics need to play a key and much bigger role (such as quality measures, customer satisfaction, etc.).

      I’m concerned about Boeing. I don’t see that they have the right leadership at the top positions to turn around the commercial business.

      • Boeing Commercial Aircraft is still in Seattle with hundreds of executives and 10s of 1000s of employees ( 50,000 plus in WA)
        And the numbers of employees in Chicago…around 700. None of them involved in aircraft design or construction.
        Boeing has many other divisions and locations other than in Seattle and WA. Thats why the specialised top coporate function, mostly finance is in Chicago
        Everything that needs to be in Seattle never left, including the BCA executives

      • “Corporate HQ needs to be right where the products are assembled. ”

        Good idea except that Boeing’s products are assembled in St. Louis and Puget Sound areas, and not really long ago in Wichita and California (where its space operations may still be).

        An alternative is to do what the very successful WalMart did for decades at least – quite small HQ in Bentonville Arkansas, more staff at stores. (With a fleet of suitable airplanes to facilitate visiting stores to check on them.) The very successful Nucor steel did that to some extent as well – even specialized functions were at each plant instead of HQ, when Nucor purchased a plant as it did in Seattle specialists were hired to work locally.

  7. Thanks Bryan, this is an excellent article. I too have thought a 757 replacement might be the best option. Boeing has not revealed its hand but will need to do so in the next year or so.

    Many of the other points you raise are also valid. I think there is a very large and diverse group that wants Boeing to succeed here. The question will be whether they can pivot and adjust their culture, within the new travel and economic environments, to do so.

    • Very few ever wanted to see Boeing fail, but we have no input on the self inflicted wounds.

      What Boeing needs is a new culture. Calhoun is not the answer, he is part of the problem.

      The Pivot should have taken place when resources were there and being thrown away.

      Boeing has no hand. The calculation is can we keep the gravy train going long enough to get our golden parachute?

      What is needed is vision. Rather than hit or miss a dedicated core that has designs ready to go with tech at level 6.

      But in the end, the best design (787) is undercut by bad management.

      Effectively the best move would be to make those management practices illegal (Program Accounting, Share Buy back, exec salary tied to share price)

      It will not stop poor management but like rules of the road for driving, it can help keep things between the lines.

      • TW, this is your usual negative assessment. We will see what the future holds. You say you don’t want Boeing to fail, but your every post and prediction belies this. As is common here at Leeham.

        Many others don’t feel that way, they want Boeing to succeed. So will go on suggesting ways that can happen, as has been done here. Boeing is looking at this too. So we will se what they decide going forward.

  8. When they build a new airplane, certainly the wings will be built in the Everett wing facility, right? Why would they replicate that building and wing cookers at added cost somewhere else?
    So the NMA will go from a twin aisle 797-6 5,000nm / 797-7 4,500nm to a single aisle 5,500nm aicraft?
    I’ll go on record again as I’ve said over the past ten years, that the plane Boeing needs to build is a 3,000 nm aircraft, twin aisle, 2-2-2, with seating for 200 to 260. Farther down the road, re-wing and re-engine for a heavier mid-range aircraft.
    Four aisle seats, two window seats? Everybody likes an aisle seat, it’s settled science.

    • Why would Boeing build a duplicate facility for 787 in Charleston?

      There is a logic involved but its a self serving one, as Bob Woodward would say, follow the money!

    • It has been shown over and over that what passengers like does not matter. The only thing that matters is what they will pay for, and comfort and convenience is not at the top of the list.

      If they can get someone else to pay, then sure.

      • Disagree.

        Although I’m NOT a professional travel agent anymore, (pre-pandemic of course) family & close friends often sought my assistance in booking their flights, or some, they entrust me to book their flights confidently knowing that even if I booked itineraries with higher fares (within reason, of course) than they found on their own flights/fares search, that I did so to better ensure their needs & preferences would be best met.

        And as I don’t earn any commission, when flights are booked at fares higher than they saw on Google flights or their other online DIY searches, it certainly has NO financial upside for me to “upsell” them to pad my own pockets.

        Rather, whether it be for “ad hoc” recommendations made as others are about to book their own flights (for example, “which airline is better to fly between point ‘A’ & ‘B’?” a fairly common request, I might add!] or “I need/want to fly to/from X or Y; can you look for flights for me & call me when you have something you like & I’ll give you the credit card # when you’re ready to finish the booking…”, my experience is that a great many people will spend a little bit more if they’re confident that they’re getting something they value for their extra cash paid.

        Problem is that’s mostly no longer possible in the digital age.

        So instead, there’s a great many inexperienced, easy to exploit/easily duped consumers, who in not being trip savvy, experienced/sophisticated road warriors are easy prey for the eye catching, too good to be true, base fare, bait & switch, dog & pony shows/shams that many cite to justify ever worse/even more dense cabins & smaller/narrower seats.

        Sure, some due to financial limits, or others simply because they’re just vulgar, cheapAF, cheapskates will always go for the low ball fares no matter how awful the airline or their miserable aircraft cabins are.

        I know that.

        But, my experience over the years is that for many people I know, if they’re made aware of better airlines with better configured airplanes, more often than not, if a reasonable case can be made to spend a little more to fly the better airline, and then their experience matches what they were told to expect, they WILL be willing to spend a little more on their future flights without hesitation.

        To wit, Delta’s revenue premium and Southwest Airlines’ success despite eschewing the nickel & diming of bag fees, change fees, booking fees (just to name a few fees it refused to adopt even after industry consolidation & often charging higher fares than its competitors (again, pre-pandemic, of course) are a testament to the fact that better airlines offering products perceived as better in the marketplace, can & do succeed even when their flights often cost more than airlines whose products are commonly viewed as being of a lower/inferior quality.

        Just sayin’

        • Thanks Howard.

          Reminds me of an integration experience years ago.

          Waiting for an airline in NYC to be ready for test of our computer system, colleagues and I in the Seattle area were hampered by our company’s desire to route us through Dallas to get lower fares.

          Finally we made NO stick, because with direct routing we could phone to NYC in the morning and if they seemed ready head for the airport and arrive in the evening. IOW, costlier saved out time – we could work another day in the office instead of only partly working in NYC, and have lower hotel costs.

          (There were funny deals in those days.
          Annoying was some deal AA had with a chain hotel near Washington DC, it took a while of me sitting there not going away for the hotel to decide to honor the deal.
          And fares were so maneuvered that people were buying a ticket to someplace on a flight that stopped over in the city they really wanted to go to, and get off the airplane there. Cheaper than buying a ticket only for the destination one wanted. Airlines wised up to that and started cancelling the return trip if you didn’t show up for the second leg. That was awkward if the second leg was busy coming back thus hard to get a reservation on, so I didn’t use that scheme, we couldn’t predict our return date much in advance.

  9. The potential new model from Boeing should be built elsewhere. Whether it be in South Carolina, Texas, Alabama anywhere but Washington state. The union is possibly the worst thing about Boeing. To work in the Puget Sound area and other locations for Boeing requires one to be a union member, you have no say in the matter. If you want the job, you have to be in the union. Oh, and those monthly $83.00 payments are automatically deducted from your paycheck. Seems like a form of extortion if you ask me.
    Since the union makes over $60 million annually, they seem like their interested in their welfare only. They go out of their way to protect useless workers from the food industry-turned-aircraft workers group.

    Boeing shouldn’t continue to make mistakes like they’ve done with the 737 MAX, 787 and 777.
    Make it right, don’t short-cut anything, make sound decisions and keep the union out of it with their constant threat of strikes.
    Like the upcoming strike in 2024 they’re disguising as the “collective bargaining agreement. They’ve told them members make sure to save for your strike fund. With that kind of underlying dissension from the union, Boeing shouldn’t waste anymore time deciding what to do.

    Build it elsewhere outside of Washington state.

    • Boeing tried that with South Carolina for the 787.
      Have you wondered why the new plant was way behind Everett in both quality of the plane built ( one airline refused to have its airliners built there) and the built time (Everett was averaging 16-17 days per plane while Charleston was around 22 days per plane).

      • Well, many car makers do well in the mid-east US, such as VW and Japanese makes.

        Indeed, some traditional Japanese makers of autos and electronics say that their US factories produce higher quality than their Japanese factories. Leadership is key.

        (VW is in TN, BMW in SC, Toyota in IN, MI, ON, and TX at least, Honda in OH and other states plus aircraft and engines in NC.)

  10. Boeing management has certainly made more than their share of mistakes lately, and they are rightly getting punished for it by the market, their customers and the FAA. Under investing in product development in order to return cash to investors is a short sighted way to look better financially and has ruined many technology companies.

    However, characterizing a “twenty year war” against the union as nothing more than “chasing low wages” when labor is “only 5% of product cost” is an oversimplification at best. It ignores the cost of a strike at every contract negotiation, four in the last twenty years, the 2008 version costing $100m a day for eight weeks which disrupted suppliers, customers and everyone else involved with the company. And that is not the only difficulty.

    If a location is “categorically the best” in “every relevant objective measure” and a company still wants to leave for a location with all sorts of production and other problems, how bad do the irrelevant measures have to be?

  11. Thanks, interesting read Bryan.

    One thing that strikes me is that 2 of the 3 routes highlighted are US centric. My experience is that US centric thinking has long been a significant problem with US companies. I’d be more confident in the conclusion if it had been clearly Asia heavy.

    That said, capacity good. Just want to know they aren’t proposing an over built product.

  12. The answer is blowin’ in the wind:
    GE, General Motors, IBM, Kodak, McDonnell Douglas, Pan Am, Sears, Xerox

  13. The twin-aisle idea was presented as the 787-3 which never gained traction.
    If the goal is to please ‘The Street’ that is usually accomplished by quick low-cost high-profit options. The most likely path for that would be a 757NG that would include a common type rating with the 737, and some variety of GE/Leap engines, built very close to where the original tooling is stored.
    Cockpit modification would be required for type rating. The GE engines would preserve the current 737 relationship, along with the leasing capabilities and there hasn’t been much interest shown in the GTF since it was previously looked at. The carbon-fiber wing never earns it way on board this segment once the serious cost studies start. There would still be capability for a third generation 757MAX if things change.

    • Modifying the 757 flight deck backwards to 737?

      Modern big displays would help but …

      Note the 757 and 767 had the same flight deck, for crew commonality. How close the 787 is I don’t know, different size displays probably (the trend to larger fewer on the main panels, I don’t know what the 767-400 has as it came quite a bit later than the -200)..

      Short-field Keith likes the notion of a short 787, which would also give great range. A nice business jet/utilityjet. (Freeport McMorran mining company had a 757 for people and cargo transport – perhaps a combi, a business jet, and perhaps a helicopter. (Somebody’s trustable helicopter got the Australian geologists Out of Dodge quickly when they discovered they were being lied to by Bre-X staff in Indonesia, then a conference call to the US from AU, then by FM’s business jet to US HQ.)

  14. “at least among the punditry …”


    Someone of the likes of Thomas Sowell said something to the effect that having someone make a decision who has no stake in the outcome is stupid.

    Why ‘757’ on this article? Capacity, narrow body?

    I understand the competition has wider seating.
    The 757 nose is efficient compared to the 737 – Boeing and SWA did not think long term in prolonging the inefficient 737 nose. (Given that the new nose was faired onto the old fuselage to get commonality with 767 flight deck I presume it could be put on a slightly wider fuselage.

    And I’m laughing at the wee assumption that the 787 will go out of production before the new airplane would start production – but what then would Boeing use for that wide body market, the 777 with or without an X being way too large. Do pundits do what an enterprise and its employees have to do – Integrate?

    (Not the union, a pundit of its own flavour, based on Karl Marx’ blind theorizing while he sat in London living on his father’s money after having to leave Germany for advocating violent revolution.)

    As for the Renton plant site, pressure will be on to make it a park. Shopping center is a poor use, it is an attractive location to live I suppose.

    The gummint of WA could help by staying out of subsidization while making western WA safer and less expensive place to live.

    But the Boeing bashers and theorizers carry on, and Leeham falls for their silliness.

    • Yes, the union has spoken up, apparently with an analysis (I don’t do videos), Boeing has its own analysis, integration would be nice.

      As for the notion someone suggested of finding a way to make the union a profit center or such, I don’t think that makes sense unless the union becomes an independent supplier of labour. The union has to grasp the necessity of productivity, the company has to grasp what workers need to produce reliably and efficiently. The union might want to be viewed as a preferred supplier of labor, not just an attacker using Marxist notions. The change in attitude in the Cadence company situation reported by the IAM in its newsletter may be an example. (There are serious problems in some companies with jerk managers, but of course its executives who hire them (sometimes deliberately so they can be a Fagin), that was a problem in at least one supplier to the 787.)

    • And from the Bre-X gold scam I mention elsewhere in this thread:
      “…you couldn’t have fooled that many analysts for that long.”

      “Rumours began to circulate that his [deGuman’s] original samples had been tampered with and salted with gold flecks. Analysts rejected the reports, and still recommended their clients buy Bre-X stock.”

      IOW, financial analysts were stupid.

      Note that gummint pension plans were among losers, of as much as $100 million each. IOW, governments aren’t always right. (Especially as they are political.)

  15. Sigh.

    “Bryce, Joe, I guess you want me to find publications that are sponsored by big-oil, right?”

    The usual scummy eco-catastrophist scam.

    Funny thing, the thousands of scientists who publish research showing you are wrong, and their helpers like me, just aren’t getting those checks in the mail – please help.

    (Devious types like Phil Jones and Michael Mann do get cheques and checks from somewhere – where? Read the documents leaked from the CRU of East Anglia University to learn how those types connived to block questioners from publication and presented data in a way that misleads (as in ‘Mike’s Nature Trick’).

    And check into alGore’s carbon consumption – jetting all around crying doom, leaving the lights on in his two mansions.

  16. Gundolf:

    “I was belittled as if I know nothing (especially by people who have not studied 10% of what I had).”

    What matters is the quality of what you studied.

    There’s much incompetence in ‘science’, including lies like the vaccine-causes-??? faked research in Britain several years ago – which alarmists keep burping up despite public admission of the lie.

    And utter incompetence, such as the UN agency that claimed an alarming loss of glacier area in the Himalayas – but someone checked facts and discovered that an activist bunch had misplaced a decimal point. !

    (Glaciers of course flow, growing and receding with precipitation not temperature, as Mt. Kilmanjaro’s ice cap does. Tribal lore about one mountain northerly from Vancouver BC has a cute explanation for the waxing and and waning of a glacier there.)

    And beware the 97% scam, which was based on a very shoddy email survey, from an obscure email address so ignored by people not already in the know.

    Beware too of the IPCC, whose climate summary is written by activists and politicians, not scientists, and often is contradicted by its reports written by actual scientists.

  17. Much of this discussion doesn’t deal with reality in my opinion. First, Boeing did not start out as a commercial airplane company. It started as a military airplane company, and then expanded into other ventures that were related. The core of its management approach for both R&D and manufacturing were done in a wartime environment when it’s plants were within striking range of the adversaries. As a result, it had one of the fastest R&D to production systems in the country, comparable to what Bell Labs had, and it had a collaborative approach to manufacturing that stressed continuous improvement (ref the postwar documentation on the Boeing multi-line system).

    What the investment public doesn’t seem to understand is that the GE idiots made war on both Boeing’s R&D capabilities and its management culture. There are hints of that in this article and discussion, but the levels of trust and openness required to get back to the execution speed Boeing used to have will require a complete clean sweep of the Jack Welch stupidity. Speed comes from people talking to each other freely, and information leading to action ASAP. That is the exact opposite of what Stonecipher and Prince Jim brought in.

    Sure there needs to be a 757 replacement. But, it needs to seriously push the envelop in structures, range, gate turn around times, and lease return refurb for a new customer. It should be all composite. It should have a flexible range like TUI wants from its 787s. It should be able to turn around at the gate in 20 minutes. Current 737 operators should see it as an option for expanding their operations to a new range of city pairs. And it should be able to do a lease-return refurb in two weeks. Oh, and from program kick-off to first flight it needs to take no more than 60 months. 61 and the CEO, and entire senior program management team go find something else to do. That means no more watermelon status charts (i.e. green on the outside and flaming red on the inside).

    The program can’t be just about the plane. It has to be about making the company work again. Profitability will come from executing a seemingly impossible program goal, on schedule. Going cheap with anything will just repeat the 787 program and everything that went wrong with it. Otherwise, let the company die, so that the name can be remembered for the things it did well. Get this slow death over with.

    • “The core of its management approach for both R&D and manufacturing were done in a wartime environment when it’s plants were within striking range of the adversaries.”

      Error, neither Nationalsozialistiche Germany nor Imperial Shinto Japan had long range airplanes, though Germany was working on them to some extent (I presume only until they started losing in their continent). They both had ships, as the US learned the hard way in HI (a long way from WA state), there were a few unsuccessful attempts by Japan to start forest fires with incendiary balloons and at least sneak operatives into North America by submarine (but at least one was sunk by Canadian forces, airplanes and ships, and shore guns were ready – look behind the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver BC.).

      The time push in Boeing during WW II was to develop and improve and produce airplanes to fight the war _in_ Europe and _in_ the western Pacific, East Asia, and Japan itself. Development of the B-29 took effort, reliability was poor, in substantial part because of the fuel efficient Wright Turbo-Compound engines. But eventually the B-29 became a formidable weapon because it could hit Japanese-occupied islands which once captured became launch airfields to strike Japan. (The US put 500 bomber flights over Tokyo in one night alone, with huge losses on the ground, unfortunately Japan’s military did not get the message that the US could now bomb it into oblivion.

      • Actually, the Japanese carriers could deliver an attack. It might have been strategically foolish, but as a part of the defensive measures, Plant II was disguised as a suburban neighborhood. When I first went to work there in 1983, there were still a few remnants of that disguise in place. There were scattered incidents along the west coast during the war, but the only real incursion was in Alaska. I guess when you live in the remnants of that history you end up being more aware of it.

        • And could the Japanese aircraft carriers get close enough without detection and rebuff?

          I know, bumbling let them get close to HI, and the US Navy was not a match for Japan’s navy.

          Yes, Japanese forces occupied a couple of small islands and attacked Dutch Harbour in the Aleutian island chain which goes almost all the way to Asia. The US Navy thought the attacks were a diversion from the pending attack on Pearl Harbour.

          Good to be prepared, there must have been guns near shores along the coast (the gun emplacement I mentioned is not on the coast, but way into the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Georgia etc.). There was a secret communication facility of some kind, either listening or radar, on the outer coast of Vancouver Island (according to the book Don’t Fly Over An Eagle’s Nest).

          Yes, an attack could be useful as a show, like the British did with the huge effort to drop a few bombs on the Falkland Islands after Argentina seized them – not a practical attack method but it showed the enemy something could be done.,

          • You’re totally missing the point with this silly digression about the way the war played out. What this thread is about is the labor efficiency Boeing had, and the attitudes that fed into it. The war effort was a big part of what motivated an extremely collaborative approach. It was made all the more palpable because of the way the plant was disguised. Labor costs were irrelevant. What mattered was the productivity and quality produced by what was spent on labor. And that particular plant, in studies that were done after war using pounds of war material per square foot of plant space, was found to be the top producing plant on either side. Globally, it was number one. The later P&G experience with Theory Y management essentially validated the same thing.

            This anti-union, least cost regardless of quality attitude has literally destroyed the company. And, it’s an attitude not supported by basic accounting. In the first chapter of any accounting textbook there will be a short explanation of the limits of accounting. Who owns a company? The boundaries of the basic A= L+E accounting formula only covers the things that can reasonably be estimated in monetary units and which fall within the transaction history of the company. Well, what about the assets that walk out the door at the end of each shift? Those don’t show up in the financials. It would seem that the Street forgets about that realty, and couldn’t pass a basic accounting 101 test if the topic being covered was the limits. The duh factory is huge. And that’s the stupidity that these GE folks brought to bear to destroy this company.

  18. Talking about the future? … Boeing won’t escape the present!!!

    MAX recert is based on a deal, not on safety, it will crash again, AND THEN ???

    787 is Muilenburg engineered.
    I want to see how they fix 0.005inch of an 220inch wide barrel. Talking about fixing 1500 planes!!!
    They are so crazy that they are still producing this design.

    US landscape is broken. Some states have no unions and in Washington unions obviously have too much power. Politics should have paved the landscape long ago and set up social security for its workers but failed.

    Talking about new planes … Boeing passed that stage already. They need to have a better product than Airbus. With the FAA in the bag, sure, we see the results now, but without cheating it’s hard to compete.

    Talking about new planes, does it mean the 777X is history? Boeing will carry the 737, 787, 777X problems for decades. Hard to bury the past.

    • Hi Leon, you may very well be right and Boeing will go down. Still, one of the things I have learned to appreciate in our American friends is that they can do 180° like nobody else on this planet. That is true for politics as well as for companies. With Boeings current management it is really hard to imagine, but if a new management is installed in a year or two, including a new way of thinking, a turnaround may still succeed.

      • Gundfof:

        Its not 180, its attacking in a different direction!

        For instance, Boeing board (which had Calhoun on it!) was adamant that the CEO and the Board Chair should be the same position (despite the reason you have a separate board and Chair is specifically deigned to stop what happened!) Kind of like cutting the tie rods on your car. Hmm, it seemed like such a good idea at the time.

        But come enough pressure and suddenly, oh, after a lot of review we have discovered its really a bad idea, we are so good on finding this stuff out. Just move on, nothing to see here.

        Boeing Management is so short sighted they don’t have any idea where they are going.

        Like Ford, the only real solution is a clean slate. But if they can stagger alone (and they are) it won’t happen.

        The 787 was really shenanigan city wool pulling by BCA to get board approval for a new aircraft. Inherent in that were enormous bad approach.

        Reading the Battery report, standard went from driving a nail into a battery to test it (really, kind of like throwing a coconut into a Volcano and then saying that stopped the eruption) to hundreds of specifications and tests that were scientifically proven.

        The original battery setup was a high crime against engineering. 1st graders would have laughed them out of the class.

    • Um, Leon..
      I don’t remember Mullenberg’s name around the 787 program in the mid-2000s, he certainly was not project chief nor engineering chief. Not that I was reading every org chart.

      Was Mullenberg even in charge later when the 737MAX was developed? IIRC he was not.

  19. “Boeing did not start out as a commercial airplane company. It started as a military airplane company, and then expanded into other ventures that were related. ..”
    Not so
    The mail planes of the 1920s were the same era as its first military planes
    The Model 247 of the early 30s was world leading

    “The Boeing YB-9 was the first all-metal monoplane bomber aircraft designed for the United States Army Air Corps. The YB-9 was an enlarged alteration of Boeing’s Model 200 Monomail commercial transport.”

    An enlarged version of the commercial transport!

    • Thanks for trying to point to some facts.

      Boeing was started by William Boeing and Conrad Westervelt as Aero Products Company, soon changing its name to Boeing Airplane Company.

      Early in its life Boeing ran an email service between Seattle WA and Victoria BC, to reduce mail transit time on trans-Pacific ships that stopped in Victoria. A classic example of finding a market niche of people willing to pay for expedited delivery. (I wonder if Fred Smith put that in his MBA thesis several decades later.)

      Boeing soon began building airplanes for the US military.

      But Bill Boeing left in disgust when the US government broke up the United Transportation Company which encompassed Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, and United Airlines. ‘Gundolf’ of ‘make…. do…’ beliefs might like that. Another case of a pioneer being shot in the back.

      Boeing had its stumbles along the way, airlines not early in the delivery list for its model 240 turned to Donald Douglas who started a new company and quickly evolved his airliners into the famed DC-3 which was superior to the 240. Douglas proceeded to be the pre-eminent airliner manufacturer into the 1960s, with Lockheed-California’s Constellation series also selling many.

      In the 1950s Boeing gambled on the Dash80 prototype of what we know as the 707 and KC-135, then later on the huge 747, becoming the pre-eminent airliner manufacturer. (With Douglas following with its good DC-8 with medium sales success. Convair, which sold many of its 240/340/440 twin airliners, put itself out of the airliner business with botched development of the 880/990 – a lesson for airplane maker wannabes (some of the VLJ wannabe companies failed for the same including Convair’s failure in aerodynamics). Lockheed stayed out until its good L1011 in the 70s, in competition with Douglas and emerging Airbus, but wasn’t good enough at selling it.)

        • Boeing’s air mail service to Victoria BC began in 1919.

          The B& W Seaplane, aka Boeing-1, was built in 1916.

          The Boeing 247 first flew in 1933 – 75 were built, the DC-1 in 1933 but quickly evolved into the DC-3 in 1935 – 607 commercial versions were built (plus thousands of military versions).

          Douglas then built the four-engine DC-4, which was the strength of the Berlin Airlift. Boeing’s 307 airliner, using the wings of the B-17, was eclipsed by the war – only ten were built. Only 12 of the 314 flying boat were built. Only 56 of Boeing’s 377 pressurized airliner were built. Douglas proceeded to success with many DC-6 and DC-7 variants, and Lockheed produced several hundred of its Constellation Series of airliners then 170 of its troubled L-188 turboprop. Then came the 707 of course.

    • Actually, I’m right. If you look at the production numbers, on Boeing’s early passenger planes, they basically had zero market share. The Model 40 doesn’t count as a passenger plane – sitting on the mail sacks doesn’t cut it. Model 80, 12 planes. 247 – 10. 314, 12. 377, 56 and horrible operating economics. compare that to what Ford, Douglas, Lockheed, DE Haviland, Fokker, and the Short Brothers were selling in the commercial space. But you miss the point.

      Boeing best engineers in everything from materials science to avionics worked for the part of the company they started to dismantle as fast as they could after the merger. This is not to say that the talent in BCA wasn’t good. But, if you wanted a team to come up with a practical solution that other thought impossible, it was the defense engineering team that did it, and that organization simply doesn’t exist any more. That fancy technology that is in the 787 came from building stuff like the main bodies of the B-2 and F-22. And that startup in North Charleston, while eager, can’t even build that stuff to spec, let alone build it to spec at efficient production rates.

      Those clueless jerks that know nothing about the aerospace business that got control of the company have literally destroyed what once was. Building it back can be done, but it will be a multi-generational effort. And, it starts by realizing that in aerospace, speed comes from hiring the very best people, not the opposite. Just look at SpaceX for a current demonstration of that.

      • The mail planes were ‘the commercial planes of the 20s’. Real passenger only air planes didnt exist in US at that stage ( it was invented by Junkers). Boeing wasnt the leading business in that segment, I think it was Ford in the 20s.
        There was some crossover from military to commercial, but that came from after the mid 30s. Boeing was one of leaders in commercial field before then.

    • Walt Gillette was chief engineer on the 787. He did something that was extraordinary at the time. He retired before the program had its phony roll-out, which traditionally was when the factory turned a plane over to flight test and delivery. The only thing was, that it was an empty shell whose main body sections didn’t properly line-up with each other, and it was at least three years late when that had that phony roll-out they called a premier. So he retired in the middle of his program -totally unheard of, but smart given the mess he knew the program was in.

      At the premier event, the ANA CEO, during his remarks, turned to his left to face Mike Bair and the other Boeing execs on the stage, and in a flat and clearly angry voice said “And I look forward to ANA receiving its first 787 next April.” In short, was calling them all the liars they were right to their faces in the most public way he could, and they were too clueless to even be embarrassed by it. Folks should quit making excuses for these people.

  20. “Gundolf
    December 22, 2020
    Ups, it seems I have woken up a real hard core climate denialist. I’m really sorry for that, so please beg pardon to everybody.”

    Thanks for reinforcing the evidence that you are a j__rk incapable of debating, a smearer.

    Why will anyone listen to anything you have to say about aviation?

  21. The 757 used two engines–the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 which provided 37,000 to 43,000 lbf (160 to 190 kN) thrust and RB211-535 which initially provided 37,400 lbf (166 kN).

    The A320neo family uses the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G which provides thrust values between 24,000–35,000 lbf (110–160 kN).

    Rolls Royce in 2019 removed its Ultrafan from consideration for the 797/NMA airplane, saying that it could not meet the timeline for technology development.

    So I’m just wondering how the punditry thinks Boeing is going to develop a 757 replacement when there isn’t an engine in the size class to power it, and engine manufacturers are not in the financial position to develop one.

    • @Jeff: Remember, Boeing was promoting EIS for the NMA as 2025–something nobody believed possible, but that was their story and they were sticking to it. This is the timeline RR rejected.

      • Behind the scenes for P&W has a GTF power plant design ready to go.

        Not at all possible in the time line but not too far out either. 6 years maybe.

        RR has huge issues and the blade design of their engine is one they wold have to solve first.

        GE has not even started on a GTF.

        GE and PW would make an interesting collaboration.

        Sans something to put it on, no one can afford an engine by itself.

        Equally Boeing or Airbus wold have to commit to two engines as you cannot keep building on hope let alone the questions on the old engine model financials working.

        But we don’t have to worry about it, Boeing is not going to do anything and Airbus is in the drivers seat.

    • Any new aircraft at this stage would improved version of existing engines. But you would make sure future, projected engines also will fit.

      When the A320 was developped, engines like the V2500SF were under development. So space for high BPR engine was reserved, which paid off 30 years later.

      • Thank you, and good points Mr. Berner. The culture that came in with the MD merger was one of managers rigorously telling their superiors exactly what they wanted to hear. Truth was nowhere to be found. I am certain that this is why Walt Gillette retired before his plane was finished.

        The status charts we used to manage programs were called stoplight charts, with each item being shown as red, yellow, or green. There were a couple of nuances in the interpretations, but if you were on schedule, you would be either yellow or green. If you had a problem and not so much as a plan for a plan to fix it, we would call that flaming red. Well, the standard situation on the 787 program and basically everything else became one of everything being green all the time. The joke became that they were all watermelon charts – flaming red on the inside, and green on the outside.

        Every last one of the folks who emulated Harry and Prince Jim were imperious, self important jerks who couldn’t be told the truth, and if someone did try to speak-up, they got punished. Everything became a fairytale. Smile and make nice, and pretend everything is great. That’s the way the company is still run today. What the leaders want to believe absolutely must not be challenged, no matter how wrong they obviously are. And, they refuse to learn from experience, but rather just keep doubling down on what they want to believe, no matter how many times their nonsense gets them into trouble. T Wilson is turning in his grave. Brand management is about media relations and spin doctoring, not about executing quality products on time, and at least close to budget.

    • A fair question, but I think a better question is: why is a me-too 757 replacement is going to gain market share for Boeing *now*?

      I’m guessing Airbus is not sitting still while this transpires;
      and with a more up-to-date production structure and (importantly!) happier workforce..

      As said above by a commenter above, it’ll be interesting.

  22. ” It’s hard to transport wings over long distances, so composite wings would mean final assembly would need to be nearby, he added.”

    The 787 wing flies 8000 miles or so.

    And you could fly 4 757 wings in the same space.

    Airbus does it, its not the distance, its building it in one place and ferrying it to another. Distance is not the big factor.

    So yes, you could build the wings in Everett and fly them to Texas.

    What is attempted there is to drive a conclusion by false logic start point and take it where YOU want it to go. .

    Or if Boeing has decided to get out of Everett as it has all the hallmarks of, they just build a new facility and damn the cost.

    They have proven they can and will do that.

    Do they even want to build a new aircraft or just coast out of the business?

    • > Do they even want to build a new aircraft or just coast out of the business?

      Maybe the 737MAX and Boeing’s response to its two crashes already provided the answer to that question, and guessing a me-too 757 replacement is not going to provide a more reassuring one.

      • @Bill7

        I think it has been clear for some time now that Boeing is winding/closing down in the States, except for the DoD bits, if any of them work

        It may be given a second life somewhere else if WS finds it useful to finance this, but BA lost any autonomy any say in their future long ago

        • Don’t forget the vastly over budget NASA section and satellites.

          Sans BCA there is a lot to keep clunking along.

          • @TW

            Yes it’s clunky monkey Boeing – but does’nt DoD have to buy American if they want the toys to go on invading other countries or whatever

  23. The State of Washington is not business friendly. I believe the Carolinas will get this. Flexible government, smarter workers and non union. Hence, Boeing can keep better control.

    • The quality and production rate per plane for the 787 is way behind Everett. They even ‘dropped’ a fuselage section moving it around the hangar, and thats only the tip of the other quality problems.
      Your claims are just unsubstantiated hot air.

  24. If Boeing does indeed go ahead with the new airliner, it should consider building the aircraft in Everett, since there will be plenty of final assembly capacity after 747 production ends in 2022 and all 787 assembly will be in N. Charleston, SC. Assembling the jetliner in Everett makes more sense since Boeing already has everything it needs there to build it in the existing plant and would be far cheaper than building a completely new final assembly plant somewhere else such as Moses Lake or Spokane and it can also build the plane’s wings in the nearby wing assembly plant along with the 777X’s wings. Renton is too small because of the size of the airport, especially since 737 MAX production is restarting and Alaska Airlines recently placed a large order for 23 more 737-9s. Paine Field is far bigger than Renton Municipal Airport and has longer runways.

  25. If the cockpit on the 757 replacement is going to be the same cockpit on the eventual 737Max replacement, and many of the subsystems are going to overlap, then it would probably be better to start building at the top end of the NSA market than to start working now on a 737Max 7 size job. Despite all the history, BA has maybe 4000+ orders for the Max. The plane works, and is now safe, and by golly airlines do want it. That’s too much cabbage to leave on the table with all those -8 and -9 Maxes…

    • Airlines have ordered the MAX in large numbers and many were cancelled too. Also before Covid-19. The desert is full of good aircraft and airlines are not stumbling over each other to get their MAX’es. Contrary.

      Boeing is lucky if they are allowed to deliver most of their MAX backlog and need a good 737 replacement so airlines have the option to convert some orders.

      Reality must finally kick in in the Boeing community. Otherwise this might become a very depressing decade for them.

      • Keesje:

        Some want it and some happy to defer and some happy to cancel (or they are out of the business)

        The MAX though while safe as it used to be, is the past not the future.

        I have been depressed about Boeing since the 787 debacle rolled in and lingered onto the 747-8 and now the MAX (let alone KC-46 etc)

        I am well prepared for Boeing morphing out of the airline business.

        Writing was on the wall when management called the 787 a moonshot.

        The Moonshot was management trying to do something for nothing.

        Downhill before that but that was the moment of clarity. Its always someone else s fault not management.

        • Can’t dispute a word you gentlemen are saying. I’m just saying the longest model of a NSA is probably the best one to start on. Additionally, I think BA will deliver a fair amount of the Maxes because of the duopoly situation. Happy Holidays to All!

    • Boeing would dream to have like 4,000+ orders. Nope. According to Boeing’s fact sheet, there are about 3,400 backlog for the MAX.

      • Difference is the 600 removals due to ASC 606. But those are likely to be valid unless the market improves substantially.

  26. So a little “designing things that fly 101” …

    The many models that have to be considered for the mix of engines, weghts and balances, range, and mission profiles are numerous for every design. You absolutely do not start with the flight deck and build a plane around it. Generally, the tentpole around which the rest of the design hangs is the range of engines. That’s a huge challenge for the 737’s market.

    The overall trend in engine efficiency and design since the 1940’s has been for the relative engine core plus fan diameter to get larger. That rubs directly against having the plane perform well for smaller airports, where you want it low to the ground for the benefit of quickly rotating the content of the two cargo holds, fueling, and providing a built-in retractable air-stair option. Trying to force the new small airplane configuration into the same general outward configuration as a new mid-market plane, both of which would sell well, may not be possible, which would seem to indicate that getting a common flight deck would be a challenge at best.

    Perhaps, forgetting about the smaller end of the small airplane variants, and instead growing a good RJ into filling that niche makes more sense. This would seem to have been the thinking behind AB’s successful merger and Boeing’s failed one (Boeing ran out of the cash it needed to follow through with its deal).

    In any case, to execute well, one needs an engineer CEO who is committed to Theory Y or something like it. That isn’t going to happen until after the company goes completely bust, and the government takes it over for a restructure the way they did GM. BTW, has anyone paid any attention to the equity section of Boeing’s balance sheet over the past four years? About all that’s left is the company’s name, and soon, like International Harvester, they won’t even own that if things continue as they are. Maybe the name will end up as a division inside Lockheed or NG. Boeing has joined IH and Sears as another Chicago success story.

    • While what you present is true, its not mutually exclusive. Commercial success is market, fuselage, engines combo. But cockpits are an increasing issue and you can and should have a generic cockpit that cuts and pastes into new aircraft.

      We have reached the point where pilots are an issue both for quantity and quality. People paying to engage in an iffy career is a dying model.

      Snarfing up pilots from the military and having them get their tickets on the GI bill is a dying model.

      I go back a long ways on the automated pilot system as a critic, AF447 was the poster child for they are rife with flaws. I refer to it The Almond Joy of Aivation, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes yuou don’t.

      Airbus and then Boeing went with automation but theyu did not desing it, it happend. So you have bells, whitles, vocies that do not work and they know do not work but you hven little or no researh into what really does.

      So, at cruise, when your Pitot freeze up, there is an autmoated response (shoujld be a automi pilot resposne as well).

      85% power, 5 deg up attitude and you are good.

      Why was not the automation system deigned to do exactly that? Then a message shows up, Pitots inop, Frozen Pitot Mode engaged.

      No, you have crews who have done nothing for years who given a choice don’t remember basic piloting.

      No question it was pathetic training, but you had 3 experienced pilots who only got it way too late (or one of them did)

      Post analysis of those Pitot Freeze ups was that it was standard response by pilots to

      1. Pull up (that is so against pilot train and to be insane) – but its common (or was).

      2. Push down (makes more sense but not at 35k at cruise.

      In either case its, if we are cursing at 35k, the only thing that will stop our airspeed is a rock lined cloud.

      There are no rock lined clouds at 35k, we have a different issue. Even if there were rock line clouds, we are now dead, ergo, we are not dead, its something else.

      But as noted, automation can handle that if programed as well.

      Most crashes involve automation mistakes now. MAX being the latest though that was in the system not the pilot end.

    • The 757 narrow body and 767 wide body airplanes have a common flight deck, albeit a stuff into the narrower fuselage (overhead panel is somewhat different). Great view out the windshields, which are flat with curved side windows – like the DC-10.

      So I say they can be common, but perhaps not for a five-abreast airplane like Boeing could have had from Embraer.

      My concern is the notion of flight deck compatibility with the old 737 layout, especially the idea of downgrading the 757. Makes more sense to stretch the 737 again if you must keep that old flight deck, rewing it I suppose.

      Didn’t someone in Boeing recently point out the big difference in systems between the 757 and the 737NG?

    • Those of us who were long time Jeppesen employees know what it’s like to end up as a product name under the Boeing banner.

  27. The vast majority of MAX cancelations came after COVID-19, for obvious economic reasons. Boeing will clear their existing MAX inventory and build out their MAX order book. picking up some orders along the way, and perhaps losing some if poor market conditions continue.

    The 787 quality control issues are being cleared up. The 8 grounded aircraft have been repaired. Boeing is addressing those quality issues in their line and for new aircraft. They will be addressed for existing aircraft in heavy maintenance checks.

    The 777X is a wrong-sixed aircraft for the market post-COVID. Boeing will pursue certification at a slower rate until the market improves, and will probably build their existing orders. If the market never recovers, or is too slow to recover, they may go the way of the A380.

    The KC-46 is steadily reaching milestones. The aircraft certifications for pod and boom are complete, but will need to be confirmed with the new boom. They have begun overseas deployment, and are now deployed at the AF tanker school.

    KC-46 will receive the originally-proposed Collins vision system software enhancement. That will provide limited combat capability, until the new system arrives in 2022. That system may use collimated displays (like a flight simulator), to provide natural 3D vision without the 3D glasses and the problems that go with them.

    Starliner should fly again in the spring with overhauled software and more complete testing, similar to the MAX. SLS will undergo full launch hot-fire testing of the core stage next month, then be prepared for the first Artemis mission that will send Orion to the moon. Whether that will remain the goal depends on the new administration. Congress has not fully funded the lunar lander program.

    • > The KC-46 is steadily reaching milestones.

      And the KC-46 is a long play. Boeing knew they were underbidding, and would take losses for some time. The current 2 billion overrun is only 4% of the program cost for the first 179 tankers.

      And it is a captive market, the airforce has almost 400 KC-135’s aging out so there will be a follow on program for Boeing.

      • The KC-Y program will be another competition between Boeing and Airbus for an even larger tanker contract. It will be interesting to see the specs and whether they favor KC-46 or MRTT. One spec that is known in advance is automated refueling. Airbus is working on this and the new Boeing RVS will be automation-ready.

        Boeing got caught out bid-wise by the degree to which the KC-767 specs did not meet US requirements, both civil and mil-spec. Also the shift of the vision system from HMD to flat-screen. Assuming those are all resolved before KC-Y, Boeing should be in good position to compete.

        The Air Force has said the KC-Y contract will be more forgiving on development cost sharing than the KC-46 was. They concluded the KC-46 was too restrictive in forcing Boeing to accept unexpected development costs.

        In the next year, KC-46 will also receive ABMS and defensive packages. These will boost its value considerably.

        • This is a totally absurd analysis. Boeing had been building tankers profitably and on or ahead of schedule for decades. It’s a substandard plane that can’t perform the mission. Let’s take the plane first.

          In the late 90s, at the same time the early work on the 20xx new airplane family was proceeding, the first of which was the 767 replacement (i.e. the 787), there was a temporary program to significantly improve the 767. It was called Stretch 2000, and produced the slightly longer -400. However, the two really big improvements were a new wing, and better engines. The original tanker program bid using that new and more efficient wing on a conventional -200 sized plane. That would have given the Air Force a plane with greater range, or on-station performance. It was a great product. But, one of the GE execs, (Mike Sears) got caught essentially bribing the chief procurement officer by promising her and her kids cush jobs once she (Darlene Druyan) gave Boeing the contract and retired. So, the program was deferred and the initial lease to own order was cancelled. Lacking commercial customers, a reconfiguration of the Everett factory to make room for the 787 created a situation in which the 767 line was running out the back door, but there wasn’t enough room for a plane with the new wing to fit around the building on what was the materiel handling road, so while the tooling to still build the improved plane exists, the rebid was for the inferior 1980s winged plane. That by itself is super embarrassing and disgraceful. The mission avionics situation is worse.

          The whole point of the remote visioning system was absolutely not an improvement in mid-air refueling mission performance. Anyone that has drunk that Kool Aid simply doesn’t know what they are talking about. Rather, it was an el-cheapo concept that Boeing sold the Air Force into writing into the spec, even though the technology was, at best, theoretical. It was all about avoiding the moderately expensive modification to the aft pressure bulkhead to install the boom operator’s station. When you do that you also have to modify the lower section 48 structure so it can be pressurized. The idiots from GE asked if some engineers who didn’t know the plane if they could come up with a way to avoid that so reduce the cost of the modification, and thus the RVS concept was born. Well gee, it doesn’t quite work. Here’s why.

          There are two problems, one dealing with the most challenging mission profile, and the other dealing with where they RVS operator’s station is located in the plane.

          The mission it can’t perform, and likely never will deals with a lights out refueling of a stealth aircraft on the border of hostile airspace. Stealth technology is in part, about developing coatings that do not reflect any waves in the RF spectrum, including light. DUH!!! the RVS system needs light. So what they setup was an engineering war between the RVS developers and the stealth coatings developers, and the stealth folks are ahead and likely will continue to be ahead. So gee, it doesn’t work for those missions, even though the antique KC-133 (the real Boeing 717’s by the way) can do it.

          Ok, then there is the position of the RVS operator’s station, which is just ahead of the center wing box, facing aft. When the plane moves with any yaw or pitch, the sensations felt by the boom operator are all wrong with regard to the way the boom itself is moving. Literally, their inner ear and stomach are telling them to nudge the controls one way, when the boom is moving another way. So yeah, if broad daylight with clear air and no turbulence it works just fine. If you want to ferry planes that have inadequate range from one place to another, it’s ok. But, if you want to support something like the Persian Gulf conflicts, the plane is a useless piece of junk, from a mission performance point of view.

          But, the jerks from GE keep insisting that they can fix it, and they have been able to use their lobbying to get the procurement folks in DC to go along with that nonsense. The old Boeing, could fix the existing planes so it could at least they could do the tough missions in probably three or four months for the first one, and the a couple weeks each for all of the others. But first, the fools running the place would have to come to god and be honest about the situation, and actually care about eh air crews with a job to do. They don’t, and they are penny pinching, intellectually dishonest folks in the first place, who know nothing about the business they are running, so that won’t happen. They should also quit building the inferior plane, reconfigure the factory so the 40-23 bay is available for a 767 final assembly bay, and build the better plane configuration. But, they won’t admit that they’ve done something they shouldn’t have on that score either.

          So quit making excuses for the most embarrassing tanker program in the history of the Air Force. The whole thing is dishonest disgrace.

          • @Craig Dupler

            “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

          • Craig, I believe your analysis is substantially incorrect, and may reflect your bias against Boeing, that is obvious from your many other similar comments here.

            The KC-46 did get an updated wing from the KC-767. The main difference is that the winglets were eliminated from the new wing as not being suitable for the refueling mission.

            “The KC-767 Advanced Tanker offered for this KC-X round was based on the in-development 767-200LRF (Long Range Freighter), rather than the -200ER on which Italian and Japanese KC-767 aircraft are based, differing by combining the -200ER fuselage, -300F wing, gear, cargo door and floor, -400ER digital flight deck and flaps, uprated engines, and fly-by-wire fuel delivery boom.”

            The RVS was a requirement from the Air Force, exists also on the MRTT, which also has eliminated the aft refueling position. The RVS can operate in non-visible light conditions, that was one of the benefits. Night vision could be done via the standard goggles in the old design, or with better resolution via RVS. You shouldn’t mistake the design errors made by Collins, for the state of the art or of the technology. The Air Force will get the state of the art in RVS 2.0.

            It’s abundantly clear that the Air Force knows exactly what they want, and won’t accept less. Hence the cost overruns in the fixed cost KC-46 program. The notion that your opinion is superior to theirs, is one that is frequently expressed here. The Air Force is solidly behind the KC-46, despite the delays and issues, most of which either have been resolved, or have resolution in the pipeline.

            Boeing plans to submit the KC-46 for the KC-Y program, and has been encouraged by the Air Force to do so. Whether or not it wins will be determined by suitability to mission, as opposed to the MRTT offering. But your negative assessment is not representative of real world development.

          • Well said Craig!
            It’s always good to expose fake news!
            Boeing hasn’t a single recent airline program that hasn’t been a defect-ridden laughing stock.

          • Yes Rob, Boeing Management is like a dog walker, always cleaning up.

            Clearly you can’t discern the difference between machinery and organic life.

            A good example though of how the education system has failed America.

            As a bad example of reasoning or facts or even logic, its a classic.

            Was it not Neville Chamberlain who pounced, Peace in Our Time, just before the excrement hit the fan and WWII erupted?

          • Bryce:

            Its terribly unfair to bring facts to a discussion with Rob.

            He may well blow a denialism gasket and then how would you feel?

          • TW, again you are invited to provide facts to backup your statements, or to refute mine.

            Without factual statements, we are left with your opinion, and continuing ridicule of those who do provide facts. We know well why people resort to ridicule as a substitute for evidence.

          • Whats this talk of GE this and GE that for the KC-46 tanker….the engines used by the USAF for this model are PW4000 series

          • @ TW
            Merry Christmas up there in Alaska 🎅

            Regarding your astute comment: he always says that one should “look at the facts”, so I’m really just helping him to see the light 😏

          • Interesting, but your blast has a gap about refueling stealth – the 767 is not stealthy, is your point about refueling in darkness, without lights? Rear-looking radar needed, as British bombers had in WW II?

            As for the boom operator’s station with remote vision, could it be moved to the rear of the pressurized area? Access with rear full of cargo could be a problem, unless there’s room overhead center for a lay-down trolley as Pacific Western Airlines used for its cattle-carrying 707s.

            (So loadmaster could check on animals, and open rear door on the ground if the in-window valve and blower were not enough. Best animal service in the sky at the time, we’d get calls from all over the world asking about our super special system, which was really basic common sense integrated. There’s obscure history for you. 😉

        • I don’t Airbus is interested to bid on the KC-Y. They learned their lesson. It’s not about the best tanker. Better not waste energy, Boeing will get it anyway.

          • Two small corrections. One is that I do not have a bias against Boeing. I loved the company I worked for, for nearly 31 years. I have an extreme and visceral disdain for the people who stripped it of its assets and destroyed it. Compare the results of their management approach to the one that the pre-merger culture had, and the results speak for themselves. The GE crap is simply indefensible.
            On the 767 wing improvements that were made as a part of the Stretch 2000 program, it was more than just the 777-200 LR and -300ER wing tips being added. I’m not sure what all of the mods were to make it perform better, but the wing majors tooling pair that produced them was modified from those of the previous models. That implies some significant structural upgrades. Somebody who is more familiar with the drawings would have to weigh in on that.
            Look, I would very much like to see the company brought back from its death spiral. But to do that, the first thing that has to happen is to acknowledge that it is in one, and stop doing all of the things that have been killing it. Every last thing the Welch acolytes have been preaching has been proven to be nonsense, as evidenced by the results they have achieved. At some point, 22+ years of failed performance ought to be enough to convince even the most thick headed that just maybe that crap doesn’t work.

          • Indeed.
            Just like the “cooked” MAX re-cert farce that came to light in last week’s Senate report, the result of such a bidding procedure is a foregone conclusion.

          • In the interest of truth and facts, the MAX certification was not “cooked”. This was a claim from a political report that was dismissed by all that paid any attention to the true process that unfolded, with an objective mind. But repeated by the anti-maxxers in accordance with the methods I’ve given previously, and for which we have such an excellent example in the White House.

            With regard to Airbus and the KC-Y program, they have allied with Lockheed and have signaled their intention to bid as a consortium. So we will have another runoff between the KC-46 and the MRTT.

  28. It seems Airbus is discussing new NB engines with GE.

    Not cashing, capitalizing on it’s huge backlog, weak competition and succesfull A220/A320,. Not hiding behind Covid-19, lack off game changing technology, but investing in next generation technology to meet future requirements.

    Probably an unneccessary waste of free cash flow to others.

    • Both Boeing and Airbus have regular ongoing discussions with airlines and engine makers about potential applications. One came to light for Boeing not long ago, this one came to light due to a lawsuit. Most don’t see the light of day, as the article correctly points out.

      • Obviously PW has a geared fan engine. It has been reported that RR was in development to bring a higher thrust (widebody) engine to market with a proprietary gearbox that was pretty cool. The question in this article for me, how far along is GE in bringing their own geared engine to market?

        • I have yet to see any GE test work let alone something viable. Any work being done is very small and at best to get an idea how it works and what they would have to shoot for to try to beat.

          P&W was approached by Airbus apparently for a new engine in the A330/A350 class.

          I don’t know if it was a backup for the Trent 7000 or prior to that.

          P&W clearly will have a number of paper designs for an A330/787 class to the A350 class.

          I doubt 777 as breaking into that is all but impossible.

          RR has a test setup but not a pre production engine (which makes sense as there is no aircraft to currently put it on) – they have test articles.

          • What’s the next new engine we see go into service? Some possibilities,
            -a new geared engine on a 787neo or A350neo in 2030 by PW or RR
            -a geared GE, RR, or PW 30K engine on a 737/A320 replacement in 2035
            -a PW GTF uprgraded 40K engine on a 757 replacement in 2030
            -a geared 50K engine on an NMA

  29. How can you say “Boeing should build plane xy” without taking a single look at the market?

    Then, where’s the technology coming from? How do you build that plane? is there an engine available, that gives a new design an edge over existing ones?
    How do you build the fuselage? AL or all composite?
    How much can a clean sheet 230 and 260 pax over 5000nm plane gain over existing A321neo?

    These are the main questions, and any quality article should discuss these. Otherwise, it’s as much high-quality journalism as Boeings planes are high quality, with their inbuild self inflammation or nose into the ground attitude.

    Whatever Washington state needs, or if and where Boeing has wholes in their product line.
    Main questions are:
    Is there a market, and can you address that market with a good, better, more efficient airplane?
    With about 3400 Orders for the A321neo and another 700 for Max 9 and 10 there’s a market, but will it still exist and be addressable at a favorable cost at the end of the decade?
    When Airbus is able to sell its A321neo for another 6 – 7 years this EIS for a B757 successor will be?

    And what kind of technology shall give a new B757 an edge? Major tech advances are not expected to happen till design freeze (in 23/24 for EIS in 27), there’s no new engine available.
    Any recent clean-sheet design takes about 6-7 years, so we talk about studies 21/22, design freeze in 23 earliest, first flight late 25, EIS in 27.

    Does Boeing have the money now, and the capabilities after recent failures?

    There are so many questions open, especially with the Max and B777x.
    I doubt Boeing is doing anything soon, but restructuring their civil aircraft business.

    • Agree with Sash. To be honest I think Boeing put the NMA business case to bed, after trying for 6 years in a booming business environment. No need to put on a defibrillator.

      What about something 10-15% more efficient than the NEO around 150-200 seats?

      A 5200NM, 260 seats, all carbon 757 from 2028. I can hear the bottles popping in Toulouse..

      “The Street” wants it, what’s that?! The guys who believed, boosted, steered Boeing into hitting the wall? What about asking the airlines. Richard A, Kevin M aren’t paid to howl with the wolves / locals.

      • @Keesje

        Boeing is bust, no cash big debt, assets…well ….a park in Renton anyone?

        Ask the airlines? The airlines are busted one and all, on various forms of temporary life support, drowning in debt

        Bad market is probably to continue for a few years

        WS has the whiphand – BA sold themselves some time ago – where else are they going to find money, and why would WS give them any

        Does Boeing look like it has a plan? Does anyone think it, BA management, has any credibility – maybe on WS they can use it for a pump and dump or two, but apart from that….

  30. It would seem there is a moderator intervention with respect to @Keith Sketchley put on lights out refueling that I received a reply notification about, but I’ll respond anyway. There isn’t very much that is unclassified regarding the 22nd Air Refueling Wing’s SOAR group. Every once in a while, they do a small publicity piece. These are the people the GE folks have been letting down with the tanker program. In anything you build for the military, the requirements are driven by the most difficult mission profile. The rest is just a gimme. When it comes to areal refueling ops, the SOAR team at McConnell has the toughest job anyone will talk about at all. It’s easy to coddle these GE jerks when you don’t have to go and do what these folks do. But clearly, it’s long past the time when we should have replaced their antique equipment just because a bunch of jerks in Chicago have been allowed to asset strip Boeing and haven’t the ability to admit they are ever wrong about anything. Here is a link to one of the pieces about the SOAR group.

    • Just to clarify, the cited article makes clear that the KC-46 will eventually take up the SOAR role. The RVS 2.0 system is needed before that can happen. Night-ops training began in May 2020. The defensive package that is coming includes electronic countermeasures for IR and RF guided missiles.

      The KC-46 capability is now 3 years behind schedule, it was supposed to be operational in 2017. 4 years behind when full capability with the new boom and vision system are included.

      Boeing is responsible for almost all of that delay, the only exception being the new boom that the Air Force requested outside the contract. The KC-10 derived boom had difficulty spanning the largest to smallest receiver aircraft, due to differing aerodynamics and stiffness issues. The Air Force first had Boeing modify the boom under the contract, then decided to go with a new design that exceeds the contract specs.

      • Wasnt it a complete new boom from the start using new technology for a ‘fly by wire’ for the boom control surfaces.
        The later issue as I understand it was the the telescopic action was OK for extending out but the receiving plane would make contact and push against the boom to to lock in the joint and the boom was too stiff for some small planes like the A10/F35 etc but Ok for larger transports and bombers. The stiffness wasnt defined in the spec so that the USAF had to pay to get what it wanted.

        • The original boom was derived from the KC-10 but adapted to fly-by-wire technology. The first problem found was that it was difficult to negotiate the bow wave of very large receiver aircraft, Boeing did extensive studies of the aerodynamics of the tanker & boom & receiver aircraft combination, made several modifications to the boom, and overcame that problem. That was all done at Boeing’s expense.

          Then they found the stiffness issue you mentioned, with light aircraft. The KC-46 is a much smaller aircraft than the KC-10, for the boom to push against on connection. To overcome the stiffness, the receiver aircraft sometimes had to apply throttle during connection, which was unnecessarily risky. Boeing found the boom met the contract specs, so the Air Force paid to change the specs for another redesign. That boom is still forthcoming, however they were able to practice and conditionally certify the KC-46 with all the intended receiver aircraft.

          • The KC-10 boom , with digital fly by wire tech operated from a rear belly position- seated normally no longer prone- was designed by McDonnell Douglas before the Boeing merger.
            I would presume the engineers and suppliers are no longer around ( the contract was awarded in late 70s) and Boeing and its supplier Smiths had to start from scratch for the KC767 on CAD with maybe a reference to the original ‘blueprint’ drawings if they could be found? Maybe this was the source of that programs financial hole for Boeing

  31. What they should have done was build the better plane, with the conventional boom system first, and add the RVS system once it could work for the mission, assuming it ever does work. Remember, stealth coating tech keeps getting better. You go to war with the army you have. What you don’t do is sit on your butt making a system that you think will be better while you are getting shot at. The mission as it exists today has to come first. The old Boeing simply would not have done something like this. And it was soem folks in Boeing who were not associated with the legacy tanker programs that talked the Air Force into the requirements by claiming they could do it, when all they had was a theory.

    I could provide some exact quotes, but I’m not sure they would clear the release requirements. There is just no defending this lack of performance in practically every program in the company, whether it’s commercial, defense, or space. Everyplace you look they’ve made a complete mess of things.

    • Out of the question. There was no crewman in a belly pod manipulating wires and rods and electric motors by looking out a small window under the tail. The boom controller sits in the cockpit with the pilots.

      Its like saying lets build a mechanical plane controls with analogue feel and so on and then later change it too a full fly by wire to see if we get it right or not.
      Its a management failure with a captive client on a underbid contract.

      • Have to remember that Boeing had already done all these things with the KC-767 tanker for Italian and Japanese air forces. The KC-46 would be a new aircraft using upgraded versions of those technologies. The bid reflected this prior development work. No captive client involved.

        Then they immediately ran afoul of the greater US regulations, both civilian and mil-spec. The Air Force rejected many of the KC-767 designs as lacking redundancy, separation, and ability to withstand battle damage. So that led to extensive redesign.

        Then the wing fuel pods & system from Cobham could not meet the FAA regulations for civilian certification as transport aircraft, which was required for the mission. So again a redesign of the in-wing fuel lines and separation of KC-46 wing tanks & fuel system from the tanker system. Plus extensive certification work from Cobham, who had not done this in the US before.

        Then the boom issues as discussed above. Then the RVS issues in moving from the helmet-mounted display of the KC-767, which has separate eyepieces and good stereo vision, to the 3D flat-screen displays with special glasses.

        Collins developed a video simulation system for RVS evaluation and testing, even publishing those results as highly successful. But that simulation did not adequately capture bright & dim conditions (high & low video contrast), and also did not provide for operator sensing of boom-hull contacts
        (reported automatically by the simulation). Thus the unacceptable results in Air Force testing.

        To make matters worse, Collins and Boeing argued that statistically there were no more contacts than with the earlier systems. And that software could adapt for lighting conditions. Although that was partially true, the Air Force rejected that as well. They went directly to Calhoun and he formed a panel of independent outside vison experts, who then devised RVS 2.0. Although the Collins software upgrade will be used in the interim, so not a complete waste.

        The arguing was characteristic of Mullenberg, on the MAX as well. Calhoun has done better with acknowledging fault and working with others to overcome the problems.

        The other KC-46 problems were minor in comparison to these. The cargo latch was a simple mechanical fix. The inter-liner fuel leaks were an assembly issue and quickly addressed. The FOD problems were on the assembly line and mainly an attitudinal issue.

        No question there were management failures and mistakes made. As the Air Force says, the program has been “troubled”. But they are through the worst of it and have a better relationship now. The Air Force will get the tanker they wanted.

        Lastly the Air Force has acknowledged that the fixed-cost contract played a role. It saved a ton of money but it left no means for negotiation of changing needs and schedules. They will not go back to cost-plus, but they’ve given examples of fixed-cost with greater provisions for equitable sharing of unexpected development costs. Those occur on all large defense contracts. They don’t want to be arguing with the vendor, they want to be able to incentivize. They are shooting for the Goldilocks contract on the KC-Y program.

        • USAF was a captive client once they signed the contract with a lot of ‘promised’ new tech. Any airline would have cancelled at a 12 month delay let alone 3 years.
          The KC767 with 4 planes each for Japan and Italy was a financial disaster for Boeing. In the big scheme of things the KC46 is fine and hasnt had major structural issues like other large planes for USAF from the C130 to C5 and C17.

          • All contracts are captive within the scope of their terms. Studies of US defense programs show that more than half of those involving development experience delays of 3 years or more. Only 5% complete within the original timeframe. 10% have delays great enough to result in cancellation of the program.

        • I think the Cobham drogue wing pod issue not meeting FAA rules was because Boeing never ‘told them’ till too late.
          There were 2 types of drogues, a center line fixed system and optional wing pods containing the drogue and equipment, all controlled by the cockpit based operator. I think the drogue itself was some level of ‘flyable’ and not just streaming.

          • Agreed Boeing is ultimately responsible for systems integration. But in this case it’s clearly documented that Cobham botched the civilian certification. They didn’t have prior experience with the process. Also the FAA made them make changes to the fuel system for transport certification.

  32. I think the USAF compared tested and contracted the MRTT with it’s advanced systems and capability before it was overturned by congress.

    Since then the MRTT was sold to a dozen air forces & the USAF uses, sees it all over the world, in the air, on the ground. That probably ups the bar.

    • The MRTT was over-sized for the mission profile defined for KC-X. So EADS approached the Air Force with mission modifications that allowed the MRTT to better meet the profile. The Air Force accepted those mods and the MRTT won. But that was a violation of procurement rules, so the award was tossed out and the process reset.

      In the next KC-X round, the Air Force could have altered the mission profile with the EADS mods from the beginning, which would have been legal, but they did not. Once EADS saw that, they withdrew.

      For KC-Y, there has been criticism of retiring the KC-10, a role for which the MRTT is more suitable than the KC-46. So it will be interesting to see how the Air Force defines the mission this time around.

      Ostensibly the goal is to replace the KC-135 fleet, so that will be a large component, but there may be more openness toward a larger tanker. Perhaps it will be structured to permit a mix.

      I don’t think there is any question of the MRTT’s validity, it will just depend on the defined missions and roles.

      • Rewriting history?

        A feel-good story is fabricated and wrapped around the shame full 3 tanker selection processes and how it ended up.

        Size wasn’t a restriction from the requirements and it isn’t for the USA or any of the MRTT user. It was brought up by the Boeing team, later included to make them win (3rd round: meeting minimum specs at minimum costs). I think everybody knows, most accepted and put it to rest, it’s a done deal.

        Maybe they never should have put up a competition if only one local contender was allowed to win.

        That said the KC46, if done right, seems be a good tanker-transport, efficient, good cargo capability. But every tanker competition since then was won by the MRTT. Now Boeing avoids getting into these tanker competitions..

        Back to topic, there seems to be space for a super efficient medium capacity – range aircraft, but it would mean Boeing getting kicked around the room in the huge (80%) NB segment for another decade. And that sounds like a real bad idea.

        • Just the factual events as they happened. Documented in the ruling of the Government Accounting Office. One correction, EADS did not withdraw, their partner Northrup-Grumman did.

          Selecting the MRTT would have meant rebuilding some facilities that were too small for it. Also the mission as defined called for lesser refueling capacity than the MRTT offered. That did not mean it couldn’t or wouldn’t work, as EADS successfully demonstrated to the Air Force. But nothing was invented as a reason.

          • GAO = congress. I would be unfair to suggest they are independent.

          • No, that’s incorrect. GAO is an independent investigative and watchdog agency that reports on all government activities to the public. Similar to an inspector general. Responsible for settling procurement disputes. Not an elected body like Congress, not subject to political influence.

          • GAO is congress and investigates if congress get’s it their way. They also looked at aircraft certification, delegation and the need to streamline speed up aircraft certification.

            It was released just before the first 737MAX crash and the GAO report shows GAO were either incapable, blinded or following a congress agenda. A report congress / GAO wants to forget:


            Reading, it’s a bloody shame. An incredible testament of what was happening between politics, industry & regulators in the USA.

            Everybody is free to defend their employer, industry, favorite national champions. But if it starts normalizing half truths, leaving out what doesn’t fit, attacking the messengers, generalizing & groupthink, you become a risk for your employer, nation. IMO a dark legacy of a government voted out.

        • Keesje, these are your opinions only. The GAO report you cite is factually correct, is not a cause for shame or regret. The GAO s not a political body.

          You are free to conclude from it what you will. But the agenda you constantly push here is not based on the facts, it’s based on your own beliefs, which sustain your own personal views.

          This is referenced in the new FAA legislation, which does not abolish the systems you claim to be so corrupt. It strengthens the hand of the FAA and provides them with more resources. It enhances those systems. That is a good and positive thing.

          As Dickson said, all systems can be improved, but the potential for improvement does not imply the existing system is corrupt. That conclusion is drawn by people for their own reasons.

          • I damn well hope Congress, GOA and FAA take the lessons learned from the severe mistakes made on certification reform & corrupted process leading to reports like this. If not,
            that would be extremely worrying. Blindness for mistakes prevents honesty
            openess and improvement.

            I hope that is not your agenda, Rob.

  33. In other news-

    FCC sale of bandwidth threatens altimeters?

    “Once 5G telecommunications are introduced in the 3.7-3.98 portion of the band, there is a ‘major risk’ that those systems will create ‘harmful interference’ to radar altimeters, according to an October study from the RTCA, a trade organization that works with the FAA to develop safety standards.”

    « « As Covid-19 continued to surge across America, its death toll close to 326,000 by Thursday morning, 84.5 million US residents were expected to travel around Christmas and New Year, directly flouting public health officials’ repeated warnings that such travel could worsen the pandemic yet further. » »

    An aviation site wishes to examine ways that the industry might recover – but one assumes that the kind of recovery as noted above is not one which will satisfy many

    As far as I know testing of airtravelers in the US is less than rudimentary – as quoted in the reports of the passenger who died apparently of covid on a Continental plane recently, the TSA infamous for inefficiency, apply intuition as a test and ask passengers how they are feeling (quote)

    Is there an explanation for the determined pursuit by the authorities of various lockdown distancing measures on the ground, even if ineffective, yet next to nothing (just as ineffective) in the plane ?

    As far as international airtravel is concerned the US has imposed PCR testing on incoming, yet PCR testing is notoriously in accurate, and has been condemned as such widely even in the US

    Why is there such confusion failure & to administer any effective ‘measures’, and why is this invariably followed by indignant scorn that the public distrust disbelieve and disobey, or is indulgence in indignance the purpose, despite the large numbers of sick and dying

    • @ Gerrard
      Interesting issue regarding 5G…I hadn’t heard of that potential problem before. Also interesting that the problem was first raised by the military, and only thereafter by the FAA and DoT…no surprises there 😉

      As regards irresponsible mass travel and flouting of rules: did you ever have — at school or university — an inept teacher who was just largely ignored by the class? That’s part of what’s going on here: there’s such a structureless hodge podge of half-baked, constantly-changing, mutually contradictory, ineffective rules that an increasing number of people are losing faith in CoViD mitigation officials and are just ignoring them — particularly people under 40, who statistically have little to worry about from this virus. You could call it CoViD fatigue…though perhaps CoViD disdain would be more descriptive.

      As regards re-normalization of air travel: things are going backward rather than forward. Japan closed its borders today to all non-nationals, after detecting the new UK variant in the country. Domestic air traffic from/to NSW in Australia has come to a halt. The Shunyi district of Beijing is experiencing an outbreak and has entered a “wartime state, requiring all residents to undergo testing”, the state-owned China Daily reported on Saturday (Reuters). Montenegro Airlines is ceasing operations, due to lack of state aid. It’s unknown to what extent vaccines will stop infection/transmission (to date, it has only been shown that they reduce symptom severity). It doesn’t look rosy for aviation, does it?

      • @Bryce

        Thanks for international update on travel problems : I did see some photos of Sydneysiders on the beaches, looks like they’ve had it with lockdown and ‘measures’

        As for the US regulation as we might call it of covid – I still wonder why it is so chaotic and so dumb

        There was a long discussion here about making planes safe to fly, and lots of serious sounding initiatives and statistics from airlines, even the DoD invested a couple of bucks

        The end result is this nothing ? Not just the dead man who walked onto a plane as per link, which has excited about zero coverage, but the TSA tell us how you are attitude to testing, and then the PCR thing

        I’m sure I am aware of only a very few of the stupidities – yet the discussion as posted here gave me the impression it was a report on aviation industry practices being put into place in the US

        What happened ? as per general US reaction to this virus, the country just collapsed

        It is painful/boring to read the PR of the great heroic effort made to ‘combat’ this deadly plague (they charge no additional fees for extra colourful language) – all lies

      • “Outbreak” in Beijing …. “wartime effort” … according to Reuters?? Nope. Can’t find any recent Reuters report containing words above.

        From r/t Jon Ostrower of the Air Current:

        From AP Dec 26
        Two cases and another two asymptomatic cases were discovered in Beijing. Testing is conducted in the neighborhoods and workplaces where cases were found.

        Boeing is hiring up to 160 pilots to be embedded at airlines. The new “Global Engagement Pilots” will act as instructors or cockpit observers. It is part of a Boeing campaign to re-launch its 737 MAX. “Duties include: consulting activities and assist in customer support”

        The strategy also includes 24/7 surveillance of flights globally and *talking points* for flight attendants to reassure passengers.

        A war room is set up at Seal Beach, Ca. to handle “real-time fleet monitoring” for “rapid issue resolution”.

        Boeing also produces documents the carriers will use to discuss safety with passengers. *But the inclusion of language about “shared accountability” led to delays and irked some airlines.* indonesian investigators have said Boeing failed to grasp risks in the design of cockpit software on the MAX, sowing the seeds for a 2018 crash.

        • Boeing is wise to do these things. Also the complete last quote is:

          “Indonesian investigators have said Boeing failed to grasp risks in the design of cockpit software on the MAX, sowing the seeds for a 2018 crash …

          … that also involved errors by airline workers and crew. U.S. regulators cleared the MAX last month.”

        • @Pedro

          Thank you for the report about the Boeing initiatives to surveil flights ‘globally 24/7’ and to instruct flight attendants how to reassure passengers

          The war room language is a most welcome sign that this time it’s for real

          This is a bright ray of hope is an otherwise very cloudy aviation sky

          • AP:
            China has reported seven new cases of coronavirus infection in Beijing, where authorities have ordered the testing of hundreds of thousands of residents.

            Cases have been clustered largely in villages on Beijing’s northeastern edge, but authorities are wary of any spread in the capital that could hurt claims it has all-but contained local spread of the virus.

            City authorities have already urged residents not to leave the city during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays. China has canceled big gatherings such as sports events and temple fairs. Cinemas, libraries and museums operate at 75% capacity. The government is also discouraging business trips.


            “Beijing went into “emergency response mode” on Wednesday after 13 cases were detected in the capital city in 10 days, including the first local infections in 152 days. Beijing has reported nine local cases in less than a week.

            Among the five confirmed cases and one asymptomatic infection reported over the weekend, all are migrant workers living in Nanfaxin township, in the city’s northeastern Shunyi district near Beijing Capital International Airport.

            The district has more than a million residents, nearly half of whom are not locals. Most have blue-collar jobs.

            The latest wave of local infections began when a 34-year-old man in Shunyi, surnamed Fu, tested positive for the virus. When his test results came back early on Wednesday morning, Fu was on a business trip to Ningbo, nearly 1,400km (870 miles) from home – and just three days before he was due to take his graduate school exam, according to his travel records released by the Beijing government.

            The details of Fu’s travails struck a chord with many people, particularly those living in Beijing, by casting a spotlight on the hard life of a typical working father in the city.

            On Tuesday, he took a coronavirus test, as required for every exam taker, and flew to Ningbo in the afternoon before he was confirmed to have been infected.

            “This is typical life in Beijing,” said a netizen on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging service. “While it is common to work hard for a better life, the long commuting time is unbearable. That’s why I left Beijing two years ago.”

            Other shared itineraries also offered glimpses into the working lives of men and women in Beijing. A 31-year-old man living in Shunyi, whose infection was confirmed on Saturday, spent his days working at a trading company while also holding down a night shift at a delivery transfer station for courier firm SF Express. […..]

        • @Pedro
          Interesting that Boeing feels that it needs to place an extra “consulting” or “assisting” pilot in the cockpit of one of its products.
          I haven’t heard of any other airframer doing this — certainly not Airbus, ATR or Embraer, and no rumors of it at COMAC or Irkut either. Is the MAX such a an un-flyable piece of junk that it requires a third set of eyes in the cockpit in order to keep it in the air?

          • Neither is it normal for the regulators to require mandatary pilot training in standard recovery procedures, as a condition of airworthiness. But necessary given the results of pilot testing in the wake of the accidents.

            This is a continuation of that theme, an will give Boeing insight into pilot checks and performance that will help to guide future development, as the article points out. Also will serve as a predictive model for higher risk in some parts of the word.

            Congress has mandated in the recent legislation that FAA take a broader role in assisting other CA’s in providing necessary rigor in pilot training, to help promote aviation safety. The 737 has a worldwide market and so is a good testbed for those efforts.

          • @ Pedro
            Seeing as the pilots in Asia/Africa are perfectly capable of flying 737 NGs (LionAir has 187 NGs), why is it that such extra measures are required for the MAX? Is the plane so unstable relative to an NG?

          • The recovery issues found in the pilot training can be carried out in NG simulators. All MAX pilots also have an NG rating. So this effectively covers the NG as well.

          • You completely missed the point — I suspect intentionally.
            I’ll repeat it using simpler syntax:
            How come NG pilots don’t need a babysitter in the cockpit to prevent the plane from going down, whereas the same pilots — when put in a MAX — do require a babysitter? The only logical answer is because the MAX has a serious instability relative to an NG…as, otherwise, the NG pilots would be perfectly able to fly a MAX without supervision.

          • All recovery procedures are backwards compatible to the NG. All MAX pilots are also NG pilots. So doing this for the MAX, also covers the NG.

            The Boeing pilots will not be on every flight (only 160 worldwide), so the assertion that they are required is, as usual, false and incorrect. They will act as instructors and observers as needed. That can only be a benefit.

            Monitoring of the MAX flights provides insights on pilot skills that also apply to the NG, and can help to discover the kinds of pilot issues that arose in the accident flights.

          • You missed the point again…and, again, one suspects that it was deliberate.
            Babysitters were never needed at all for the NG…at no time, and in no part of the world. Now, all of a sudden, Boeing feels that 180 babysitters are necessary for the MAX…despite the fact that simulator training will be a re-certification prerequisite for all MAX pilots. One can only conclude that Boeing is afraid that more MAXs will fall from the sky if Boeing doesn’t sent a team of babysitters out into the fleet: why, otherwise, would they be needed? Perhaps to drum into pilots to “keep the finger on the pickle” as per the cooked re-certification flights highlighted in the Senate report?

            This is so hilarious — and concurrently such wholesale recklessness — that it defies belief.

          • @Rob: “Neither is it normal for the regulators to require mandatary pilot training in standard recovery procedures, as a condition of airworthiness.”

            So true. Neither were Boeing’s hiding of MCAS from MAX’s flight manual and Boeing’s late changes to MCAS to be substantially more aggressive without FAA’s full knowledge and understanding.

          • Regulators required training in basic recovery procedures. That was done for a reason, Pedro.

            Note the complete lack of opposition from airlines and pilots to the additional training. Again, for a reason.

            The new Boeing offerings are not required by the AD. So if they are not wanted or needed, airlines will simply decline. But my guess is they will not. Again, for a reason.

      • @Bryce

        Thanks for international update on travel problems : I did see some photos of Sydneysiders on the beaches, looks like they’ve had it with lockdown and ‘measures’

        Re the US regulation of covid – I still wonder why it is so chaotic and so dumb

        There was a long discussion here about making planes safe to fly, and lots of serious sounding initiatives and statistics from airlines, even the DoD invested a couple of bucks

        The end result is this nothing ? Not just the dead man who walked onto a plane as per link, which has excited about zero coverage, but the TSA tell us how you are attitude to testing, and then the PCR thing

        I’m sure I am aware of only a very few of the stupidities – yet the discussion as posted here gave me the impression it was a report on aviation industry practices being put into place in the US

        What happened ? as per general US reaction to this virus, the country just collapsed

        It is painful/boring to read the PR of the great heroic effort made to ‘combat’ this deadly plague (they charge no additional fees for extra colourful language) – all lies

    • Yes, I saw that earlier today. A rather common event in aviation, but the MAX can’t affort any negative publicity at all. It was on all the major news sites this afternoon.

    • What’s the definition of service? If it is providing a service for a customer, then I would say this was more of a return flight for a service flight, than a return to service flight.

      • It was a ferry flight for an aircraft coming out of long-term storage in Arizona, being returned to Montreal. Of no actual consequence, but fodder for the anti-maxxers.

      • Some definitions from The Aviation Almanac:
        – Anti-Maxxer: A person with a functioning cortex.
        – Pro-Maxxer: Denialist corporate acolyte, unable/unwilling to recognize hopelessly sub-standard, compromized, dinosaur product offering.

        • Regulators and airlines from around the world have laid those myths to rest. What remains of them are the anti-maxxers. Similar to the remains of the anti-vaxxers. Similar to the remains of the anti-electioners. All identified as propaganda and untruthful narratives.

          • @Rob

            Not China

            “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – And never stops – at all -”

        • @Bryce

          I think this link will interest you, not that it contains elements of which you were not aware, I too can use the double negative but in a positive way, but because it does show that faint signs of intelligence are being published in US MSM about the pfizer vaccine –

          This malign operation in political blackmail is evidence of US administration feebleness and incompetence : that a company as riddled with corruption as Pfizer can still put it across the US Gvmt as well as another I think 20 gvmts worldwide illustrates why health and healthcare in these countries is so low level bad

          Plus -A precautionary report from Japan

          « « Dr. Ken Ishii (vaccine science) of the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo, who is involved in domestic development, gave a lecture at the Japan National Press Club on 12/26. COVID vaccines have been put into practical use overseas and testing has begun in Japan. However, Dr. Ishii suggests that it will take at least four to five years before the social effects can be felt, such as the appearance of almost no infected people. “It is hard to imagine that our current lifestyle will be unnecessary soon,” he indicated.
          The current plan (based upon an announcement from the Ministry of Health, indicated via a chart on the news story) is roughly as follows:
          Phase (1) Advanced vaccination of medical workers (approx. 10,000 people), late Feb through the beginning of March 2021.
          Phase (2) Medical workers, etc. (approx. 4 million people), during March 2021.
          Phase (3) Elderly, age 65+ (approx. 36 million people), end of March through beginning of April 2021
          Phase (4) First group: people with pre-existing conditions (8.2 million); second group: elderly care workers in group homes (2 million); third group: if vaccine is still available, all people aged 60~64 (7.5 million). Time frame: after April.
          « «

          Airtravel will not pick up for some many years

          I still have a soft spot for BA’s 24/7 warroomed surveillance realtime program and flight attendants pax reassurance packages : HAL for short

          • @ Gerrard
            Very interesting.
            Nothing new are regards Pfizer, of course…but fascinating to read that two-dose vaccines typically have 50% “slippage”, i.e. 50% of recipients of the first shot typically don’t come back for the second shot. That would explain the publicity (about 2 weeks ago) vis-à-vis the assertion that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine would confer about 64% “protection” (not further specified; presumably against severe illness).

            Such slippage has, of course, been a severe problem for decades with regard to antibiotics — to the extent that, where possible, preference is now given to a single, large dose rather than a 3-day, 5-day or 7-day course, e.g. for certain urinary tract infections.

  34. @Dukeofurl, the problem was the dismantling of the old Boeing Aerospace Company that was headquartered in Kent, WA right after the merger. The way to think of Boeing is as two completely different companies that have nothing to do with each other in terms of the leadership culture. There was the Boeing of the totem logo (first appeared on the model 200 sometime around 1929) and there is the Boeing of the Swoosh logo (a caricature derived from the 1920’s Douglas around the world logo that was first stylized by MD after McDonnell took over Douglas). The Boeing of the totem was a highly capable company that was an acknowledged leader in everything it touched. The Boeing of the swoosh is a financial engineering company that couldn’t properly manage an aerospace program if the life of its CEO depended on it. The Boeing of the swoosh stripped the assets out of the Boeing of the totem.

    As for the comment about the KC-767s being “a financial disaster,” not so much actually. They were designed and delivered on time as follow-ons to the Saudi AWACs program, which paid for the core systems upgrades required for a military version of the 767. Yeah, they were a lost leader, but it was just a down payment to get ready for the KC-135 (Boeing 717) replacement program. That would have worked well had it not been for the unnecessary corruption that tainted round one, thus causing a do-over, by which time the dismantling of Kent (the defense side of the Boeing of the totem) was complete.

    There was precedent for Boeing doing a lost leader tanker development. Much to the dismay of Curtis Lemay, William Allen had Boeing take on the funding of a common prototype for Lemay’s tanker and a commercial airliner. The dash 80 was all cost. Even then, the tooling had to be reworked to add four inches to the diameter of the upper fuse so it could accommodate six abreast seating in coach on the commercial version. Both the defense and commercial programs were very profitable in the long run. That would have been the case again, if the KC-135 program had been done by the Boeing of the totem. Alas, that was not to be the case. Instead, it was run out of St. Louis using the GE culture which abhors truthfulness in program status reporting.

  35. I need to correct myself. The Boeing totem logo did not appear first on the model 200, but rather the model 221A. The 200 was the prototype and just had the company name painted on it. It was still around 1929.

    • You are right to correct my misstatement, the 767 AWACS was for Japan, not the Saudis. But, the point about its role was absolutely correct.

      The real point here though, and as has been repeated by many commentators on this thread, is that the GE management culture hasn’t a clue about aerospace, and simply can’t deal with truth telling when it doesn’t rah-rah support their fairytales. I attended many 787 PDR and CDR meetings, and consistently the program status charts were watermelon charts, and everyone in the room knew it. But, reality was unacceptable. It didn’t fit with their plan. The whole purpose of Florissant was to inculcate that that GE culture into the company (except for the mansion of course, which had another purpose). They made war on the old Boeing culture and won their war.

      And just to be clear, when I say something, first, I put my name on it, and I am open to being corrected. I invite it. That’s quite different from the GE defending crowd. I don’t hide behind an alias.


    The Boeing 717 will have these features:

    1. It will use an optimized 737 fuselage, with outward opening cargo doors with maximized cabin width via a 777X similar treatment. This will leverage the efficient 737 production line of Spirit AeroSystems thus reducing startup costs. Modifications can later be flowed back to MAX fuselages after testing and certification.

    2. It will use an updated 777X composite wing design technology, optimized for the 717 configuration. Folding wingtips can also be adopted if it is economical in terms of airport slot costs. This can leverage the huge investment that Boeing has put into its Composite Wing Center plant in Everett.

    3. Upgraded GE/Safran LEAP-1B or 1A engines to maintain commonality with the MAX or NEO supply chains. At this point, engine inserts are on time to be developed for better fuel efficiency and time on wing.

    4. A 3rd AOA sensor or a virtual one to fulfill EASA requirement. The other 737 findings from the MAX recertification have to be provided solutions for in the 717.

    5. Nominal specs would be a 4,000 NM range with a maximum of 240 passengers in a 2-class cabin. The 717 must not encroach into the 767 and 787 sectors, and maintain good economics for the 757 sector.

    6. A 787 technology level cockpit will insure the 717’s relevance into the 2030’s.

    • @Rene Abad

      Good plan

      But who is going to pay? Have any figures been worked out?

      Boeing is broke, so are the airlines, and soon the Fed too

    • This article is already debunked . Stats yesterday show in the first 10 days, 50% of the promised vaccine already delivered, with 10% already administered as shots in arms. They will hit 100% in delivery, may not hit 100% in administration by January 1rst, but will hit it shortly thereafter. This is hardly a disaster given the total two-week time period. The vaccine development and rollout has exceeded all previous records.

      As pointed out here many times, searching the Internet for negative opinions and links is not a substitute for understanding or factual truth. That truth is not altered by posting links. But as long as that practice persists, it can be refuted by factual presentation. As can be found from authoritative sources like the CDC.

    • The NYT story is from their OPINION columnists not the factual part of the paper.
      It seems you and many others confuse the two when you claim ‘it must be true’, when more likely its cherry picked news written to make a point.

      • @DoU

        The NYT is ‘all the news that’s fit to print’

        The NYT is the Pravda of the US ruling élite

        All facts are selected, all depends on who is doing the selection and for whom

        But don’t worry: it’s not for you

        • Clearly as I thought , you dont know what an opinion column is.
          Try a dictionary , a reputable one at that. But somehow your opinions are sacrosanct.
          BTW the most read part of the NY Times is the recipes !

    • @Bryce

      Vax Card – is this… ? – all these private initiatives have been talked up for a long time, none seem close to gaining some kind of official public administrative network approval protocols and agreements, let alone a sketch of an international judicial framework – I know there are vax cards around, but that is that odd case of yellow f and this is several magnitudes bigger nastier and more liable to blow up

      The article is very spare with information as to who is checking these digi vax cards

      Varying degrees of efficiency between varying vaccines in varying countries is going to be tough to measure let alone sell across the world to gvmts who do not, as far as I can see, stand to reap any benefit from these systems yet stand to pay in cash and trust should anything ever go wrong

      Let’s not even think as to whether any vaccine will ever prevent any transmission

      I think these corporations are (merely) using covid to muscle in on the health app market à la ticketmaster and their the show must go on plan

      It’s like roaming on the cellular, look how much money that made and how long gvmts took to install a semblance of order

      Airlines operating it? …Wow : Indemnisation in case of error? Free sandwich on your next flight if ever you make it ?

      This look to be about as dead as a dodo as the pfizer distribution

      What is your opinion

      Update on Fauci – Nobody knows nothing

      • @ Gerrard
        As you know, at present we have zero hard data on the ability of vaccines to prevent infection — so any country/airline deluding itself into thinking that a vaccination “card” will be some sort of guarantee against transmission needs to go back and do some research. However, I can see countries being charmed by the possibility that, by requiring incoming passengers to be properly vaccinated, one can be reasonably sure that those passengers will not take up valuable medical resources by becoming seriously ill with CoViD during their stay. But, as discussed before, this will only be of any merit if the countries at each end of a flight have a similar epidemiological situation. So, although Cambodia and Vietnam, for example, may be sorely missing tourists at the moment, they can’t take the risk of admitting vaccinated tourists (except from a handful of fishbowl countries) because it is possible that such vaccinated persons would be asymptomatic carriers, and thus spread the virus in an environment that is currently essentially devoid of virus.

        Another possible use of a vaccine tracker app would be vis-à-vis the expected limited/short duration of the CoViD “immunity” imparted by a vaccine. Just as many countries require incoming persons to have at least 6 months of remaining validity on their passports, one could equivalently envisage countries only admitting passengers who had been vaccinated within the past X months. And, of course, if/when it emerges that one vaccine is more effective than another, one can imagine that certain countries will only give admission to passengers who have had a certain vaccine or shortlist of vaccines.

        However, at the end of the day, there’ll probably be several competing apps/systems, as with everything else in the world. That’s the way things always go.

        Regarding Fauci: he’s becoming more and more like Guiliani. How he can pretend to speak objectively/numerically about herd immunity when there is currently zero data regarding infection prevention / duration of efficacy of vaccines is puzzling. It seems that some people, at least, are not as dumb as he thinks/hopes. He’s becoming somewhat Rasputin-like.

        • So again the need to refute the linkers and anti-vaxxers. We can play this game forever.

          1. Vaccines are expected to reduce transmissivity by 50% to 60%, when widely deployed. As found in the early trial data. Claims to the contrary are false.

          2. The vaccines work just as well in the so-called “fishbowl” countries (aka wise enough to have limited their exposure) as in any other country, and will prevent the spread just as measures have done, only the mechanism changes.

          3. Dr. Fauci has been truthful in that the level of resistance required for herd immunity depends on the Rt value, which is a function of the inherent transmissivity of the virus, precautions that are in place, and the level of vaccination. Thus is difficult to predict in terms of exact value, as all 3 can change. But nonetheless a goal to be striven for by continuous application and improvement in vaccination efforts. That is certain and thus is the path to be followed, as he has always advocated, and advocates now.

        • @Bryce

          Rasputin is very apt ! I just knew he resembled a Pravda reader of certain repute, now I wonder who else….

          In the US the PMC is at the stage in which facts no longer matter, what matters are the means to persuade/oblige the masses to behave as required

          Fauci and Co. have no alternative to the vaccine, have gone ‘all in’ – to have any doubt, to express any criticism is heresy, will be censored or punished

          As per your remarks on a vaccination card, it will be a mess, this will not encourage a return to the old régime of easy and cheap international flight and travel, but install a new one of heavily controlled and more expensive, fly to x resort, limited access outside

          Thanks for link to vaccination uptake in EU – even Sweden appears to be only around 70%

          Yet – According to Fauci this is not enough : there’s little he may do about Sweden (at least) but he’ll do all he can to push US over the line, just like any good citizen should

          One thing is curious – one hears it said that opinion does not matter only ‘the facts’, which has replaced ‘the science’ as the catch all – but how come people’s opinions do not matter ?

          I’d say opinions may matter less, as per China, if the ruling class was efficient determined and generally successful, perhaps : but in a country riddled with obvous corruption and failure you’d expect the people to object to your carefully curated and so Pfzacts in ways the élite even the NYT would find hard to ignore

          Those who do not like links can not see the connection between the two, but all the opinion polls published I have seen point to public distrucxt with their gvmts as the prime cause of their vaccine resistance, even in the case of the Brits who have allowed fear to overcome distrust and so are the most likely in the nations included in your report to say

          If you have an interest in the history of pandemics please read this article from 1988 which predicted about everything that is now happening, and also that which brought this about

    • Understanding does not come from outdated links, or from the few opinions one can seek out that are similar to one’s own.

      One has to read the relevant research and published results from the trials, as authoritative sources of truth. Those have indicated the results that have been quoted.

      One can also look at the track record of one’s earlier predictions. All of which have thus far been incorrect. And will continue to be so, despite the fondest hopes for a negative outcome.

      • @Rob

        ““We are the most illusioned people on earth. Yet we dare not become disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live; they are our news, our heroes, our adventure, our forms of art, our very experience.””

      • @ Rob

        You do not want to go down the ‘track record’ route

        The very worst track record in this pandemic belongs to your country

        • And do you remember how you-know-who told us with great conviction a few months ago that re-certification of the MAX in China was imminent because some Boeing/FAA execs had been spotted at a hotel near the CAAC headquarters? 😉

          And how he just couldn’t accept that Sahin/Fauci had said that infection prevention would play a secondary role to symptom mitigation where the vaccine was concerned? He’s backtracked that now.

          Looks like some people like to read tea leaves rather than “following the science” 😉

          • @Bryce

            I do

            But as this crisis unfolds and reveals itself for the unfair not playing by our rules virus-plague, so too do the US authorities lie cheat and adapt

            This is from Fauci back in April

            « With COVID-19, even the much-respected pioneering AIDS researcher, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, remarked with sadness that, for now, there is “nothing we can do” about excess deaths. These, he noted, were driven by the longstanding racial-ethnic disparities in occurrence of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, all of which emerged as risk factors (along with older age) for a more lethal outcome of COVID-19 (Kass, Duggal, and Cingolani 2020). When others are considered innately different, whether because of sexual orientation, race, or national origin, differences can come to be accepted as natural and go unchallenged. Such thinking leaves unexamined the social roots of disparities »


            I wonder why skin colour in America does not work as in Africa, but now one sees that nothing in America works, as the man said there is nothing we can do but he said it with feeling

          • The China recertification will happen when their conditions are met, as I said. We are waiting for the third condition, then it may still depend on political issues, as we discussed and as I said.

            Both Fauci and Sahin said they expected a reduction in transmissivity with vaccination, which has subsequently been demonstrated in the trials, as I said.

            Falsehoods do not become true through repetition. Though as I also said, and is well demonstrated in the White House, it’s one of the methods that are used by the conspiracy theory crowd. In addition to constant reference to opinion rather than fact, and the discrediting of sources of fact.

            Note that vaccines are rolling out worldwide, and all the complete nonsense posted here about how that couldn’t happen, came to absolutely nothing. As I also pointed out.

  37. LOL @ citing an IAM-sponsored report to justify building a new plane in Washington. That’s like citing HRC’s opinion of the Steele Dossier’s veracity.

    Aboulafia just printed what he was paid to print, full stop. At least touch on the possible bias in that report; non partisan reporting would require this I’d think. King County is becoming dangerously violent, the IAM didn’t just work toward “win win” when it cost Boeing 4 billion plus via walkouts 15 years ago. Defined benefit doesn’t exist in corporate America any longer, period. Inslee is a hack who threatened Boeing that 787 “will” be coming back to Washington.

    [Those running] [edited] running Washington (and the greater Seattle area) have made it a hostile place to do business as a manufacturer, not Boeing’s board. It’s over, no new programs will be based there. Antifa riots, police defunding, insane environmental policies…it’s all just accelerating.

  38. The bigger question is whether Corp. Boeing is competent enough for a new program to succeed??

    The story of how the 787 broke Boeing and its supply chain. It’s one of the single biggest reasons the company is hurting as badly as it is today.

    “In short, the 787 was sold to airlines for half as much as it probably should’ve been and cost 400% more to manufacture than Boeing expected.”

    • “The record production rates were there to satisfy demand, but also were the only way to make the program profitable and keep the suppliers in line. It also gave us the massive bursting bubble once COVID-19 arrived. “

      • And, as per Pedro’s post above: for the first time in history, an airframer is planning on sending a team of 180 “babysitter” pilots out into the field, to help trained and qualified 737 pilots to fly the MAX without crashing. Now there’s a well-designed product with a bright future 😏

        • Advisors and consultants for pilots that may need them, based on the accident flights and the subsequent pilot testing that followed. A follow-up for the mandatory training in basic recovery skills required by the FAA and agreed by the other world regulators. A prudent move to be sure the lessons are learned and skills are backed up and reinforced. Not to mention potentially saving lives.

          Some here will remember in the days before the bromance of Bryce and Gerrard, there was discussion of how pilots could be helped to resolve problems in flight. Many options were suggested. AI tutor in the cockpit, satellite communications to central pilots to assist, etc. Boeing is basically offering both, in terms of pilots being available and the central center to help resolve problems.

          These things can only be a benefit to airlines. But the theorists will try to twist it into the opposite, as they have attempted also with vaccines, and with the election. Always the denial of truth and benefit, always the elevation and repetition of falsehoods, false reasoning, and false outcomes.

          That is what’s going on here, but even though we are now subjected to this constant bombardment, it rolls off with no impact on reality, as we have seen so many times before. This will be yet another case of that. The twin umbrellas of factual knowledge and understanding are quite effective.

          • @ Rob

            Keep in mind the US track record so far as per pandemic – most deaths, most sick, most chaos

            Same as Boeing – 20 years or more of engineering and financial failures, resulting in multiple planecrashes unprofitable programs and planes, which, coupled with selling the company to WStreet, has resulted in an empty shell scrambling to downsize, with little or no possibility of a new project plane, and little hope of survival

            All the wing this seating that plane descriptions here ignore the realities of BA’s financial situation, and discuss theoretical new plans and projects without regard for the current and near future market conditions, nor with any discussion of how a heavily indebted company might engineer and finance an expensive new project, after so many failures

            It is true that a review of the facts of recent experience make for hard often depressing work – simple minds find refuge in a desire for a miracle accompanied by a new dawn, censorship and suppression of dissent, the use of the same language used in Europe in the 1930’s

            The reality is that bankruptcy is already under way for both company and country

            PS Twin Umbrellas of Understanding is very good, a throwback to the Twin Towers

        • @Bryce

          As far as I can see this babysitter move by Boeing is PR protection as per ongoing lawsuits

          And to anticipate greater emphasis on blaming the ‘foreign’ pilots for the Max crashes

          Everything that BA now does is conditional image polishing, a game of mirrors

          But, as per sober analysis by D Gates and others, whatever Boeing does it is now and has been for some time too little too late

    • There was a one-day delay in a few locations in Germany and elsewhere, for the first shipments sent on Saturday, that were since resolved with new shipments. In Spain, the delay was in shipments today which will also have a one-day delay, but did not interfere with planned vaccinations as enough vaccine was already on hand. All related to cold chain management in storage rather than delivery.

      For AstraZeneca, the FDA is waiting on new trial results with the half-dose regimen before granting EUA. Those could come in the next few weeks. In the UK, they may grant approval without waiting for the published trial results.

      • @Rob

        Rich men, trust not in wealth,
        Gold cannot buy you health;
        Physic himself must fade.
        All things to end are made,
        The plague full swift goes by;
        I am sick, I must die.
        Lord, have mercy on us!

    • IIRC clinical trial result of the AZ vaccine shows efficacy agst asymptomatic infection of just 27 percent.

      • This was in the two full dose regimen, which won’t be used. In the half-dose regimen that will be used, it was about 60% as I mentioned earlier.

        However there needs to be further demonstration and clarification of all the numbers for this vaccine, which is why the trial has continued in the US.

  39. @Gerrard White – Obviously I agree with what you have been saying here. ANd, if anything, my friend Dominic Gates has understated the mess Boeing has made for itself thanks to the non-leadership it has had for the past 23 years. But, let’s look at what is possible.

    Forget space – that’s too far gone for Boeing to be a meaningful player for the next couple decades. Forget a next generation fighter or bomber, those belong to Lockheed and NG respectively. There is some future in continuing to sell marginally updated old airplanes, and UAV types of aircraft of various sorts. But, the company has been bankrupt for almost four years, and is has been teetering on insolvency for the past year. So let’s accept all of that.

    Let’s do a combo GM and Chrysler deal with the government. The GM part is for the government to assume ownership and get rid of everything in Illinois, Indiana, and Florissant, MO. Take BSC and either spin it off as its own company with a right to use the brand name and add whatever new planes or derivatives it can to what it has. If it fails or is sold to someone else, so be it. We could even commit to not build a new Boeing replacement to the 767 with a composite fuse for at least 1o years. New composite wings – maybe, but no more than that for a decade.

    The remaining fighter related stuff in St. Louis to either Lockheed, NG, or some combination of the the two. Give any remaining equity in ULA to Lockheed, along with all things space, assuming they want it. Or maybe Musk or Bezos will take some of it.

    Mesa, Ridley Park, San Antonio and Oklahoma City stay with the new NW headquartered Boeing, as do the tanker, and VC-xx state aircraft programs. Customer support gets broken up with each piece going with its natural parent. All commercial spares stays with the new NW headquartered Boeing.

    Reform a new, temporarily government owned Boeing, in Seattle and rebuild from there. For the part that is like Chrysler, do a K-Car, round two, with government funding. Pick one – either a new small airplane per Mulally’s plans from the 20xx program, or the NMA. There’s problems with both plans, but either can be the basis for a new leading product.

    For a management team, as for volunteers to come out of retirement – start with Mulally. See if Brian McCarthy can be induced to come back from Blue Origin and take the job as head of airplane programs. Let him appoint the program managers.

    Let Brian and his boss figure out the go-forward plan for the tanker.

    Get rid of Bellevue and the remote data centers ASAP, and go to a system of mini-data centers located on site at Renton, Everett, Auburn, Frederickson.

    As soon as the Puget Sound light rail system will support it, consolidate the Renton site into Everett. The biggest problem with Everett is getting people into and out of the site. Rationalize the four assembly lines (777, 767, 737, and whatever the new plane is).

    Rework all labor agreements to get rid of rigid job classifications, require membership in one of the unions for all non-management employees, and an intent to provide employment for life, in exchange for getting all wage agreements removed from the contracts, and setting up a labor jointly administered labor retention rating system (we used to call it a totem), such that when layoffs do occur, everyone already knows what the pecking order is, and what the recall process is, and it is labor that is administering the cuts as much as it is HR (basically the same deal Toyota has). Base wages can be in the agreements, but merit raises and promotions belong to management, except for those governed by professional societies and their board certification processes for determining skills credentials. If the professional societies want to also be involved in the labor contract negotiating business, that’s their business. Old style labor unions are obsolete and irrelevant to the modern tech worker anyway, so they might as well become something more like the AMA or the bar associations. Both 751 and management just need to get over their hang-ups – both sides are just so 20th century, non-productive, and simply irrelevant in the modern workplace. However the labor arrangements work themselves out, the new deal has to be a shared destiny deal. Everyone makes it or fails together.

    Make all status charts subject to audit, and making any deliberately misleading status reports a firing offense without an option to be rehire. That applies to labor and management alike.

    The company moto has to be very simple. “Make the very best aerospace equipment we know how and charge a fair price.”

    If the people of the US would be willing through their representatives to make that sort of a deal (remember there are more labor voters than there are management voters), then I really do believe that something like the old Boeing could start to be rebuilt. It can be done. But, Congress would have to enable it. It will probably cost around $100 billion to float the company and fund one new plane until it can stand on its own again. As for the current board and stockholders – BSC is all yours, along with any of the divestiture pieces mentioned above that you want to keep. Don’t let the door hit you on the backside as you leave.

    • @Craig Dupler

      D Gates is very sober, does not allow himself to paint too black a portrait of Boeing

      Others need display less restraint, especially in the face of Campaigns of Corporate PR and Shill, here as elsewhere – the volume of which, the lack of secure proposals and evident program planning, either engineering or financial, provides evidence and cause for belief that Boeing management have as only goals downsizing and eventual off shoring

      And others, as yourself, and others on this site, are dismayed and angry at the destruction of skill, of much of a supply chain, of employment, and of the possibility of constructing a gainful future

      Not to forget the deaths caused by the Max crashes

      All of which destruction is being performed in the name of greed, unrestrained by any consideration, and mindless of consequence

      This is in line with recent history of the dismantling of US manufacturing, subsequent off shoring, the financialistion of the economy, and the paramount influence of Wall Street, or, as they are more correctly called ‘The China Class’

      Your description of a way to re structure Boeing appears to me to be well founded and elaborated, and, in some not too long ago day, might have pickled up the combination of political, financial, community, and social resolve and support to have been enacted

      But both political and economic power and ability to take administer and operate decision making has moved away from a previously fairly balanced mix, to be concentrated very nearly exclusively in Wall Street

      What WS has in mind, I think, is not alltogther all that different from your plan, only to do this off shore and without the checks and balances and necessary equilibrium of operations, that you describe ; balance between engineering and commerce, between management and labour, between Congress regulator and company– far from a judicial system with still some bite, far from the remains of a critical culture both of community and of politics, far from communal and union restraints, and where the labour force will do as they are told for more or less free

      Of course the NSA/DOD stuff stays onshore : who ever wants that is welcome

      China has the scale and skill to perform what you outline, and the ability to return significant profit to WS, but may prove, for the moment, too compromised politically

      With respect, the possibility is remote that a consensus be found to pony up $100B for a manufacturing company, although mere par for the course in China, let alone one that has hit the bricks

  40. This post has at its roots the destruction of Boeing, which is the true desire and goal. The excuse for the destruction is it would be rebuilt with government assistance, but that would very likely never happen, nor should it happen. No wonder you agree with Gerrard, his goals are the same.

    Fortunately, more principled and saner heads will prevail. Boeing can continue to build their business after an extremely challenging period. The degree to which that can be successful remains to be seen. But it won’t be done by people who believe as you and Gerrard do.

    It will be done by people who want to build up, not tear down. Who want success and not failure. Who want to solve problems rather than yield to them. That is what Boeing wants to do, is trying to do. If they fail, at least I give them credit for working to solve the problems. Not a lot of nonsense about how the company can and should be broken up and destroyed, in favor of government subsidization.

    All of these views are based on the notion that Boeing cannot survive. But I expect they will, they have problems but none that are fatal. As much as people here would love to believe that and see it happen, it’s just not the reality. It’s not what the market wants, or airlines want, or the workers want, or the management wants. It won’t come true by endless repetition.

    What is truly sad, is that people here actually want this, are rooting for it, they prefer the destruction over success. How twisted has one become that failure is now the objective? If Boeing fails, the market will determine that, not anyone here, and it would be cause for dismay, not triumph.

    • @Rob

      Boeing has already failed: read the news

      The market will not help, it’s at all time lows, the airlines on life support for many years to come

      Boeing has one chance only, if WS decides it’s a bauble worth bargaining to China

      • Gerrard, I rest my case. Your intent is crystal clear, from these remarks and many others. You referenced the Twin Towers above in a sarcastic remark, I’ve no doubt you were among those who cheered and applauded when they fell. As you cheer and applaud the perceived and hoped-for demise of Boeing, which would also be completely destructive to the many people who rely on it and benefit from it.

        That would be entirely consistent with your crazy positions on COVID, vaccines, New Zealand, Boeing, the US, and all the other positive outcomes you hate. The more chaos and destruction, the better. Success and order are things to be attacked and destroyed.

        But you shouldn’t think that readers here don’t know what you represent. Like I said, crystal clear. And always worthy of response and refutation.

        • @Rob

          ‘I rest my case’ – from Corporate PR to Corporation Lawyer in a phrase

          There are too many wilful errors and misunderstandings in your posts to go over in detail – I’ll just note the unlawyerly screech and hysterical language

          Boeing is failing, has been failing over time, and management has, if possible, gone from bad to worse

          You appear to be naive about the amount of time a large corporation like Boeing can take to collapse, or in reality to be collapsed to the point where many fewer will find it possible to object when the rump is shipped off shore

          Here at Leeham, as elsewhere it has been made clear that Airbus has gained a very significant if not lethal lead over Boeing in the market

          To the extent in which it is said that Airbus has an interest in keeping BA limping along, if only to present the ever less performative alternative to their product, and to fob off those airlines with whom they are as yet unwilling to deal, let alone the hubris that Boeing suffers from

          And that’s not even raising the China issue, where Max and other significant re entry to market will come on terms entirely dictated by China – even a BBeliever like yourself may grasp that such terms are unlikely to be favourable

          You can not be ignorant of the fact that much of the US manufacturing base has already preceded Boeing off shore, so that companies, the states, the Feds and even your long suffering workers and public have resigned or have been resigned to

          Continue to whistle in the dark, continue to canary in the coal mine (I know) – You raised the twin umbrellas, this was a subconscious slip, the twin airplane crashes were the Max

    • @Rob, your reasoning is profoundly wrong. Boeing and Boeing’s stock are not one and the same thing, and your comment would seem to conflate them, assuming that your reference to the market is the equity market. The products are not generating enough cash to keep it afloat. The equity section of the balance sheet went negative three years ago. That cash to pay its bills isn’t coming in fast enough to cover everything it still has.

      But, if you look at the first chapter of any accounting text, toward the end you will see a discussion on the limits of accounting. If you do a search on that topic, you can find quite a few lists with around a dozen big hitters. Not on the list is the reasoning behind why booking goodwill is such a horrible idea. The easiest way to get a quick handle on the nuttiness of goodwill is to look at the differences between standard GAAP and government accounting.

      In government accounting there is no balance sheet. that’s because Pacioli’s formula (A=L+E) doesn’t work. You can’t point to the assets that the people of a country own and do anything even remotely close to an arm’s length valuation of them. It’s absurd on its face.

      Well, goodwill is the same thing. It comes up in M&A activity because someone is willing to pay more than the equity section of the balance sheet. But, it’s a wild guess that can’t be audited for the same reason that you can’t do it at all in government accounting.

      Ok, so what are Boeing’s assets that are not on the balance sheet that would justify some non-negative valuation (which is what the books say its worth)? It’s people? Their ability to build the next plane that’s better than anybody else’s next plane? Their ability to manage a program on schedule and at least somewhat close to budget? It can’t be any of those, because we have a 20 year track record of failures on all of that stuff, and the people who did it prior to 1997 are all gone from the company? Where are you finding anything to which you can point that justifies a positive valuation that isn’t in the financial records, which show a negative net worth?

      Rattle off your list? Refute Dominic’s article. Make your case. You got something like a high performance tanker that is going to sell like hot cakes because it works so well, and generates 30% margins on top of recovering the R&D that went into it? Or maybe you have some lower value product like UAVs that are going to sell in the tens of thousands at a 50% margin. Give us your list, not your platitudes and hot air.

      • Craig, in the time I’ve been here at Leeham, I have heard this case made endlessly. Boeing is always on the cusp of failure, it’s just a matter of time. And each new event is a “this is it” moment. But somehow it never is.

        Somehow the markets and lenders don’t view it that way. Somehow airlines keep buying. Somehow the military keeps awarding contracts. Somehow NASA keeps awarding contracts. And somehow the reality never matches the prediction.

        I don’t claim to know the inner workings at Boeing. But I know enough to see that people a lot smarter and more knowledgeable than me, are watching closely and haven’t reached your conclusion.

        When I point this out, the response is always “prove my analysis is wrong”. But that isn’t necessary, as reality already has. So then I look for the common thread, what links all these claims together? In all cases, the person believes their analysis is superior to all others, or that of the common understanding, based on insight they alone have. This is why I don’t attempt a detailed analysis of my own, I’m sure there is too much that I don’t know.

        So my response is, if you believe you are right, don’t invest in Boeing, don’t use their products, do whatever it is you feel is right for you. But don’t expect the world to fall at the feet of your personal analysis, or expect others to show you why reality hasn’t cooperated. That’s up to you to determine.

        When I add up the Boeing contracts, I don’t see a failing case. I see a large debt racked up by the MAX debacle, that was doubled or tripled by the COVID crisis. It will take awhile for that to be undone. But I see other companies in similar straits, for similar reasons. And I don’t see the reaction in the industry that signals a failing concern.

        I do see that case being made by some pundits, but ironically many of them also depend indirectly on Boeing for income, as well as journalistic awards. I sometimes wonder if they are cooking the Golden Goose. They too are better off with Boeing being around and successful, as we all are.

        The last common element of the claims is extreme dislike of Boeing management, dating back to the McD merger. But that is going on a quarter century ago, so is fading as a reason for fault or to condemn Boeing. The people working there now, and the activities taking place there now, are responsible for whatever failures exist. So that is the starting point for any solutions as well, the practical reasons that result in poor outcomes. Not endless rants about GE and McD.

        This is why you will never see a technical report that refers to those things. No competent engineer or safety expert would look primarily for political reasons for failure. Even if they exist, they manifest as solvable problems, which is where the focus should be. The politicians do this, the punditry does as well. But as a result, also offer no real solutions.

        Unless you believe, as many here do, that no solution is possible, that things are too far gone. I don’t accept that, and neither does most of the world. Boeing would not still be here, if that were true. But that narrative will continue here and elsewhere, I’m sure.

      • Excellent remarks — far too realistic and confronting for some people, but plain as day for anyone with a functioning cortex.
        Incidentally, did you note the complete absence of a certain person from the 777X discussion? The narrative there just doesn’t suit him 😉

        • My position was already expounded in other threads. No need to use the endless repetition model for factual responses. Also was more or less the same position put forward by Scott and Vincent, so I’m not going to explain it better than they have.

  41. Airtravel DeathWatch Update

    Domestic US airtravel still very sharply down from last year, no end in sight

    « TSA checkpoint screenings of passengers that entered the secured areas at US airports during the Christmas travel period from Friday, December 18, through Sunday, December 28, ranged from 616,000 on Christmas Day to 1.28 million yesterday, the largest day since the collapse of airline traffic in March. But that biggest day yesterday was still down by 50% from Sunday after Christmas last year (2.58 million).
    The seven-day moving average (bold line) was down 57% over the last few days, compared to a year ago. But it was the smallest plunge since the collapse of the air passenger business in March. The chart shows the daily percent decline (fine line) from the same weekday in the same week last year, and the 7-day moving average « «
    « « In mid-December, TSA checkpoint screenings of passengers had dropped sharply as they normally do after the Thanksgiving travel burst, but they did so even more sharply than last year, and were between -67% and -72% compared to 2019, with the seven-day moving average at around -68% for nine days in a row. But then the ramp-up of the Christmas leisure travel burst began. » »

    • I suspect that at least some of the holiday-associated uptick in US air travel is due to the “Birx effect”, which can be summarized as: “Well, if she doesn’t bother to follow her own rules, then why should we follow them?”. This is a demonstration of “follow the example of the scientist” rather than “follow the science”.
      Another possible contributing factor was demonstrated during the well-documented Plague of Athens in 430 BC: increased indulgence in hedonism and insubordination in response to the oppressive psychological effect of a continuing epidemic. Put another way: pandemic solidarity and social cohesion has a limited shelf life. Administrators seem to be inadequately aware of this.

      But even if domestic air travel in the USA shows signs of revival (even if temporary), international air travel will remain curtailed for quite a while by all sorts of border/admittance restrictions.

      • @Bryce
        Absolutely correct about lockdown fatigue

        Not for nothing did this used to be called quarantine, and operate, generally quite well, as such

        Meaning 40 days : but this was lockdown as practiced it seems the Chinese, absolute no moving from the house on pain of death, and regular de sanitisation by outsiders

        Otherwise what is left is a fake lockdown, and the worst of both worlds : enough to destroy life and liberty and much work, not enough to prevent transmission of the virus

        The current system is designed to keep on in and out ing from into lockdown, so that it’s practice is normalised, and normalises the state of panick, but inefficient and never quite so disagreeable or confining as to raise the people in revolt

        The hoi polloi in olden times were considerably less cowered

  42. @Craig Dupler:

    RE: “Look, I would very much like to see the company brought back from its death spiral. But to do that, the first thing that has to happen is to acknowledge that it is in one, and stop doing all of the things that have been killing it. Every last thing the Welch acolytes have been preaching has been proven to be nonsense, as evidenced by the results they have achieved. At some point, 22+ years of failed performance ought to be enough to convince even the most thick headed that just maybe that crap doesn’t work.”

    As most who are familiar with my reader comments posted here in LNA, other airline/aerospace/travel/financial & investors’ focused blogs &/or “traditional” media, or my extensive catalog of posts now seen most often on LinkedIn likely will agree, seldom is the time when commentaries & analysis seen under my name are “short & sweet”!!! 😉

    And I’ll assume it’s a safe bet that most longtime readers in the LNA family have seen my “rants” discussing “What’s Wrong With (Mc)Boeing?” in the post 1997-merger era making, so no need to rehash all THAT here in this reader comment.

    Simply put, Craig, your comments are so well said & *SPOT ON*.

    Oh, sure, the deeply ingrained problems across most of its programs will have their own particular elements that need to be pored over & dissected in long form, but in capturing the central tendency of the disease that afflicts this (fl)ailing behemoth that “banks” on a taxpayer funded bailout because it (smugly) believes itself as being “too big to [let it] fail” owing to its prominent role as a contractor in the USA’s military/defense, or by virtue of it & Airbus having an impenetrable duopoly in the 100+ (especially >125 & for sure, >150 & wide-body/twin aisle) seat commercial aircraft segment, with its managers confident (&/or arrogant) in their certainty that no amount of failure or incompetence sees anyone let go without obscenely generous golden parachutes, all rubber stamped by the do-nothing incompetents on its (“star-studded”/well sprinkled, “bold faced” names who often lacked any relevant industry knowledge or ecperience) Board who were/still are all too happy to reward (& cover-up) abject failure as long as the gravy train of ever increasing, profligate stock buyback authorizations continued without disruption until two 737 MAX disasters & Covid19 pandemic came along, or whom seem more interested in seeking a return to those “great days” of ever increasing “shareholder returns” instead of reinventing/proactively restructuring OUTSIDE of bankruptcy the company’s corporate culture & strategic focus for the future using by taking stock of the lessons learned since the 1997 “merger” with OG Boeing’s failed former rival, OG McDonnell Douglas simply because they’re certain the US government (taxpayers, that is) will always be there, arms open, ready, willing & without hesitation, holding a sturdy safety net to “save (Mc)Boeing” from its legacy of mostly self-inflicted failures in the post-merger era no matter how bad the succession of repeated bad decisions were that broke the company, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill long after the revolving door or CEO’s, their lieutenants in the C-suite & “consultants” landed safely at one of their multi-million dollar palatial homes & (Mc)Boeing’s Board-members move onto other, high paying Board “positions” setting their sights on their new prey to rape & pillage before fobbing their looted & bankrupted carcasses off to taxpayers to clean up as sooner or later (Mc)Boeing, just as OG McDonnell Douglas did after its decades’ long prolonged death spiral could not be prolonged any longer.

    But, that “closer examination” can wait for another day!

    Right now, what matters most & cannot be repeated/stressed enough is that your words (copied above since so many comments separate our respective posts!) sums up EXACTLY what’s wrong with (Mc)Boeing.

    Mad respect & admiration for that.

    Wish I said that as well as you did 😉

    Now, if only SOMEONE at (Mc)Boeing would cut & paste what you wrote, print it out, & tape it to their door, mirror & or even create as “wallpaper” for their cell phone’s home screen until they see what you said enough times for it to finally penetrate their thick skulls & dense brains so we don’t have to wait for this badly damaged & fragile house of cards to finally collapse.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, one can dream…

  43. @Keith Sketchley – your point about government not being a panacea is valid, but only up to a point. Much depends on the nature of the task at hand, and the availability of private financing and someone interested in taking the risk. The public’s priorities determined through their representatives may demand or desire something that can only be achieved if the government takes it on.

    We won’t know for several more months just how bad the situation is at Boeing. We’ll need to see an audited set of financials that have been updated. Those typically come out in April, and are at least three months stale. But, as of the end of last year the company had a negative net book value of $8.3 billion. And, we know that they are currently carrying about $60 billion in debt, with insufficient cash flow to both cover sustaining operations and service that debt. They are trying to sell every asset they can that is not needed in the short term for operations.

    And while sales prices of commercial airplanes are never disclosed, we know that O’Leary was in Toulouse a couple weeks before he made his deal, and making noise about switching to Airbus, so it’s a safe bet that he got his additional 75 planes for something pretty close to half price, and I’ll bet he got his retractable air stairs too (that will be very interesting, if they try to add those to already built planes). So, once he made his deal Alaska jumped in, and you know they squeezed Boeing too.

    So, while that stuff does generate short term cash, it doesn’t build equity. It almost certainly digs the equity hole deeper. There is no cash for new product development. The idiots in Chicago and their their Jack Welch management methods haven’t finished a development program anything close to on time or on budget in the 22.5 years they have been running the company, and they have trained an entire generation of managers to do things in their incompetent style. Their track record speaks for itself. So the company is going to fail. The only question about that is how soon Smith and Calhoun admit it and throw in the towel.

    But, the question for the people of this country and their instrument of collective will, which is the U.S. government, is whether or not to bail out and try to rebuild the company? Often the right answer when a large industrial firm fails, is to let it happen and just move on. That was the approach taken with many of the railroads, steel producers, shipyards, and companies like IHC. It is the approach we have been taking with the once mighty retailers that failed to adjust to the changes in their industry. Let most of what’s left sink, and the parts that are still viable be sold off to the strong. But, occasionally the decision goes the other way, and it is deemed to be in the national interest to try to intervene and save a company. Examples include Lockheed, GM, and Chrysler.

    Of course I have a strong bias that says Boeing should be saved. But, if that were to happen, the sooner an intervention happens the better. Otherwise, the cost of saving it just keeps climbing, probably to the tune of a billion or so for every week that passes.

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