HOTR: Some predictions for Airbus and Boeing

Jan. 14, 2021, © Leeham News: Making predictions is always a hazardous business.

Some predictions take years to resolve. The outcome of others come sooner than later. If you’re right, you look sage. If you’re wrong, you look like an idiot.

But HOTR is going to take a stab at it anyway.

Production Rates

Boeing’s 737 production rate, which was 7/mo as 2020 ended, will soon be 15/mo. How do we come to this?

Spirit Aerosystems bumps its rate for fuselages this month from 7/mo to 10/mo. It’s also “burning off” the 130 stored fuselages at the rate of 5/mo. Five plus 10 equals 15. Boeing’s production rate will step up through the year, doubling to 31 a month by early 2021. The latter is Boeing’s own forecast.

Boeing’s delivery rate throughout this year, and next, will be a combination of the new-production aircraft and Boeing’s inventory of stored airplanes.

The 737 production rate should go to the low 40s/mo in 2023. Once again, this is from Spirit’s own data. This should come close to being the delivery rate, too. Spirit should burn off its inventory by the end of 2022. Boeing forecasts clearing its inventory in early 2023.

Before the MAX was grounded, Spirit was prepared to eventually step up to rate 70/mo over the next several years. LNA predicts this will never happen now. Boeing’s rate was about to go to rate 57 when the grounding orders were issued. LNA is skeptical this rate will return.

A320neo family production rate: Airbus is at rate 40 today. Look for this to go to rate 47 in October.

Boeing 777X production rate: Likely to stay at 2/mo into 2022, at least. Maybe longer.

Airbus wing of the future

A321, next step: Airbus has been working on what it calls the “wing of the future” for several years. It will be composite, and it will go onto the A321neo.

This is not an especially visionary prediction. The A330neo and A350 have composite wings. Airbus studied the next version of the A321neo for year, variously called the A322 or the A321++. The OEM is waiting to see what Boeing will do about launching a new airplane. Airbus could respond with the A322, with about 12 more seats. Or it could go ahead and launch the A322 with an entry into service in the second half of this decade.

It’s also possible Airbus could slightly stretch the A320neo and put the wing of the future on this model as well.

A220-500: Not yet, but if Airbus launches the A320.5, then likely.

MAX orders

Once the pandemic end is truly in sight, LNA expects a health flow of MAX orders. Passenger avoidance won’t be long-term.


139 Comments on “HOTR: Some predictions for Airbus and Boeing

  1. Airbus might be smart to keep the A320.5neo in its computers letting Boeing have around 30% of the market with the 737-8. Doing the A320-5 will force Boeings hand for a 737MAX/757 replacement and Airbus will need to launch its response A322 fully designed for robotic assembly. One problem for the goverments of EU will be that a new Aircraft and its parts built by robots will reduce assembly worker numbers all over EU/China and Mobile.

    • All four MAX are between A320 and A321 in MTOW. The A320plus is very important, also because of the gate restrictions.
      And the A320 needs an MTOW increase, which shouldn’t be difficult, to get an A320XLR.

      I want to see a MAX/757 replacement, Boeing isn’t capabel to do. If Boeing could, we would have seen that already.

    • Look into Volkswagen Halle 54 robotic manufacture ( 1983).

      Today manufacturers go for _assisting_ their workforce with robots. ( the lesson taken from that VW test balloon.)

      Shove a roll of Al sheet in at one end and out comes an airplane at the other end is a corporate wet dream. it will leave nothing but stains.

      OT: Nitpick: A330 wing is not composite. ( though the enlarged wingtips are )

      • I think the car production reduction of robots tasks are a function of the massive amount of versions sold making programming robots for 2everything” too tedious and humans are still more flexible.

      • “OT: Nitpick: A330 wing is not composite.”
        Yes , in the context it meant A220, which is of course the same span as the A320 series, so a quick to market and low development costs could resuse the same Northern Ireland factory and production process on a developed version of the wing box sections.
        For say less than half the $5 bill Boeing was offering Embraer for a JV, they could have snapped up Bombardiers C series and included the carbon fibre wing factory and production technology and with less EU competition concerns. As it had planes in 110- 145 seat market currently and previously,so didnt come into the expanded market coverage which was the main concern.
        Japans Mitsubishi Aircraft was the other business who passed on partnering from the beginning with Bombardier on the Cseries ( they were risk sharing on the Global business jet and produced the wing) and they both could have worked together for Cseries AND Spacejet for a combined Canadian-Japanese airliner manufacturer which had the new product and heft to own the 75 -150 seat plus market

        • “”A220, which is of course the same span as the A320 series””

          it’s not the same wingspan and A220 wings have much less surface.
          A220 wings are useless on the A320family.

          • I said ‘developed version’ for the reasons you mention about the differences in wing area and aerofoil shape and different flaps etc.

            Airbus own figures give A320neo wingspan ( geometic) as 35.8 and for the A220-300 as 35.1. So Ill repeat its the same span for all intents and purposes of wing design. Surely you knew that the C gate size of 36m is the constraint here ?
            The max takeoff weight of the larger A320 is only 10 tonnes or 14% more over the A220-300

          • Duke,
            the A320 wing is not a problem for 79t and the A220 wing is not a problem for 70t, but you said “A320 series” which translates to A320family. The problems are with the A321 because it’s up to 101t.
            An A320plus would still be ok with the A320 wing, but of course not better. The A220 wing on an A320plus would be worse.
            The A220 wing doesn’t have much robotic production, so it’s a big question what Airbus could reuse, I guess not much.
            The A220 is good but not best. Airbus paid what it was worth, $1.

            The 70t A319neo has much higher OEW and therefore less range than the 70t A220, but not everybody needs much range especially when the A319neo is much cheaper than the A220, ask O’Leary.
            But the A319neo has bigger wings which generate more lift, better bypass ratio engines which are more fuel efficient, and if airlines already use A320/321 there are more gains with the A319 than A220. I would not buy A220.

          • A320 ‘series’ doesnt change anything as far as “wingspan” is concerned, the numbers are 35.8m, the same, for the same gate reasons.
            The increase in dimensions of the torque box to give a larger area dont seem to be a problem, as I said saves considerable time and funding if thats the pathway they choose. Same goes for further automation in the assembly process to produce the fully finished wing.
            I get now your beef isnt really about wingspan or resusing existing compenents in newer designs ( a long history in aviation- the 777X wing is supposed to be a development of the 787 wing but less sweep and more area and higher lift to drag- much like could be done for a A320 new wing), you have a gripe about the A220 and the rest is just flim flam to cover for unreasonable beliefs not based on any facts

        • I don’t think they would/could have taken on the CS-200/300 for a member of reasons:

          1. It would have made it all to clear how old and passenger unfriendly the 737 is.

          2. It uses side stick controllers and an excellent FBW system which were/are intolerable to Boeing because they were “not invented here”.

          3. They believe they are the best and prefer litigation to cooperation.

        • Boeing’s problem has been reactivity in the narrowbody market as it has simply reacted to Airbus’ moves on the board in the SA market since the 1980s. So a proactive move to buy out C-Series was just not there in its playbook.
          A Mitsubishi-Bombardier combination would have been a great idea theoretically. However, Mitsubishi being a leading industrial partner on all Boeing programs since the 777 in early 1990s wouldn’t have gone ahead on to an adversarial position against Boeing in the narrowbody market.

          • Yes. That was a real roadblock for them. It wasnt till Boeing announced it was bidding for Embraer that Japan realised they had been thrown under the bus and the competitor for the Spacejet was going to have the Boeing name along with a future single aisle would have Brazilian connections rather than Japanese. For both manufacturers however their plans have been shattered.

          • “Mitsubishi being a leading industrial partner on all Boeing programs since the 777 in early 1990s wouldn’t have gone ahead on to an adversarial position against Boeing in the narrowbody market.”

            Huh? Didn’t Mitsubishi have a new airliner project, with flight testing and certification help right in Boeing’s back yard? (Moses Lake WA and consultants in the Seattle area. Project on hold due to the panicdemic slashes airlines.)

          • The airliner project which Mitsubishi had been pursuing was the SpaceJet regional A/C program which did not compete with Boeing’s 737 MAX line-up..

    • On the other hand, if Airbus believe that any such forced Boeing new product will be too early to fully involve any major technological/regulatory/societal shift yet still sell decently even afterward, then pushing Boeing early while being able to go late themselves could build in a substantial market share lead for decades once both have their clean sheets in place.

      Given employment policies in the EU in particular is there any more opportune time to introduce robotics than at the build out from a production/employment trough?

      • Touch labor is a US thing.

        robotic assistance is long established in the EU.
        ( and unions are “intergrated” into the system.)

        • That is a rather sweeping and therefore inaccurate statement.

          There is an element of advanced robotics, human lite, at Airbus (most advanced at Hamburg Hanger 245) but it is by no means Airbus wide and there are lines that may never reach the level of 245. Plus there is still fitting out to deal with, even with the current “advanced” state.

          • See my reference to VW Halle 54 and the path taken (rather successful) from there. You won’t see “no humans” style production.

          • I haven’t claimed Airbus or Boeing are heading to “no humans” production. Look again. I specifically wrote “human lite”.

            That said, “won’t see” is also too definitive. In the next model introduced by each of BCA and Airbus there is zero chance of “no humans”. But for the model after that I wouldn’t be surprised if the human element is either token or tiny. My feeling is that by that generation humans will be a clear impediment to design possibilities, production quality and efficiency in airliner manufacturing.

      • They do as good they can on an aircraft family not designed for robots, it will be a big shift when they do it correctly from the start. Cars have been designed that way from the early 1990’s.

    • It depends on whether Airbus looks at this from a future competition perspective or whether it seeks to drive for maximum near term profit. There is an argument that if Airbus went for A320.5 and A225 there is little Boeing can do for something like 7 years given their current problems. It forces Boeing into making a decision but even then it is a difficult decision. Airbus then has the luxury to pick and choose how and when to respond. In the current situation focusing on the current difficult market conditions taking advantage of Boeing’s weakness both in SA product and financial position would be my choice. Stick the knife in and twist.

  2. Airbus already announced a higher production rate for the A320family.
    A330neo has some carbon parts but it’s a metal wing.
    A new wing for the A320 is not important, it could get the normal A321 wing.
    If Airbus is thinking about a carbon wing they must have figured out robotic production which would be a huge step and if it’s not expensive it could be introduced to the whole family.
    Much more important is to change gate sizes, ICAO is sleeping.
    The A320plus is important, it would put the MAX-8 into a corner.
    The next step is to use the new RCT. The LR could carry 8 more pax, 188 pax till 4000nm.

    • “If Airbus is thinking about a carbon wing they must have figured out robotic production which would be a huge step and if it’s not expensive it could be introduced to the whole family.”

      A350 wing manufacture was initially held back because Airbus was keen to fully automate the skin mating/drilling process.

      • The A400M led the way slightly ahead of the A350 with a full carbon wing, and of course tax funded development.
        The then Douglas McD C-17 changed to a composite horizontal stabiliser after about the 50th plane, and that was 845 sq ft area compared to 737 classic 980 sq ft.
        Interestingly Boeing did a 737 horizontal stabiliser in composite under a Nasa contract in 1982.

  3. Two typos?

    “doubling to 31 a month by early 2021”
    – Should be “2022”.

    “The A330neo and A350 have composite wings.”
    – Should be “A220 and A350”.

  4. Where does the A350 production rate stand at present, and where could it be gearing up to?

    • A350 rate is at five at the moment.
      If Boeing can’t deliver 787 and 777-9, Airbus can step in.
      I’m sure Tim Clark would be happy.
      Boeing could keep producing 777-300ER.

  5. I think the predictions for the 737MAX production are high. Boeing may well hope to reach the 31 frames a month number, but as it is the backlog is still eroding.
    Even the 75 frames order from RyanAir could not turn December 2020 into positive net orders for the MAX.
    If the order erosion does not stop, I do not see a 31 frames 737 production rate at Boeing in the near future or ever.

    • Sprint’s projection comes from BA, which has been demonstrated to be all over the place (quick dialing up and *down* of 777, 787, 737 in recent years), makes it hardly 100% indicative of what the future looks like.

      That’s why many smaller contractors, which previously solely work with BA, are now actively looking to diversify, esp. to those with a more steady hand like AB.

  6. Airbus has the NEO and XLR wings for the A321. The XLR wing, 101t MTOW and fuel system can be used for a A320.5 and for a A322.

    An A320.5 could be a 3-4 row stretch of the A320, offering 2 rows more than the 737-8, the 199 seats comfortably, that many airlines want. Probably forcing Boeing into an NSA.

    I think a new bigger composites wing won’t be another A321 wing, but optimized for a substantially bigger A322 /A323 subseries, able to do 4300NM with 250 people and a few tons of cargo.

    And if so, no need to wait what Boeing does, why would they? Market demand determines the business case. (757, 767, A310, A321CEO replacements).

    • yes, i totally agree. If a new wing comes, I expect it to be addressing the upper end. I would even say that the sheer possibility of an a 322/323 being possible as a stretch, just with a new wing is what has been keeping Boeing from launching the NMA and deteriorating its business case. The result is the best possible for Airbus: Neither gets built and the planes that come closest are A321xlr and A330-800. Paradise!

      The 320 must grow. On the long run, being from 2030 onwards, I expect the 320 1/2 to be the smallest model, with an A220-500 taking over that size.

  7. I’m uncertain about the need for an A320 plus (A320.5).

    The A320 is not smaller than the 737-8 in volume. It is slightly shorter in cabin length. The wider fuselage of the A320 can compensate for 1 to 2 inches less pitch, making these aircraft capable of handling the same number of seats.

    If we look at European legacy carriers like Lufthansa and British Airways, they have 180 seats in their A320neo aircraft. KLM is one of the few European legacy carriers that still fly the 737, and they also have 180 seats in their 737-800.

    Looking at LCC these have between 186 and 189 seats in the 737-8/737-800, and between 186 and 194 seats (Cebu) in the A320neo.

    An A320 plus (A320.5) would make the A320 to large for many LCC. We will then end up in the same situation where Airbus needs to offer a submodel with an extra exit door, like Boeing does with the 737-8200 (Ryanair). That is not an optimal solution.

    In those parts of the world where the A320 is used on longer flights than in the EU, an A320.5 can make more sense.

    In addition to a new composite wing on the A321 and possibly on a A322, I think it is a better strategy for Airbus to do an A220-500.

    • strictly speaking there is no “need” for anything in the 737/320 field. Any plane could be replaced by another. The core idea of a real market economy is that you find something that satisfies a demand – not a need.

      The gap between the 320 and 321 is much bigger than between 319 and 320 and it would be a direct attack against 737-8 and -9.

      I wonder why Airbus has not come up with a 320 1/2 earlier. I guess they either feared that Boeing would then be forced to launch a NSA which would then force both OEMs to spend 10bn $ each to re-establish status Q … there it is better to earn well with a 60:40 market share and just invest in a NEO.

      A 220-500 must wait. Its biggest competitor would the A320. So why investing money to compete your own products? Besides, if you keep it in the drawer you have a quick answer if Boeing positions the NSA at the lower end of the single aisle sector.

      • “magic Range”
        market CG jumped with the NEO and sits square between A320 and A321. ( having sidled slowly from A319.5 upwards along with smallish improvements over time.
        And that CG is going to move further up with range increases.
        An A320.5 would enter the market when that market has already moved on. Leaving that draining pond to Boeing is fully acceptable.

        • “”An A320.5 would enter the market when that market has already moved on.””

          The A320plus was already in Airbus’ plans after the XLR, right.
          ATM the A320 is still the most ordered Airbus and even if that would change there would still be lots of A320 needed.
          The A320plus is easy do. Easy is important because in 2035 more changes might come.
          The A322 is much more difficult and how much longer could it be, I think not much. Of course the A322 would be more important because the gap between XLR and A330-800 is so big.

    • “If we look at European legacy carriers like Lufthansa and British Airways, they have 180 seats in their A320neo aircraft.”
      Checking both airlines on seatguru shows they dont have any A320 neos ( just A321 neo versions for BA) and the seating is normally around 155 to 165 . Nothing like 180. You arent going to get two class 180 seats for a full service carrier on the A320 fuselage- thats single class Easyjet category.

      For a different issue , Norwegian Long Haul is no more , its sticking to short haul and the European and connected regional routes with 50 planes- if they can pull that off as a highly geared operation.
      35 Dreamliners on the market

      • “35 Dreamliners on the market”

        In other words: 35 fewer 787 orders for Boeing.

      • British Airways has 12 A320 NEO in the fleet (registered G-TTNA to G-TTNM). Their configuration is CY180 – i.e. 180 seats.

      • I’ve always found seat guru to be beyond hopeless, it should never be used as a definitive source for anything. BA has quite a few A320 NEOs (I’ve flown on at least one) and they most certainly are configured at 180 seats. I do believe that pre-Covid BA was well in to the process of converting their A320 CEOs to this configuration as well.

        • IIRC it’s called SmartLav.
          It uses 2 lavatories in the bulkhead area behind the last doors. Those 2 lavatories can be changed in flight into 1 lavatory for pax with disabilities.
          One seat row can be gained, or 3 seats with galleys.
          There is an Airbus FAST Magazin explaining this.
          This is not CabinFlex which changes the door positions on A321.
          SmartLav can be installed on CEOs too.

  8. AB should do a D gate optimized (or C gate with their downward folding wing design) A322 for transcon/transatlantic with about 5000nmi range giving them effectively all of east coast to all of europe and

    done right they would be able to use ~37k GTFs and carry 200 in a full 3 class configuration burning less fuel than the current 321xlr with 168 pax

    • That does seem like the most obvious choice.
      To play devil’s advocate, first there is the fuselage. Is reusing the A320 worth the savings, or are there downsides to it where a new fuselage would have advantages? Looking at the 777x should give some pause for reflection on that decision. Will there be any advantage in certification for reusing existing designs?
      The nest wing will be interesting for Boeing or Airbus in a 40m to 50m D gate wing, or a folding wing to fit 36m? And last of all the engines, some PW GTF upgrade to 37K, or would a RR or CFM geared engine be ready in the needed timeframe?

      • The 777x really is no longer a 777. Re-certification is a big reason for the years of delay.

        • sure
          and this makes the 2/month rate in 2021 (and 2022) a bit Strange???

      • no, it requires more fuel or a better wing. A321 dual class is a 210 seat aircraft, 3 class it is about a 190.. they are limiting pax well below capacity in order to get the distance

  9. Good morning, the A330 Neo has composite wings? I thaught it was just a retwisting of the existing wing.

    • Interesting report, but I think he’s drawing the wrong conclusions. For example:

      “China needs new aircraft and Airbus… simply cannot supply those all by itself.”

      But he gives no reason why that should be so. If demand for new airliners stay significantly below the pre-covid level for a couple of years, which I expect, than Airbus will be more than happy to fill the gap. With their China factory and all the investments they have made in Europe they are perfectly set up for it.

      Of course, this means that China puts itself in a weaker negotiation position against Airbus. But as long as Airbus plays nice, which I expect they will, then it will not give the Chinese any headache.

      So no, I don’t see the pressure on China to re-certify the MAX unless the US government comes back to the table.

    • An expected additional headache for Boeing. And remember that, until re-cert occurs in China, MAX operators in surrounding countries can’t use the MAX on flights to/from China…thus compounding the problem.

      Moreover, the current lockdowns in China are again tempering the domestic aviation market there: the government wants people to refrain from traveling during the Chinese New Year mega-migration in February, and flights to/from various cities are currently halted.

      • Yes, I think this situation will continue for some time. I work closely with Chinese guys in Beijing and Tianjin. Their response to the virus is robust and effective but has its limitations. They have limited vaccine in relation to the population and are using their resource accordingly. They are coercing all those in jobs with high transmission rates to have the jab such as shop workers, bus drivers etc or those who must travel either internally or internationally. Their main response however is reducing movement, tight quarantine and severe lockdown (not the useless forms in most countries). This is allied to removing all infected people to specific locations to take them out of mainstream risk. The upshot is that air travel growth is going to be severely restricted for the medium term.

        • Unfortunately I’ve read reports that the Chinese vaccine is only 50% effective, so that would put a damper on their efforts if true.

      • @Bryce

        I don’t believe any major hub like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc is presently under lockdown.

  10. Concur. Boeing is going to want to sell as many 737 Maxes as possible. That’s 8s and 9s. 10s? Wow… That could go the way of the B767-400… Airbus could/will concentrate on the 321, 322, and possibly 322+. They could also go A220-500, 700; or a 500+…

    • Also, if I may “extend” my comment: The market will decide whether Airbus makes the A320NEO in +, increased GW, and/or new winged versions versus the A220-500/-700. Right now A220s are being delivered to a number of major airlines. Many of these operators will tell the manufacturer which plane they’ll want. It will be based on economics, their paying customers and national and local regulations. I have heard noise/rumors/speculation that the A220-500 is wanted. I haven’t heard a peep about a A320+.

  11. I believe European Legacy Carriers are very happy with the passengers capacity of the B-737 and A-320 families. A medium haul aircraft should have less than 200 passengers to guarantee a fast stopover.

    I think they are not looking for any stretched version of these airplanes.
    European Airlines are looking for a fast boarding-disembarking plane, large overhead bins, and a confortable aircraft, that can be used to fly long missions if needed.

    The main reason to move forward to develop a new Aircraft is new technology, reduced fuel burn, reduced emmissions, reduced noise footprint, and advanced avionics.

  12. “A220-500: Not yet, but if Airbus launches the A320.5, then likely.”

    Given the exorbitant cost to build on the A220, I doubt Airbus will extend the product line.

    • Care to expand on that? As I understood it the A220 was expensive to build due to the supplier contracts initially put in place. AirBus is renegotiating those and has stated they expect to get substantial savings.

      AirBus is also changing the build process moving to a pre-FAL FAL model where the pre-FAL stuffs fuselage sections that the FAL assembles. The plan is to have a single pre-FAL in Maribel. That should also lead to efficiencies.

      The A220-500 seems like the least expensive way for AirBus to get a non-cargo efficient single aisle in the 2class 160 seat range.

      • I have no doubt Airbus executives would like to renegotiate a lot of those deals. Keep in mind though these are contracts so all I can say is “bonne chance” with that.

        • First, it has been 5 years since EIS and as I understand it many of those contracts are soon up for re-negotiation. But beyond that AirBus some sticks and carrots to available to it. If you are a supplier to AirBus on programs beyond the A220 you would be foolish to insist on continued premium pricing for the small amount of A220 work you are doing if that will endanger work packages on other programs.

  13. Deploying A220-500 along with A320neo would be a pincer movement by Airbus against the beleaguered 737 MAX in the narrowbody market and would effectively be Airbus’ vengeance for Boeing’s similar double envelopment of the A380 in the widebody market in early 2000s with the 787 and the 747-8I. Also, with the transition towards hydrogen propulsion scheduled to begin in next decade and Boeing in full troubleshooting mode for next few years to come it makes sense for Airbus to bring the composite winged A220-500 to the narrowbody market in the second half of 2020s post recovery from the pandemic.

  14. Regarding COMAC:
    FG: “Comac added to US government’s Chinese military blacklist”

    That probably means no western engines on COMACs. At this rate, Boeing can completely forget about MAX re-cert in China. Not only will this probably push the Chinese further into Airbus’ arms, but it will also accelerate efforts to develop a domestic turbofan and/or increase Chinese interest in Russian tubofans.

    And for what?
    CNN: “China is winning the trade war and its exports have never been higher”

    • @Bryce

      This is unwise of the US

      As with the semi conductor ban aimed at Huawei and SMIC, this will backfire, spur China investment indeed improvement over US tech as with semi conductors, as with maglev, well US does not do maglev let’s say trains, as with….

      EU taken opposite stance – will benefit, once again Boeing is betrayed by their masters

    • @Bryce: And for what?

      Chest thumping to show the world what a superpower can and does. Rule based international system? If and only if it suits the Empire’s interest.
      Also to appease Midwest rural voters by destroying their living!

      And still Boeing/Seeking Alpha writer propagates that a “big order” from China is coming, sooner or later.

  15. I think an entirely new wing for the A320NEo is possible, but some time out. The operational, supply chain consequences would be huge. Lots of time, money and risk added to a program that has a huge backlog and weakened competition.

    What could be a lower risk scenario is moving the modified XLR wing (new flaps, leading edges, 101 MTOW) to become standard wing for all A321s, but also for a A320 Plus (199 seats Easyjet, Jetblue and others ask for).

    And a stretched A322NEO. Offering 250 seats – 3500NM range. The 101t XLR MTOW and runway performance guarantees seem to offer the flexibility to offer such a capacity for range A322NEO “simple stretch”.

    • I think the XLR wing is just not good for 101t. Especially for long range better wings make sense. It’s sad that Airbus won’t use more wingspan, though there might not be many D gates (757 and 767). If there are not many D gates, the gate system should be re-worked.

      The A320plus would be good with A321 wings. It should be the next new Airbus.

      The A322 with 3500nm range makes sense, no additional crew needed. The 97t A321 with RCT should carry 217 pax 3500nm. Question is how many more rows an A322 could have, I think not many.

  16. I hope this comment, although off topic, will be considered for publication

    It seems likely that airtravel will not resume to significant scale until international agreements between governments are thought out negotiated and administered

    Until when all airlines (so OEMs) are treading water, and vulnerable to externalities over which they can exercise no control but for which they will be held liable

    The various private initiatives and cheap app solutions evade responsibility in search for profit and the demeaning of notions of security and sovereignty

    EU considers supplementary travel passports – maybe at last a real world initiative which will get airtravel moving again ? or not ?

    « A proposal to grant special privileges to those who have been vaccinated is gaining traction in Europe ahead of a crunch call of the region’s leaders, as a rise in coronavirus infections damps hopes of a swift exit from the economy-crippling lockdowns.
    Over a video conference on Jan. 21, European Union leaders will discuss the introduction of a “vaccination certificate” that would allow holders to travel freely, several diplomats familiar with the preparations of the virtual meeting said. The proposal enjoys growing support, one EU official said, while another diplomat cautioned that there’s pushback by other governments, and any limits to the freedom of movement on such grounds could be illegal.

    The proposal to introduce such a certificate gained momentum after Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis formally requested it with a letter to the chief of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, earlier this week. With inoculation campaigns moving at a snail’s pace, a decision to extend EU-wide privileges for vaccines that are not yet available to everyone in the bloc, due to limited supplies, may not come imminently.
    Still, countries desperate to at least partially restore travel could go it alone, since border control is a national competence, and EU coordination, while sought, isn’t compulsory. The commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said it’s deliberating with the bloc’s national capitals about the idea of vaccination certificates as part of efforts to keep internal borders open. »

    Sir T Clark in breezy way on this subject recently-

    • And I similarly hope that this comment will be posted, because it too is indirectly concerned with re-opening of aviation routes — in this case pertaining to Asia (and Oceania), which is a large business and leisure market for travelers from the EU and US. I’m not specifically interested in the fact that the article refers to vaccines: the interesting aspect is the very relaxed timing that is indicated.

      Singapore Straits Times — “Why many Asia governments are being cautious on Covid-19 vaccines”

      “Governments from Japan and Australia to Hong Kong and South Korea are taking their time before granting regulatory approvals for vaccines, in stark contrast to the Western nations that have rushed to inoculate populations.”

      “New Zealand’s roll-out is slated to begin in the second half of 2021.”

      • @Bryce

        Very interesting

        It may be speculated that Asia governments are being prudent about mass application of uncertain technological solutions in favour of the considered application of ‘old fashioned’ administrative solutions, such as hitherto successfully applied

        Such as EU finally at long last may be girding up to do

        Perhaps there are initiatives in the US?

        • @ Gerrard
          One should exercise restraint in discussing such subjects in detail, so as not to stray too much off topic.
          But yes, it is very notable that governments in a large portion of Asia/Oceania are cautious about the “miracle solutions” being rushed into application in the west (and elsewhere), and are more inclined to wait and bide their time.
          The “old-fashioned” solutions to which you allude are effective in the countries concerned — but, unfortunately, also have a throttling effect on international travel. Case in hand: China denied entry to a Qatari WHO scientist this week (part of a team going to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the current pandemic) because, even though he had a negative PCR test, he tested positive on two different days for IgM antibodies (which are associated with active infection). A clear demonstration of the necessity of using a cocktail of tests rather than just a PCR.

          Meanwhile, various countries are now banning travel from Brazil (and Portugal) because of the new Brazilian variant that was recently discovered using genome testing in Japan. More and more countries in the EU are requiring negative PCR tests (and, soon, also negative protein/antigen rapid tests) for all travelers entering from outside the EU.

          So, as I commented yesterday in the Calhoun post below, the situation for Aviation is rapidly deteriorating.

          For those interested (including LNA staff), here’s a very informative, detailed and clear link discussing certain key aspects associated with vaccination:

          • @Bryce

            Correct: restraint allied with calm and measured reporting on the incidence of events on air travel, hence OEMs

            As per unwise US ban on COMAC – the collaborative approach of the EU CAI with China is much more productive for all parties, except Boeing

            As with prudent examination and trialing of administrative measures to be taken to enhance airtravel uptake

            Even if such inevitably will have some negative effects in the beginning, as you mention, in the medium to long term this approach is wise

            As per possibly wise EU measures forthcoming perhaps next week

            Have you seen announcements of US travel measures?

          • @ Gerrard
            As regards the US, I haven’t seen any policy announcements or discussions on this subject in several weeks: news outlets in the US are completely taken up with elections, civil unrest, the coming power transfer, and some details of the impending federal CoViD financial assistance package.

            As regards the EU: The idea of a vaccination passport seems to be dead-on-arrival — both for treaty reasons (it impedes free movement of people) and civil rights reasons (it may constitute discrimination if not all EU citizens have been given access to a vaccine). Moreover, if a vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission, then such a vaccination passport doesn’t have much use — a point that is still not understood by many politicians (and also not by JJ).
            However, there certainly does appear to be potential merit in all these additional testing requirements that have appeared in the past few weeks. If one were to replace quarantining by a low-price cocktail of tests (PCR+ IgM; perhaps additionally pre-flight and/or on-arrival antigen and/or breathalyzer rapid testing) then this could start to rapidly normalize travel. The EU Commission has been pushing for such a system for some time…and the penny may slowly be starting to drop. I would imagine that Asia would also be accommodative to such a system.

          • @Bryce

            Thanks for this report – I was slightly playing devil’s advocate, in a calm restrained way, in order to open up avenues of optimism, given the absence of the contrarian point of view

            But I think you are correct – testing testing testing seems the only way to overcome all the multiple travel blockers – for very many years into the future

            Technology is full of surprise pitfalls, especially when fancied up in a rush, as Boeing found out at the cost of the company

          • @ Gerrard
            Just because the idea of a vaccine passport may be dead duck for intra-EU travel does not, of course, mean that it won’t be introduced for international travel outside the EU. Seeing as a vaccination will probably have limited effect in preventing transmission, such a passport would only serve to “assure” that an incoming traveler will not end up in hospital with severe CoViD — which would burden the healthcare system in the country of arrival. This might be attractive to developing countries (such as Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand) who badly want the tourists but don’t want a strain on their very minimal healthcare systems. But such a passport will still have to be combined with testing, to ensure that the incoming traveler doesn’t infect the locals. As said above, it seems that most politicians just don’t understand this clearly.

            If such passports are introduced, they’ll have to be renewed regularly: Pfizer indicated this week that it’s vaccine will “probably protect for *up to* 2 years”, after which Moderna indicated that its vaccine will “probably protect for *at least* one year”. So, on that basis, one can expect “protection” (whatever that is) for 1-2 years. However, per the informative link that I posted above, such estimates go out the window if countries start playing with longer intervals between shots.

            All of this mess is probably going to cause a significant delay in resumption of “normal” air traffic. Tim Clark above talked about “end of year”, but that was before the impact of the new variants became apparent. NZ (and much of Asia) isn’t even going to start large scale vaccination until the second half of the year, so that market will be off-limits for most of 2021. The situation in China continues to worsen. However, one salvation is that Spring will be coming to the northern hemisphere in 9 weeks time, which will place some downward pressure on the virus.

          • As if on queue, here’s a link (from this morning) on the deteriorated outlook for the aviation sector in the UK:
            BBC: “Covid: ‘Urgent’ aviation support plea over travel curbs”

            “The Airport Operators Association said that there was “only so long” before airports might have to close temporarily to save costs.”

            “…warned that the UK aviation industry would “not be there to support the post Covid-19 recovery” without “a clear plan of action and a proper package of support”.


          • WaPo: Vaccine reserve was already exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access

          • News like this will not be welcome from the point of view of uptake and/or rollout in nursing homes:

            “Norway adjusts advice for elderly and frail people after (13) COVID-19 vaccine deaths”


            And yes, I realize that it’s only 0.04%…but the death rate among the population in general is of the order of about 0.1%. For a medicament, a 0.04% fatality rate in any group is a flashing light.

        • @Bryce

          What are the figures for frequency and numbers of Max China domestic flights & flights into/ex China : will any RCEP/ASEAN countries follow CAAC in declining to re cert ?

          Prudence and restraint is in evidence in Asia and their slight hesitant moves to open up airtravel for both business and tourism

          This sovereign and cautious approach is to be contrasted by the various Qantas LH etc let’s go enthusiasms which are unlikely to have been thought through

          It appears that ‘blocs’ are forming, trade blocs, alliances and unions, which may well chose to make internal arrangements, and then fail to reach outside understanding as to protocols and standards

          EU as you point out, but also RCEP, EU and RCEP already have a CAI to build on, and may be thought to have certain comon interest in administrative communication and accord : the US can ally with whomever is left over, but given Trade War on COMAC adding insult to injury it would be surprising if US can reach agreement on anything with China/RCEP, neither, much, with EU

          Absent international protocols- Recourse to tests, given that agreed facts about what new technologies can and can not achieve are lacking even from those parties said to have invented such

          As for tourism, Thailand for one is said to un welcome un like the old style, and to wish, exclusively, to encourage the new (China and other rich northern Asian)

          If any industry, apart from poor old Boeing, has realised the fragility of their business plan, relying on foreigners they dislike and mis understand, it is tourism

          Malaysia has a more complex relationship with China, nonetheless the BRI is moving forward, and the gradual opening of China financial market inviting

          Compare and contrast these approaches to the WEF initiative, which has signed up some airlines, but not yet any countries : this looks like insurrection by app, an attempt to bypass sovereignty, which are likely to be blocked by RCEP countries

          • As a (sort-of) reply to your first question, I’m aware of 7 airlines in 5 SE Asian countries that have (or, at least, had) MAXs on order: South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam (a huge order of 200 planes). Some airlines in India also have MAXs on order, and many lease companies also have them on the order books for (as yet) unknown airlines.
            Since all of these SE Asian countries are within 5-6 hours flying time of various points in China, and Vietnam even borders on it (like India), I can imagine that they will be “not amused” if they can’t use their MAXs to serve the Chinese market.
            Legally, I’m not sure what possibilities are available to cancel an order if a major market fails to certify the plane in question. I’m not sure that such a situation has ever arisen (except, perhaps, for certain Soviet planes?). Perhaps Scott might know more about this.

          • @Bryce

            Thanks – this could be a very interesting test case : US bans COMAC, so China can not re cert Max ; plausible

            Other countries may not fly Max to China, demand reparations form BA & cancel Max orders : arguing this is BAUS fault for faking first certification (why not argue second is invalid ditto) and BAUS fault for trade warring China in order to protect Boeing : plausible

            BA refuses – gets taken to court : US refuses, RCEP ….etc etc

            In any case, and Whatever happens, BA looses out

          • I’m doubtful many airlines fly NB to/from China other than a couple Chinese LCC (pre-2020). Most would fly WB because of demand for highly profitable premium seats.

      • Yes, I think this situation will continue for some time. I work closely with Chinese guys in Beijing and Tianjin. Their response to the virus is robust and effective but has its limitations. They have limited vaccine in relation to the population and are using their resource accordingly. They are coercing all those in jobs with high transmission rates to have the jab such as shop workers, bus drivers etc or those who must travel either internally or internationally. Their main response however is reducing movement, tight quarantine and severe lockdown (not the useless forms in most countries). This is allied to removing all infected people to specific locations to take them out of mainstream risk. The upshot is that air travel growth is going to be severely restricted for the medium term.

      • What I get from the article is that these countries have the luxury of choice. I am in the UK where the lamentable response to the virus means that we are relying exclusively on vaccination as a solution. The biggest thing I take from the article is the concern about effective rollout and I am sanguine as to the ability of the govt to achieve this. It is easy to bash out a few million doses but at some stage the difficult operation of combing the population for those missed will have to take place. I can see this becoming a shambles, I hope I am wrong

  17. Indonesia could download the FDR of SJ182.
    Why couldn’t it download the MAX FDR?
    Is Boeing blocking downloads now?

  18. I think Airbus wing of the future has simplified new flaps, modified slats, is strengthened for higher MTOW, includes a strengthened landing gear and pylon for up to 40 klbs LEAPS/ PW1100s, has a modified wingbox, fuel system creating space for extra revenue loads, making the ACT’s obsolete.

    It can easily be implemented for existing and new NEO variants up to 101t and maybe higher.

    EIS will be 2022 and first metal was cut 6 months ago.

    • It still is an enhanced A320 wing only.
      And my guess is you’ll see the aero changes backported to the “lesser” family members.

      Airbus “Wing of the Future” is the laminar flow design testflown in two manufacturing variations on an A340.
      Total different animal.

        • But that is not the technology going into the A321XLR wing. The XLR wing is a modified A321 wing with greater root cord and different high lift devices.

          The wing-of-tomorrow sound very similar to the A220 wing single pice upper and lower skins & forward back wing box spars. Created using dry fibre resin infusion with integrated stringers. The main difference seems to be the Spirit technology uses vacuum bagging and temperature control via heating of the tool surface. The A220 articles are cured in an autoclave under pressure.

        • Yes. At Airbus Wing technology design Centre in Filton Bristol. Not Toulouse as some seem to think
          The liquid resin infusion is already done at the Spirit plant at Northern Ireland , formerly Bombardier, for the A220. Another reason for development of that design and production process for other Airbus models.

        • To be clear, the article above details the Spirit approach to the infusion system. There are many other contributors in the effort to create a new, cost effective manufacturing process, to enable an unprecedented rate of production.
          In the article itself there are hints to a new automated cell to lay down CF at NCC in Bristol.
          Other production technologies for other parts of the wings are pursued in other locations from other partners.
          Very interesting is the hint from Scott that these technologies will be available in this decade for a new evolution of the 32x series.

        • So the wing-of-tomorrow and the laminar-flow efforts appear to be not directly connected but may meet up in the future?

          Would it make sense to graft anything in this vein onto a bog standard A320 fuselage? I’d expect Airbus to complement this with an up to date fuselage design.

        • “So the wing-of-tomorrow and the laminar-flow efforts appear to be not directly connected but may meet up in the future?”
          Likely, obviously according with the result of each program.

          “Would it make sense to graft anything in this vein onto a bog standard A320 fuselage? I’d expect Airbus to complement this with an up to date fuselage design.”
          Big question, but clearly you get the most payout from CF using it to make the wings; as per the fuselage, you can spend your money honing up your actual product & production system.
          Result: superior product with reduced cost.

          • I think AirBus is contemplating a one, two strategy. Develop the new wing and put it on one of the larger members of the A32x familly (the existing wing is just fine on the smaller members flying up to 4hr missions). This wing will be able to cruise at higher speeds than the existing one. Then at a later date develop a new fuselage to use with the new wing. That new fuselage will be designed for:
            * Ease of robotic manufacture
            * Have larger windows a lower pressure altitude and support higher humidity. All important for long flights.
            * A slightly wider interior envelope. That allows a wider aisle and larger bins, both making for faster turn-around times.
            * Possibly dual front LH doors allowing a true business cabin up from and further speeding turn around times.
            * Some aerodynamic tweaks, but possible gains are small.
            * Combined with the new wing and pip’d engines a range of 5,500nm.

            Going this route means you are never in a position where your clients are holding off orders waiting for the new aircraft. You spread development cost and allow manufacturing issued to work themselves out on lower volume models.

          • “”Develop the new wing and put it on one of the larger members of the A32x familly””

            This makes sense, kind of like the new RCT. They develop it for the XLR but it can be used on the whole A320family.

            So it depends if Airbus is able to produce a carbon wing fast and at reasonable costs.
            The real range boost would come with a future carbon fuselage.
            The only problem is LH2 is completely different and it seems Airbus’ ZEROe is a full carbon plane.

            So we are talking about the next 14 years, what Airbus could do. If they can do a carbon wing for the A322 and then introduce the same wing to the XLR and LR, that would really help.
            The additional crew for long range could have a rest area in the cargo bay.
            How long would a new carbon wing take?

  19. It’s a very interesting position Airbus is in.
    They have 2 winners (A320neo and A350) and 2 families that harm the main competitor (A220 and A330neo).

    Boeing has a looser (B737 Max) but it will make money, with only 1/3 of the market share.
    A winner (B787) and a step child (B777x).
    Boeing has huge internal issues they need to face before doing smth new.

    Airbus is winning in the A220 and A320neo area, and they know Boeing is stuck with the Max. If they go with a composite wing, they might force Boeing into a new SA plane.
    And a new wing is expensive several bn. $, but would it help market-wise?
    Yes, the A321 could need another stretch and a new wing to really dig into the MOM.
    But where’s the business case with almost 4000 A321neo versions on order and only 700 Max 9 and 10?

    Airbus might rather take a look at the A330neo / B787 area.
    The A35k is not selling well, they should figure out why and solve it.
    The B789 is the plane Airbus should find an answer to, the A339 is not.

    If Airbus goes with a new wing for the A320neo, Boeing basically has to build a new plane, and then Airbus has to do so too, otherwise, it will have the worse product. But a new wing is to expensive to just do it and the cell might be to old too.
    Airbus can harm Boeing with small steps, bring an A220-500 would be one, attacking the Max 8 from the lower end.
    An A322, sounds nice but sounds nitch also, and depending on dev. costs might run into a new Boeing development soon.
    As we have learned from A330neo and B777x, the old re-engined looses to the new planes.
    Not the position you want to be in, if you ask me.

    • “”The B789 is the plane Airbus should find an answer to, the A339 is not.””

      The 787 is not a threat. Which sane airline would order 787 now.
      Since Boeing couldn’t deliver a single 787 the last two months, they couldn’t even meet the 0.005in spec by luck.

      • This is a “The Hare and the Hedgehog” kind of story, isn’t it.
        ( with Boeing in the hare role 🙂

    • The A330-900 Neo is both a transatlantic and many trans pacific routes aircraft

      “The true long-haul aircraft in the Airbus lineup is the A350, the go-to aircraft from Airbus for Pacific-Ocean crossings. But with a nominal 7,200nm range, the A330-900 is no longer the trans-Atlantic aircraft it was. It will be an alternative to the A350 for many trans-Pacific routes.”

      Qantas used to use the old A330-200 for some of its ‘thin’ US transpacific routes to US west coast, eg from Brisbane and Auckland. Their fleet choice has changed to the 787-9 as they also need to reach further than the west coast and also be used from Melbourne.
      How ever the 777X lost out to the A35K for the ultra long routes, so the A330 neo could be back in contention for the regional Asia routes.

      The A330 neo has a strong future as there is is still a lot of 10 years or less versions of the A330 out there ( 530 delevered since 2011) as well as those up to 15 years old now( 350 delivered)
      Boeing has had such strong 777 deliveries in last 8-10 years its soaked up the market for 777X , but its time will come

      • Yes, people are writing off the 777x much too early. There is a pile-on syndrome taking place with Boeing because of terrible leadership the past two decades. But history also suggests they shall rise again. Probably not under this regime, but the next…

        • @sam

          “But history also suggests they shall rise again. ”

          I did not know that Boeing went through such cycles as the current

          When in the past have they sunk quite so low as now? How then did they recover?

          • Boeing struggled with development in the late 60s – huge investment in the 747 and the plant to build it in, 737 that lost a chunk of the flaps in testing. And investing in upgraded flight deck for the 707 and 727, though they were selling then.

            Then the lean years of the 70s, in which it even considered closing or selling the 737 line. (The IAM thought of investing in or buying it.)
            The 737 line was kept alive by small airlines ordering one or two at a time, the likes of PW, Aloha, Air Cal, Frontier. (I don’t remember when SWA expanded a lot, it was in a group of regional airlines that had technical conferences.)
            One day a Boeing sales VP told a couple of us of Boeing’s attempts to educate people who’d made money in real estate about airline operations.
            And he told us of the day a guy wearing a dusty cowboy hat strolled in from Alaska and said he’d like to buy an airplane or three. Mr. Wein ended up buy several over the next few years.

          • Yes Keith. From the 737’s EIS in 1967 till the outbreak of the oil crisis in 1973, the DC-9 actually battered and outsold the 737 by a huge margin and it was only in the 1980s post market deregulation in the U.S. that the 737 could really establish itself.

      • That was exactly the argument used for the A380. So many B744 still in use, his time will come. 10 years later: The time never came.

        That’s the B777x faith. The plane in its conception (2011!) will be almost 15 years old if the rumors are right and Boeing shifts delivery into 23/24. The tech is mainly from 14-16, with engine tech en par to B787, A330neo, A350, B748.
        At a certain point, it will face a A350neo with the RR ultrafan. Probably end 2020ties.

        Airlines did replace the large quads mainly with B77W, B789 and A359, that’s where all the orders come from.
        They went with smaller, mid sized twins, or in case of the B77W they went with the most capable twin – still smaller than a B744.

        If they do the same with the B77w, go smaller, they end up with B789 or A339/A359. As surprisingly, all the US legacy carriers do.
        If they wanna replace it 1to1, guess why the size of the A35k is exactly like the B77W.

        Only if they need strength, power, and larger capacity, they take the B779.
        That’s a plane for a niche market – the gulf. Boeing designed it that way.
        Why would you need that engine?
        The b779 will make sense, but it will face the A380 problem. It’s efficient if you can fill it, have tight slots, and need a very capable aircraft.
        As soon as you can’t fill, B789 and A350 would be better.
        Look at the orders, airlines like BA need it, SIA needs it, Emirates and Qatar.
        The US Airlines won’t touch it.

        The B779 is in a very though spot, especially with it’s main customers Emirates and Quatar not unhappy about a delay.
        It’s a clear case for now, they don’t need it now and they don’t want it now.
        Questionable if they want it later.

        • The EIS of the A350 ultrafan is probably moving to the right, just like everything else. 2033-2035 would be more my guess.

          • Maybe Ted. Hard to say.

            But a geared fan on one of the light composite WBs is actually the foreseeable step efficiency-wise.
            The P&W is doing well on the A320neo.

            Both A350 and B787 have RR engines and are due for a re-engine in the 2nd half of 2020 or early 30ties.
            if demand recovers in 2022, why should smth. about 28/29 be unrealistic? That’s a long time from now.

  20. Also depending on WN’s coming replacement of 737-700.

    It is BA’s order to lose. AB’s winning strategy will be to corner BA. No CEO of BA can survive if it loses that order and it would push BA to develop the FSA/NSA (or whatever BA picks out from its alphabetical soup). But AB still can try a low bid with a product A220-300 that is est. 6 to 8% cheaper to operate than a Max 7 and let BA put a millstone around its neck: by giving away 500 Max to WN.

  21. Boeing replaces Caroline Kennedy with Lynne Doughtie – an retired accountant

    To continue to appoint Wall Streeters or Socialites or Politicians to the BoD, and not from the industry, nor from manufacturing, is to continue to emphasise financial engineering over real, and the manufacture of consent over the building of aircraft, to ruinous effect

    • There is pressure to not go on like they did over the last 10 years in terms of stock value priority. Stock value based executive payment, “free” cash flow allocation to improve stock value (buybacks), borrowing money to pay dividends improving stock value, and advanced accounting (pushing out debts, pulling forward income) to improve stock value short term.

      The industry wants to see some real change & it start at the top. Give Lynne Doughtie a fixed good salary, irrespective of short term stock value and bonusses based on on integrity and long term portfolio health.

      • @keesje

        Everyone knows, even BA BoD, that BA pleasuring of WS was a mistake – they do not need a WS accountant to tell them nor to show them how to avoid this

        By these actions, they are indebted to WS and dependent on WS

        Lynne Doughtie’s time at KPMG was marked by the same kind of scandals as perpetrated by BA

        What BA does need is to figure out the program accounting on the 787 and manage to persuade WS it is salvable and not downhill from here -maybe Lynne Doughtie has been hired to do that, or maybe it is impossible but BA wish to show they are trying

        What BA needs is to figure out how to raise cash to survive short term, and the cash to build a new plane a new wing something anything to prove they are still in the market

        They need to bring on board someone to manage a new project, and someone who can talk WS into giving them the money

        This is unlikely to be Lynne Doughtie : given her failures at KPMG

        • Or perhaps Lynne has been hired to oversee an inevitable liquidation / spin-off of BCA…which is, after all, technically insolvent and hopelessly debt-laden. It takes an experienced accountant to creatively re-allocate assets and liabilities within the various arms of a large corporation — not unlike putting all the bad loans on a lender’s balance sheet into a “bad bank”. Once all the rot has been isolated in an appendix, it can be severed and removed. A bankruptcy / re-start has the advantage of purging debts from the books. Good old Chapter 11!

          • @Bryce

            I take your point about BA’s need for creative accounting, they certainly need all the help they can get

            They can spin off the DoD, perhaps the NASA stuff is worthless, and bankrupt the rest – all this can be done ‘creatively’, and can give WS it’s 100% share of the pickings

            Yet to relaunch BCA money will be required – who would be creative minded skilled in manufacturing experienced in the operation of a largish multi national industrial base and satisfied with no ROI for a generation enough to re think re capitalise and re launch a dying if not dead old lady?

            Lee Iaocca?

          • @Bryce

            I take it back – not Lee, Barack – I had not realised that Obama had been of such use to BA and vice versa (they gave $10M to his Presidential Library, amongst, undoubtedly, other things) that he waived his usual $400,000 speaker’s fee when addressing a BA ‘Leadership retreat’ in Arizona 2019

            It was BO who sold the Max to Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines

            (Well I Never)

            Now that Team BO is back in the White House, perhaps BO will find a couple of hundred billion to payback his old pals at BA

            « « In November 2011, in Bali, Indonesia, President Obama announced an agreement between Boeing and Lion Air.

            “For the last several days I’ve been talking about how we have to make sure that we’ve got a presence in this region, that it can result directly in jobs at home,” Obama said. “And what we see here — a multibillion-dollar deal between Lion Air — one of the fastest-growing airlines not just in the region, but in the world — and Boeing is going to result in over 100,000 jobs back in the United States of America, over a long period of time.”

            “This represents the largest deal, if I’m not mistaken, that Boeing has ever done. We are looking at over 200 planes that are going to be sold.”

            In September 2014, Obama met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia at the White House.
            “We’re strong trading partners,” Obama said. “And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States.”

            “I’m expecting a gold watch from Boeing at the end of my presidency because I know I’m on the list of top salesmen at Boeing,” Obama said at an export forum at the White House in September 2013.
            « «


    • Oh my, more conspiracy theory.

      In principle it is very good to have an experienced accountant on the board.

      A very smart one anyway, I’ve worked with some young and old. But also with stupids such as the supervisor who could not grasp a revolving charge account ($10 a pop service of variable timing, pay the bill every month). And the muddle in the middle, people who do a good job of basic accounting, trustworthy people but not big-picture thinkers.

      • Boeing has great accountants, nobody really understood, they convinced everybody free cash flow was all, accounting blocks solved all short term debts & nobody cared, because the outlook is fantastic & look at the stock price !! Anybody doubting is just a Boeing basher!

  22. BA’s SLS hot fire test: MCF!

    BA looks like it’s misfiring on all cylinders.

    Fourth positive covid case due to sharing a charter flight to Australia Open. Safe to fly?? Doubtful.

    • WSJ: Boeing’s engineering failure didn’t begin or end with the 737 MAX. The company is also working to fix its troubled space program.

      The last liftoff of the Starliner spacecraft was supposed to be a decisive win. Instead, it showed that Boeing’s engineering and management issues went …

      What BA seriously needs right now are adults in the (board) room. Instead they shuffle deckchairs.

    • That’s probably because only PCR tests were used.
      The Chinese have a better policy: combined PCR and IgM testing. Using this approach, they intercepted a Qatari WHO doctor (part of an international team going to Wuhan) who had a negative PCR but had two positive IgM tests on two consecutive days in a buffer/holding station in Singapore.
      PCR tests give at least 20% false positives…rising to a potential 67% if performed too early after infection occurs. The Irish health minister is aware of this (based on comments he made last week), but I’m not sure that other policy makers are…

      • Error in previous message: false “positive” should read false “negative”.

  23. Aviation going back to normal in 2021?
    Forget that.
    BBC: “Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official”

    “Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

    • @Bryce

      Meanwhile JJ is asking for a bailout?

      Did Qantas ever make a reasonable ROI on their international routes? Or was it just We are the World as per their tv campaigns

      Would they not be better off doing domestic only, maybe squeezing in NZ, And let the Emirates etc do the heavy lifting

      • I think that the US and Asia are the main international bread and butter markets for Qantas, because such traffic has no relevance via the Gulf. On routes between Oceania and Europe, the Gulf carriers have long hammered Qantas. Similar arguments apply to European legacy carriers such as AF-KLM. Singapore Airlines has managed to maintain a reasonable market share because of its premium image, and because it’s near enough to Europe to be reached in a non-stop flight.
        JJ will be lucky if his airline isn’t decimated within the next year: there’s a price to be paid for living in a goldfish bowl. I wonder if he still thinks that carrying only vaccinated passengers is a viable idea?

    • I think you mean “may UNcancel some MAX orders”…

      ” “China is a question mark,” Mr Udvar-Hazy said on an Airline Economics Growth Frontiers webinar. It will likely become a political issue, and the new Biden administration will have to resolve it, he said.”

      “China, the fastest-growing major market for aircraft sales, was the first to idle the plane in March 2019 after the second of two MAX crashes that killed a total of 346 people. It hasn’t said when it will allow the plane to fly, and the relationship with the outgoing Donald Trump administration is raw as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to be sworn in on Wednesday.”

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