Pontifications: Boeing’s right direction, but don’t get ahead of reality

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 8, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing appears to be heading in the right direction: launch a new airplane program to take care of its 737 MAX product weakness. And do something different by pursuing the “NMA Lite” concept: a twin-aisle, three-member family starting at ~185 seats through ~250 seat and up to 5,000nm in range.

But don’t get ahead of ourselves on the NMA Lite. There are a lot of Ts to cross and i’s to dot.

And anything can change between now and a concerted effort to survey customers, prepare the supply chain and ask the Boeing Board for Authority to Offer the NMA Lite for sale.

Importantly, a three member family dramatically expands the potential market. Publicly, Boeing said the market for the NMA is about 4,000. Internally, officials knew it was more like 2,100—with Airbus capturing perhaps half.

With a third member, demand increases by roughly 7,000.

It’s tough to make a business case for 1,050 airplanes. It’s much easier for 4,550.

Still, this is the best news I’ve seen come out of Boeing in years. Even pre-dating the MAX ground. And pre-dating the COVID pandemic.

Climbing out of a deep hole

The reliance of derivatives—737 MAX, MAX 10, 777X—is straight out of the failed business model of McDonnell Douglas. So was the heavy outsourcing production model for the 787.

Problems with the 777X, KC-46A (the USAF recently called it a “lemon”) and even the space program just piled on Boeing’s woes, including financial ones.

Boeing has a deep, deep hole to climb out of.

Let’s hope the NMA Lite is the next rung on the ladder.

Boeing won’t kill the 777X

With the reduction of form orders for the 777X from 344 to 309 to 191, this negative trend inevitably raises questions in the market: will Boeing kill the program?

Boeing isn’t going to kill the 777X. I think it’s on the way to becoming the next Airbus A380 (251 sales) or Boeing 747-8 (153) or even the Airbus A350-1000 (168). The market moved away from the 777-9 since it was launched in 2013. International airplane travel is trending toward smaller airplanes on more direct flights. This is precisely the business model Boeing promoted with the 787 vs the A380.

The 777-9 is simply too big now to be more than a niche airplane. The 777-8, if this gets built, is even more of a niche airplane than the 777-9. Plus, the Airbus A350-1000 is a more economical airplane.

But the shrinking market and canceled orders doesn’t mean Boeing will abandon the 777X. With a $6.5bn charge taken in the fourth quarter on the program, some—but not all—of the costs are already sunk. There are 12 airplanes built and parked at Everett. There are four on the production line. And the flight test airplanes are built and flying. What would Boeing do with these? Scrap them? Who would buy just 20 of a kind?

LNA doubts the 777X will be a commercial success. But we firmly disbelieve the market buzz that Boeing will kill the airplane.

395 Comments on “Pontifications: Boeing’s right direction, but don’t get ahead of reality

  1. I’ve been very critical of Boeing management and BOD the past few years. IMHO, while Boeing’s problem started many years ago (since the McDonnell Douglas acquisition a while back), it was really when James McNerney took that the accelerated downfall had began.

    Anyway, no use crying over spilled milk and hopefully Boeing goes “bold” and goes with the 3 planes which is gaining some attention.

    IMHO the B77X will probably do better than the A380 only because its a much smaller plane and many carriers are already familiar with the B777 series. Yes, it will have competition from the amazing A350-1000 however, the B77X should hold its own.

    Plus, I see the B77X platform eventually having a freighter version.

    Also, IMHO, when the COVID-19 situation starts to trend substantially down by summer/fall, I see traveling start to pick up.

    My family and I would love to travel, but we’re not going to until we get vaccinated. Once we do however, we have a few trips planned.

    Finally everyone, please get the vaccination!!!

    • Please don’t get vaccinated. It’s a darwinian test of intelligence, early vaccine for me and more oxygen for everyone.

      • Actually in the UK the government is suggesting that they should have priority

        • Illegal migrants are in situations that lead to a high possibility of infection. They are also not the type that doesn’t show up for work because they have the sniffles. Both are excellent reasons to priorities them.

          Won’t happen though because they will priorities work from home accountants.

        • Not quite what’s happening in the UK.

          The priority for vaccination has been defined and the UK Govt. has repeated they will vaccinate the 1st nine ‘at risk groups’ before looking at further vaccine priorities. I.E. immigrants would be vaccinated in line with the currently defined groups, they will not be prioritised.


          The Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations in the UK for various reasons are at greater risk (borne out by the statistics of both cases and deaths) from Covid.

          The UK Govt. has sensibly decided that illegal immigrants (a fair proportion of whom are BAME and estimated to number around 1.3 million) should get vaccinated and is making assurances that illegal immigrants will not face deportation if they register with a General Practitioner (Doctor’s Office equiv. in USA) in order to be invited for a vaccine appointment.

          In my opinion a sensible decision, if the Govt. does nothing, some of these people will unfortunately end up in hospital with various outcomes, they would also allow further virus transmission and of course some of the resulting people thus infected will also end up in hospital with once again, various outcomes.

          We need to vaccinate as many of the population as we possibly can, worldwide. We need a human response, not a political, racial or xenophobic response. I hope all countries around the world will offer vaccines completely free of fear of judgement / persecution / deportation.

          It is in everyone’s interest that as many people in the entire world are vaccinated.

          There is already some resistance in various UK communities to vaccines:
          Ethnicity %

          Pakistani 23.0
          Bangladeshi 14.9
          Asian other 13.8
          Black 9.2
          Other ethnic groups 6.7
          Indian 6.0
          White other 4.4
          Mixed 3.2
          White British 3.0


          The UK appears to be on target to have offered a 1st dose Covid vaccine to the 1st four groups by Feb 15th. Snow this week may reduce the vaccine rollout a little, I hope it’s not reduced by much.

          3.1 million 1st doses administered in the last 7 days, if the UK could keep this up, or improve on this, the 1st nine groups (everyone aged 50 and above) would have had their 1st dose by the 1st week in April.

        • @Jakdak – sorry this got carried away: it’s off topic and it’s a contradiction in terms –

      • @AP_Robert

        Already said it was off topic, since you agree why post?

          • General Van Ovost piloted the KC-46 and also operated the boom in a refueling operation last week. Praised the capabilities. I suspect her firsthand experience outweighs the pundits.

            She also tweeted links to the major news articles about her interview with the media, but notably omitted the “lemon” reference article.

          • @TW
            Thanks! Here’s another

            #DYK, the convergence of an aging air refueling (AR) fleet, with protracted KC-46A production and delays of becoming fully mission capable, puts America’s ability to effectively execute day-to- day operations and war plans at risk. #TogetherWeDeliver pic.twitter.com/tT0YnXy5ne
            — USTRANSCOM (@US_TRANSCOM) February 1, 2021

          • That was in reference to the US TRANSCOM request from General Lyons to Congress, to defer retirement of 13 KC-135’s and 10 KC-10’s that were to be cut from the budget in 2021. Congress has not yet acted on his request to retain from last February.

            The USAF wants to proceed with retirements, TRANSCOM wants to retain, and Congress is split on how many and which aircraft to retire and/or retain.

            Like General Van Ovost, General Lyons has said he is pleased with Boeing’s progress on the RVS 2.0.

          • @Rob

            So now infighting as to how dis or unpleased they are? Let’s listen attentively to just how unhappy DoD is, across it’s variety of displeasures

            Transcom is less pleased than the lemon General? or more displeased?

          • The various generals are now doing mop-up PR moves because it’s not good to be telling the world that the US has sub-par tanker capability. The “lemon” comparison was undoubtedly made without thinking through the consequences of such a remark in the eyes of Russia and China. The US used to laugh at the USSR’s incapable military machinery in the 80s, but the tables have now partially turned thanks to the lemony KC-46. Nice one, Boeing!

          • The generals are just truthfully representing their positions. The entire world knows what the US tanker capability is, there are no secrets.

            Most of the KC-46 fleet will have limited ops status by the end of 2021. General Goldfein has said they can be used in combat if a pressing need arises. The tanker wing bases have said they are ready to go if called upon.

          • @Rob

            So the bits and pieces of DoD, USAF and whatever are all still arguing with eachother about whether the planes are combat ready or not, if they really really don’t work or if they sort of maybe don’t work much, let’s wait and see, like the FAA after the first Max crash

            Yet- ‘we’ know they are not combat ready, ‘we’ know they are ‘lemons’, but on second thoughts ‘we’ must’nt let the enemy know, correct slang is ‘the entire world’, else ‘they’ will take advantage, in military slang ‘will catch us with our lemons down’

          • The KC-46A is the only full military spec tanker out there, still the USA knows that in a hotly contested enviroment a commercial aircraft modified to a tanker does not really cut it so there will be another stealth unmanned fleet coming eventually. The zones were you need a stealth tanker pops up in wartime but 99% of the earth would be outside this zone even in war.

          • Claes:

            Actually the KC-46 is a Civilian Spec/Cert air-frame, that been modified for added on military equipment that is then Certified to Civilian Specifications

            If that does not make you head hurt I don’t know what will.

            What we do know is that thar lemon needs a whole lot of Sugar!

          • The USA doesn’t need a war, neither does the world. The new administration clearly has a few debts to pay and we will see war mongering re Russia and ME but who cares if the US is short a few tankers its a good thing if the US military is impaired for a while both from an economic point and a peace point of view. China in the Sth China, Taiwan is a real concern.

          • @Claes Eriksson

            That’s the kind of sort of reasoning they used with the Max, 1% is an awful lot of dead

            Tho’ for sure the war machine is more to do with mine is bigger than your’s hustling than with any actual efficiency (long list of endless lost wars) – still there’s probably one or two DoD types who’d like the thing to actually do what they asked/paid for

          • @Claes Eriksson

            true 99% of the world would not be dangerous but refueling aircraft need to be near the action or they are mostly useless. And Russia’s (and likely also Iran & China) 500 km air-defense missiles are designed to knock out tankers.

        • Uwe – were you ‘edited’ because of something you said? Whatever could it have been? I think we should be told.

          • commentary on avoiding RU vaccine post and a back track to some US Angst items and US historic projects. not really on topic.

      • Why, Sputnik is now looking like the best one out there. mRNAs are new tech, never used before. The Sputnik approach is a long tested appproach.

    • I’d agree. The 777x won’t likely be another 77W success but there will still be routes where capacity is needed and it will have a small but necessary part of the market and future freighter demand should allow it to sustain better than the a380 did. I still think NMA could be where the market shifts once it’s ready. If it’s a plane as comfortable on short trips as TATL missions it would allow Boeing’s next narrow body to be optimized to a lower seat count without needing to stretch too far up. In that context the 737-8 would hold it over nicely until they see what happens with hydrogen etc since it’s not likely a plane larger than that could incorporate that technology but could become viable in a smaller narrow body once the MAX8 has run its course

      • NMA has all sorts of possibles.

        Unfortunately with Boeing, like the state of the art Titanic, you can sink the finest ship with foolishness.

    • There were lots of folks in Guyana that drank some koolaid because they had faith and everyone else did it. Do this to you and your wife not your son and daughter who plan to have children in the future. Finally don’t use Google to research this, its curated and you will learn zilch.

  2. The Wright Bros did derivatives too, Flyer I, II, III.
    The companies not doing derivatives are usually because the plane wasn’t a success in the market. Ask Convair , Lockheed , Vickers , Dassault et al

    • there are derivatives, and then there is milking the cow long after it died.

      boeing did an amazing job on the original 707 fuselage, but that was almost 70 years ago. the 737 is still using that basic fuselage structure today

      multiple revolutions in materials, design and manufacturing have happened in the meantime, but the 707 fuselage remains largely unchanged.

      the dimensions of the humans flying have increased while the space allotted per passenger has continuously shrunk.

      it is well past time to move on.

      • “737 is still using that basic fuselage structure today”

        First flight of the 737 was April 67 , while first flight of the A300 was Oct 72, 5 1/2 years later .
        The A330 neo still uses the same fuselage, do you have problems with that reuse of ‘the design plans’ today or is it just another Boeing ‘thing’ to grind your gears?
        As I said derivatives are because the original design ‘got it right’

        • the 737 fuselage is (largely) the 707 fuselage of 1953, not new in 1967, so the A300 fuselage is a full 20 years younger.

          but yes, Airbus has also played the derivative game with the A300/310/330 fuselage. dimensionally, at the common 8 across seating plan in the A330 fuselage is much better suited to modern fat and tall humans.

          but yes, airbus should also dump the A330. I would also hope they are working on an all new A320 replacement.

          • Not.going. too. happen.
            Have you seen the latest USAF jet just did a test flight last week, it too is the old design of the 1970s, but I understand nothing inside is from that era

            Commercial realities mean airlines will buy new builds of old plane design but will turn their nose up at all new design.

            Missing the main point , its not the structure that matters , its the
            modern flight controls and fly by wire thats missing from Boeings 737 ( other than a very minor way) and that is a serious issue now
            A320 and A330 types have that , so will be around for the next 20 years….winners are grinners

          • bilbo/Duke… – although it was relatively early in the program, didn’t Airbus revise the A300 tail section, introducing A310 thinking on the A300-600R? If so, perhaps the A330neo is not entirely the same as the original A300?
            Nevertheless, the Europeans got a lot of things right at the first attempt – including what one Airbus ceo told me was the ‘magic dimension’ of the fuselage 222-inch diameter cross-section.

          • The A310 got a revised rear fuselage to allow full width seat rows further in the back.
            The A300-600 (coming after the A310) inherited this feature.
            MY guess is that there is not much holdover from A300/A310 to the A340/A330 beyond that magic 222″ cross section and a wide range of layout decisions ( pax space .. ).
            HTP/VTP are much larger, the wingbox is higher and longer, MLG and that extra center leg ….
            One distinct hold over is the NLG arrangement and probably the cockpit structure.
            As with any manufacturer house style can be found with most parts.
            ( in another domain that comes up as amusing: Automotive shows similar features: just from looking at details like screws, nuts, washers ( or not ) and other detail solutions you can identify the designer( item, manufacture ). This clashes quite often with the badging visible to owners 🙂

          • A340 was in the mix too, wing common with A330 but four engines hung on it. Not a great success as the world did not want four-engine airliners any more.

            Speaking of backroom work, four decades later I will say that Boeing had a team quietly working on a two crew flight deck for the 767, including two airlines – a major and a regional (which flew the twin Convair and the DC6 so thought two crew was just fine). When things changed, Boeing was more than ready.

          • Airbus had long been heading for 2 crew cockpit.
            ( with the interim forward facing crew cockpit. Afair they did get the nod from the FAA only after Boeing was ready? )

            OT: for an upcoming small _non-US_ airframers first long range product the A340 was a well placed item. The A340/A330 devel effort began quite a bit ahead of the 777.
            ( what if the PW engine had “worked” ? 2 lines for the cost of one+ )

      • Deciding on derivative or not depends on goal and what you have to work with.

        So Boeing decided against stretching the 707 because new landing gear with much structural rework for it would be needed.

        Plus they had the big capacity stretch – 747, twin aisle.

  3. A ” “NMA Lite” concept: a twin-aisle, three-member family starting at ~185 seats through ~250 seat and up to 5,000nm in range. ”

    would probably weigh 65t empty. That’s 14t heavier than an A321XLR. No miracles there, it would translate in life long fuel burn penalty , and basically all other costs.

    A new Boeing aircraft has to be more efficient, meaning lighter, quieter, cleaner, cheaper. Otherwise it will become another expensive, overspecified do-it-all aircraft, that no one can close the business case around.

    • Hello keesje,

      Re: “A ” “NMA Lite” concept: a twin-aisle, three-member family starting at ~185 seats through ~250 seat and up to 5,000 nm in range. ”

      would probably weigh 65t empty. That’s 14t heavier than an A321XLR. No miracles there, it would translate in life long fuel burn penalty , and basically all other costs.”

      In the conclusion of his February/March 2015 article series on this Blog titled: “Redefining the 757 replacement: Requirement for the 225/5000 Sector”; Bjorn Fehrm concluded that an A322 and elliptical fuselage twin aisle composite aircraft with similar range and passenger capacities, would have very similar wetted area, drag, weight, and fuel consumption when using equivalent engine technologies. Below are the free bullet points from, and a link to, the final installment of this paywall article series.


      1) The rational further stretch of Airbus A321LR is a re-winged/re-engined A322 with 30-40 more passengers, or five to seven additional rows.
      2) We compare this development with optimized models from our MOM studies and the A321LR.
      3) For the comparison we focus on efficiency in weight, drag and fuel for the different alternatives. How competitive will a stretched A321 be and how close in weight and drag comes an elliptical MOM model?”


      • I think Bjorn would be the first to admit things changed since 2015.

        #1 – It took airlines 5 years to convince Boeing they didn’t want a 7 abreast, elliptical 5000NM 250 seater. Elliptical would probably be heavier, less capable and more expensive then a re-engined 767.

        #2 The A321NEO/LR/XLR proved what the airlines did need. Before and after the Covid-19 crisis.

        #3 the 737 MAX, well..

        #4 Boeing management saw the 737 replacement / NMA as an unwelcome threat to free cash flow / stock / executive bonuses and didn’t mind let it drag on.

        As I said before, popping bottles in Toulouse if Boeing goes composite oval around 200 seats. Can you see the date of this patent?

        -> Boeing NB 200 Seats, 30 Inch aisle, OEW 40t, AKH option, range 2500NM, new BPR 15 RR/GE engines, assembly in Italy, Mexico. That would get Airbus out of their comfort zone. Not NMA’s concepts nobody asked for.

          • “Maybe they should just buy the MC-21 program”

            I thought that was Boeing one of the reasons Boeing ‘was’ going to pay so much for a Embraer JV, they were worried the Brazilians were going to ‘assemble it’ under license and sell it under their own name. ( with say wings still made in Russia)

          • I said this a couple of years ago in this forum and had the idea shutdown by TW and others in the forum. My thinking then as now was that Boeing buy into the program and take control
            of the “Westernized” variant with PW engines and Honeywell avionics while Irkut focuses on developing and marketing the Russian variant while collecting royalties or every Westernized variant sold by Boeing.

          • Branaboy:

            Its not going to happen any more than Brazos is going to give me his fortune.

            So yea I shot it down and Duke is beling foolish as well.

            But then he seems to think we should still be doing derivatives of the Wright Brothers if I am following his logic.

            Keeping in mind tails are now usually behind the airplane and ailerons did in wing warping so fas your head would spin.

          • The MC21 has a aisle wide enough for a passenger or crew member for to pass a service trolley. It’s also wide enough for a passenger to pass another passenger accessing the overhead locker. If embarkation and disembarkation times were an issue or accessing the toilets during meal service were an issue this is the practical approach. The aircraft can grow to intercontinental range as well.

        • I think there are a few important questions:
          1) EIS around 2029-2030 – wouldn’t it be quite late to the party? And missing a good chunk of the potential market?
          2) is there any new engine that provides sufficient improvement and will they arrive in time?
          3) which engine maker has sufficient finance to fund the new engine development? Everyone of them is in a bigger, deeper hole as service demand collapsed.
          4) Furthermore, won’t another new generation engine hurt engine makers’ interest? Engine makers make money from selling parts and major services, build a business model to earn back their development cost and the loss they suffered from selling new engines. Shortening the economic lives of existing engines works against it.
          5) How about a replacement of 767 that major domestic airlines look for??

          • All trued but on the engine GE and PW both submitted designs in the 50K class for the NMA

            There is plenty of time and you could have a PW/GE joint venture or an RR/GE joint venture.

            PW/RR is a logical one but they both bring the same GTF to the table.

            I would guess that only happens if GE does not JV with one or the other.

          • Hello Pedro,

            Re: The importance of new engines for Boeing’s next new airplane and its EIS date.

            See below for part of Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun’s response to a question about Boeing’s next airplane during Boeing’s Q4 2020 earnings call on 1-27-2021. Mr. Calhoun’s answer indicates that he believes a point design call is 1 to 2 years away and that “the most important criteria for us with respect to announcing that next airplane” will not be engine technology but rather that “technologies that we are working with and trying to demonstrate to ourselves at scale with determinant assembly” are “demonstrated at scale”. I have my strong suspicions about what Boeing is planning (composite elliptical fuselage twin aisle aircraft of the type discussed in Mr. Fehrm’s 2015 article series on “Redefining the 757 Replacement”), but I certainly don’t know enough about the details and progress of what Boeing is working on to have a strong opinion one way or another about Mr. Calhoun’s views on this subject, or to even know whether my strong suspicions are correct.

            “David Calhoun — President and Chief Executive Officer

            Yes. Well, engines always play into it. I don’t think they’re going to play into it anywhere near the extent to which they used to simply because the demands on that propulsion system in the next go around I don’t think are going to be as significant. And now I’m just — I’m going to, I think, speak to the industry and what I know they are capable of doing or not.

            So therefore, differentiation at the airframe level itself is really, really important in the next run, which means that these technologies that we are working with and trying to demonstrate to ourselves at scale with determinant assembly, those are the things that we’ll differentiate. And believe it or not, that becomes the most important criteria for us with respect to announcing that next airplane. It’s got to depend on these advanced technologies, and it will. So — and I don’t feel in any way, shape or form that one year or two years more in the market to learn more is going to hold us back in any way, shape or form or hurt The Boeing Company in any way, shape or form.

            So that’s the perspective I’d put on it. Right now, we’re getting no pressure, as you might imagine, from airlines to run forward as fast as we can. And that’s a bit of a luxury on this subject. But the most important thing for me and the Boeing team is to get these underlying technologies proven, demonstrated at scale so that when we call that point design, we’re ready and we’ll deliver.”


          • Hello Pedro and TransWorld,

            Re: Engines for a 797-5 with 757 or A322 like range and passenger capacity.

            In Bjorn Fehrm’s 2015 series of articles on this blog titled: “Redefining the 757 replacement”; none of the design options which he studied required a thrust per engine of greater than 39,000 pounds, i.e.: within the range of a fairly simple upgrades of current A321 neo and 737 MAX engines.

            The options studied included a twin aisle composite elliptical fuselage aircraft, and an A322 (a stretched A321 which required a new larger wing, tandem bogie landing gear, and structural reinforcement to handle the additional weight).

            Note also that according to Wikipedia engine thrust options for the 757-200 ranged from 36,600 pounds to 43,500 pounds. Would it not be expected that thrust requirements for a competent current day design for an aircraft with 757 like (not 767-300 like) range and passenger capacity would be similar or smaller?


            Note also in the quote that I gave above from Boeing’s 4Q 2020 earnings call that Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun expressed the opinion that “Well, engines always play into it. I don’t think they’re going to play into it anywhere near the extent to which they used to simply because the demands on that propulsion system in the next go around I don’t think are going to be as significant”.

            To me all the above information points to Boeing’s current plans for their next new aircraft being something more like an A322 competitor or a 757 replacement than like a 767-300 (engine thrust choices were 48,000 to 60,600 pounds) replacement or a 767-300ER replacement (engine thrust choices were 56,750 to 61,500 pounds).

          • in 2015, when Bjorn wrote his review, there was no 101t modified NEO and fuel system enabling 4700NM. I see no reason why Airbus should invest in a new composites wing.

            That qualifies for a 101t A322 250 seater with a range of 3400. Cheap and light,

            They have a cash cow this decade, don’t drown it. There will be a new wing eventually, but probably for an entirely new NB.

          • Airbus has a Wing for Tomorrow design. Putting it on the A322 gives it 5,000nm range or more. For $2bn or less (with some cost shared by engine supplier), Airbus gets a plane as capable as an NMA-ME2 single-aisle design by Boeing promoted by some analysts that would cost $10bn-$12bn.

          • Wing for Tomorrow sounds good.
            $2b / 1000 frames (guess for A322) = $2m per frame
            185 seats (A321) + 2 rows (A322) = 197 seats (+6.5%)
            185 seats + 3 rows = 203 seats (seats +9.7%)
            Now these $2m per frame minus the costs for the current wing.
            Then the new wing on LR and XLR too. Which airline wouldn’t want to have this choice.
            Airbus should do this, an easy way to earn money and that’s why they are doing a new wing. Makes sense, give airlines a reason to buy a new plane.

        • A re-engined 767 would kill the 787. That is why it did not happen. I think they all know that at Boeing

          • No, it would split the field, like the A330NEO it would not kill the 787.

            Now Boeing? With a few more smooth moves they could do so.

            But they have been doing that since the beginning which was why it turned into a 32 billion dollar program.

            No question a 767NEO would have been a lot cheaper and Boeing would be way ahead on the cost benefit curve.

        • I thought that Rolls had pretty much halted the UltraFan, but it seems they are doing just enough to be ready when there is a suitable candidate aircraft ready.

          “Rolls-Royce Poised For UltraFan Demonstrator Assembly”

          I didn’t realise that it could potentially target quite a few aircraft… “across the UltraFan’s intended 25,000-100,000-lb.-thrust range”

          An A350NEO would be an obvious fit for “service entry around the turn of the decade” or sooner if the market bounces back strongly.

          How about an UltraFan as a rank outsider for the NMA-5? 50,000 lb thrust or thereabouts?

          It’s also interesting to note the article mentions “sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) “out of the box,” “

          • There is zero chance that Rolls-Royce finds a place on the next Boeing airplane, whatever/whenever that airplane materializes (and I would include a re-engined 787 in that claim). The Trent 1000 first ran exactly 15 years ago, and it’s still not fixed. Boeing isn’t about to endure that debacle again. They are struggling enough with debacles of their own making.

          • “”There is zero chance””

            Boeing suppliers might think the same. It’s a drama to be a Boeing supplier.
            So which sane supplier would want to produce NMA parts at Boeing’s price?

          • RR can joint venture with GE and that would be accepted.

            GE has a huge issue as its not at all in the game.

            Logically GE and PW as they have done well on the GP7000

            But that means RR alone as a 2nd choice. Hard telling how that wold go.

            Boeing would not use them as the lead engine for sure.

          • The dual source engines for the 787 was because the customers wanted it, otherwise Boeing would have stuck with GE.
            Same goes for the launch it was customers choice for the early planes not Boeings.
            Talking about ‘first run’ for the T1000 ’15 years ago is beside the point, the 787s didnt get into volume regular service till 2012 or so.
            GE was the same in that its engine GEnx needed major modules swapped out for the units in airline service .
            RR as usual has major sections farmed out to its partners.
            “: Kawasaki Heavy Industries (intermediate compressor module), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (combustor and low pressure turbine blades), Industria de Turbo Propulsores -ITP- (low pressure turbine).” wikipedia

          • Paul – haven’t we had a wider single-aisle airplane since about, say, 1986..?

          • Airbus offered the A320 with narrower seats and wider aisles. The idea was to speed turn-around on short flights. I’ve not seen any reports on how effective this was. Certainly it did not become a popular option.

            It could be that the increase in width needs to be substantial to overcome people’s hesitance to squeeze past someone I the aisle. Say more than 6″-8″ over the current 320 aisle.

            One side effect will be larger overhead bins which will also help boarding times.

          • wider seats are of higher interest.

            I have a theory that wide aisles wont speed up passengers sorting themselves out.
            Only those other queued passengers breathing down their necks will improve speed.

            ordered ingress. that is known to work.

        • ‘keesje’:
          Some of your statements are speculation.

          – I don’t see the cargo loading patent as blocking, and it does not make sense tied to short fuselages
          – Narrow long range is motivated by cheap uncomfortable which many people will accept, and of course in much of the world is acceptable due small body sizes (east Asia notably). It has existed for decades – the 757.
          – Operators are asking for characteristics, like cost (which Airbus and Boeing are trying to reduce), fuel economy, maintenance economy, airfield performance, range, … Some are asking for commonality, though SWA should regret pushing Boeing on the 737. TWA was so dense as to ask Boeing to accommodate existing avionics from the L1011-DC10 generation instead of going with the future of digital on the 767. (AAL seemed smarter, guess who failed financially.)

    • I agree – this is basically a replacement of the 767 series (767-200, 767-300 and 767-400ER). Their OEW are 80t, 86t and 104t. Getting it down to 65t is already losing 50% of the additional weight. I cannot see how they can be manufactured for a competitive price, never mind the development costs. I am not so sure about the fuel burn – the 787-8 is much heavier and bigger than the 767-300ER and has similar fuel burn per trip.

      • Hello Chris,

        Re: ” …this is basically a replacement of the 767 series (767-200, 767-300 and 767-400ER”.

        No it isn’t, in the case of the NMA-5 design study. Note the following from Mr. Hamiton’s 2-3-21 post titled: “Finally, Boeing moves in the right direction”.

        “The NMA-5X is sized directly across from the Airbus A321neo family.”

        The NMA-5 design study is about an A322 competitor or 757 replacement. The larger NMA-6 and NMA-7 design studies do have passenger capacities and ranges similar to the capabilities of a 767-200 or 767-300, but they would not be able to carry as many passengers as far as a 767-300ER or 767-400ER.

        The series of articles by Bjorn Fehrm that I referred to above that found that an A322 and a twin aisle elliptical fuselage composite aircraft with similar range and passenger capacities, could have similar weights, drag, and fuel consumption, was about “redefining the 757 replacement” not about “redefining the 767 replacement”. The ranges and passenger capacities used by Mr. Fehrm in his analysis were 757 like, not anywhere close to those of a 767-300ER or 767-400ER.

        • @Robert

          If you look at the market, as it currently sits, the A321 family has become the 757 replacement aircraft. There are some 3400 on order.

          To counter that, BA is proposing the NMA-5, which is going to be a shrink. Everything on that aircraft that is common to the -6 & -7 will be heavier then it needs to be. That’s just the way it is.

          You look at the market today; the A220-300 has essentially killed off the A319Neo (not to mention the A318) & the 737 Max 7 (save an order from LUV who is married to Boeing, for better or for worse). An a220-500 would hurts sales of the A320Neo, so Airbus won’t make it for awhile. The A220-100 doesn’t sell as well as the -300, because it too, is the shrink.

          So right across from the largest stretch of the A320Neo family, Boeing is going to position a twin aisle shrink, to counter their offering. A clean sheet shrink. An expensive shrink with Capex costs they will have to recoup.

          Some will say, “Well, it’s a twin aisle and airlines will be able to load pax faster”. Maybe – but will it be worth the extra millions you need to spend to save 15-20 minutes? LCC’s might like it.

          Secondly, as the world moves away from the spoke & hub model and does more point to point flying – is a quick turnaround necessary? Let’s say the NMA-5 flies JFK to LHR, or really any flight over 6 hours – that aircraft needs to be groomed. And I mean really groomed, not just fluff the pillows and fix the seat belts. You have to reach down into all the seat pockets and dig out…you don’t wanna know what some people have found. Lav’s have to be emptied (Make sure the hose is seated PROPERLY!!!). Complete crews are swapped out.

          Longer flight times negate the need to be able to load the pax in a jiffy. That aircraft in on the ground for an hour. Sometimes longer…

          To make the dev costs back, this plane will have to grab all of the 767 replacement market it can, if not all. And it still may not be enough…

          • “Some will say, “Well, it’s a twin aisle and airlines will be able to load pax faster”. ”

            I don’t buy the faster loading argument. There are European LCCs with A321s who just use mobile stairways front and back and manage a ~35 minute turnaround. Conversely, I’ve been bussed to A350s and 787s at Doha, where everyone then boarded via a single mobile stairway. Two aisles with just one door in operation works out slower than a single aisle with concurrent front and rear door use.

          • @Bryce: USA only boards/deplanes through one door, at jetway.

          • @Bryce

            I am just presenting both sides of the argument, Bryce. I really don’t buy the quicker loading thing either, especially when coming to decide on the right aircraft for the right route.

            Spending that kind of money on an aircraft that can fly that range will mean that airlines will want to use it where costs are low (i.e. longer cruising times to take advantage of an airfoil that is made for efficiency at altitude), which means overseas flights/long haul.

            Sure, maybe an airline can squeeze in a short hop of an hour or so, when the plane comes back from overseas, but it’s all about going across the pond for US and European carriers (who will also use it long haul going out east/south).

            Especially if it is heavier then it’s competition.

          • @Uwe

            I guess you missed this on wiki:


            “2018, an A319neo list price was US$101.5 million.[59]
            Interest in the variant has been low, and in January 2019 the A319neo’s order backlog was only a fraction of that of the A220, following confirmation of orders from JetBlue and Moxy for 60 A220s each.[60] Also in January 2019, Airbus confirmed that, while it expects fewer orders due to competition with the A220-300, it has no plans to discontinue the A319neo.[61]”

            The quote from Airbus on the competition is from an Aviation Week article, so I guess you can take it up with them…

          • guys and dolls.
            I didn’t miss out anything.

            the A319 had lost interest long before the A220 ( or C-Series entered the market. A continuous process.

            2 decades ago A319 and A320 split the deliveries nigh evenly. delivery gravitiy today has moved beyond the A320 now moving faster towards the A321 capacity ( enabled by the NEO engines.).

            A220 fits the former A319 slot but it moved into a vacated space.

          • The A220-300 is roughly the same size as the A319, so its not a downsizing that killed the A319neo

          • 2011 was the first year that the A321 had more deliveries than the A319 and then A319 deliveries declined further, at a time when the A220 wasn’t even flying.

            The A220 is a good plane, but it could have been much better. For a long time BBD nearly stopped development because they couldn’t find an engine and they had financial problems.

            A319 has engines with a higher BPR (better fuel efficiency), wings with over 10% more wing surface and the A319 is cheaper. I would buy A319 same as Spirit.

          • Funny thing – SWA is adopting the hub approach to significant extent.

            (I don’t know if SWA still has a list of decisions it revisits each year, at least briefly. “Has anything changed?” is the starting question for each item.))

        • I think you are more in agreement with me than you know. You say the NMA-5 is a competitor to A322. I assume the A322 is about 10-15% bigger than the A321. That is very comparable to the original 767-200. A range of 4000 NM. The NMA-6 is about 767-300 or a bit smaller. The NMA-7 somewhere between 767-300 and 767-400ER. My point is that the NMA-5 and A322 have similar operational efficiencies and capabilities. However, the development and manufacturing costs must be much higher for the NMA. How can Boeing make money?

      • The 767-200 has a 10% bigger cabin than the A321. But the NMA-5 was said to have ~185 or ~200 seats, which is smaller than the A321.

        65t OEW is much vs the A321, but there are still 767 flying because the gap to the 787-8 is so big, even with the high fuel burn of the 767. But the ~250 seat NMA might have a higher OEW than 65t.

        An A322 would have a higher OEW than A321 too and might have a new carbon wing for gate D, maybe especially designed for the A322. Might be hard to compete against it.

        • Hello Leon,

          Re: “The 767-200 has a 10% bigger cabin than the A321. But the NMA-5 was said to have ~185 or ~200 seats, which is smaller than the A321.”

          185 to 200 seats is less seating capacity than an A321 in low budget airline configuration, but similar to the seating capacities used on A321’s by full service airlines with non-farcical first class services. See the examples below per Wikipedia.

          American Airlines A321-200 Premium Transcon: 102 total seats (10 FC Lie Flat, 20B, 36E+, 36E)

          American Airlines A321-200 Domestic: 190 total seats (20 FC, 47E+, 123E) – There are also 181 and 187 seat domestic configurations that are being phased out.

          American Airlines A321neo Domestic: 196 total seats (20 FC, 47E+, 129E)

          Delta Airlines A321-200 Domestic: 191 total seats (20 FC, 29E+, 142E)

          Delta Airlines A321neo Domestic: 194 total seats (20 FC, 42E+, 132E)

  4. A plane that is only (ultimately) produced in small numbers will basically have no second hand value — we’re already seeing that in the case of the A380.
    That doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem for airlines that keep their birds for a LOONNNGG time (such as BA, AF-KLM, Lufthansa), but the Gulf carriers and SIA typically like to keep planes for about 10 years. If they sense that the 777X is going to be a repeat of the A380 in that regard, they will be very unlikely to follow through on their orders. The same argument applies to lessors.

    • Your argument is usually true if there are alternatives.
      If they drop the 777X the next alternative with enough range would be the A350-900. Emirates would have to change their business model for that. But we will see.

    • Bryce:

      I disagree, the A380 problem is that no one wants the huge capacity today.

      Yes, support, especially engines, is a big factor.

      PS: to Scott – it must require a second higher loading bridge? Thus more cost to airports to accommodate it.
      They can be sensitive, as many are run by politicians whether directly or indirectly, many by cities (sometimes through ‘port authority’ organizations like SeaTac has). You know how variable politicians are plus there are NIMBYs as with SeaTac’s third runway, which was needed to increase IFR capacity as the existing second runway was not far enough abeam the main runway to suit certain operations. (I have the impression that LAX and SFO are facing decisions on expansion.) And Scott knows the long fuss about allowing airline operations into Paine Field Everett (PAE) to serve the growing population north of Seattle.

      And there are wild card factors, such as the panicdemic and before that increased security reducing motivation of people living south and southeast of Vancouver BC to fly out of Bellingham WA (BLI). So popular before those factors that it started charging for parking. IIRC Spirit and perhaps Alaska served it.
      Vancouver BC does have the offloader of Abbotsford (YXX), which does not get the ground fog that hurts YVR and SEA some Novembers but is not free of terrain limitations for IFR. (Another wild card is the choice of airport by entrants, WestJet chose Abbotsford, a recent wannabe was going to use YVR because of easy access including rapid transit.)

      Local operation of large airports increased investment in capability after release from the federal government of Canada , such as YVR though I do not know their debt load, some of what it did was fanciness IMJ. YVR increased runway capacity and went after airline business as a connecting point and transit stop.
      (Canada’s release to local control is a strange management situation, even stranger is Canada’s ATC system now.
      Contrary to US interests such as unions it is not ‘privatized’ as such, just out of civil servant control except for safety oversight and into the hands of ‘stakeholder’ groups. It too has invested in capability for users.)

  5. Regarding the 777X, a hypothetical question:
    When the A380 was at the same (test flight) juncture as the 777X currently now is, suppose Airbus (and their engine makers) had a time machine that definitively allowed them to examine the future. They use the machine and realize that Leahy’s optimism about the A380 is wrong and that they will only ever sell 251 of them, with zero secondhand market. With that knowledge, would Airbus have continued with the A380 program, or would they have pulled the plug? And even if Airbus had wanted to continue, what would the engine makers have said?

    Of course, returning to the 777X, Boeing won’t allow anything as mundane as “reality” to get in the way of its decisions: in Chicago, the board room is ruled by hubris, blindness and intransigence.

    • I don’t think so, because the plane is already way past v1 and the cost is sunken.
      If you pull out now, she’s already pregnant, and it’s already done.
      For the damage a bailout of the B777x would do, they would rather regain some money by just selling the 250 as the A380 did.

    • What is the bigger loss of face for mangement – admitting failure early or stringing it out until there’s no dount the programm is a failure and has to be cancelled? Usually the former. Most corporate hirarchies punish managers for admitting failure.

      • tag along and end with a bang.
        You’ve got all the bonuses under your belt when things finally founder.

  6. Yes, point to point is great. It would be even better if 2nd and 3rd tier airports would be used more.

    It’s good if Boeing could replace the MAX.
    Also good for pax to have a twin aisle. But the NMA-5 shouldn’t be Lite. The NMA-5 should be the most important version of the family with high MTOW and the longest range.
    Then with the NMA-6 the same could be done which was done with the 787-10, don’t increase MTOW, be happy with less range and keep the same wings. If a bigger NMA-7 is even needed, do the same.
    This would be very economical to design and produce. Highlight the point to point philosophy.

    In the meantime, use the MTOW of the MAX-9 on the MAX-7 and have a 5000nm 150 seater, cancel MAX-10.

  7. Please don’t get vaccinated. It’s a darwinian test of intelligence, early vaccine for me and more oxygen for everyone.

    • > Please don’t get vaccinated. It’s a darwinian test of intelligence

      Didn’t you already say that above?

      In any event- I fully agree with your assertion, and will be letting y’all go first w/ your miraculously™-conceived-in-a-few-months ‘vaccine’, that does not in fact confer immunity..

      • Shot 2 today! And happy to stay out of the hospital at worst and a boost come fall.

        ps: I have not grown horns yet.

        this may get erased as we are not supposed to talk the the C word but you will note I did not say it!

  8. I think most are in denial a likely new A322NEO wing is entering production. It’s able to handle 101t MTOW, has the new flaps, slats for lift and CFM/Pratt can provide the required 35-37k lbs engines.

    It is increasingly likely the XLR wings, fuel system are not only for the A321XLR. Reading between the lines it seems the XLR aft body and fuel system will become block changes to the A320 FAL. Meaning a significant upgrade to the complete NEO portfolio.


    Airbus will make sure the NEO remains a moving target. Calhoun better clearly burries the oval, 7 abreast, 5000NM dreaming of the last 20(!) years. And put the money where the mouth is, a better 3-3. Sign’s are, he’s doing just that.

    • The XLR wings won’t be good and on an even heavier A322 even worse, that’s just not possible on the 36m gate.

      Again, there is a much easier solution, the A319 can be XLRed even more and the wings will be fine.
      Introduce a single pilot cockpit and arlines will love it. Airbus is already working on this.

      Sure, the RCT is the best on the XLR, because it can improve the whole family, A319 too if needed, but not A220.

      • @Leon, an A322NEO (not LR) would probably have the ~same MTOW of 101t as the A321XLR.

        A few tons of that MTOW would be invested in the stretch and 2.5t for 24 passengers+luggage/catering/water.

        Still it would have a range of 3200-3500NM, trading range for capacity. 5-6 Hours is more than enough for the bulk of US transcon, Europe, China and leisure flights, 90-95% of the market.

        Airbus management isn’t sitting on its hands cashing. They never did, they’ll probably pre-empt Boeing this or next year.


        • LNA reported that Airbus is working on a new wing and that makes sense. A new wing is much more important than 2 or 3 more rows. With a new wing other A321 could be improved too, with the stretch only the A322. There is no bigger cabin below the 787-8, therefore it’s much better to improve the A321. Then when the new wing is certified it can be thought about a stretch.

          The 36m gate restriction is really bad and future LH2 tanks in the back have CG problems.
          Canards could be a solution for both. If they could provide 20% more lift it would help a lot and could help the whole family and future designs.

          • Very true Leon. New wing, but the 36m gate might be solved with a folding wingtip as the b777x does.
            The extra weight this mechanism adds should not play as a large role as on a long haul plane.
            So the 36m wing turned into a new, XWB style composite wing with 3m folding wingtips on both ends, could be a killer and allow another stretch without the demand for much stronger engines.

          • ICAO should rework the gates. Can’t be that the most produced planes suffer under gate restrictions. It would be the cheapest and easiest way.

          • Hello Leon,

            Re: “ICAO should rework the gates. Can’t be that the most produced planes suffer under gate restrictions. It would be the cheapest and easiest way.”

            Changing the definition of gate codes on a piece of paper or a website would be quick and easy, but doing so would not magically change the actual sizes of gates at airports around the world which are the end result of many decades of construction and billions of dollars of investment. Redoing all or almost all gate sizes at even one large airport would be a very expensive project for the city and regional governments that mostly fund such projects in the US. To this day, the gate sizes at many US airports are often a historical record reflecting what aircraft were common in the decade that the airport was built or last had a major expensive remodeling. Major airports built in the era when transcon flights were commonly flown with 747’s, DC-10’s and L-1011’s have more gates that were sized for such aircraft, those built slightly later when US transcon routes were commonly flown by 757’s and 767’s have fewer 747 sized gates and more 757 and 767 sized gates, those built more recently have lots of 737 and A320 sized gates. The total price tag for redoing gates at airports all across the US might or might not be cheaper than designing a new aircraft, but it would definitely be a non-trivial undertaking for the local government entities that fund such projects in the US, that could well take many years or even decades to appreciably alter the mix of available gates.

            Boeing (and other manufacturers) could have waited perhaps a decade in the early 1960’s for small cities whose airports had piston airliner service to to lengthen the runways at their airports to accommodate jet airliners with 707 like runway performance, instead they developed the 727 with a high lift flap system that enabled it to service many existing small city airports, and thus sold lots of short range jet aircraft many years earlier than they otherwise could have.

          • I doubt that changing the gates at airports would be expensive. At many airports doors can be seen which have no use. These are exits for changes in the configuration, but of course all exits of the terminal would need to be changed. It shouldn’t be difficult to move bridges to other exits.

            I think many new airports don’t even have D gates because there are not many 757 and 767 left in service. D gate planes would need to use E gates. This is similar to the big gap between Single Aisle and Wide Bodies.

          • Hello Leon,

            Re: “I doubt that changing the gates at airports would be expensive. At many airports doors can be seen which have no use. These are exits for changes in the configuration, …”

            For a benchmark on the cost of new or remodeled airports, see the excerpts below from the Deseret News article at the link after the excerpts, according to which the new Salt Lake City Airport cost 4.1 billion USD and planning for this airport, which opened in 2020, started in 1996. I have been through this new airport about a dozen times, and I didn’t see any extra doors among which jetways could easily be re-arranged. There is only a fixed amount of space between restaurant, store, and restroom areas. If such a space can accommodate say 4 737/A320 sized aircraft, it could probably only accommodate 3 757/767/A322 sized aircraft without demolition and reconstruction of the restaurant, store, and restroom areas.

            “The $4.1 billion rebuild was funded with airport user fees and bonds — not taxpayer dollars — and marks the first major hub airport replacement built in the 21st century.”

            “The massive, multibillion-dollar undertaking to rebuild Salt Lake City International Airport, which has been under construction for the past six years, is about to cross its first finish line when its first buildings open to travelers Sept. 15.”

            ““This moment has been 25 years in the making,” Bill Wyatt, executive director of Salt Lake City International Airport, said as he kicked off the unveiling ceremony, telling of how a 1996 city master plan that first envisioned the new airport looks “remarkably” like the one opening in 18 days.”


          • Re: “I doubt that changing the gates at airports would be expensive.”

            Here are 4 more benchmarks for the cost of airport remodeling projects to add to the one that I provided above for the new Salt Lake City airport terminals, i.e.: 4.1 billion USD (the runways are not being replaced).

            Los Angeles International Renovation : 14 billion USD.

            Chicago O’Hara Expansion: 8.7 billion USD.

            New York JFK Upgrades: 10 billion USD.

            New York LaGuardia Upgrades: 8 billion USD.

            See the excerpts below from the CNBC article at the link after the excerpts.

            ““What we’re doing here at LAX is the equivalent of probably eight different mega projects at any one time,” says Flint.

            In all, the project is costing $14 billion.”

            “LAX is not alone in giving itself a little nip-tuck. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport has begun an $8.7 billion expansion.

            New York is planning to spend $10 billion upgrading JFK and another $8 billion on LaGuardia. (A few hundred million dollars has been spent converting the old TWA terminal at Kennedy into a hotel).”


          • Thanks Robert,

            if they invest so much money, some extra exits for all possible gate configurations are peanuts. And because it’s peanuts they might have the exits already.

        • > Airbus management isn’t sitting on its hands cashing.

          Thus my Bafflement with Boing, and their notion of
          “we’ll wait until AB’s 321 is getting old..” : are they
          deluded enough to think that AB will be doing nothing
          new during that timeframe with their much stronger cash position, and better employee and supplier relations?

          Now there are noises of *2031-2032* for a new Boing plane (see link below).

    • I think Airbus may come to the realization Boeing is with the 77X that there will be much more scrutiny of derivative planes going forward and as such a re winged a322 would be a larger undertaking than it would have been a year or two ago. There would also be the issue of an older model vs a new one where strong preference is shown for newer even where fuel burn differences are not high. It would also lose a lot of a320 commonality which means it wouldn’t slot nicely into an operators fleet, it would be on more or less equal footing with NMA from a sales perspective

      • The 777X will take longer now because Boeing took the easy tricking way under Muilenburg.
        It’s all the same again, it starts with an independent software audit and this time it should be for everything since there was never an audit made for the 777.
        Some calculations could just be wrong and therefore the design solutions in question, same as the JT610 report highlighted.

  9. If the 797-5 is at the breakpoint where a well designed widebody is equally economical to an A321XLR , then as you grow in size and use the built-in margins on 797-5 fuselage and thrust bump the engines with updates you compete with the A322 and depending on how well Airbus designs its wings and get reliable 35-37k engines Boeing with a bigger cargo hold and more durable carbon fuselage can point to its bigger fan engines, longer time between checks and 787 cockpit that their “new” aircraft is better than Airbus “derivative”.
    Boeing will figure put its average selling price after launch customer discounts and figure out the volume (like a function of historical 757,767 sales taking into consideration the A321 and the historically growing market).
    If Airbus redesigns the A322 for successful robot assembly and reduce its price below the A321XLR it get troublesome.

    • @Leon: Dual. And the numbers come from what Boeing is discussing in the market.

  10. Keesje, thanks for this: http://www.patentbuddy.com/Patent/6616100 Seems like nobody has ever thought of a 7abreast oval plane with cargo hold underneath till Boeing had this idea and nobody will ever be allowed to build a 7 abreast plane. Amazing what you can get patents for.

    Concerning the renewed NMA discussion:

    I suggest Boeing to discuss these 3 proposals once again with all possible airlines, at least 3 times and at least for 3 years and then – after finding out the the market further shrank due to the 321xlr deliveries – ask if a re-engined 767 in 8abreast could do the job aswell. After getting a “no”, they can propose a 767 in 8abreast with new carbon wings and after discussing for another 2 years, hopefully Airbus comes up with the 322 and they can start it all from the beginning.

    • On Patent/6616100:
      Status: expired ( in 2011 due to nonpayment of dues.)

      i.e. even Boeing didn’t think it worth the effort to uphold.

      When where the flat oval Xsections floated to the public?

  11. Having fallen behind Lockheed Martin (https://www.defenseone.com/business/2021/01/lockheed-overtakes-boeing-largest-us-aerospace-and-defense-firm/171684/) as the USA’s #2 aerospace & defense firm, and of course, with Airbus also regaining the top spot as the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, perhaps if (should really be when, though) we see news of a long overdue and desperately needed thorough housecleaning of McBoeing’s C-Suite & Boardroom we’d see “Boeing (finally) turns the corner” replacing “heading in the ‘right direction’” in Scott’s headline & the first words of the first paragraph of a future LNA report & analysis!

    Now *THAT* would be welcome news indeed! 😉


    • The mechanism causing delaying/ minimizing longer term investment is rewarding for executives (via free cash flow, dividents /stock value), should be burried.

      Problem is the ones deciding on that, are complicit / cashing too. There only one body that could demand that, the biggest customer, tax agent, financer. Are they ready to admit capitalism killed the company?

      • 1) Resurrecting stock buybacks, which were outlawed from 1934 until 1982 (clearly for good reason), certainly explains a lot of the rot at McBoeing.

        So, outlawing stock buybacks (which were outlawed because they’re so destructive, something McBoeing is “Exhibit ‘A’” in demonstrating), would be a good start towards curing what ails beleaguered Boeing.

        2) Getting rid of toxic “advisors” from companies like McKinsey, whose “strategy” to “maximize shareholder value” at Purdue Pharma (as discussed in this excellent NY Magazine article https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/11/what-a-spectacularly-ill-advised-idea-says-about-mckinsey.html ) was so vile and corrupt, the consulting firm who placed profits over human misery and death, plead guilty and paid nearly $600 million in the waning days of the prior administration, where it likely believed it would get off far more leniently than it would’ve under the present administration.

        For sure, companies like McKinsey are also part of the problem.

        3) That, and over reliance on MBA’s, who’s only contribution seems to be figuring out “angles” to screw people even more by shrinking/narrowing seats & loos (that they, of course, never have to squeeze their precious derrieres into) aboard aircraft (or of course, the wide array of other consumer products that become ever smaller – except for their price, that is – every 2-3 years).

        Or, of course, their oh so clever “unbundling” of products to the point of ridiculousness if it will allow for further ancillary fee contrivances such as those that were part of the pricing of the 737 MAX where some critical safety features were “optional” upsells to pump up revenues that (shocker!) could be used for…wait for it…stock buybacks (which, of course, was among the few things McBoeing ‘excelled at’ before the pair of 737 MAX crashes that took 346 lives combined exposed the depth of corruption & greed at that house of cards).

        4) Want to “fix” McBoeing?

        Then getting rid of the “talent” inside & out that destroyed McBoeing is an absolute must.

        Otherwise, we’re just wasting time year after year dissecting McBoeing’s latest list of excuses in its never-ending excuse-a-thon for delayed and/or over budget programs, several of which are so problem plagued its customers, be they airline CEOs, aircraft lessor CEOs, or even military leaders have publicly expressed their frustration at the lack of quality, even using terms like “lemons” for what this (failed) company produces under its present management, Board of Directors – and its “advisors”.

        How a company with such a spectacularly bad record across its divisions is able to continue being “led” largely by the same “talent” that now is known more for its legacy of failure instead of leadership & innovation is a mystery that defies logic – and basic common sense.

        Go figure.

        Of course, maybe that stockholder lawsuit reported late yesterday by WSJ will help towards bringing about the long overdue & desperately needed change that should’ve happened at McBoeing by now.

        We shall see…

        But for sure, the folly of expecting the same “talent” that destroyed the company to “fix” it should be manifestly clear by now.

        If not, then what will it take to get there?

        Here’s hoping the Purdue Pharma “model” with its criminally high body count is NOT what it takes to finally bring about the needed change at McBoeing.

    • So far I’m not understanding why Boeing *talking about* doing
      something is cause for celebration. “We’re introducing a third member to the NMA Family, [even if the first two don’t exist, either..!]” Maybe I’m missing something, and corrections are welcome-

      AFAICS Airbus is doing more than talking (321XLR, 322, new wing..); they seem well-positioned to me.
      Hope Boeing can show something soon.

      • It’s exciting because they seem to have defined a size range where it will be both possible to innovate within the context of a large addressable market.

        If they can pull it off it off the smaller model will bring the advantages of a model dual aisle (spaciousness, lots of interior baggage room, quicker boarding, large windows, higher pressure altitudes, softer ride) down to the larger end of the single aisle space where there are large volumes to be had. The larger models will be lighter and more efficient than current small dual aisles.

        The larger models will come first to work out the production kinks and keep the Max selling as long as possible.

        I think success will be driven not so much by aerodynamics and engines, but low cost production systems and weight control, a tough combo.

        For the smallest model in particular it will be very challenging to build it so it can compete on price, weight and some drag with the current larger aisles. But if Boeing is successful they will have a compelling product. They will also have IP that will let them build future larger and smaller aircraft in the same way.

  12. The possibility of a new plane from BA was discussed in a recent post, as well as above

    One issue raised then was whether it is likely/possible that BA could raise the money

    Many thought this improbable – and, as far as I remember, there were no posts describing the ways and means which BA could use to raise the capex

    Is this subject too arcane?

    • Probably because its felt Boeing can do it one way or the other and it does not matter what method they do it via.

      The real issue is it even being started under current Boeing mis-management .

      That is like building Titanic II and then doing the exact same thing Titanic did

      • @TW: BA is going to sell whatever it can in Seattle, they can record a profit and get some much needed cash to pay down their debts. This is how private equity (and LBO) guys including Calhoun become rich: load up with debts, strip off assets, sell the company and run.

        • We are not disagreeing, just Calhoun has to figure a way to line his pockets more with the NMA and its too far away.

          He is innovative as well as selective in what he sees! Stay tuned.

    • They have already done so , the bond issues are $25 bill and likely to go higher. They dont need that much for current negative cash flow and the signal that some is for future projects is the very long term on some tranches. They are even rolling over some shorter term bank debt into more favourable bond issues and avoided the Federal ‘gift horse’ as the security required was too onerous.

    • When will poster like @DoU accept the reality??

      As a result of debts raised in 2020, BA has at least $4.3 billion due in 2023, $3 billion in 2024, $3.5 billion in 2025 and $5.5 billion in 2026.

      • @Pedro

        Your debt repayment figures are on top of regular negative cash flow, right? or wrong?

        This was reported to be approx $5B a quarter in 2020 – since they are taking on more and more debt this is adding to neg cash, while sales are stagnant

        • @Gerrard: Indeed.

          In April 2020, beleaguered GE was able to raise 30 year debt at, wait a minute, 4.35% coupon.

          OTOH Boeing was only able to borrow 30 year debt at 5.805%, paying almost 150 b.p. (risk) premium!

      • “Shearman & Sterling advised on Boeing’s $25 billion bond offering, which was spread across seven tranches with maturities ranging from three to 40 years. The offering represents the largest non-M&A bond offering of all time, the sixth-largest investment-grade bond offering of all time, …”

        From 3 to 40 years !!
        “The biggest $5.5 billion slug of 30-year bonds due May 2050, priced at a spread of 450 basis points over Treasurys. Initially the bonds were pitched in the area of 525 basis points over the risk-free benchmark.”

        Hmmm 4.5% over Treasuries but due in 2050!
        The long term bonds is for the NMA development, the short term bonds( at a much lower interest rate) is for covering the costs of the business in these tough times.
        4.5% over Treasuries for 30 years isnt junk bonds

    • @Gerrard

      They just went to market to get $13.8 billion to pay down their revolver. This will free it up and voila! More space on the credit card!

      • @Frank

        I know what you think, really: but look at all the tech heavy talk about this wing and that composite, yet no real discussion of how it may actually work, be financed

        Whereas most agree that an overriding problem at Boeing has been failure to link finance adequately to plane building

        Either by squeezing suppliers to the bone, disregarding worker skills, mismanaging outsourcing of vital elements, and above all endless ‘grandfathering’ who’s main objective was simply to save money, which in the case of Max blew up costs dramatically

        And – sending all free cash back to WS

        If nothing has changed, and why should anything have changed, who would give BA any money to build a new plane?

        On another thread it was pointed out that the context in the US for industrial production has changed to the degree as to render this impossible in old fashioned industries such as planes

        And why give BA money when, pardon the word, the pandemic reactions around the world have brought on the greatest crisis in the industry, broken all major airlines bar perhaps some Asian, a crisis which will last a good many years in the common opinion at least

  13. Some of you just don’t get the message.

    COVID has nothing to do with this post. I’ve moved to Trash a number of comments from Gerrard, Bryce, AP and some others.

    Knock it off.


    • @Scott

      I couldn’t agree more. By the time BA is able to get it’s NMA program into the sky and EIS, Covid will be long forgotten and we will be working on the next pandemic/natural catastrophe (maybe even another man made one).

      Change is the only constant in the universe.

      • > Covid will be long forgotten

        Unlikely, IMO: it’s a very useful tool/cudgel for those who rule us, and will be trotted out as needed, I think.

        Next week/every week: “New, EvenDeadlierMyootant™ strain, rev.5.4.7!!!

        s/ old guy

    • Pretty interesting stuff in that link- thanks for it:

      Merluzeau interprets Calhoun’s comments as more of the same: lack of commitment, indecisiveness and aversion to risk.
      “I’ve heard this thing for the past seven years,” Merluzeau says. “Just bloody do it. You take the initiative and you drive the market.”

      For years, Boeing had hinted about a new jet known as the New Mid-market Airplane (NMA), which would have filled the segment once controlled by 757s and 767s, now led by A321neos.

      Boeing shelved the NMA early last year.

      “I’ve seen this great company pause to over-analyse what should be straightforward,” Merluzeau says. “If you are a market leader, you invest in R&D and you maintain your lead. You don’t just sit comfortably on your laurels..”

      As Boeing waits, Airbus continues grabbing market share with its A321neo. Thanks partly to that jet, Airbus could hold 60% or more of jetliner share by 2030, according to Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia..”

      It’s the tail-end of this bit that got me, though:

      Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn thinks Boeing’s delay in launching a new aircraft reflects an acknowledgement that Boeing cannot, at least in the near future, counter the A321neo.
      “In a way, this is a lost decade. They know it, which is why [Calhoun] is not as anxious to” rush the next programme, Spingarn says.

      >>>Waiting a few years could let Boeing bring a new jet to market as the A321neo starts showing its age, he adds.<<<

      Spingarn envisions Boeing launching its next programme in 2022 or 2023, with service entry in 2030 or 2031.."

      Waiting *because* they're behind? The mind reels.. there has to be more to the story.

    • And this, from the same piece:

      “..Such stresses could force companies [suppliers] to shutter facilities, close shop altogether or merge, forcing Boeing to scramble, he adds.
      For that reason, Krutz stresses that Boeing must closely monitor its supply chain, using tools like supply chain health monitoring systems.

      “It’s Boeing’s problem when their suppliers fail… It could very well happen,” Krutz says. “The supply chain is [where] the majority of the aircraft [is] built.”

  14. Need to wonder why Boeing is going to invest in 737 wing line update at this late stage of the aircraft’s life. While we can ponder CFRP or Thermoplastic wing for the next single aisle aircraft, putting in $100 million plus into new equipment (that has 20-30 year production life) leans one to believe Boeing will go with metallic wing for next single aisle aircraft

    • Is $100 million a lot of money? With still so many 737 on order i don’t think so.

    • New wing jigs tooling and assembly processes were introduced for the 737 Max, with a single old style jig left for the low production P-8 variant.
      They arent doing a redo for the 737 Max wing

  15. New wing studies under CleanSky programs, focussing on new materials, aerodynamics, production technologies, simulation models are always ongoing.

    Usually existing models/types are used as references, base platforms to safe on modelling, testing and make ut as realistic as possible. Sometimes for bigger programs flighttests are done.

    When a new aircraft is required TRL 5-6 technology will be availlable for product development.

    For a NEO upgrade, starting 2022 with the XLR, standarisation on A321, maybe 322 and A320.5, investment, risk and time to market would be limited.

  16. Scott, as always much appreciated with the spark in thought and the following commentary by so many…. always interesting. And thanks for stifling the COVID rants.
    My take as an ex Boeing employee that was involved in BCA program level, quality, safety and engineering is that even if Boeing was to announce tomorrow of a new clean sheet NMA they can’t deliver for at least 10 to 11 years. They are so mired in minutiae, yes men and women PowerPoint rangers, beating up the supply chain and the unions/rank and file. If Calhoun was the leader he says he is he would have cleaned house starting with the BOD and then leadership at all levels…. no-what did he do? They just recycle the bunch and played musical chairs. Let’s not forget how the worldwide regulatory has lost trust and this will bog down the process … rightly so BTW. Boeing executives are in a good ole boy club, this isn’t the Boeing of Mulally or Sutter any longer where programs were run like a well oiled machine, on time and on budget.
    Everyone can comment and guess what they will do. But the real leadership is at Airbus, they deliver and have products they airlines need and with quality. They hold the queen in the airplane chess game world. Go ahead Boeing make your move.

    • Good comment, though I’m not sure how much Calhoun could/can reasonably be expected to do.. what’s needed-
      and not just at Boing- is perestroika/ profound restructuring,
      and that’d upset *all kinds* of apple-carts.. so here we are.

      Airbus is way ahead in the point; most whatever they do
      from that position can look like genius. Hope Boing can
      start treating their employees and suppliers well, and come
      up with an acceptable new plane. I think the former is
      necessary in order to do the latter- the ongoing FOD issue is
      plenty diagnostic, for those willing to see..

  17. For the b777x, the train is gone. Boeing will do it, no matter what.
    And they won’t have success with it, but it’s too late to turn around and walk away. It will be a lot like A380 / B748, and maybe a freighter and some high demand routes can help Boeing to minimize their loss.
    It’s well said, after the 6.5 bn. $ charge, the cost are already sunk.

    For the NMA, I get the idea. Boeing has no A321, and it never replaced the B757-200 as the B767-200 and even the 300 (ER).
    But, summarized, those are very different airplanes.
    Airbus never replaced the A300 and A310 either, the airlines wanted more and so the A330 got more length and more range.
    With the B787-8 losing to the -9 and being less efficient and costly to build, Boeing has that gap between the well selling Max 8 and B789.

    But can they close it in a sense full way?
    An A321 in a real 2 class layout for LR or XLR missions will have about 180 seats with a full flat C.
    I recommend to take a look at Uniteds and Deltas fleet, as they fly B737-9, B757-200 and B737-300ER. The Pax numbers are not a good measure, as it depends a lot on how many C and Y+ seats are featured.
    Between a 179 Pax B739 and a 214Pax B767-300ER, huge differences exist.

    I don’t know how Boeing can fit that into one family without having versions inefficient or having the B787 problem with the B788 not in commonality with it’s siblings.

    Also, I see a lot of open questions tech and specification wise.
    The fuselage is one, what shape and which tech should be used? Does it justify composite? If yes, where’s the difference to the B787 then cost-wise? SA or WB? Will a slimmer WB than A330 / B787 be efficient?
    Engine – a new, modern engine will be needed. But so far you either go with the existing Max / Neo of about 150/160 KN or you take B787 / A330neo about 300 KN.
    Something in between would be needed.

    The wing is pretty clear, that would be a new, composite wing optimized for 3000-4000 nm missions.

    The main question for me is – and I would love to hear opinions on it:
    The MOM gap, is it natural?
    Is it the natural gap between SA and WB in our technology, that made the small WBs died out and focused on more range and more plane?
    Can the middle of the market be addressed with an efficient new development?

    And to go a step further, if Boeing brings that new NMA as specified, what would Airbus do about? Their A330neo is not working well against the B787, would they attack directly with a new development to cover the larger NMA variants and the B787-8 and -9 ?
    For now, Airbus can only be interested to keep the status quo, as it’s A321neo is winning.

    • “”The MOM gap, is it natural?””

      The numbers to design a new 767 just look so bad vs SA. But even when the 767 are burning so much fuel they are still flying. Airlines would want a new 767. The trend to smaller planes with point to point philosophy will go further.
      A new 767-200 is useless, the A322 will take that spot, but the 767-300 is in the middle to 787-8 and SA might not be able to get there.

      “”what would Airbus do””

      Airbus would do the A322 and keep being busy improving SA, the easy things like A320plus. No all new design.
      LH2 with tank in the back will ask for an all new designed plane. It could be a WB because of less CG issues. Then Boeing will be out of Europe. CO2 tax will do it.
      Beside that, LH2 should give an weight advantage, the tank should not be so heavy. Airbus will figure it out. The eco-fuels won’t have this advantage.

    • @Sash

      Wow – you got a lot in there, but I will give it a try;

      On the 777X – the $6.5 billion is the tip of the iceberg. Apparently the cost is $13 billion for the program (so far) and they have only written off half of it. I guess they are expecting the other half to be amortised over the accounting quantity to achieve a break even point.

      Airbus used the A300 as a basis for the A310/320/330/340

      “Airbus’s first airliner, the A300, was envisioned as part of a diverse family of commercial aircraft. Pursuing this goal, studies began in the early 1970s into derivatives of the A300.[3][4] Before introducing the A300, Airbus identified nine possible variations designated B1 through B9.[5] A tenth variant, the A300B10, was conceived in 1973 and developed into the longer-range Airbus A310.[6] Airbus then focused its efforts on single-aisle (SA) studies, conceiving a family of airliners later known as the Airbus A320 family, the first commercial aircraft with digital fly-by-wire controls. During these studies Airbus turned its focus back to the wide-body aircraft market, simultaneously working on both projects.[6]”


      Boeing has a hodge podge of a product line, with, as you pointed out – huge gaps between models. They have nothing to compete with the A220 line & nothing to go up against the A321Neo family.

      The A330Neo line is serving a very important purpose in the industry. It only cost Airbus $2 billion (only) and they have over 300 orders, but more importantly it keeps BA honest on 787 pricing.

      “As of December 2020, A330 family aircraft orders stood at 1,809 of which 1,511 had been delivered and 1,436 were in airline service”

      There are a ton of young A330 Ceo’s in operation still, no one really needs a new aircraft, just yet. Especially now,

      In a big picture context, Airbus doesn’t have to do a damn thing, right now. Boeing is stepping all over it’s own crank and you never interrupt the competition while this is happening. To detail it:

      The 737Max grounding cost estimate in Mar 2020 (by BA) was $20 billion. That’s about $6 million an aircraft over the remaining 3200 units to cover.

      The 787 program was still down ~$18 billion, from the battery mess – and they have been preparing the investors for a reach forward loss (latest filing) because of the improper fuselage join issue that has stopped all deliveries. That’s some $35 million over the remaining ~500 units to cover. (God knows what the cost will be to inspect the ~900 aircraft in service, do you know what that entails?)

      The 777X program is now costing them $13 billion. 190 orders. Take it out back and shoot it.

      Airbus doesn’t even have to look at Boeing – just focus on what it is doing, improving efficiencies and making the best aircraft they can.

      BA has ~$63 billion in long term debt, and increase of some $40 billion over a year.

      What does Airbus have?

      An A220-500 that has already flown on paper, to replace the A320Neo, once they own the program outright.

      The A320Neo Plus or the A322.


      At the end of the day, how big is the market for a MoM aircraft? How many 767’s were sold? 1000? How many operators either made do without, went down to a single aisle A321Neo family aircraft or up to an A330/787?

      What i think is very telling, is this chart here:


      The A320Ceo sold 4770 units.
      The A321Ceo sold 1791 units.

      The A320Neo has 3907 orders.
      The A321Neo has 3466 orders.

      Airline demand for the A321Neo family has almost doubled over it previous iteration. Read into it what you will, but I see it as airlines wanting more range in their NB fleet & increased demand for the type as the 757’s are retired.

      No way Airbus invests $15 billion into a clean sheet MoM. Maybe they tweak their line here and there, on the cheap, but they’ll let Boeing take the big risks for now. The potential ROI for that niche isn’t worth throwing more money at.

      I really can’t see any market being worth that much capex, right now – and that’s the problem for BA. They NEED a new aircraft to revitalise their line up and make them money, but the good segments are all sewn up.

      Tough times in Wash-….I mean, Chicago.

      • It’s just normal that the A321 gets many orders when there is less competition, but that must not all be about range. There could be many 89t and 93.5t orders, not all the 97t LR and not so many 101t XLR.
        But with the new RCT every A321 could improve range and maybe every A321 could get the new wing improvements for shorter takeoff and landing. Airlines which ordered A321 few years ago didn’t even know about this. And that is great, you order an Airbus and the one you get is even better.

      • @Frank: Where do you get the $13bn figure for the 777X development? This is nearly the cost of a new airplane. The 777X is a derivative.

        • Well they wrote down 6.5 billion and assuming there is still 2.5 to be recovered using the new accounting block. that gets us to 9 billion. Or am I totally misunderstanding how this works.

          • I think @jbeeko’s number is closer to correct.

        • New wings, folding tips, engine pylon, engines, landing gear, tail, cockpit, systems, bigger windows, different located doors, windows, fuselage structure. Mostly a new airplane I think. (& I’m not the only one..).

          A 4 years delay, compensations, retesting & certification, post delivery modifications. $13B unfortunately doesn’t sounds too wild, seeing the $6.5B charge.

          • “New wings, folding tips, engine pylon, engines, landing gear, tail, cockpit, systems, bigger windows, different located doors, windows, fuselage structure. Mostly a new airplane I think.”

            New ‘Engine pylons and engines’ are a common change. The Max engine placement issue isnt there.
            Landing gear is a new supplier not necessarily a new design and already in production for existing 777.
            Cockpit is the same as before , remember the fuselage is ‘the same’, the fuselage internal frames are machined from solid not built up from flat sections, with a small change in depth each side where passengers sit.
            The complete fuselage and wings was physical pressure and load tested tested remember, what more could they do for certification? It wasnt just a box ticking exercise based on computer output.
            The 777X cockpit systems are essentailly the same as before , the 777 has had fly by wire for 25 years, touch screens a first arent a big issue and anyway can be fully tested in simulators and have been used by Boeing in its own flight test aircraft

        • @Scott

          A few of the regulars here mentioned it and I ran across the number in a financial… I was surprised by it too, but I shall dig for it in the releases and let you.

          • How does Boeing spend this kinda money on 777X and Airbus spends 1B On A330 NEO? A350 is est at US$15B. Boeing is outta control.

          • @mark from the T-dot

            The A330Neo cost ’em $2 billion, but you are right. Mind you – someone I know who used to work there who said it is essentially a new aircraft, not a whole bunch of commonality with the original.

            Who knows…maybe the C-suite boys are just making it rain at the club, a little too often?

          • Yeah but they got RR to pick up 1B of the engine integration work.

          • The 13 bn. come from 6,5 bn charge against the program in 2020 due to delays and recertification recently.
            That should be on top of the 6bn. discussed development cost, which sounds reasonable for a new wing, new engine, changes to the fuselage, stretch, avionic, etc.

            I might get it wrong due to program accounting which is not used in EU and general accounting differences.

            But it doesn’t sound out of the world if the A330neo was 2bn. for pretty much new engines.

            For dev cost:
            “Its development cost could be over $5 billion with at least $2 billion for the carbon-composite wing.”
            That was in 2013, before 9 months of engine delay, a broken fuselage, and a change in the fuselage building process.
            And the 6,5 bn. writeoff on top.

            That’s why I don’t feel wrong with that 6 + 6,5 bn. total on the B777x.

        • Scott, they took an additional charge (6,5 bn. write off) on top off what was already an expensive development.
          Under EU accounting rules that would mean you have written off additional costs on the program as a loss on top of the already discussed development cost of roughly 6 bn. $.
          Which would bring the total on the program to about 12,5 – 13 bn. $.

          It sounds expensive, but if the B787 ended up with about 30 bn, the A350 with about 15 – 20 bn. and the A330neo with just a new engine and small twerks already paid with the A350xwb dev. cost 2bn. i see the 6bn. $ for a new wing, new engines and so on as realistic.

          Please let us know if you have different information or explain if the 6,5. bn. $ charge against the program has a different meaning.
          Thank you!

          • I understood it as $6.5b development cost and $6.5b accounting loss. But the accounting loss was only because of a reduction of frames in the accounting block (reduction from 400 frames to 200 frames), and this accounting loss was for half of the block.
            So the $6.5b development cost and the $6.5b acconting loss could be the same, but there is still the other half of $6.5b in the accounting block. These 200 frames left need to be built ($6.5b) to break even (now with a $6.5b loss).
            So the complete 777X costs are $13b. Factory costs, tooling costs and production costs are not development costs.

          • To get it right, LNA posted this:
            “On the Jan. 27 earnings call, Boeing set the program accounting for the 777X at 350 airplanes. This number declined from 400. Simultaneously, Boeing took a whopping $6.5bn forward loss on the program. (Not all is attributed to the accounting block.)”

            So it’s different and has nothing to do with 200 frames I mentioned.
            But lets imagine the $6.5b acconting loss were everything else than development costs (factory costs, tooling costs and production costs).
            $6.5b / 400 frames = $16.25m per frame

            But indeed, the total 777X program cost is not known to us.

          • @Leon:

            As far as I understand the development cost and early production cost is written on the program/block. This is named program accounting.
            It was widely discussed with the deferred cost @B787. It’s not allowed in the EU, there we have to follow IFRS (3) rules.

            The idea off program accounting is, that you can plan (decreasing) production cost and write off expensive development and early production cost over the whole program lifetime.
            By IFRS, you have to write them off immediately (activating them in the period they occur).
            I’m not sure if Boeing is only deferring the cost for early production or if they also do this for development cost.

            The basic idea is: the first plane you build costs 25. The last one costs only 10. The average is 15.
            You take the additional 10 the first plane costs, the additional for the 2nd and deferred them – write these costs off over the whole amount of planes you gonna build.

            I don’t know if that plays a role here, as so far the development cost for the B777x has been around 6bn. $.
            An additional write of 6.5 bn. $ over the already planned development cost should thus bring the total cost up.
            And honestly, a 3-year delay, a new certification for the wing, with the first certification process already failed – sounds and is expensive.

  18. Airline collapse

    « Over the past seven days, not quite 707,000 passengers per day on average passed TSA checkpoints at US airports, a measure of how many passengers in the US are flying somewhere. This was down by 61.6% from the same period in 2019, the last full year of the Good Times. At the end of January, the drop from 2019 was over 65%. »

    « For the fourth quarter, revenues of the six largest US airlines combined – American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue, with Spirit not having reported yet – plunged by 65.9% from a year earlier. For the year 2020, revenues plunged by 62.7%.

    For the fourth quarter, those six airlines combined reported a net loss of $6.6 billion; for the year 2020, they reported a net loss of $34.1 billion. »

    « The airlines have piled up mountains of cash from a series of government bailouts, most of them grants, and from the craziest financial markets of all times, created by the Fed, that allowed the airlines to sell more shares and tons of debt.

    The airlines have pledged their frequent flyer programs as collateral which allowed Delta, for example, to borrow another $9 billion. They have sold old aircraft, including to Amazon for freighter conversions. They have engaged in sale-lease-backs of their aircraft to raise cash. They have done everything imaginable to each raise many billions of dollars of cash to burn through this year. »

    This Fed Free Money program has benefited BA as well – but fake good times can not last, can they, until the next pandemic comes along


    Same is true for EU airlines, or is it not ? Is it worse?

    • @ Gerrard
      That’s a nasty summary!
      For the US carriers, the worst has yet to come: there will inevitably be a further reduction in travel when the new variants take center stage (in the EU, they’re already center stage, but governments are curtailing them using stringent measures). So that will mean further cash burn / balance sheet weakening.
      The question now is: which carrier will fold first?

      • @Bryce

        Good and nasty question

        Why not make a list in order, separate out US and EU (incl Brit) airlines

        List orders, BA & AB , each airline has, together with predicted fold by date of airline

        Or list daily cashburn for airlines, plus indeed BA

        LH has been forthcoming and you have quoted them, are figures findable for AF KLM etc?

        AF have a deadline coming up in June I think to repay their Gvmt some or most of the E7Billion they got last year? Presumably this will have to be rolled over, but will include more conditions, shrunken route map, and a moratorium on orders/purchases

        Another list for EK and QF, one or two Asia and bingo!

        This kind of chart would go a long way to sober up the let’s go on vacation talk from the happy face crowd: the disease that dare not speak it’s name is going to be around for a good while

    • @Gerrard

      “This was down by 61.6% from the same period in 2019, the last full year of the Good Times”

      No sir – the last full year of Good Times was in 1979, when Florida came back. JJ was always such a skinny kid…Dynomite!

      But yes, airlines are in big trouble

  19. BA funding from DoD – they like their lemons after all

    « By far, the biggest contracts were for the KC-46A tanker. On the 12th of January, Boeing received a $1.7B contract exercising options for the purchase of 12 KC-46A tankers as well as licenses for the G081 aircraft maintenance database. Days later, Boeing received a similar contract but this time for 15 KC-46A tankers and licenses valued at $2.1B. So Boeing received $3.8B in contracts for the KC-46A accounting for over 90% of the contract awards.
    What’s somewhat interesting is that these contracts were fully funded. So, Boeing received billions of dollars and at the same time, it does seem like the US Air Force is making a big deal out of withholding $336 million in payments while handing out $3.8 billion in payments on the new contracts. That kind of strong-arming really does seem to be nothing more than a show-piece to me. »

    « Defense contracts are nice to observe during these challenging times, but it’s really the accelerated progress payments as part of COVID-19 aid to defense industry corporations that are helping the cash to keep flowing in. »

    • “interesting is that these contracts were fully funded. So, Boeing received billions of dollars ..”
      No it doesnt. The payment is partly for long lead items and then as they move down the production line and finally once completed AND accepted by USAF.
      US government doesnt pay its contracts when the deal is signed..it would follow more like a commercial deal. These contracts are over the next few years.
      I would think they are half way through the expected 179 plane requirement.

        • No, as explained previously, the contracts include support and maintenance that goes along with the development and purchase funding. That is completely normal and expected. Has nothing to do with the pandemic.

          The development and purchase contract was for $4.9B, with options. The withheld funds are about 7.5% of that total, as in incentive for Boeing to speed development of RVS 2.0. About half of that has now been paid. The contract does not provide for any other methods. This was the topic of the testimony before Congress on the structure of the contract, and is why that limited contract structure will be modified in the future.

          The overall cost of the KC-46 program is estimated at $55B. This is the source of the funding above and beyond the purchase/development price. It’s also why Boeing will not hesitate to spend above the purchase contract limit to achieve the USAF goals.

          • @Rob

            Look at it this way – DoD holds out happy KC contract to BA, despite misgivings, more than justified by the plane’s failure to operate

            But now….with the collapse of BCA to cancel out on BA risks bankrupting an essential war machine supplier, DoD assumes responsibility for their mistake, makes plans to take control of this contract, on the grounds even ‘we’ can do better than that

            Pumping cash into desperate BA is a step towards

          • The reports talk about contract signings not payments. Essentially the USAF gets a new contract every for every production lot which is spread over more than a year.
            The covid funding release was about a year ago and was for planes built but which some of the funding had been withheld because the various problems. That was paid despite some issues outstanding.
            Yes we know the plane is a lemon -as currently cant do all its supposed to- but theres a process at Boeings cost that will fix it. The USAF is well used to its programs being like this , the F35 was an even bigger lemon, which was continued to be funded.

          • Lemon implies irresolvable problems. Problems with KC-46 and F-35 are being resolved. Hence the general did not call it a lemon, nor is the F-35 a lemon.

            Some people jumped on that phrasing, regarding how to best use the KC46 until it has full readiness, because some people like to do that sort of thing. It’s not meaningful and won’t be, as I pointed out earlier.

            It’s a standard progression for criticism of military procurement contracts. Development problems occur and people in & out of the media bash away at them, then the problems are resolved and the hardware goes into service with the complainers grumbling in perpetuity.

            In the end, apart from making some noise and generating some articles, the complainers have no impact, because what actually matters is performance. That will be true again as well.

          • In many states, car manufacturers are required to repurchase a new vehicle if:

            – it has a serious defect and,

            – despite the manufacturer’s attempts to repair it, the manufacturer can’t get it fully fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

            What exactly is it? Not a lemon?!

          • Thanks for the example of the noise. Asked and answered previously. Repetition doesn’t change the facts as explained, or the outcome.

            The USAF could declare the KC-46 unrepairable at any time. Notably, they have not, because it is not. Those are the facts. People can disagree and throw barbs as much as they wish, that’s something of a specialty here. But it doesn’t alter anything. It’s just noise.

          • Those higher-up of the AF have learnt to maintain a good working relationship with the Military-industrial complex. Why rock the boat?

    • “That kind of strong-arming really does seem to be nothing more than a show-piece to me.”

      That’s a strange comment.

      The customer judges there is a deficiency, they are withholding money. Doing that rather than submitting a warranty claim gets more attention inside the supplier.

      Most media do not have a clue about life.

      (And some, like a gaggle of traditional media in Canada, have been asking for federal government handouts.
      Never mind they are inaccurate and often biased. NYT, WaPo, CBC, CBS, CNN, …..) all caught including what counts as lying – not reporting on one side of a conflict because they promised not to as a condition of access to the other side’s story.)

  20. Scott,

    I just saw your chart about the backlog comparison. You have listed BA with 973 widebodies. Here is the latest 10Q filing from them (Dec 31, 2020) and on page 37, they have the official number that they submit in the filing:


    737: 3,282 (all models)

    747: 8
    767: 75
    777: 41
    777X: 191
    787: 458 (22 for BCC)

    Total WB: 773

    I’m guessing that they can post whatever the heck they want on their website – but when push comes to shove, the real numbers come out.

    • On the 737 backlog, 1000 MAX’s were removed last year, contract clausules on neglect and culpable delays can be activated.

      I see little alternative than launching a low risk NB, sightly better than NEO and offer MAX customer conversion rights. Not ideal, but alternatives could be worse,.

      Behind curtains, contingency plans with the Biden government are probably on the table and everything is possible.

      • I doubt Boeing will give up its investment in the MAX. The grounding delay cancellation options have been mostly exercised, or compensation negotiated, at this point. The larger issue going forward is the ASC606 reductions, which depend on the health of the airline industry.

        Response to the MAX thus far has been acceptance, with no significant signs of passenger hesitancy. Airlines see the value of it, so Boeing has no reason to not fully utilize production.

        I don’t think the Biden administration will be involved, unless there was a bankruptcy/bailout situation. No sign of that happening either, at this point.

        • @Rob

          You agree with Mr Muilenberg in your post – this is to your credit

          From the WSJ article everyone is talking about

          “Safety concerns gained prominence internally with the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Just days later, Mr. Muilenburg’s chief of staff, Ann Schmidt, urged the CEO to address safety problems objectively, telling him not to “drink [Boeing’s] own bath water.” The reputation of Boeing and the 737 “has been severely hit if not destroyed at this point when looked at from a flying public—the passengers and voters—point of view,” she said in the March 14, 2019, note.
          She encouraged Mr. Muilenburg to “start the journey to rebuilding our reputation—which we will and have done before with real data and not based on our tendency to want to only see the good.”

          • So, at least there is one realist at Boeing: take a bow, Ms. Schmidt!

      • @ keesje
        Good points.
        I agree that Boeing’s best (and most urgent) move would be to replace the MAX by a new NB that is “up to modern standards”. The masses of negative PR in the past 2 years have efficiently revealed how much of a compromised, sub-standard dinosaur the MAX is. When COMAC and Irkut offerings come on line (both of which are FBW), further dents will be made in the MAX’s chances in Asia, Africa and South/Central America.
        Still no sign of MAX re-certification in China (no surprise there, of course).

    • @Frank: The Boeing 10Q provides ASC606 adjustment. Airbus doesn’t have an equivalent number, so I use the non-ASC for equal comparison. ASC, of course, makes Boeing look worse.

  21. Modern 767,7 abreast or pincer action of modern 757 and modern 330 regional, which is best? I think that both will do OK, but the later is better because 8 abreast is more efficient. The 767 did sell well, so maybe Boeing and airbus might not actually compete head on.

  22. Somewhat off topic, but not wildly so:
    From the Twitter feed here on LNA, a nice WSJ article that shows/confirms that Calhoun is “one of the boys” in the MAX fiasco:

    “Boeing Board Failed to Challenge CEO on 737 MAX Safety, Lawsuit Says”

    “About two weeks after the initial crash in late 2018, Mr. Muilenburg devised “a public relations, investor relations and lobbying campaign,” according to the lawsuit, partly designed to push back against the bad publicity and criticism by U.S. airline-pilot groups attacking Boeing’s disclosures regarding the jet’s design. He discussed the plan with then-lead director Kenneth Duberstein and board member David Calhoun, now Boeing’s CEO, according to internal emails cited in the suit.”

    “Around the same time, Boeing was publicly pointing to pilot and maintenance errors as important factors in the fatal plunge of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, even as it was privately beginning work on a fix to an automated flight-control system implicated in that crash.”


    • Accident roadmap.

      – Ask everyone to please not speculate before the official investigation report comes out, in 9 months.
      – Help local authorities, lobby, have questions raised on the airline/pilots. firmly state Safety Comes First, have victim families paid, sign papers, fix the problem.
      – After 9 months the bigger public is focused elsewhere, AD’s are implemented, families want to move on with their lives. Nobody wants bad news on the #1 exporter.

      Worked perfectly fine on TK1953, JT610.

      • @keesje

        Thank you for this realistic description of the BA cover up mentality

      • “Ask everyone to please not speculate before the official investigation report comes out”

        Wow …. Wow. The tag line of BA spinner.

        • Calhoun claims he did not know what was going on with Boeing when he was on the board. Note, that is what Board members are paid for.

          Much like fixing aircraft problem when you get a bonus to do your job. At that rate I should have been a billionaire.

          Amazing, well maybe not.

          They will use a fig leaf no matter how tattered very time !

    • From SA
      · Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) board failed to challenge then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg on the safety of the 737 MAX or his campaign to counter negative news reports between two fatal crashes, WSJ reports, citing several internal company documents that were released as part of a shareholders’ lawsuit.
      · After the Lion Air crash in October 2018, which was soon followed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s conclusion that the MCAS automated flight-control system “posed an unacceptably high risk of catastrophic failure,” the lawsuit alleges directors did not order an immediate safety investigation of the system or how it was approved by regulators or investigate its safety; instead, “the board supported the public relations campaign” of Muilenburg “to attack accurate media coverage respecting the 737 MAX.”
      · In discussing an emergency safety bulletin the FAA issued after the Lion Air crash, the suit claims Muilenburg was more concerned with potential cash flow disruptions than safety.
      · A risk management update to the board after the first crash did not include oversight of airplane safety, according to the lawsuit, nor did safety issues surface as part of a December 2018 meeting of the board’s audit committee.

      ** More concerned with cash flow disruptions than safety!! Who’s surprised??

      WaPo: May 6, 2019
      ‘Safety was just a given’: Inside Boeing’s boardroom amid the 737 Max crisis

      -> Before approving plans for a new jetliner called the 737 Max, Boeing’s board of directors discussed how quickly and cheaply it could be built to compete with a rival — but the members didn’t ask detailed questions about the airplane’s safety, according to three people present for the meetings.

      -> When a 737 Max operated by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia last year, board members learned for the first time about a Boeing software system that pushed the plane’s nose downward — but they didn’t see enough evidence of a software malfunction to ground the entire fleet of more than 300 jets.

      “It looked like an anomaly,” Boeing board member David Calhoun said.

      -> In the first on-the-record interview of a Boeing board member since the crashes, Calhoun, who joined the board in 2009 and became its lead director last year, defended his group’s decision to keep the planes in the air. “I don’t regret that judgment,” he said. “And I don’t think we got it wrong at that time and that place.”

      A corporate board of directors serves on behalf of the shareholders, hiring and firing the chief executive, setting the pay of top executives and questioning whether their decisions are serving the company’s long-term interests. “They set up guardrails for the CEO,” said James Schrager, a management professor at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.”

      -> When the 737 Max was built, the board should have asked tough questions about how the plane’s safety was tested, said Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “Directors are not there to stick their fingers in the design of the aircraft,” Elson said. “They are there to assure themselves that the processes by which the aircraft was designed were effective and safe.”

      Boeing could have prevented a second tragedy if it had grounded the 737 Max after the first crash, said Tom Demetrio, a lawyer who is suing Boeing on behalf of the families of the Indonesia crash victims. “The Ethiopian aircraft should have never even been allowed to take off,” Demetrio said. “Boeing, not knowing why the Lion Air crash occurred, should have said, ‘Everybody out there, stop flying these damn things.’”

      • Boeing did know what happened and the FAA calculated that it would happen again.

        • FAA calculated the probability of another occurrence if nothing was done. Then they acted to mitigate the probable causes. That was believed to be sufficient to avoid another similar accident. As it happened, it was not, but that was not foreseen.

          • Get our the Blender boys, he is gentry to make Lemonade again!

            Not all the sugar in Brazil will help.

          • Facts as documented in the investigative reports on the FAA. Doesn’t matter how many times the false narrative is repeated, or the insults are repeated. Neither changes the facts, nor does opinion.

          • FAA saw more 737 MAX crashes coming but did_not_ground the fleet??

            Mar 2019 Boeing CEO: “relentless commitment to make safe airplanes even safer”

            But according to what’s exposed in an WSJ article below: Boeing concerns more about disrupted cash flow than safety.

          • @Rob

            “The FAA acted to mitigate but failed” –

            They did act?

            They thought, they believed? but they thought and they believed wrong, and they did not ‘foresee’ the deaths of many –

            Well, well – time to retire : this is indeed the heart spoken language of corporate and institutional mea culpa

            Thank you for this

          • “That was believed to be sufficient to avoid another similar accident.”
            Not sufficient!

            ” The Emergency AD was an interim action, and further action was planned based on what the FAA and Boeing learned from investigating the JT610 accident.”
            page 6
            The FAA did not know at that early stage that Boeing (staff) had ‘hidden’ a lot of what MCAS did or didnt do

            “After the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, Boeing for the first time provided to airlines details about MCAS. Boeing’s bulletin to the airlines stated that the limit of MCAS’s command was 2.5 degrees.
            That number was new to FAA engineers who had seen 0.6 degrees in the safety assessment.”

            “One current FAA safety engineer said that every time the pilots on the Lion Air flight reset the switches on their control columns to pull the nose back up, MCAS would have kicked in again and “allowed new increments of 2.5 degrees.”
            So once they pushed a couple of times, they were at full stop,” meaning at the full extent of the tail swivel, he said.

          • First, the occurrence probability calculated was of another AoA failure that would lead to MCAS activation. That does not necessarily lead to an accident, as was known then from JT043, and is known now from the mandatory recovery training.

            Second, it’s hard to foresee actions of human beings, when they deviate from their basic training and a mandatory bulletin. Nor the ways in which they will deviate, which were different in ET302 than in JT610.

          • @Rob

            Thanks for this!

            It’s true those pesky human being pilots get in the way –

            I’m sure BA has the solution – fully droned cockpit driven by BA robots stationed in…

            One thing for sure, BA PR sure is predictable

          • Boeing cronies still don’t realize that, every time they try to blame a MAX accident on pilots, all they do is further deter airlines from ordering MAXs. The A320 can be flown by pilots with normal pilot qualifications and skill, whereas it seems that keeping a MAX in the air regularly needs skills on a par with those of test pilots / astronauts. Not surprising, of course: Sully has said that the plane is “not up to modern standards”. No wonder Airbus now has 2/3 of the narrowbody market.

            Just look at this youthful crew (26 and 19) on an Easyjet A320. If we follow the Boeing pilot blaming narrative, a crew like this would never be able to manage a temperamental MAX.


        • Yes Boeing knew, and they published incomplete instructions on how to deal with the problem if it happened again. This is what caused the Ethopian crash

          • This is known to be false from the JT043 flight, where the crew handled the AoA/MCAS malfunction correctly based on their common basic training.

            The JT610 crew did not follow that training, which contributed to that accident. The ET302 crew did not follow either that training or the bulletin reminder and steps, which contributed to that accident.

            These are the facts as established in the accident reports. MCAS was a contributing factor to both accidents as well.

          • Yes, of course, the bulletin was garbage.

            “Around the same time, Boeing was publicly pointing to pilot and maintenance errors as important factors in the fatal plunge of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, even as it was privately beginning work on a fix to an automated flight-control system implicated in that crash.”

            It’s unbelievable that Muilenburg is still running around. Does he have bodyguards?
            And Elwell too, who was waiting for another crash.

          • JT043 was a THREE pilot crew, and MCAS didn’t work as a running stabilizer, it stopped.

          • @Leon
            It seems that, in the case of the MAX, Boeing should have reverted to a 3-person flight deck, with a flight engineer permanently on hand to help manage pitch-related tantrums and lend an extra pair of hands to turn trim wheels, etc.
            Straight back to the 50s!

          • Rob it has been clearly established what the crew knew, what they could(n’t) have known and what assumptions Boeing (wrongly) made is setting training requirements, systems redundancy, crew response.

            What you are doing is not representing the facts, but carefully select facts, leave others out and do bold statements. What you write has to be read twice to see what you are doing,

            It is not fair, justified, fact based or honest at all. You are playing with perceptions, presenting half truths as facts and trying to defuse / soften observations that have been done by DoJ, commissions and confessed by Boeing during the settlement.

            It’s not the kind of communication we need in aerospace. If things go wrong we must be strong enough to admit, not only soften, question, dive away or present alternative facts.

            I think it is further hurting the damaged image of Boeings safety culture and how they handle accidents.

          • Keesje, we’ve been over this countless times. I reported what the pilots did and didn’t do based on the accident reports. That’s all.

            This has been accepted by those who see the accidents as a chain of contributing events. A group that includes the regulators, the airlines, the pilots, all of whom have accepted the official conclusions and additional training without complaint.

            It’s not accepted by those who see the accidents as exclusively the fault of Boeing. A group that includes pundits and conspiracy theorists who have all kinds of crazy reasons to reject the established facts. That is where the true obstacle to acceptance lies. That same bias is evident in many other posts here, so it’s nothing new or unusual at Leeham.

            There are other forums where the opposite group holds sway. The pilots are entirely to blame, as recovery is straightforward and Boeing has no responsibility. Those views are equally biased and incorrect. It’s foolish to insist on one view or the other.

            I will remain in the more balanced group, that denies neither the Boeing contribution nor the pilot contributions, as that is only sane and rational group, and is where the vast majority of evidence, conclusion, and officialdom lies.

            People here are free to choose their own group as well. I will continue to put the facts forward as they are determined by evidence. Others can continue to object as much as they wish, but it doesn’t change those facts.

          • Out comes the industrial food processor.

            Chop at what you think is lemons any way you want, in this case Lemonade is not to be.

            When you start with Jalapeno chilies there is no path to lemonade.

          • @Rob

            This thread is specifically about the ET crash – read the initial comment from M of T– but ok why not both ? they are related, yes ?

            You refer to ‘the accident reports’ – what are these strange creatures?

            To be generous one might suppose you mean to say ‘the reports of the investigations into the accidents’, so the ET crash ‘reports’ is in fact the report of the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, which is still as far as I know to be published

            So you can not be referring to this report, even if you intended to evoke this fact with your imprecise and vague use of language – this is deceptive practice

            To what ET crash reports are you referring ? Journalistic, social media, lawyerly ?

            You speak of facts with regard to this or these accidents – who has determined these facts ? and upon what authority ? In the absence of an official report ….and please understand a report no matter how official does not establish the facts, nor is it intended to nor is it capable of so doing

            An investigation presents, you may now be able to guess, a report : which is to say a description of events, with more or less authority or conviction

            But no one, no one person, no Gvmt, no administrative authority is able to establish the ‘facts’ as you say, in any way which may be regarded as definitive or un disputable or as silencing other facts or other comments or indeed other presentations and descriptions

            You persist in a campaign of censorship based on your arrogant indeed vainglorious claim to the facts in the face of all comers – in this ET case even the basis for your claim is false, or fake, for there is no investigation report

            The claim to the ‘facts’ is one made by religion and subsequent varied ideological clans or cults, and has no place here

    • Cont’d from WaPo: “A plum Assignment

      A seat on Boeing’s board is a prestigious job with great pay. Each director is paid an average of $324,000 in cash and stock annually — the 29th-highest board pay in a recent survey of the 100 largest companies by compensation researcher Equilar. Boeing flies board members to Chicago or another city with Boeing facilities for a one-day meeting every other month; they typically arrive Sunday afternoon and leave by Monday afternoon.”

      • Yep, a perfect example of Crony Capitalism at its best & finest!

        Oh, and pretty much explains what’s gone wrong at McBoeing, too.

      • @Pedro

        Why is the Boeing BoD composed of so many nonentities?

        Caroline K? Lynne D?

        Usually prestigious and well thought of companies can attract a famous name or two

        Your opinion will be different perhaps, there are some prestigious names and well respected names?

        @Rob – comment

    • Interesting,
      then Sia will have 31 777-9 orders.
      Seems Boeing likes to convert from 787 to 777X, but not from 777X to 787 (Emirates), or it could be assumed that the 787 problems are still not fixed.
      Seems a 777-9 is 27% more expensive than a 787-10.
      According to Boeing the 777-9 has 25.5% more seats (414) than 787-10 (330).

    • @ Bryce

      Thank you-

      So! for the lists of plane orders as hinted above, one can use 2026 as the year international air travel picks up again

      Or perhaps international air travel EU/US – Asia picks up again

      • @ Gerrard
        Regardless of the question when (exactly) international air travel will re-normalize, I think we can be pretty confident that it won’t be in the coming months: Britain, for example, is considering even more stringent restrictions on inbound travelers (see link).

        Any airline that survives the coming months will therefore probably be so financially weakened that it will seek to avoid placing any new orders and/or taking any new deliveries that can be canceled or deferred. For those who badly need to replace aging aircraft, the secondhand market is awash with bargains.

        For the specific case of SIA, it is in a particularly nasty position, since Singapore has basically cut itself off from the rest of the world, and the nation/airline is heavily dependent on (stopover) hub passengers. It already has 52 new A350s and 15 new 787s, as well as 5 mid-aged A330s and 12 A380s, compared to 31 777s (average 12 years old) and 7 747s (average age 17 years old). It can easily “dump” the older 777s and 747s without replacing them (e.g. when leases expire) and maintain — for a few years at least — a leaner fleet of modern aircraft. When the time comes to expand, because of its large existing fleet of A350s it would be far more logical to go for more A350s (it already has a further 19 on order) rather than a 777X. I wouldn’t be surprised if the airline is secretly hoping that the 777X will be axed.


        • @Bryce

          An optimistic view of the Singapore Airways conversion from respected analyst Dhierin Bechai


          “While the Boeing 777X now has less firm orders according to Boeing’s own SEC filings there has been an important conversion of orders that has been disclosed by Singapore Airlines (OTCPK:SINGY). Since, I have been covering the possible reductions in the order book, and since I always aim to provide balanced analysis to my readers, I think it’s more than fair to also have a look at the positive changes.”

          “On one hand the conversion potentially confirms recovery of long-haul operations and longer term demand for bigger jets, which is a huge support to the Boeing 777X. On the other hand, this most definitely needs to be seen as a way to defer deliveries since the Boeing 777X will not enter service before late 2024 and the converted orders will be delivered after FY2025/2026. So the conversion is prudently being used as a way to defer deliveries. We have to see whether delivery will eventually occur but over time the orders would fit in rather well as a replacement to the Airbus A380.”

          • @ Gerrard
            Nice piece.
            I note the text segment:
            “On the other hand, this most definitely needs to be seen as a way to defer deliveries since the Boeing 777X will not enter service before late 2024 and the converted orders will be delivered after FY2025/2026. So the conversion is prudently being used as a way to defer deliveries.”

    • From Reuters:
      “The airline will cut capital spending plans by S$2.2 billion in the 2020-21 financial year ending March 31, S$1.7 billion in 2021-22 and by a more limited amount in the following three years.”

      How much comes from deferral of B777X?? Interesting SIA has now ordered 31 B777X, the same number as its fleet of B777.

      • Hello Pedro,

        Re: “Interesting SIA has now ordered 31 B777X, the same number as its fleet of B777.”

        That is true. According to Wikipedia Singapore also currently had 19 non-retired A380’s with 379 to 471 seats. Is it more likely that the 777-9’s will be one for one replacements for Singapore’s current 777 fleet or that some of the 777-9’s will take over A380 routes as Singapore’s new flagship aircraft, at the same time that some current 777 routes are taken over by smaller aircraft ?

        Below is Singapore’s current order book according to Wikipedia.

        A350-900: 15
        737-800: 8 to be acquired from Silk Air*
        737 MAX: 37 to be acquired from Silk Air*
        777-9: 31
        787-10: 15

        I am sure that to some this order book, the cancellation of the A380, and the phase out of the Silk Air and Singapore A319 and A320 fleets will be solid proof of a great Airbus victory against a hopelessly doomed Boeing. To me it looks like the order book of a carrier with a solid interest in both Airbus and Boeing aircraft, however, with more than 3 times as many Boeing widebodies than Airbus widebodies currently on order ( (31+ 15) / 15 = 3.07 ) ), and 31 new build 737 MAX on order through the Silk order merger vs zero Airbus narrow body aircraft on order.

        *On 18 May 2018, Singapore Airlines announced that it and its subsidiary SilkAir would merge. The merger is set to take place in late 2021 or early 2022, with SilkAir’s Airbus A319s (two aircraft as of February 2020) and its Airbus A320 fleet (consisting of seven aircraft as of February 2020) to be phased out and the narrowbody fleet to consist of Boeing 737-800s and Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Some of these aircraft will be integrated into the parent company after their passenger cabins undergo an upgrade to bring them to a standard comparable to the passenger cabins of Singapore Airlines’ widebody aircraft.[66] As of February 2020 there were seventeen 737-800s and six 737 MAX 8s in the SilkAir fleet, with another 31 MAX 8s on order.[67]


        • All valid.

          We will have to see post Covd if that all holds up of course.

          As China carves up Cathay Pacific it will be interesting (Hong Kong goes down the tube as a financial center, Cathay Pacific has no base and HK is a suspect Chinese city and the big 3 Chinese carriers will slice it up)

          That is going to reverberate for he next 10 years.

        • No surprises there , they are exactly the sort of airline the 777X was designed for, as was the A380 and 777-300ER and the 747 before that.
          Notice a pattern here ?
          Theres probably another 10 airlines like that who will have 30 each too, and then there is airlines who take more than that and those that might be 6-10

          • I wonder all the negativity.

            2026 the ops will be normal again.
            SIN will get a new runway.
            SIA is a 5 star airline and one of the carriers other airlines look up to.
            If they take 11 more, that’s a great sign.
            Also they go larger, that’s not for hop Boeing bails out and abandons the B777x, especially not after taking 6.5bn.$ against it.
            That’s a sign that SIA trusts its business model and will be a major carrier with a hub and slot restrictions.

            There are airlines like SIA.
            Cathay Pacific has been one, but if they will be there’s a lot of doubt.
            The Tokio based Japanes airlines, JAL and ANA have been, but since Haneda got it’s new terminal and runway slot situation has eased.

            BA is an airline likewise, and they have ordered 18 with options, same as for the A35k.

            But in the end, it’s with Emirates and Qatar. If they bail out, than Boeing is in trouble.

          • @ Sash
            Nothing in your summary hints at the ongoing financial devastation being endured by the airline industry. Airlines will be lucky to survive at all, not to mind indulging themselves in spending sprees on new aircraft. All those loans and bailouts have to be repaid!

          • SA may well survivce fine, I suspect the City would step in with support if need be.

            But they are cancelling 787-10 to buy 777-9.

            So nice for the 777-9 program assuming it comes to be and its much delayed, but the 787-10 program takes a hit.

            At this point I guess its a plus for Boeing but not without its pain like so much else they have put themselves to these days.

          • @Bryce

            Yes, there’s trouble now, but that’s why SIA is pushing it back to 2026, that’s 5 years from now.

            Of course with vaccination and everything available, how long will you think Corona will harm travel?
            I’m pretty sure in a year from now we won’t even have issues with it, and in 23 or 24 even long haul travel has returned to normal, and not a new normal.

            Yes there is some fundamental risk, of business travel not coming back. But I’m not sure how high this risk is.
            Very hard to judge.

            I don’t expect fundamental change, the world is too connected, globalization is played, and on when Covid is over.

    • a strange thought came to my mind: is it possible that Boeing agreed to buy some of Singapore’s A380s to get this deal?

      • I doubt that, but
        Is it possible that Singapore won’t certify the 777-9, or China?

        • By the time 2024 comes (777X EIS?) or 2026 (Singapore deliveries), China/Russia should have their CR929 up and running. Seeing as Chinese airlines haven’t ordered any 777Xs (apart from Cathay), China will have no need to certify the 777X. It can, if it wishes, use that fact to “incentivize” reciprocal certification of the CR929 by the FAA.

          • You could be right but the 777x is a much bigger plane than the C929. They don’t really compete

    • JetBlue’s Mint class is incredible — but not at all representative of the longhaul experience of those in “Cattle class” 😉
      Still, I agree that there are situations in which a longhaul NB flight would be very acceptable. For example, Qatar fly Dublin – Doha using a 787-8 with non-stellar load factors. Rather than axe the route altogether, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead use an A321(X)LR: the flight is nominally 7h 30m long, and that time in an NB is do-able — certainly if route closure is the alternative.

      • AirBaltic was flying Riga to the Middle East using an A220-300. Flight was about 6.5 hours. They didn’t keep the route but shows what is feasible.

  23. I have to admit watching Boeing twist in the wind after their attempt to kill Cseries is karmic satisfaction. Talk about blow back. Hopefully the A220-500 is along to swallow up any market Boeing attemps to serve with this newest plane. If 777X is costing 9 or 13B, this one will cost at least 25-30B..

    • Canada should be proud to have brought such a magnificent aircraft into existence.
      Compare that to the 1950s dinosaur from further south, with its pitch tantrums, cables, pulleys and manual trim wheels, and rigged re-cert flights.
      A little further south again and we’re back to lovely aircraft: KLM, for example, wants to order even more Embraer E175s/195s, on top of the 49 it already has.

      • While the C Series is much admired by myself, its not an NMA killer no matter what variant they come out with (and the -500 should be a good one)

        The NMA is in a higher slot, not huge but higher.

        What the -500 would eat lunch on is the 737-8 but it also would remove the A320 slot (or compete directly with it)

        That is not all bad as the A320 is getting long in the tooth as well.

        It would enable Airbus to focus on the A321 series.

        An all new wing and engine and it could compete well with NMA.

        • I think replacing the A320 by a A220-500 is more complex than it seems. Scaling production of CSeries up to the ballpark of the A320 is a major project in itself costing a huge amount of money. And I’m not even talking about suppliers. There’s also the issue to not make yourself vulnerable for a next gen single aisle Boeing jet. If you do a simple stretch now, you’ve spent your move and can’t optimize that design that much later.

        • @TWA

          So I have a buddy who is very senior (30+ yrs) over there. He tells me the A220-500 has flown in the computer and plans are sitting in a filing cabinet (old school, they’re on a p.c.) waiting. I am told:

          1) As long as Airbus shares the program 75/25% with the Quebec gov’t, it will wait. Although details are thin, apparently they can purchase it outright after 7 years from the original transfer date.

          2) The A320Neo has too many orders, that they own 100% of, to bring a competing product to market. Even if Air France, Jet Blue and others are asking – it will wait. The Neo backlog will be worked on first.

          3) As Nofly mentioned – ‘Bama can spool up to 4 a month. Mirabel can get to 10 a month. That’s 14 aircraft a month. That’s not nearly enough production to get the program to where it replaces the A320. Mind you, IIRC, Airbus does have options to purchase sizeable tracts of land up in Mirabel and I believe they already own some extra space there.

          4) Apparently, the cheapest option is a plug fore and aft of the wing, giving them an extra 5 rows or so (25 seats) to bump the exit limit to the 185 area. Not sure about extra doors needed, but they pretty much keep everything the same – but lose some on the range. This is the quick and dirty solution they can pull out anytime they want.

          It cost Bombardier $6 billion to bring the C-Series to market, which is peanuts when compared to the numbers being bandied about today. But it was too much of a burden on the company.

          Right now, it’s all about keeping their heads down, putting out a good quality product, learning from their mistakes in the manufacturing process (you would not believe the stories I have heard about waste that is created), teaching the gang in Mobile how to do things (he has been there), working with suppliers to drive down costs on the program, working with P&W on the engine issues and making the current crop of customers as happy as they can be (you also wouldn’t believe the stories there…).

          With Boeing stepping on their crank, this has bought time for them, where the A220 gang isn’t even looking at BA. This is the result of the program merger, where the whole ‘we need to build this to survive and compete’ mentality from Bombardier has changed. BA doesn’t even have an effective competitor in the space.

          I know it sounds like a cliche, but my guy is a lot less stressed and now just focuses on putting out a good product. I think Bombardier bit off more then they could chew.

          • @Frank: Now there’s a straight line if I ever heard one….

          • > As long as Airbus shares the program 75/25% with the Quebec gov’t, it will wait.

            My understanding is that if Airbus invests and the Quebec Gov declines to match the investment Quebec’s ownership will be diluted. If this is the case there is no reason to wait till Airbus owns the program outright. The can invest and if Quebec matches that is a form of risk sharing. Not the are getting more of the program.

          • @Scott

            So my buddy talks to me in confidence, so I try not to spill too much of the beans. However, I will share this anecdote;

            Most of us look at airlines as generic business units. Yes, some are better, nicer stews :), better seats/service – but at the end of the day, the public just sees an airline that carries people.

            Behind the scenes it is very different.

            There is an old business adage that says that 80% of your customers will use 20% of your resources, and the other 20% of clients will eat up 80% – ceteris paribus. Well, this holds true in the OEM/airline relationship.

            We get reports of Airline A ordering X amount of jets, valued at Y amount of dollars and think – Hey! Great for the OEM – they score!

            There are airlines out there that, to use technical business terminology, are absolute fcuking ball busters. You cannot believe the amount of white gloved “There’s a speck of dust on the door, were not taking it!” that goes on. Most of the funds are paid upon delivery, so until their pilots have taken off with the aircraft, it isn’t a done deal.

            Now – my friend has a philosophical slant to this and has claimed to me “They have made us a better plane maker” which does have some merit. But at some point in time, you eat up precious resources trying to make a customer that is never going to be satisfied – happy. We’ve all been in a relationship like that, where whatever you do, she will not be happy. Winning a million dollars in the Lotto sucks, because it isn’t two.

            All this to say; anytime I hear of a deal being secured to provide aircraft (aside from those airlines he has mentioned, which shall remain nameless, to protect the not so innocent), I ask myself;

            What kind of client are these guys? Some of the more discerning among us will know what I am talking about. At some point in time, even though the sales guys are pushing for the deal (because their numbers/pay will go up) someone with some good sense will have to step in and say “It’s not worth it. You know how they are and this will end up costing us more” and even though it hurts, you walk away from the deal and let the other guys deal with them.

            That being said – when launching a new product/trying to penetrate a market, you kinda have to take all kinds and bend over backwards. Which is what I think they got caught up in.

            I think this is one of the dirty little secrets of the aviation industry – the ‘nice guys’ who will work with you (and yes – there are those airlines out there, they are successful and by all accounts, a pleasure to work with. Makes the job worth it) and those who you hope the company never signs a deal with.

            My guy has a unique solution. He banks his vacation. Does some OT and banks that, as well. Checks the firing order. When he sees one of their aircraft coming (he’s very experienced, he can judge these things) he puts in for time off. He loves his job, so the company is always telling him to take time off – so it’s never a problem. He still has most of his hair…mostly. He also got rid of the wife who was never happy. He smiles a lot more, now

          • @Frank: As I said, you are unusually well informed.

          • @Scott

            It is very kind of you to say so, thank you. Some of it, as you might imagine, is doing a little legwork and connecting all the dots.

          • “”4) the cheapest option … extra 5 rows or so (25 seats) … they pretty much keep everything the same – but lose some on the range. This is the quick and dirty solution””

            That would be really cheap, must not be bad, but they would lose much range. I doubt Airbus would do that, because it’s indeed dirty and wouldn’t match this NEW design.

            I would first expect another MTOW bump for the A223, which could be carried over to the A225 too.
            Higher MTOW would touch the gears. Airbus could use longer gears and then use the A320 engines with higher BPR.

          • Frank: That is good stuff!

            The only adder I have that adds a bid of breath to it vs the depth is that Airbus has been morphing over to A321 for some time.

            I believe that 50%+ of production is A321 now.

            The A220-500 looks to be a natural fit and the timeline to morph over is there as many would stick with the A320 due to commonality.

            But it is a way to replace the A320 rather than upgrade it once more and save the upgrades for the A321.

            Boeing has no answer at all even in the NMA for it.

            And as its an in produion model, they won’t have EU issues to deal with forcing them to Hydrogen when its not going to work unless force fit in a market like the EU.

            The fact That Boeing tried to join Embraer with a product that was not even close tells you how much they fear the A220.

            Regardless of the 7 year timeline, its always best to stomp someone when they are down and make sure they stay there!

  24. @Scott: Can i get an input from you on this one?

    “The main question for me is – and I would love to hear opinions on it:
    The MOM gap, is it natural?
    Is it the natural gap between SA and WB in our technology, that made the small WBs died out and focused on more range and more plane?
    Can the middle of the market be addressed with an efficient new development?”

    Why don’t we see small WBs anymore? A300, B767, A332 have kind of died out, while there have been WBs about 50-55m. Even the B788, essentially out of production, is 57m and has 9 abreast.

    Is it the natural gap between a SA (A321, 44,5m) and the shortest modern WB (57m A338, B788)?

    • Looking back some of the initial widebodies like the DC10-10 and A300B2 were intended for domestic US/EU trunk routes with 300 and more seats but they were not reliable and durable enough for the cycling they were sold to do, so making them fly longer routes as DC-10-30 and A300-600 with fewer cycles made sense. When the 757 came as a 727 replacement the PW2000 engines that were designed as a shrunk widebody engine could not take the cycling while RR used the big RB211 core engine and designed a smaller LP system around it ran cooler and became very popular in the RB211535E4 vrsion before RR started to milk its customers. The PW2000 engine eventually met its promises but late. As the lighter A321 increase its range with its narrowbody engines the 757 was uncompetetive where the A321 could fly. So moving today the problem is the same, you have to have a pretty cold running core engine and design a new LP system around it for a 40-50k engine. Like take the GEnX core engine and let the Frensh pay for a new LP system. RR could use the new Advance/Ultrafan core and design a new LP system around it but be very diciplined on parts count and making sure its design/manufacturing partners does not ruin their day in the future. (Like GE having their eyes on what Snecma did and double check everything, we know what happens when GE let Snecma run it alone Silvercrest…)

  25. “Publicly, Boeing said the market for the NMA is about 4,000. Internally, officials knew it was more like 2,100—with Airbus capturing perhaps half.”

    i am confused here. Does Boeing think the total market size for the NMA size category is 4,000 or 2,100 airplanes? Of course, Boeing takes some and Airbus takes some. What is the total market size?

    • MilesZ – as presented in your query, that sounds like a good case of – shall we say – disigenuity by the OEM. There’s no inconsistency in saying the middle-of-the-market sector requires 4,000 aircraft while acknowledging that sales likely would be split around 50:50 between two manufacturers (even though you might recognise that the questioner does not realise you are describing the whole market, not just Seattle’s possible share…). So, yes, it seems likely that Boeing sees a total market for 4,000 such aircraft.

      • I think this not what was meant…the ADDRESSABLE MARKET is 4000. Think of it as a potential customers going to a gallery looking for art or attending an auction or visiting a market with changing offers. Only 2100 planes will be bought, because not every potential customer is going to buy. Of this, half goes to Boeing and half to Airbus – 1050 each.

        • Chris — do you have any historic stats to illustrate your addressable-market definition: is it possible to show how past market size was understood in those terms, especially how many markets’proved to have what you might call ‘unrealisable potential’? Arguably, the latter do not need to be accounted for; why would anybody include them, since (by definition) they can never become orders, sales, or deliveries. Surely more imppressive for the OEMs to cite a lower ‘real’ market quantity that, in turn, can be met more successfully (with a smaller disparity between perceptions and subsequent reality)?.

          • A380?

            There is :
            could use
            want to buy
            share gone to competitor.

          • @ Uwe
            Speaking of the A380, one wonders whether Emirates has any plans to snap up — for bargain basement prices — the various A380s being let go by Qantas, SIA, Qatar, Thai, etc. Emirates has always been able to fill A380s, and the costs of refurbishing the secondhand ones would be more than compensated by the low acquisition price. It would give them some extra capacity while they’re waiting for their 777Xs (that will never come) — might come in very useful if the predicted post-lockdown ultra-hedonism leads to huge demand.
            Nobody was interested in the first few ones given back by SIA, because they were “early-production deviants”. But the ones being decommissioned now are “mainstream” units. And although Emirates is not usually associated with purchasing secondhand birds, anything is possible in the current world of severely weakened airlines.
            Just a thought 😉

  26. The Indonesian KNKT preliminary report for Flight SJ-182 was released. There was a split-throttle event while the aircraft was in auto-throttle mode. The left throttle decreased slowly over a two-minute period while the right throttle remained fixed. Investigators do not know which of those behaviors was correct, or why it occurred.

    The aircraft changed heading to the left and did a slow bank to 45 degrees left, before beginning a descent. The auto-throttle was disconnected during the descent.

    The earlier auto-throttle events for that aircraft were recorded as “unserviceable” on January 2 and 3, and were deferred until January 5. The TOGA switch was cleaned and a BITE test was performed on that date, and the issue was reported as resolved. There were no reports of malfunction from January 6th to the 8th.

    There is no data released in the report. The auto-throttles are being inspected by the manufacturer for possible cause. Also the pilot upset and recovery training procedures and histories are being reviewed.


    • “”But the initial findings suggest parallels with a fatal China Southern Airlines 737-300 accident near Guilin in November 1992.
      The aircraft had been experiencing an autothrottle problem affecting its right-hand engine and, during the descent to Guilin, the left-hand throttle lever advanced as the aircraft transitioned to level flight but the right-hand lever did not.
      This led to a thrust asymmetry under which the aircraft tended to yaw and roll to the right, corrected by the autopilot with left aileron input.
      But a limit to the aileron deflection meant the autopilot eventually was unable to overcome the effect of the thrust imbalance, and the aircraft started to roll slowly to the right. Control-column input suddenly cut off the autopilot’s counteraction, the jet’s right roll rapidly accelerated, and the upset resulted in the crew’s losing control.
      Boeing 737-300s, -400s and -500s were the subject of an airworthiness directive in 2001 which focused on upgrading autothrottle computers following incidents of asymmetric thrust conditions in flight caused by the thrust levers’ slowly moving apart, causing the aircraft to bank excessively and enter a roll.””

      Makes me think about software which was never audited.

      • @ Leon
        Well, we know Boeing’s track record when it comes to software.
        Even the recent software upgrade to the 747, 777 and 787 (Dec. 2020) produced concerning autothrottle problems and prompted an AD from the FAA.
        Nothing has changed.


        Surrounding the various problems with the archaic 737 are the last vestiges of some sort of “macho culture”, whereby “real pilots” seem to attach value to the efforts needed to keep the various 737 tantrums under control, in much the same way as a cowboy has to stay on a bucking bull for as long as possible. Scary to think that there’s such a misplaced Neanderthal mentality in such an important profession.

      • According to the preliminary report, the pilots requested a heading change from 330 degrees to 75 degrees, while on autopilot, which is a right turn with right bank. That turn progressed to 46 degrees, before reversing to a left turn with left bank. That left turn progressed over about 15 seconds back to a heading of 16 degrees, with increasing left bank, before the autopilot disengaged, at which point the left bank advanced to more than 45 degrees.

        Also there was ATC communications during the left turn, with no indication from the pilots that anything was amiss. ATC was confused as to the left turn as they had requested right turn. This happened in daylight with good visibility.

        This is why the investigators drew no conclusions, and are trying to find the CVR memory module, to understand what happened. It may be that an intentional left turn masked the developing asymmetric thrust, or it may be the left turn was a result of the thrust imbalance, and was unnoticed by the pilots.

        The report does not indicate the throttle settings or the extent of the auto-throttle reduction, but if the right throttle was stuck at 80% – 90% and the left reduced to maintain airspeed of 285 knots in a 1,000 fpm climb, it may have rolled the left back to 40% – 60%, based on pitch & power settings for the 737 Classic at 10,000 feet.

        • Keep in mind, NTSB has stated Boeing should change its Auto Throttle ops to avoid the FLACH TRAP.

          Its another piece of Garbage design that should not be.

          Boeing of course refused (where have we heard that before).

          • Boeing has addressed the FLCH issue that confused some pilots, in a software update. If the pilot inappropriately uses FLCH mode on landing approach, and then also does not monitor or adjust airspeed so that the aircraft stalls, the auto-throttle will switch to THR mode to maintain minimum safe airspeed.

            This accident has nothing to do with FLCH. Rather a mechanical failure in auto-throttle , which had been twice documented by previous crews, went unnoticed by this crew.

            The BITE test on the auto-throttle moves the levers throughout their full range, and also checks the split throttle disconnect at 15 degrees separation. Neither of these apparently worked in the accident flight. This problem had been reported earlier, yet also reportedly was tested and passed 4 days before.

            The auto-throttle has been sent to the manufacturer for analysis, perhaps will reveal how this could have happened.

          • Reuters: Boeing reminds pilots to monitor planes closely following Indonesia crash – bulletin

  27. Boeing/Airbus deliveries and orders for January:

    “Boeing removed from its backlog another 11 737 MAX jets seen as unlikely to be filled when stricter accounting standards are applied. When adjusted for the accounting standard, that made January net orders negative 13.”
    The cancellations included 1 787.

    “European rival Airbus SE reported deliveries of 21 aircraft in January with no orders or cancellations.”


  28. I think Boeing is taking A321XLR/Possible A322 is a target market. Relative light / cheap aircraft offering sufficient capability to handle most of the middle market segment.


    What would be needed for Boeing is matching this XLR specification at the most important parameters (purchase/operating costs, capacity, range) while offering some unique selling points the XLR can’t match (e.g. turn around time, range, hybrid energy/environm. footpr.).

    Without costing 20B, taking 8 yrs, getting into high-risk moon-shot territory. I think it should be possible.

    • Boeing nor the rest of the world cares about the EU nuttiness. You have a bunch of self appointed wonkies with blinders on nodding their head yes. The US found that sort of governance did not work 200+ years ago (we limp along but it sort of works).

      Boeing has stated, we will do clean fuel on engines but not hydrogen.

      EU can only tell their market what to do and they then in turn become non competitive to the rest of the world. They limp from on from one self inflicted wound to another. The Boeing of the Government world.

      The US started the air cleanup well before Europe had a clue. They started with the biggest polluters and worked down.

      There are a lot of areas you can go clean in and aircraft are a small part of it.

      So while the rest of the world keeps getting cleaner and the best bang for the buck the EU has staked the deck on one tech that does not work for aircraft. Never will.

      Can Boeing do it? Not under current management, but as we are seeing, current management is getting reamed.


      We can hope for a clean sweep.

      • “Boeing has stated, we will do clean fuel on engines but not hydrogen.”

        I wonder if everyone misses “clean fuel” is being tested and flown for years by the OE’s and airlines. If you allow yourself to see how it is made, environmentally it’s dissapointing.


        I think it is putting responsibility elsewhere/ window dressing. Not a different strategic approach for sustainable aviation. Come on..

        The bigger public is easy to foul if they feel guilty & Santa shows up.

        • Boeing also doesn’t make the engines so they wouldn’t even need to spend money

      • @TW: XOM used to believe fossil fuel would continue to power the world’s growth. No MORE.

        The longer Americans refuse to accept the reality, the deeper the hole they’re in.

  29. To put the decline of Boeing into the wider context of the decline of industry in the US – in particular with regard to financialisation of BA ‘s practices and the failure of the KC 46 program, and with regard to BA prospects in China

    This brings into the open the conflict between WS and the Pentagon

    DoD expresses increasingly loudly many and multiplying concerns about the destruction of the US industrial base, lack of homeland suppliers of critical and crucial products, reliance on overseas suppliers, and is increasingly critical of the nefarious effects of the financialisation of US industry on US capacity and capability to fight war





    « In 2018, the Defense Department released a study lamenting the loss of over 20,000 suppliers since 2000, and observing that “a surprising level of foreign dependence on competitor nations exists” for a whole host of critical products. Just a few months ago, the Pentagon sent Congress a groundbreaking report on how Wall Street is destroying the defense base. “A U.S. business climate,” it read, “that has favored short-term shareholder earnings, deindustrialization, and an abstract, radical vision of ‘free trade,’ without fair trade enforcement, have severely damaged America’s ability to arm itself today and in the future.”

    • @ Gerrard
      I couldn’t open your Reuters link, for some reason. Here’s an equivalent link on the Nasdag website:


      It seems from the quotes in the link that airlines in the US are not sufficiently aware of the havoc that will be caused when the UK variant comes their way. In that regard, the following link this morning on Reuters is interesting:


      DISCLAIMER: This link is NOT intended to precipitate a discussion of CoViD. It is intended to show that significant challenges to the airline industry — currently present in the EU — are also going to manifest themselves in the US. It is foolhardy of the US airline industry to think that more stringent restrictions can be avoided.

      • @Bryce

        This link should work


        No, or do I mean yes, this post is not about the disease, but about Boeing

        “On Friday, two senior Boeing Co executives warned the White House that requiring COVID-19 tests before U.S. flights could pose significant economic harm”

        Otherwise they all said jobs would be at risk full stop which looks like a standard demand to be paid to protect the pax

        They care about nothing other than saying what they are told to say and asking to be paid to do so – reminds me of JJ

        They have not heard to the mutants and do not care either way

        • @ Gerrard
          Indeed, this issue is going to be an interesting test to see whether the Biden administration will “follow the science” or will instead opt to “follow the lobby”.

          “On Wednesday, the Allied Pilots Association, representing the American Airlines’ 15,000 pilots, said “mandatory pre-flight testing would be unwarranted, logistically impractical, and wasteful, and it would seriously threaten the stability of our industry.””

          “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month said the Biden administration was “actively looking” at expanding mandatory COVID-19 testing to U.S. domestic flights. The CDC on Jan. 26 began requiring negative COVID-19 tests or evidence of recovery from the disease from nearly all U.S.-bound international passengers age 2 and older.”

          On a related note, and to address a point raised by the APA, The Netherlands has started to replace PCR testing by an ultra-rapid alternative that could easily be applied at airports, and that has been shown in parallel trials in the past few months to be just as reliable as PCR.
          – A breathalyzer test is used to (very reliably) identify negative cases in a matter of seconds.
          – Positives are subjected to a rapid protein test to confirm/refute positivity, with a result within about 20 minutes.
          Cheap, quick, easy and non-invasive.

          • @Bryce

            I know you mean well, and you know I appreciate your posts, but I have to call time on you right now

            The world of the disease that dares not spell it’s name is a curious one and I have been learned to not wade into it

            We now must stop – but let me leave you with this insideoutupsidedown link as a sign of good will – wonders will never cease


            Please can we talk about the DoD

          • @ Gerrard
            Regarding the DoD, what’s there to talk about? 😉
            Luckily for him, Uncle Sam doesn’t have to buy all his fruit from one shop: if he’s tired of the lemons at Boeing, he can instead try to pick up some apples and oranges at Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman. I haven’t heard any rumors that the fruit from those suppliers contains FOD.
            But first he has to have some cash, and we know that Dem administrations are traditionally shy when it comes to defense spending…

          • @Bryce

            DoD is complaining there are too few suppliers, no innovation, and no choice

            At least part of the DoD represented by Kathleen Hicks, nominated for the second most important job at the Pentagon, the Deputy Secretary of Defense

            She mentions the monopoly situation of many suppliers, which causes internal problems and arguments when they produce low level product, i.e. the KC-46, which DoD is stuck with, that and the outrageous prices they have to pay (KC-46)

            Same problem with Northrop Grunman

            All this leads to insecurity – if the rest of the world can outbuild US, planes ships rockets, then WS has won, sucked the life out of BA as well as the rest of the military industrial complex

            Look at vaccine distribution- quite how well administered and efficient US gvmt and military logistics have become (apologies for this brief aside)

          • Scott,

            Yes they could by from Airbus, the USA has had a few non US made aircraft serve.

            The Martin B-57 was a license-built English Electric Canberra.

            I believe the US Navy still use the McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) T-45 Goshawk which is of course a variant of the BAE Systems Hawk (Which the Red Arrows flew on their 2019 tour of North America).

            There was of course the Harrier flown by the Marines.

            Are there any others that I am missing?

            Personally I think a Northrop Grumman / Airbus A330-F NEO MRTT could be a good replacement for KC-10s when the time comes.

            Sometimes it’s wise not to put all your eggs in one basket?

          • Scott, I think the whole point of the DoD argument was to maintain US manufacturing base at a level that supports defense. Buying from Airbus would work against that. Americans would never tolerate becoming dependent for defense.

            The flip side of the argument, is that conflicts are less likely with interdependencies, as the costs are higher for all sides. This was one of the selling points for globalization.

            As with most things, what’s needed is balance. Some dependency is good, too much is bad. Also the rate of change is important to avoid disruption of jobs and education.

            The KC-Y program is a good example, having competition from Airbus is an overall good thing. But you’d be unlikely to see a non-US fighter or bomber aircraft. The Harrier was an exception because the VTOL capability was a requirement for the Marines. That has now been absorbed by the F-35.

            For the moment it’s a moot point, the US still leads the world in defense capability, and still provides the majority of defense services around the world, despite the incessant postings of the anti-US crowd here.

            Israel has approved the funding for their KC-46 acquisition, among other defense purchases.

          • The Israeli buy of the KC-46 is as expected , remembering that its US taxpayers money they are spending- part of a multi year military aid budget- and must be spent on US equipment.

            The AV8B Harrier was mostly made by McDonnell Douglas in St Louis with some share from UK, the US designed/built the large single piece carbon fibre wing- a first at the time- which was the secret to its capability.
            The small buy of its predecessor was an off the shelf purchase from UK.

          • Of course the DoD could buy from Airbus — but why buy a sweet apple from abroad when you can instead munch on a sour lemon from your own turf?

            But that argument works both ways: in light of the damaged ties in the past 4 years, one can ask why Europeans should buy F-35s when there are home-grown Gripens, Rafales and Typhoons. The F-35 has been nothing but a major headache, and it still isn’t up to spec. The idea of “standardization across NATO” is no longer a convincing argument.

            Defense nationalism is a two-edged sword.

          • Defense nationalism is practiced everywhere that countries have their own production capability. It’s good policy. That production also allows for competition elsewhere in the world. For example countries like Canada can choose between several offerings.

          • @Rob Given the price tag of modern fighter aircraft I think defense nationalism has hit a dead end. No matter if F35, Eurofighter or Raphaele – none of the nations involved was able to afford enough of them to fit their real needs. The EU tries to pool developing effort for the future. The french and german have agreed to jointly develop their next gen of tanks and strike aircraft to get the price down.
            If we want to deal with the chinese on eye level in the future we need to retain a believable strike force. A small boutique squad of high tech vessels will not suffice.
            Its the same as with Hitlers jet powered fighters and Putins wunder tank, if you cant afford to produce it en masse, its effectivly not more than an impressive tech study.

          • F-35A price is now below $80M, and will fall further yet. Produced probably at around 3,000 t0 3,500 during its lifetime. The much less expensive $20M F-16 has around 4,600 built over 40 years, still available. So neither is really a boutique aircraft. Now there is also a new F-15 version coming online, with 1,500 built over 40 years. F-18 SH is $70M with 600 built over 15 years.

            The F-22 is somewhat of a boutique aircraft, highly specialized for its role and produced in low numbers at high cost. B-2 as well.

            The thing that matters most is survivability against current offensive and defensive weapons. You need an array of aircraft capabilities to ensure survivability. The goal is really to apply and maintain all those capabilities in a conflict, thus multiplying the forces you have. A strategy of either high-tech alone, or high-numbers alone, won’t work. You need a combination of specialized and workhorse aircraft. You can get that combination by alliances with other countries, such as within NATO.

  30. Proof that BA’s deferred charges is not well understood:

    Feb 11, 2016

    Boeing’s shares dived Thursday amid speculation that regulators are investigating its accounting for its 787 and 747 aircraft.

    Apr 20, 2016

    A Bank of America analyst downgraded the shares to “underperform” and said Boeing stood little chance of fully recovering almost $29 billion that’s gone into producing the 787 Dreamliner jet.

    Boeing stock tumbled Wednesday after an analyst downgraded the shares to “underperform” and said the U.S. planemaker stood little chance of fully recovering almost $29 billion that’s been sunk into producing the 787 Dreamliner jet.

    • @Pedro

      I believe that BA was fined for their accounting transgressions in 2016 or 2017 linked to the opaque and aleatory nature of their practice of a system which demands honesty skill and efficiency

      They were certainly investigated by the SEC – but as you are aware US Federal authorities are weak, and in the case of the FAA and FDA worse than weak: the SEC was widely derided as toothless eyes anywhere but and generally corrupt

      Perhaps regulatory oversight will improve with the recognition of the damage caused by corruption

      However it does not look as if matters will improve, following the recent appointment of accountant Lynne Doughtie ex head of KPMG and involved in a similar to BA mucky accounts scandal

      • @Pedro

        My last paragraph should read

        “At Boeing however it does not look as if matters will improve, following the recent appointment to the BoD of accountant Lynne Doughtie, ex head of KPMG and involved in a similar to BA mucky accounts scandal”

        • Not to be dismissed is a 787NEO (one that acualy improves SFC and maint not the Trent 10 catch up).

          Of course that assumes that Boeing decides to address their appalling no quality control system.

          a 787 GTF wold add 500-1000 to the production life.

          • A GTF in that thrust class would be 10 years in development, and GE doesnt have the money.
            Remember it took PW that long and thats only the 25-35K thrust class.

            There is an existing engine in 75K and up thrust with a ‘slow fan’, you know what its called.

  31. Mildly off topic:
    “PARIS (Reuters) – France has scrapped a major expansion of Charles de Gaulle, the main Paris airport, citing climate goals and broader environmental concerns over the 9 billion euro ($11 billion) plan.”


    “Airbus, Air France-KLM, Paris Region and Groupe ADP want to transform Paris airports into hydrogen hubs to support the European Commission’s goal for zero-emission aircrafts by 2035.”


    La vie devient verte!

    • No real news, do a search.

      SWA needs to replace 500(!) 737-700s. The A220-300 is lighter, more comfortable and has quieter, more efficient engines. Build in America. The MAX is the MAX.

      Anyone who didn’t see this coming held his hands for his eyes.

    • The article says that the deal is Boeing’s to lose due to the Southwest fleet being entirely built on Boeing aircraft. That is the driving factor in the initial decision.

      If Boeing and GE cannot resolve the disagreements, then there will be a competition with the A220, in which it will be fairly evaluated and selected if that is the decision. No conspiracy, no ulterior motive, just business.

      This is an incentive for Boeing and GE to work things out, which I think is likely in the end.

      • Southwest is the albatross around Boeings neck, its the main reason the 737 has been stunted in its technology ever since the classic first flew.
        Sometimes , as Steve Jobs said , the customer isnt always right. Indeed Southwest as an airline knows how unreasonable customers can be and now and then they have to be ‘offloaded’

      • Is it real or is it a bluff? Does AirCurrents have a scoop or are they being played?

        Imagine yourself in negotiation with Boeing Safran and they are not budging. What would be the best way to get their full attention?

        I think what is going on is that the Max-7 can’t match the A220 economics and SW wants Boeing and Safran to eat a large part of that deficiency via lower price and a break on ongoing maintenance. But the downturn means the two really don’t want (can’t) to do that. So one of the following will happen:
        * Boeing/Safran win a deal they can live with
        * Boing/Safran win a deal that is “fruit of the poison tree”
        * Goes to tender and things get interesting.

    • -> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwest_Airlines_Flight_1380

      -> Jon makes a very good point: if Boeing loses Southwest to the A220, that opens the door to American and United defecting to the small Airbus narrowbody as well.


      “If we go to a campaign, Boeing is destined to lose,” a senior Southwest executive told @jonostrower on the carrier’s evaluation of the A220 and MAX 7 to replace its 737-700s.

      • I don’t see the connection between SWA fleet selection and other airlines.

        SWA knows they’ll compete with A220s from Delta, Jetblue maybe Breeze. UA and AA might be added to that, irrespective of SWA selects.

        Why shouldnt SWA do a campaign? I guess they want the best solution and won’t fly 737s for another 50 years.

        • I don’t think South West has any impact on anyone else.

          What is interesting is the arm twisting that is going on to stick with the MAX.

          Sooner or latter South West will get a new jet, it would make sense to start in now. Equally it would kick Boeing into actually doing something on an all new jet (maybe South West does not want that?)

          So its not the right jet for the job its how much they don’t have to pay GE for the engines on the -7.

          The ways of Corporate thinking is peculiar at best.

          • haha TW,

            could Southwest be the same as Ryan, too cheap to choose the better solution?

          • The thing is, if they can push GE into offering lower maintenance prices for the existing fleet, it could easily outweight any economic penalty those new jets have vs the A220.
            And dont forget the corona situation, saving engine maintenance costs NOW might be the most useful perk they can get.

          • @nofly

            Do you mean to say that maintenance has not been off shored?

          • @Gerrard White I have no idea about Southwests current maintenance arrangements. Maybe they could switch to a new heavily rebated GE engine maintenance contract. Should that be impossible because of a longterm contract with some maintenance company there are other options. Plan B would be sourcing engine parts through a rebated contract between GE and SW. Or plan C would be a kickback deal that gives SW incentives for any parts bought by their maintenance provider for them. If they really want to make that deal, they can find a way.

    • If they really put the MAX in question they are making one mistake. They shouldn’t forget about the A319neo.
      The A319neo has more fuel efficient engines and better wings and should be cheaper than A220.
      Even the A320neo is more fuel efficient than the MAX-7. If it’s about passenger comfort, they could either use the A320 in 5-abreast or with more seat pitch, but of course that’s more expensive than A319.
      Airbus has a new customer, easy to understand. Quality.

      • If its so great why is ‘no one’ buying the A319neo ( in either engine version)

        perhaps you missed this from Bjorn 2 years ago
        “The more modern A220-300 can then give the A320neo a match both in range and fuel consumption per passenger.”

        Matches the bigger plane in fuel consumption “per passenger” for a layout with 40 more seats, will handily see off the smaller pax count A319neo

        “The A319 is kept in the lineup, now positioned as a special performance aircraft with long range and good hot/high airport performance.”

        • Thanks Duke,

          I just understand why Spirit ordered the A319neo.

          In Bjorn’s article, figure 1 is from Airbus, it shows that all 3 Neo are better in 2-class configuration. There’s not a 40 pax difference.
          Since you might have the subscription, tell us. the pax numbers Bjorn is comparing.

          Fuel burn per seat is often used, but which airline has a 100% load factor and the same cabin configuration. Some seats are much heavier and airlines are choosing the seats, so how can this be calculated. Per seat numbers don’t help much.
          Much better is to compare payload at a certain range, because airlines would load cargo if there’s payload left.

          • the 40 pax difference was the usual LNA ‘like for like seating’ , of course airlines use that differently.
            Its the only way to compare two different planes , use like for like seating, and fuel burn per passenger is a standard measure of efficency. A319neo loses every time, so no ‘better efficiency’ claim either. Theres some hot and high qualities or places with runway limits, thats all
            As for Frontier, you havent kept up

          • “”so no ‘better efficiency’ claim either””

            I never said that the A319neo has better efficiency, it has 5.5t higher OEW. I said it has more efficient engines. But it comes close in efficiency, it’s the whole package and a question if range is even needed. If range isn’t needed the 70t A319 can be compared with the 70t A220 and then there’s not more fuel burn and the A319 still has a smaller price tag. So the A319 could make sense.
            It’s the same with the MAX. Southwest ordered MAX-7 and -8 already because it’s cheaper, but that was before the crashes.
            I only say if Southwest puts the MAX in question, they should take a look at the A319 too.

            Southwest was the launch customer for the MAX-7, right. Did Boeing stretch the -700 to Southwest’s wishes?

          • A 40 seat difference between A223 and A320 would be 40 rows and 240 seats on an A320. That’s not possible.

            Frontier converted its A319neo orders to A320neo. Nothing wrong with that.

            Air Baltic reported a fuel burn of 2600L/h for the A223. At 0.8kg/L that’s 2080kg/h. The circumstances for 2600L/h are not known, but the A320neo can beat that.

          • I vaguely remember a comparison of operation costs A319Neo vs A320Neo on this site. The conclusion was, there is none. So there is no reason not to use a A320Neo instead. Operating costs will be the same, plus you have a chance to make money selling additional seats.
            Conclusion: the real competition is A220 vs A320, even if seat count is higher for the A320. The A220 needs to have lower costs/seat not just lower operation costs.

          • “A 40 seat difference between A223 and A320 would be 40 rows ”

            No its not, 40 seats is 6 -7 rows at 6 across , its the total seat count that matters not where they are. The A320 is a much larger plane as 40 seats is a big difference. Thats the reason Boeing stretched the Max 7 a bit , 2 extra seat rows to juice up its numbers per pass a bit.
            Swiss has 29 rows in its A220-300 to give 145 seats, theres 30 rows in its A320 neo.
            How many rows difference is that?

          • It’s opposite, the A223 cabin is longer.
            29 rows in a A223 is 32.73″ pitch.
            30 rows in a A320 is 31.08″ pitch.
            And that are only seats, the A320 would need more space for an additional overwing exit, more galleys and might have an additional lavatory.

          • The A220-300 is only 1m longer tip-to-tail than an A320.
            One of these is clearly a bigger plane when all other dimensions are considered as well.
            AS for comparing models, LNA use standardised seat weights, pitch
            and proportions in various classes, passenger weights, baggage allowances etc.
            A particular airline would have its own numbers for these, but you have to build the standard passenger cabin model first. While you cant follow the process plenty of people can and trust the results over what the manufacturers may claim with a flourish of trumpets.

          • Here are some real world seating capacities for one particular airline (Delta) that operates A220’s, A319’s, A320’s, and A321’s. These are not to be confused with sales brochure or sales presentation seating capacities. The difference of 27 seats between the seating capacity of Delta’s A320-200’s and Delta’s A220-300’s is larger than the difference in capacities that Mr. Fehrm used in his analysis in the paywall article that Dukeofurl gave a link to above. This article was mostly about A220-300 vs. A320 neo, A319 was dismissed in an aside as being non-competitive. Mr. Fehrm in his apples to apples comparison also found the difference in the range of the A220-300 and A320 neo to be less than suggested by the Airbus sales graphic in the free preview of his article. As usual Mr. Fehrm’s comparisons assume equal passenger load factors for both aircraft (i.e. the same percentage of seats filled for both). If this is not the case, i.e. an airline can only consistently sell 120 seats on a particular route at a particular time of day, then using a larger aircraft with many more seats than 120 but with lower per seat costs probably will not be economically favorable for that route. This is why large airlines like American, Delta, and United maintain fleets of small, medium, and large aircraft, even though the larger aircraft would in many cases have lower per seat costs IF, REPEAT IF, all their seats could be filled.

            A220-100: 109 seats total (12 FC, 15 DC, 82 MC)
            A220-300: 130 seats total (12 FC, 30 DC, 88 MC)
            A319-100: 132 seats total (12 FC, 18 DC, 102 MC)
            A320-200: 157 seats total (16 FC, 18 DC, 123 MC)
            A321-200: 191 seats total (20 FC, 29 DC, 142 MC)
            A321 neo: 194 seats total (20 FC, 42 DC, 132 MC)

            Above seating data is per Delta’s website, except for A320 neo which is per Wikipedia.


          • As of 2018 and 2019, it would appear that the management of American and United airlines had not yet received the memo about the A319 and 737-700 being noncompetitive with larger and newer aircraft. If you spend $100 more a month in lease or loan payments for a hybrid car that can cut your current cars’s $100 monthly gasoline bill by $25 a month, how much money will be saving a month if you buy the hybrid car?

            “03.03.2018 – 04:14 UTC
            American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) is looking at options for adding second-hand A319-100s to its fleet to bridge the capacity gap as the carrier prepares for the retirement of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80s in 2019, View from the Wing has reported citing an employee Q&A session at the carrier.

            “Newer model used aircraft are absolutely something we have an eye out for. As we take a look at where A319s are available we are going to be out there after them, because we want them. They are a little bit larger than we need in terms of total seating capacity but when you take a look at the operating economics when you put it into our fleet, it works really well,” President Robert Isom has said.

            He added that while in general the carrier is focused on adding brand new aircraft to its fleet, Airbus production is currently geared towards larger variants A320 and A321, as they are in bigger demand globally. This makes second-hand units a better solution for American.

            According to the ch-aviation fleets module, the carrier currently operates 125 A319-100s, the largest fleet of the type in the world. All the aircraft are configured for 124 seats. AA also operates forty-eight A320s and 219 A321s, and has a further 100 A321neos on order from Airbus.”


            “20.04.2018 – 09:44 UTC
            United Airlines (UA, Chicago O’Hare) has signed an agreement to purchase twenty additional second-hand A319-100s to cover for short-term fleet needs, the carrier said during the first quarter earnings call on April 17, 2018.

            “We recently secured a deal for 20 Airbus A319 aircraft scheduled to be delivered to us in 2020 and 2021. Used aircraft provide us an enhanced opportunity to maximize returns regardless of where we’re in the economic cycle. And we’re in discussions for more used widebody and narrowbody aircraft,” Chief Financial Officer Andrew Levy said.”


            “During the announcement of its 2nd quarter earnings today, United Airlines(UA/UAL) announced that it plans to acquire 19 used Boeing 737-700 aircraft in the coming years.

            It is unknown where the used 737s are coming from, but United is currently received used aircraft from China Southern Airlines which operates a fleet of 26 737-700 aircraft. United has already received a significant number of Airbus A319s and Airbus A320s from China Southern. Each one is undergoing maintenance and cabin outfitting in Lake City, Florida before joining the United fleet. Each aircraft has been spending about 3 months there before entering the fleet.”


    • Hardly surprising.
      SWA knows that Boeing has reached the end of the line for the 737 series — there’ll be no more iterations after the MAX fiasco. So one way or another, SWA will (ultimately) have to switch to a different plane. Why not switch to a modern, reliable FBW plane now, rather than trying to go one more round with an archaic, over-compromised, tarnished dinosaur?
      I wonder what the projected secondhand value of MAXs will be in 10 years time? At that stage, it will be a complete fossil in the airline world.

      • ” rather than trying to go one more round with an archaic, over-compromised, tarnished dinosaur?”

        This may shock you but its exactly what SWA has wanted at every fleet renewal, when the Classic with CFM engines came out SWA didnt even want the ‘auto throttle’ for the pilot aids, so it was an option. They seem to still think they are competing with buses and if a bus driver doesnt have one…sarc.

  32. I would label this one as EASA holds 737-10 Hostage!


    Have to love it. Clears up why the -10 is delayed so much, EASA won’t certify until its addressees all their concerns .

    And then roll it into the -7/-8/-9, that is going to hurt (again)

    It did not take me long as a young lad to figure out you could avoid a great deal of pain by doing things right in the first place!

    But then I am not a Lemon Sucking corporation, nice to be able to look in the mirror and sleep at night.;

    • It was reported awhile ago that Boeing had proposed an AoA integrity enhancement to replace the EASA requirement for third sensor, which has been accepted by EASA. It includes additional AoA monitors and a selectable source switch


      This will be easier to retrofit into earlier MAX’s as well., along with other changes to alerting systems. There is also a joint human factors study underway on the MAX, which will inform the changes.

      Shouldn’t really be a certification concern. It will take time to engineer the changes into the MAX-10.

      • Rob is indulging in “pure speculation” and “presentation of opinion as fact”.
        Double standards!

        The -10 is stuck in a regulatory mire and, as TW says, the same mire will eventually bog down the other MAXs.
        It seems that Ky has a little bit of spine after all.

        • No evidence of this, or of a regulatory mire. That is wishful thinking on the part of some here, who want to see Boeing fail.

          The increased certification scrutiny is taking place in terms of greater regulatory participation in the development phase. As we see with Boeing proposing these changes and seeking approval beforehand.

          If FAA and EASA are involved and establishing the criteria for approval in development, then the obstacles to certification are being addressed and eliminated as the work progresses.

          That is the evolution in regulation now taking place. Same story for the 777X. This will lengthen the development phase but shorten the certification phase, as regulators will be familiar with the engineering and solutions.

          • Certification phase for radically differently constructed A350, 15 months from 1st flight.

          • Years ago and not immersed in the worst downturn in aviation history. Many other similar results for both Boeing and Airbus. No comparison to current circumstances.

          • Years ago, but the process of certification has nothing to do with the worst downturn in aviation history. Many other similar results for both the old Boeing and Airbus. No comparison with the new Boeing in the current circumstances, which makes an absolute mess of everything it touches.

          • The timing and committing of resources to development and certification does have to do with the downturn. There is not a pressing demand for either aircraft at present. Boeing has consulted with customers on this, and has acted in accordance with their needs.

            For both aircraft, the rules have changed in mid-development, so it will take additional time to comply. But both will be certified with the engineering changes Boeing and the regulators have agreed upon. No amount of negative commentary here will change that. As has routinely been the case.

          • The timing and committing of resources to development and certification has nothing to do with the downturn. There will probably never be a significant demand for either aircraft. Boeing has consulted with customers on this, and is holding back in accordance with the fact that it screwed up yet again.

            For both aircraft, the world has changed in mid-development, so they are badly-engineered white elephants. Certification will be difficult with the engineering changes demanded by EASA. No amount of whitewashing and feelgood denialism here will change that. As has routinely been the case.

        • Plenty of evidence of a regulatory mire. That is clear thinking on the part of most here, who can see more Boeing failure in the pipeline.

          The increased certification scrutiny is taking place in terms of greater regulatory participation in the development phase. As we see with the EASA demanding these changes as a condition of approval.

          If EASA is involved in establishing the criteria for approval in development, then the obstacles to certification must be addressed and eliminated as the work progresses — hence the significant delay of EIS of the MAX-10 announced just days ago.

          That is the badly-needed evolution in regulation now taking place. Same story for the 777X. This will lengthen the development phase and toughen the certification phase, as EASA regulators are now being far more strict about the engineering and solutions.

    • “It did not take me long as a young lad to figure out you could avoid a great deal of pain by doing things right in the first place!”

      look for “The Mythical Man Month” written by Frederick Brooks
      software/computer centric. but validity is in a much wider scope.

  33. Regarding potential DoD spending as a lifeline for heavily-troubled Boeing, it seems that Mr. Biden has other priorities at the moment:

    “Biden warns China will ‘eat our lunch’ on infrastructure spending”

    “The ASCE estimated that the total “infrastructure gap” needed $2tn by 2025 to fix, but would cost the economy twice as much if it went unaddressed.”


    • DoD has 750B to spend, a huge percentage of GNP, it creates millions of jobs. They launched Boeing into commercial aircraft, by ordering 2000 B47s, 700 B52 and 800 KC135 in quick order. As well as the CFM56, CF34, 747, etc.

      Congress could allocate $15B to DoD to fulfill a requirement for a new 40t transport, range 4000NM, minimal environmental footprint for moving people and pallets between regional airports. Finance and test 5 prototypes by 2027, before they take a decision. At the end, cut the program, because the requirements have changed. Keep WTO out.

    • @Bryce

      Thanks for this – The ASCE has been hammering on for some time about US infra in ruins : maybe Biden will do something

      I think China regards building airplanes as infrastructure, and is prepared to spend what it takes, as per trains and maglev and many others

      Maybe Biden will too? And be able to persuade WS?

    • @Bryce
      Further to last



      Biden is worried about US loss of manufacture across all industries

      The auto industry recently hit with a semi conductor shortage set to last – forgive me for talking about the disease again, but that too made clear how much US relies on China for all things medical from the active ingredients to generics to medicines to clothing to….the list is endless (we had some discussion of this back when the public health disaster was beginning last year)

      I read that DoD buys it’s uniforms and boots from China – that sounds too boeing to be true, but the article had a straight face

      Persuading WS, Producing planning and negotiating an industrial strategy to onshore major aspects of industry lost overseas, plus to invest the $Trillions in necessary infra, is a strategy that flies in the face of the last 40 years of Boeing like throwaway writ large

      • The critical issue is that TMSC is located on Taiwan. If (or more realistically – when) China takes Taiwan, they will have gained the upper hand. The only other chip factorys of importance left are now Intel and Samsung.
        I dont think it’s a believable threat anymore that the US would risk WW3 over Taiwan.

          • Thats true for products that don’t need cutting edge processes. But computer CPUs, grafic chips, chips for mobile phones need those.
            I think car manufactors are increasingly relying on using one big chip on cutting edge processes, too.

        • China cant supply enough oil, coal and iron ore for its industries ,power stations and steel mills. They arent even self sufficient in food but might get by. Even this very cold winter has lead to widespread power cuts outside the biggest cities.
          Even taking the rocky islands of Quemoy controlled by Taiwan would mean the supply chain would be cut by naval embargoes and sanctions from the west.

        • @nofly

          Re Taiwan China will proceed with a version of ‘hybrid’ war, and build on the economic ties on top of cultural etc already in place

          At some stage, in the near future, all Taiwan will be doing hundreds of times more business, travel, all exchange etc with mainland than with….

          The only people talking about war are US and that is more to their home constituency as a live button rabble rouser than as a serious strategic goal

          China semi conductor investment campaign will produce homegrown TMSC s and equivalents

          I think China already has the upper hand

          • China is currently producing 14nm chips in small quantities. They invest a lot of money, yes. But the news I’ve seen so far remind me too much of that clichee rich uncle with too much money and not enough sense. The US also is blocking export of machines needed for EUV production. I dont doubt their dedication, but at least in a short time view I have doubts about the results.

          • @ nofly
            As has been commented here before (and recently pointed out by the Pentagon): denying technology exports to a technologically capable country only incentivizes that country to develop the technology itself.

            Case in hand: COMAC was recently placed on a military blacklist by the US administration, which makes it unlikely that US engine makers will be supplying COMAC any time soon. However, this will just incentivize the Chinese to work together with the Russians in developing a US-independent engine industry. The Irkut MC-21 has already performed test flights with Russian engines.

          • @nofly
            Perhaps China is further along than that ?

            ‘Not enough sense’ is a little harsh a little too dismissive – they have shown more than competence than many in many domains, and with – as the English would like to say – their trains

            There comes a point when market power and RoI not to speak of proximate interests defeat war gaming by the US – Sth Korea and Samsung seem to have made up their mind

            What remains of US power to enforce blockades has been shown fragile, even in the case of a small country like Iran, why hope for success with a very large – US excuse with Iran is their local allies are stinging the US into futile action, in Asia it’s rather the other way round

          • @nofly

            I should provide links




            « As China’s largest chip foundry, SMIC will introduce its N+1 7nm node, marking a significant improvement over its current 14 nm production node, boasting a 20% increase in performance, power consumption reduction of 57%, a reduced logic area of 63%, and SoC (System on a Chip) area reduction of 55%, according to the company.
            Moreover, the N+1 foundry node may enable SMIC to break its reliance on advanced Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines produced by Dutch microchip machine maker ASML, according to Liang Mengsong, co-CEO of SMIC. ASML is subject to US export controls as its products contain American technology, PR Newswire reported. »

            As @Bryce says co operation in trade avoids the misunderstandings that encourage war, but bombing another country achieves the opposite

            He also mentioned that to attempt to impact negatively a large capable fully purposeful country’s industry or economy with a blockade, espec one conceived and executed on such trivial grounds, merely brings about two things

            One – The construction of alternate transport infrastructure which provides a new dimension to politics and economics, B&R

            Two-the guarantee that blockading country’s manufacturing will decline while the ‘enemy’s’ will prosper

            cf supra DoD beef with BA and the rest of US industry

          • @Gerrard and @nofly
            With regard to the enabling EUV technology from ASML in NL it should be noted that EUV is not the only path to ultrafine IC structures: as an alternative to EUV, it is potentially also possible to use lithographic printing based on electron beams or ion beams. In fact, a start-up in NL (called Mapper Lithography) was developing an e-beam lithographic printer before it ran out of venture capital 2 years ago (at which time it was being funded by Russian venture capitalists). There is absolutely nothing stopping China from pursuing and perfecting this technology: in fact, if they do manage to get it up and running, it will ultimately beat EUV in the drive to attain even smaller IC structures.
            As @Gerrard White has correctly pointed out: denying the dog a bone will just force him to steal a steak instead.

          • @Bryce

            Thanks – I think the tech you mention is one avenue being explored in China, as mentioned or rather implied in the quote from one of the links

            It’s ‘kinda weird’ that the US joe public reaction when any other country starts to make products has not changed since…well the days when the english and the germans stopped laughing at those funny face yanks setting up factories and started financing them instead

            This is typical of rentier capitalism, the notion that holding IP means one holds the whip, when, as was made clear by the disease medicine mask etc crisis, it’s actually making the stuff which handles the whip

            The last man standing in the US seems to be the DoD, they still need stuff made, pace BA

      • Have been widely reported.

        Reuters: Trump’s China tech war backfires on automakers as chips run …

  34. Further relating to Gerrard White’s astute comment 2 days ago that “The Bailout Man is coming”:

    “A U.S. House committee on Thursday approved a proposal to give airlines another $14 billion in payroll assistance as part of a broader COVID-19 relief package that is working its way through Congress.

    It would be the third round of support for the pandemic-hit industry. American Airlines and United Airlines have warned of some 27,000 furloughs without an extension of the current package that expires on April 1.”


    • I think strong governments everywhere are trying to pull jobs and people at risk through this pandemic. Supported almost everywhere by everybody.

  35. Sigh.

    ‘heavy outsourcing model’ for the 787 is very misleading.

    I don’t see any more outsourcing by component or system than on earlier models.
    Most of the avionics, the engines, hydraulic components including actuators, landing gear, RAT, APU, etc.
    Boeing integrates all with the airframe.
    The problem with the 787 project was giving suppliers too much clout – some parts of Smith’s Aerospace used that to play a financial game, stupidly (they achieved delaying not only their own cash flow from sales but everyone else’s).

    A contributor to misleading was the person who was in charge of the 787 project, who years later was blaming outsourcing instead of Boeing project management which was fooling itself. (And was too dense to read the advise from its military division saying it fooled itself in fancy program reviews of the Wedgetail project.)

    Boeing did get burned by some suppliers who had performed fine in the past but not on the 787, Crane Hydro-Aire for example. But others performed very well, such as the Smiths division that supplied flight control actuation.

    PS: Wedgetail is a surveillance version of the 737, for which AU was the launch customer. (Radar antenna of T-section, on top of fuselage.) AFAIK it is now in service and working OK, plus is getting sales to other countries.

  36. WSJ: Boeing CEO said board moved quickly on MAX safety, New details suggest ….

    Another report that pans both BA and Calhoun.

    -> When Boeing Co. BA 0.15% ’s board had its first formal meeting around seven weeks after the initial 737 MAX crash in late 2018, directors didn’t hold in-depth discussions about the jet’s safety, according to newly released details of internal company documents.

    Months later, Boeing’s current chief executive told journalists the company’s directors had moved quickly to address the accident, according to excerpts of company documents contained in a shareholders’ lawsuit.

    That and other new information in the suit cast doubt on whether Boeing directors pressed management about safety problems or seriously considered grounding the plane before a second 737 MAX crash in early 2019.

    -> The lawsuit and a Boeing court filing note about a dozen exchanges between management, the board and individual members in the two months after the first MAX crash, including directors’ request for more information about the accident.

    The first formal postcrash board session—a regularly scheduled meeting of directors—occurred in mid-December, according to the lawsuit and excerpts of the Boeing documents. A presentation for the board’s executive session lists the Lion Air crash as a “hot topic.” Yet, the suit said, board materials reflected “no substantive discussion” of safety issues, including a MAX flight-control system suspected in the crash or airplane sensors that can trigger it. Both topics had garnered media attention at the time.

    Minutes from the Dec. 16-17, 2018, meeting show the board received a presentation about the 737 MAX that was instead focused on “the state of the production recovery, focusing on the factory, supply chain, and engines,” as well as “readiness for the next potential rate increase,” according to an excerpt of the minutes cited in the lawsuit. Boeing had been planning to ramp up production rates of the single-aisle jet, a top moneymaker, at the time but had been grappling with supplier bottlenecks.

    Mr. Calhoun said in one May 2019 interview that the board had engaged in what he called a “deliberative process” with Mr. Muilenburg to consider grounding the plane after the first MAX crash, according to the lawsuit, adding: “We looked over that many times.” He said in another interview, according to the suit, that directors didn’t “regret that judgment” to keep the plane flying, as details about the first accident made it look “like an anomaly.”

    Citing a summary of the internal Boeing documents, a newly revealed portion of the lawsuit said “no board communication or email discusses” such a grounding decision, nor do any board minutes or agendas in the nearly five months between the accidents.

    After the second 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019, Mr. Calhoun said in one interview that he “immediately corral[ed] a board discussion,” according to the lawsuit. The Boeing filing said management alerted the board the same day. The suit said directors met three days later by conference call to discuss the potential grounding of the MAX fleet.

    -> Details in the lawsuit also appear to contradict Mr. Calhoun’s May 2019 statement in one interview that the company’s “position in the media…was never discussed” with the board. The suit includes excerpts of internal emails and cites multiple communications among Mr. Muilenburg and directors before May 2019 about what the then-CEO saw as negative media coverage.

    • Muilenberg was chairman in this period, not Calhoun and the chairman in discussion with the CEO decide what the board sees of company documents or questions asked of the senior executives. Muilenberg was CEO as well, effectively total control ….and we know how that turned out, probably the biggest CEO decision failure in a US business for 50 years.
      It struck me as odd that when GM went into it quickie bankruptcy it had a former Northrop Grumman executive on the board, yet Boeing’s recent board has had insurance and healthcare executives…maybe the wrong people on the wrong boards is the heart of the problem, along with the CEO/ chairman in one person.

    • Thanks Pedro,

      seems Muilenburg deliberately didn’t give the board the needed information to work. There must be rules for this.

      • Boards like this have a committee structure to focus in detail on various areas, like Audit or Finance or compensation etc. These committees meet more often but of course Boeing only recently formed a Aerospace safety committee.
        These sort of lawsuits are really about ’embarrassing’ a company into a a big payout for the class action, I cant see how Boeing can be more embarrassed than it has been, there is not going to be any ‘stars being knocked out of Wall St eyes’ that hadnt occurred before.

        • Well if Boeing’s board was embarrassed they sure doubled down when they gave Calhoun a bonus for doing his job (737MAX back in the air)

          My job was to show up for work every day, no one genuflected me for doing so and I did not expect them to do so.

          The board has done nothing about how Boeing got into the mess, just patching up the hull after the blowout.

          And the company failures continue.

          Rotten to the core and only a house cleaning corrects that.

          • I think you are confused about what ‘boards do’, they certainly dont run the business, thats what they employ executives to do. So that they dont end up as monday morning quarterbacks they focus on the future and set targets. Getting the 737 back in the air was one such target, indeed it should have been job one for Muilenberg after the grounding but he and his executives were stuck in PR mode and only wanting to bend the regulators to Boeings will. Its a mystery how the board was fobbed off with little progress for so long, even 3 months was unacceptable.

          • Sure, the board’s responsibility is not running the business, so how come there’s a need to form a safety committee after the horse bolted the barn? Furthermore, which member of the board is qualified to separate the wheat from the chaff??

          • @DoU

            You argue from current practice ‘what boards of directors do, they certainly do not run the company’

            And so on

            But they are the Company Directors, they are both responsible and liable, and as their name suggests they are there to direct, with the help of managers

            In the forms and practices of recent times it is true that in the US, in general BoDs have been remiss, irresponsible, and negligent, as is and was the case with Boring

            This allowed Calhoun to claim he was not an insider but an onlooker, and so on down the line

            As per the DoJ enquiry Boring BoD and management succeeded in shifting responsibility as well as liability to low level employees

            This evasion of responsibility and adequate direction goes hand in hand with the inefficiency and corruption which has led BA to the brink of bankruptcy

            I think Caroline Kennedy was the board member appointed to supervise the Max program

          • @Gerrard White
            Boeing added two directors with “safety and engineering” experience last year: CEO of Qualcomm and former CFO of United Technology. One is a tech ceo and the other is an accountant. The type of safety and engineering expertise Boeing is looking for??

            Bio of former CFO of UTX:

            Mr. Johri spent 26 years at UTC in various executive positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Finance & Chief Financial Officer for UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which included Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems. Before that, he led UTC’s Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis groups. Mr. Johri also had senior financial roles at UTC Fire & Security, and Carrier Corporation, including 12 years in the Asia Pacific region.

            Johri is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and is a Chartered Accountant from India.

    • Pedro – here, if possible, and in future, please make clear any part of your comment that is a direct quote so that folk understand its source. Is all of this essentially WSJ text, or only those individual paras prefixed ‘->’? Thank you.
      Incidentally, I’m uncertain of the mechanism whereby it is within directors’ gift to ground an airplane, although no doubt they can request or recommend the FAA (not the president!) do so.

  37. > I think you are confused about what ‘boards do..’

    File above under: Specious / dissembling

    Nah, TW hit a nervous nerve, more like

    Recent, maybe-apposite reading: Bukowski, ‘Post Office’;
    or listen to Dylan’s ‘Everything is Broken’.

  38. Off topic: FT columnist compares bitcoin to gold in Weimar Germany – Bitcoin’s rise reflects America’s decline.

    The Brits dare to belittle the world’s supetpower??

    • Pedro – you might find that the FT is considered an international (in the British definition of that word: the Brits don’t mean ‘foreign’ as in U.S. usage…) publication — but I haven’t read the article to see the source of possible American sensitivities. But after the past four years, those of us who are American (first, only, and always…) might have much to be sensitive about.

    • @TW: Don’t get your hopes too high.

      I posted above:

      Boeing added two directors with “safety and engineering” experience last year: CEO of Qualcomm and former CFO of United Technology. One is a tech ceo and the other is an accountant. The type of safety and engineering expertise Boeing is looking for??

      Bio of former CFO of UTX:

      Mr. Johri spent 26 years at UTC in various executive positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Finance & Chief Financial Officer for UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which included Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems. Before that, he led UTC’s Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis groups. Mr. Johri also had senior financial roles at UTC Fire & Security, and Carrier Corporation, including 12 years in the Asia Pacific region.

      Johri is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and is a Chartered Accountant from India.

    • Well, maybe other Bombardier buildings will become empty.
      Or maybe there are hangers at the white elephant airport outside of Montreal (Mirabel, used mostly for cargo these days).
      There’s Calgary of course where Viking assembles Twin Otter -400s and does other work like CL-415 fire tankers.
      Losing expertise is a huge concern when moving a business, many employees in Ontario would choose Calgary over Quebec which is restrictive for families.

    • TW – “I never like the Q400 label.” Quite; I try always to say Dash 8 when I mean Dash 8, being (I hope) properly resistant to and sceptical about these marketing hype ‘brand’ variants. Likewise an “Avro RJ” is a BAe 146 and a Northrop F-20 (which should have been F-19…) a re-engined F-5. No doubt other commenters have their preferred equivalent re-brandings?

  39. Scott, I thought that some airlines used a loading bridge (Jetway) each side of the nose, for twin aisle airplanes.

    Some conflict with loading food and removing waste, but manageable IMO.

    I believe that some airlines/terminals toyed with bridges cantilevered over the wing to reach a rear door – costly in structure including making absolutely sure it doesn’t deflect to hit fuselage.

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