Pontifications: For Boeing, the future is a new airplane, not the status quo

By Scott Hamilton

 Feb. 22, 2021, © Leeham News: Tunnel-vision pundits, analysts, and even some experts say Boeing shouldn’t launch a new airplane program within the next few years.

Why? They say doing so will cannibalize the 737 MAX 9 and MAX 10. They say it will undermine sales of the entire MAX family.

I say, poppycock.

Boeing has a MAX problem. It’s not the grounding, although the issues from this are obvious. LNA has written about this ad nauseam, but it’s necessary to remind these new airplane-naysayers. The MAX 7 is a sales dud. The MAX 9 isn’t far behind. And the MAX 10 is uncompetitive with the Airbus A321neo family.

The only MAX that has a bright future is the MAX 8. Boeing can’t rely on the MAX 8 for its future in the 125-240 seat sector.

Shrinking backlog

The MAX backlog represents only a 39% market share vis-à-vis Airbus, excluding adjustments for iffy sales under the ASC 606 accounting rule. (Airbus doesn’t segregate iffy sales from its monthly report. For purposes of this discussion, neither will we.)

Including all competing aircraft in the 125-240 sector, the MAX’s backlog is down to 35% market share. This low market share is pitiful for Boeing.

Playing the status quo, as the new airplane-naysayers suggest, sends Boeing down the path of the 30-year decline of McDonnell Douglas.

Richard Aboulafia, the highly regarded aerospace consultant for The Teal Group, wrote last week, “It has been nearly 25 years since Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged. Given Boeingʼs significant engineering cuts, program execution problems, clear prioritization of shareholder returns, extremely uncertain product development road map, and deteriorating market share outlook, it is time to consider whether Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) is destined to share Douglasʼ fate.”

For years, Aboulafia noted Boeing’s Research and Development spending trailed Airbus’. “Much of this BCA R&D budget was spent on rectifying problems with the 787 and 737 MAX. The rest was spent on derivatives. Boeing has not launched a clean-sheet jetliner since 2004 when the 787 began. Douglas went 30 years without a new jet launch; Boeing is at the 17-year mark.”

McDonnell Douglas’ last new airplane was the DC-10. MDC’s next aircraft, the MD-11, was a derivative. The MD-90 was merely a re-engined MD-80. The MD-95 essentially reinvented the DC-9-30, albeit with new engines and MD-90 systems.

MAX wasn’t the answer

Boeing’s decision to launch the MAX instead of a new airplane was a reluctant move deftly choreographed by Airbus. The outcome, however, was flawed from the start.

The MAX 7 originally was merely a re-engined 737-700. Dismal sales prompted Boeing to abandon this effort. Instead, Boeing revamped the MAX into a simple shrink of the MAX 8. Shrinks typically aren’t the right solution. (The A319ceo and A330-200 are two notable exceptions.) Sales haven’t improved.

The MAX 9 was a straight-forward re-engining of the 737-900ER. The -900ER sales weren’t anything to write home about, and the plane was inferior to the A321ceo. The MAX 9 proved to be similar.

Development of the MAX 10 was a feeble attempt to finally have a plane directly competitive to the A321neo’s size. But range and field performance are inferior. And the market made it clear the A321neo family is the preferred choice.

Boeing first discussed the MAX 10 in 2016. I remarked at the February 2017 conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance that the MAX 10 was only a band-aid solution and a poor band-aid at that. (For my straight-forward assessment, I was blackballed. I haven’t spoken at the conference since.)

Sales of the MAX 10 were between 500-600 pre-grounding, pre-COVID. (Boeing doesn’t break sub-type sales out.) An estimated 200 of these were swaps from the MAX 8 and 9.

For those who say “protect” the 737-9/10? Forget it. These are the Blackberry of commercial aviation.

Boeing must be bold and launch a new airplane.

Boeing’s future is a new airplane. It’s not the status quo. It’s not the past. One looks no farther than McDonnell Douglas to see how this strategy worked.

GE strategy doesn’t work, either

The GE business model doesn’t work either.

This model emphasized finances above all else. Stock price. Shareholder value. Dividends. Margins.

These shareholder-oriented goals are necessary, of course. But these emphasize short-term goals rather than the long-term health of the company. The decades-long GE influence in the CEO suite and on the Board of Directors is the second-worst thing to hurt Boeing. (The McDonnell Douglas merger was the first.)

Boeing’s future is that of an engineering-based company—not a financial powerhouse. One looks no further than at today’s GE to see how this strategy worked.

While Boeing was building shareholder value, Airbus was overtaking it in its product strategy.

Reversing this trend will take at least a decade and probably two. This assumes that Airbus will rest on its laurels—which it won’t.

Boeing must begin the turnaround with a new airplane entering service before this decade is out.

Otherwise, it may as well change its name to McDonnell Douglas. Richard Aboulafia may be right.

190 Comments on “Pontifications: For Boeing, the future is a new airplane, not the status quo

  1. Boeing has a plethora of problems ahead of itself which include product strategy gaps & issues courtesy the McNerney’ decade, 787 quality issues, a $60 billion debt mountain, cleaning up of the 737 MAX mess with damages and compensation, wide-body weakness since 2015 exacerbated further by COVID19 and the latest grounding of the PW4000 powered 777s following another aerial scare comes as yet another jolt. Well done Harry C. Stonecipher and the subservient Boeing leadership for effectively turning Boeing into the next McDonnell Douglas operating with the same GE leadership blueprint and on a very similar path to obscurity unless a major rescue ops is mounted from top-down geared towards fundamental cultural and strategy overhaul for the long term…

    Author: Airbus vs. Boeing – Aviation’s Dramatic Narrow-body Cliffhanger spanning 3+ Decades

    • It really boils down to Management killing the Goose laying those gold eggs.

      • And Airbus didnt have product issues ? The A380 and A340 were product dead ends. The A330 is a derivative twice over as well, based on a model that first flew 5 years after the first 737. I dont have an issue with that as planes are designed for 25 years plus flying life and a 30 year production life. When it goes for longer than that is called SUCCESS

        • I think you have to be more thoughtful than just lump things.

          Its not Airbus did not have issues, its what those issue were.

          The A380 was a mistake, but overall it was done well (and yes there were some issues). They were not killing the company for the sake of Share buy backs.

          The A340 was superseded by reality, not a mistake in and of itself.

          The A330NEO was a mistake but not one of execution.

          And most importantly, you don’t hear of quality control issues over and over and over again.

          Yes there are issues, but the normal ones, not literally not having a confirmation process in place for quality control.

          You don’t just build so meting and say, well it worked before we don’t ave to keep a quality control confirmation process in place.

          How the A220 plays out as a success is an open question. But it put a dagger to Boeing and created a knee jerk reaction that then bit them a second time.

        • The A330 is not a derivat of the A300, the only thing those two have in common is the fuselage diameter, everything else, structure, avionics, systems, engines, wings is brand new. It, together with the A342/343 are clean sheet aircraft.

          • The A330 is a derivative of the A300.

            A300 latter made the move to FBW.

            Much like the 777, its a major change but still a derivative.

          • Technically Thomas is right, the A330 has a new type certificate ( I checked) and wasnt certified as a derivative of the A300. ( but of course was the same fuselage )
            They dont appear to have used grandfathering.
            The Boeing 737 NG had completely new wing design too but was certification derivative of the little old 737-100/200. Not adding the fly by wire at that stage- they knew they had a sales giant by then- was a colossal mistake.
            Later they seemed to have had the time to develop the max with FBW ( announced Aug 2011, first flight Jan 2016 and certification Mar 2017) which is nearly 6 years all up.

        • First, the A330 had a very modern wing which was way ahead its time.
          Second, the A330fuselage is way younger than the Max fuselage, because that’s basically a derivate from the B707 a mid 50ties concept.
          Third, even the A330neo wasn’t a mistake. The concept was already there as the first try of the A350 before they switched to XWB, and it’s a 2 bn. $ bill for 200 – 300 – 400 planes.

          The A340 was killed by the changes ETOPs for the B777, which was well played by Boeing – but never forget where the ties to regulators have lead Boeing recently. The 2nd version of the A340 was for sure a decision Airbus would not do again.

          The A380 was a mistake, no doubt about. The decision itself, but also the development. They got it to heavy, to late, and to large. Still, if the A380 would have B787 engines, with 10% less fuel burn, gosh, that plane would be good. And it’s an impressive piece of technology.

          I don’t see why you need to throw a fuselage away after 30 years. Boeing took it to far with the Max, but the issue was not the fuselage. If Boeing would have continued with the B757, they would have had the same fuselage.

          • Sash:

            You can’t say the A330NEO is a success and it hints at a failure.

            Give us 5 years and we will have a better idea.

            right now the orders are disappearing and it was badly disproportionate to Air Asia which was a plane wreck before the Covd hit.

          • Plenty of orders to come for A330 neo. All those sold since around 2005 are still going strong, but wont be for ever especially if its a cheaper initial cost than 787 and fuel prices stay lowish

            There is a market for a trans Atlantic and even trans pacific ( US- Canada coastal to coastal north Asia) and intra Asian 8 across widebody. You can even fly from most Chinese cities to Europe.

            You could say its the 7000nm NMA thats flying right now , not 6-7 yrs away

          • @Transworld:

            I did write: “Third, even the A330neo wasn’t a mistake.”

            Because it was a 2 bn. $ investment and Airbus will get 200-300-400 planes out of it. At worst, that’s 10 mil. $ per plane.
            Just understand that Delta, Garuda, Tap, Virgin Atlantic would all fly B789 otherwise.
            Will it be a success? Who knows, but if they get 200 planes sold it won’t be bad. That’s a low-risk game.

            Compare it to Boeings B777x, which comes with a 9-12 bn. $ price tag now and barley has more sales, but 4 or 5 times the cost.
            If that doesn’t work out, Boeing has a financial disaster.
            While Airbus – with 1500 A330 CEOs and a few hundred Neos sold, can easily let it go.
            Or bring a F version, sell or update the MRTT, etc.

            Airbus is in a decent position, and travel will come back. As soon as Covid is over, travel will boom – and tourists were the main customers of Cebu Pacific and Air Asia X.
            I guess 2022 will be strong, there’s unfilled demand from almost 2 years.

        • When Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged in ’97 Boeing had 61% of the market and Airbus 35%. Now those positions have reversed. Nothing more needs to be said. Unless something changes, Boeing Commercial is on a path to oblivion.

      • It appears “much of this BCA R&D budget was spent on rectifying problems with the 787 and 737 MAX”.

        No doubt this would send shivers down the spines of existing and potential BA customers. No doubt, there’re deniers here and there, that’s why plane crashes from time to time. #OZ214

  2. When it became known that Boeing was thinking about developing the MAX-10, John Leahy at Airbus referred to it as “Mad MAX”. Boeing would have done well to listen to him. It seems that the penny may finally have dropped, because the MAX-10 has now been “deferred” by a few years (supposedly for certification modification reasons, but does anyone actually believe that?).

    If we take an optimistic 8-year timespan from program announcement to certification, we’ll be in 2030. What market does Boeing hope to capture at that stage? China (the world’s largest aviation growth market) will have its own C919 and CR929 up and running by then, and will probably have a policy of “buy domestic”. Many countries around China may make similar moves, tempted by low prices. So, of the remaining piece of cake, is Boeing hoping to get defections from Airbus…which, in the meantime, will probably have further increased its market lead…and will also probably have one or more new models with which to counter Boeing’s efforts?
    Although the thought may be highly unpalatable to Boeing, it seems that they’ve simply missed the boat.

    • The other billion-plus country population is India and it still has a fairly low propensity to fly. If India follows the path of China, that would be a massive market. I dont think Indian airlines will be tempted by Chinese aircraft due to structural geopolitical tensions between the countries

      • a) They want to build locally
        b) Had a good relationship with Russia so why not the Russia nb.
        c) Do a Brazilian car. move the old 737 line to India
        d) High speed rail. India with its dense population in the North should be ideal.

        India could be a massive market but would it be a market Boeing gets production from. Also a lot of flying for badly run India will be for migrant workers working in a very big developed neighboring country. Would that country admit Boeings?

      • True. But India does have good relations with Russia, which has the MC-21 coming (in fact, it’s already flying with Russian engines).
        Moreover, India has a space program, so there’s no reason why it couldn’t manage a homegrown aviation program also. It has good relations with Brazil, so some sort of acquisition of / JV with Embraer isn’t inconceivable.

        • Bryce:

          If you follow India you see some very interesting stuff but there is no follow up as to how well it works.

          Their aviation efforts have repeatedly failed and badly.

          MC-21 certainly is possible, but India has learned that Russian Bright And Shiny has support cost (simply not there).

          Independent airlines are not going to buy it for that reason.

          Super Jet is a nice product that has failed.

          A Russian made engine is not a selling point, its a political driven one for the Russian market.

        • “India does have good relations with Russia,”

          I’d fact-check that, I recall it has varied. Depends on Putin but did I read he does not plan to run for office in the next election?

          Who has India purchased military aircraft from lately?

    • @Bryce

      It is surely correct to predict that China will fast forward development of the two planes, and will be very concerned to ensure all domestic airlines prioritise them as well as RCEP countries, via subsidising of all overseas sales

      Plus a push into Africa, where the memories of the wretched Max still burn rather more brightly than a 777 engine

      • RECP, that is China + Japa + Vietnam + Australia + others. Doubt that Japan would pick an Chinese plane above an American

        • The Japanese government might not make such a choice, but there’s nothing stopping a Japanese airline (particularly an LCC) from doing so.
          Trade between Japan and China amounts to about B$350 annually.

        • Chinese planes lack the certification’s requirement to allow them to fly in many countries.

          Both Russian and China do not know how to support a product . Those are state enterprises not private.

        • @char

          Well if there are any american planes being made in a few years time…

          The Asians buy EU made planes do they not?

          Surprising what consequences an efficiently run trading union can have

          Maybe leave out the Aussies yes why not

      • @Bryce glad to see you reference Africa. Africa is the last frontier in many areas and this includes aviation. With a current population of 1.2 billion (median age around 18 years, 45% urbanization currently), a rapidly growing middle class with increasing disposable income estimated currently to be around 300 million (expected to to reach 3 billion plus by 2050), if I was a Boeing excutive I would be looking to that continent as my target market for my next generation aircraft models.

        Elsewhere Boeing has competitors (some mature other nascent) that will focus on buying their home built models (Europe -Airbus, Russia – UAC, China – AVIC, India – Hindustan, South America – Embraer). Africa is currently the largest and most under served continent, and this provides a smart manufacturer with an Africa focus the opportunity to develop products and market access strategies that will give it a dominant position on the continent.

        Chinese aviation products have not done well on the continent. They have tried to sell their products primarily on price (selling and financing support) but the products once put in service have proved not to be competitve. The only Chinese aviation product that I currently see doing well in Africa are the China assembled Embraer ERJ145 regional jets. The Antonov-24 derived MA60 was not well received in Africa. This has also been true with Chinese military aircraft.

        Boeing does not have to ignore other markets but I think it will behove Boeing management to factor in requirements of African carrier such as Ethiopian, Eqyptair and others plus setting up industrial and manufacturing centers on the continent, The continent has a large technically savvy population of under employed young University graduates whose labor rates are cheaper than even East Asia.

        Airbus is also ready make Africa moves as I write. They have some manufacturing taking place in Morocco and I believe South Africa. Through the French, they have made themselves the preferred supplier of commercial aircraft to the Francophone and Lusophone countries on the continent. Meanwhile all Boeing has been pushing is old used aircraft with exorbitant lease rates.

        • @branaboy

          “Meanwhile all Boeing has been pushing is old used aircraft with exorbitant lease rates.”

          Is this a reference to the Camair Co disaster?

          I think it’s ATR setting up in SA, and elsewhere in Africa

        • @ Branaboy
          It was @ Gerrard White who brought up Africa…give him the credit 👍
          As regards China and Russia: things change! Remember how “bad” the first Japanese cars were in the 1980s?

          • The Japanese cars were never bad let alone the 80s for crying gout loud that they dominated.

            Equally while state encouraged, none of them was State RUN!

            By the 70s they had a very good reputation for what they made which was small cars.

            Honda lead the pack with the Civic and the Honda Cycles ala the CB450 K as well as the CB750 were far better machines than anything else.

            Datsun was equally good.

            Yes Japan has quality issue in the 50s but they were overcome and they had the basis of success laid in the early 60s.

            Any state controlled industry is in trouble.

            Airbus was successful because they got funded and then allowed to choose their products.

            While not a huge success, the A300 was a good product. I flew on early on and it was clearly a high quality well done aircraft (I was not happy to be on an aircraft with only two engines over the Pacific but it was legal for the regions)

            Equally Airbus came out of a region of Democracy not dictatorships as is Japan and was back then.

          • Sorry for wrong attribution. Salutations @Gerrard White.

            Yes I know the Chinese products will get better with future iterations but in the meantime this gives Boeing a chance to dominate the “Last Frontier” market that is Africa. In my view products in the A220 and E-Jet regional jets catagory plus a B737/A20 category replacement (here I will include single aisle aircraft including the A321 and up to the proposed 240 seater A322 and it’s Boeing proposed equivalent) are primary airframe types needed to build the continent’s air travel services. Africa is a huge place and rail and road services will definitely not be enough. A well developed commercial air service network is needed, and will definitely be built. Question is, who facilitates this developing network with the requisite ground infrastructure, more importantly for Boeing Commercial Aircraft Division, the flying infrastructure (planes).

            To @ Gerald White: In South Africa I believe Airbus is being supplied with Aerostructures, Equipment and some design and work by Aerosud Aviation, Denel and few other suppliers.

          • @Bryce

            There is habitual derision of the nature of products made in newly industrialising countries by many in the US, under cover of course of off shoring

            It’s not only foolish but hypocritical – especially when there are so many examples of Boeing like low quality made in USA products

            Such derision is usually a very accurate guide to which countries and which products will be successful in replacing home made within a very short time

            (Another plane fall down today?)

          • Do a little research on “China Africa Infrastructure” and be amazed about the scale, speed of the last 15 yrs. No bragging, tv docs, still it is happening. Highways, airports, powerplants, harbors, IT infrastructure, rail roads, hospitals.. soft loans. Giving them unprecented influence in Africa. It seems the ship has sailed. China has grown to be the biggest investor, financer and builder in Africa by far. The are putting in tens of billions and make sure they aren’t wasted.

          • China is predatory in its ops and there are huge issues with the mess that leaves.

            They are trying to dominate not be sociable. China has shifted to the Fascism model and lip service to the communism now.

            It won’t end well.

            The good news is they can declare the deals null and void.

          • Chinese cars are good, so are the Indian ones I saw in Sth Africa recently. Many are light trucks and utilities. Westerners don’t know what is going to hit them as demographics collapses and these emergent nations take over not only manufacturing but high level system integration work.

          • Japanese cars brought to North America around 1970 were quite good, they succeeded. The Datsun 510 was innovative in its cost class, though somewhat copying BMW. (Thanks to a hard-driving Nissan executive.) Good drivetrain, Nissan electrics were not the equal of GM due materials (GM spent much developing materials).

            Decades earlier, Japanese products had a bad reputation, then they shaped up with advice from American consultants.

            Then Korea started producing electronics, ‘Lucky Goldstar’ was a sneer word here. (Today there are ‘LG’ products which are good.) And if you own a small Chevrolet you may be driving a Daewoo.

        • “they[Airbus] have made themselves the preferred supplier of commercial aircraft to the Francophone and Lusophone countries ” [of Africa]
          The main carriers for Mozambique and Angola ( The major Lusophone countries) are Boeing customers
          The rest of the continent ( sub Saharan) with a few exceptions has a virtually non existent airline sector, eg Mali , Senegal, Congo etc .
          Ethiopian, South African , a few airlines in Nigeria have the lions share of planes ( and traffic, which they share with European carriers)

    • Well, Leahy had a way with words, Airbus ‘Frankenplane’ stupidity is another example and hypocritical. Airbus is good at PR.

      As for execution, read history of the A400M large cargo transporter for military. A troubled program, financially and technically

      • Thank you Keith. I was about to drop that one.

        So the 777-200 was a Franken Plane because it sued a -300 wing, sheese.

        And then there is the Sharklets. Really? You ever see a Shark with wings and fins?

        Fortunately that is gone by the wayside as well.

      • the A400M major issues was the engine program, which the customers choose, not Airbus. That was the delays and cost overuns which Airbus foolishly was head contract for.

        The other side was Airbus got the chance to build a large carbon fibre wing before it started the A350 , and the military customers paid for that development work.
        Theres a long litany of US manufactures military transporters being a nightmare from 1950s Hercules ( again for the re engined version in 2000), The C-5, the C17..

    • Indeed and because of a foolish policy of isolating Russia the engines will likely be Russian or Sino-Russian. Many systems won’t have western roots including FBW.

  3. If the assumptions on the MAX are close to valid and we look at where most aircraft are needed/sold, Boeing might as well shelve the NMA. IMO it’s overdue.

    An unbeatable 150-200 seater, up to 2500-3000NM, fully embracing new environmental requirements, surrender speed for efficiency, pre designed for future engine / fuel changes, quiet like no aircraft before, might be the best chance to restore market share>2030.

    The scenario where Boeing assumes the MAX will be fine this decade & goes for an NMA like aircraft, might get real ugly, when Airbus keeps adding new/improved NB’s based on market demand.


    • It is hard to predict the market, either the 737-10 with min cost per seat or the A321neo with its flexibility will stay on top, right now it is Airbus. The 737-10 is not delivered yet and we don’t know how durable and profitable it will be.
      Boeing looks to be working on the 797-5 that should cover the A321XLR mission but with more freight and be made of carbon fiber. We will see at what price they will sell it and when certify it, America has a tradition of making pretty good volume products cheap since the T-Ford.

      • CFRP is always a lot more expensive than aluminum. That is why it is only used when significant gains are made in the design and function. For example when you can build a plane significantly lighter or more aerodynamic (thinner wings for example). But how far you get with this also depends on how well you design according to the capabilities of the materials. So far all airliners are made like metal planes, the potential of CFRP is used only partially. If Boeing would be run customer oriented and engineering driven maybe that would actually happen with an oval shaped CFRP body and outperform the A321XLR (including a possible upgraded CFRP wing). But with the existing management and company culture – I very much doubt it.
        So with the proposed idea this plane will be very expensive and its performance might surpass the A321 significantly only on a few missions.
        Besides, there is no engine for this plane available and for all I know no engine in development either. Put together with the missing production capacities and technology for the oval body we are looking at what 12 years of more to entry of service?
        And where will we stand then with carbon emission regulations? Or for that matter a few years after entering service?
        So no, I don’t think this is a good idea.

        • Claes:

          My concern is that old Boeing could do it, the current Boeing?

          Spiraling failure in no quality control and programs. they just smoked their space capsule.

        • There are versions of Carbon fiber, not everything has the be Toray top quality Pre-pregs, lots of areas can do with lesser strength carbon fiber and you have the benefits of corrosion resistance and fatigue strength. The car industry uses both chopped carbon in resin and extruded carbon besides the stacks of 0/90 and +45/+45 sheets baked in autoclaves.
          So we will see what mix Boeing comes up with or NASA/Electroimpact tells them to use.

          • Claes, the material costs are only one part of the huge cost difference. (aircraft grade carbon fibers, resin systems resp. prepregs are ALL very expensive.) The other is the manufacturing, which is a lot more time consuming for all CFRP products than for aluminum. I have lots of experience with both and have lost quite a few hairs on trying to bring the cost of CFRP products down. Ask anyone who’s been there and done that. 🙂

          • Equally is the less hands labor to assemble. Not none but a lot less.

            And there is a strong move into out of auto clave curing.

            Its a trade off in automation and labor and its moving quite fast including the printing of parts.

    • It’s been bugging me since I read your post some 11 hours ago, why do all of your high lighted references always have a fly in them? I couldn’t help but notice it. Just askin’.

  4. Airbus has no planes in a program of safety tracking and surveillance, nor undergoing general inspections, nor general repairs : BA has all three, not to mention the DoD plane which does not work, nor the space rockets ditto

    It is nearly always Boeing planes that have problems with their inadequate pilots, seldom AB

    Why bother with BA ?

    Given the emergence of some perspective recently, and presumably with more visibility to come this year, it seems as if covid change and climate change are to combine to pick upon airtravel as the poster child of the extravagant disrespectful old normal, to become the hated icon of the Great Reset

    No WS worth his BBB$ is going to invest in such a flaming symbol of the past as a native airline manufacturer with three dud planes as current line up – while China and the EU will continue to regard the industry as infrastructure

    On the other hand given BA’s current line up is dead, they ‘have’ to launch a new plane, or else…. ‘or else’ is what WS and the Bidens will say

    • “It is nearly always Boeing planes that have problems with their inadequate pilots, seldom AB”

      Look at:
      – low pass over airfield that settled into trees beyond it instead of climbing
      ‘- AF447 pilots did not recognize they were in a stall, French pitot tubes not as good as ones developed for Boeing airplanes decades earlier
      – A32x AOA vanes frozen due wash water in the depressed area of their mounting
      – A300 climbing out of NY lost fin, Airbus had not understood magnitude of loads

      Same old Leeham forums – much ignorant blathering.

      • Keith – forgive me, but didn’t AA specifically warn – indeed, train – pilots about A300 rudder gearing (precisely because Airbus understood the loads?). I believe the P/F was cycling the rudder pedals fully…
        If you ‘pull’ hard enough in a dive the wings can ‘clap hands’ – or are you saying that such loading should be deemed impossible. Of course, four Airbus-oriented examples does not a Boeing summer make…

  5. Where does Boeing go? Take a look at the narrow body market and where the best selling jet aircraft are:

    1) 76 seat, 86,000 lbs regional jet ~2500NM range(scope clause compliant)

    2) 150 seats (max 3 stews), ~3400NM range (A220-300)

    3) 180 seats, ~3500nm range (Max 8/A320Neo)

    4) 220 seats, 4000+nm range (A321Neo)

    This is, give or take, the meat of the single aisle market.

    While BA is delivering it’s backlog over the next few years, it’s got to decide where to go with it’s new model. IMO one type isn’t going to do it – as Scott pointed out, shrinks are not really optimised for a market segment.

    Boeing is in a pickle

    • Boeing needs an answer to the A321NEO and XLR, as fast as possible. The only chance I see for that is a rather conventional aluminum body with A320 dimensions combined with a CFRP wing like the 787 and probably also the 787 cockpit. Thus the existing infrastructure can be used and there are plenty of engines to choose from.

  6. the only way forward for Boeing if they wish to continue as a tier 1 commercial aircraft manufacturer is a (at least) a pair of moonshots in the 150-200 seat 3200nmi and 200-250 seat 5500 nmi.

    they need to break the conventional tube and wing paradigm to bring a step change in aero efficiency. there are 4 reasonable baselines (some of which can be mixed and matched): the Blended Wing Body (BWB), the Transonic Truss Braced Wing(TTBW), the Rhomboidal joined wing and the double bubble fuselage.

    my personal favorite is a combination of a rhomboidal wing with a semi-lifting body double bubble as you can get very good aero & structural efficiency in a twin aisle C gate aircraft with short landing gear with all the ground handling and weight benefits associated.

  7. Bad News for BA and for just about everyone else in the West as far as airlines and airtravel

    The 777 is shut down


    « “We reviewed all available safety data following yesterday’s incident,” the F.A.A.’s administrator, Steve Dickson, said in a statement on Sunday. “Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine.”

    Mr. Dickson said the F.A.A. was working with its counterparts around the world and said its safety experts were meeting “into the evening” with Pratt & Whitney and Boeing to address the required inspections. Pratt & Whitney, a division of the aerospace and military giant Raytheon Technologies that makes jet and helicopter engines, did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. »

    The best part of this is the re assuring quote from Mr Dickson that FAA safety experts are meeting ‘into the evening’ –this is worth noting and may indeed be of help

    Hubert Horan on the near future : very dark, bankruptcies consolidation loss of service higher fares no significant pax recovery, in the West


    All this gloom and doom without the need for one word about any cl-change inspired actions towards inhibiting the recovery in airtravel, either in the form of new taxes, or from financial restraint from the States or Banks

    • 777’s are powered by RR, GE90 and GE90-11x too. The Pratt 4000 is a minor percentage, Most airlines have parked WB’s so should be able to move around capacity. A normal investigation, AD etc.

      The viral HD video of a shaking, burning engine probably forced FAA to act boldly here..

      • @keesje

        I know I was being screaming headline: the NYT quoted 128 planes

        I do not know if your use of the word ‘normal’ is completely apropos, flaming engines falling out the sky and all

        You’ll have seen that the FAA is working into the evening on this, now that’s not normal, surely!

      • PW-powered 777s
        “United Airlines, All Nippon Airways, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, EgyptAir and Vietnam Airlines.”

        “69 in-service and 59 in-storage”

        “A flaw in a fan blade on a United 777 in 2018 was blamed by the NTSB on inadequate test standards at Pratt. An inspector had seen a possible sign of a crack years before the failure, but attributed it to paint, the NTSB said.

        The company said last June that it had taken corrective actions to address the cause of the failure. After the 2018 incident, Pratt re-inspected all 9,600 fan blades and didn’t find any others with potential safety problems, the NTSB said.

        Separately, Dutch investigators are looking into the other engine failure that occurred on Saturday, when a Boeing 747-400 cargo plane shed engine parts after taking off from Maastricht. The Pratt model was a PW4056, which is from the same range as the PW4077.”

        • Actually the 94″ PW4056 fan blades are solid titanium alloy and the PW4077 are a hollow titanium alloy design more like the GP7200 of the A380 like on the Air France over Greenland.

    • @ Gerrard
      For now, the 777 grounding only applies to 777s with PW4000 engines — which amounts to 128 planes in total. A very unpleasant situation for the operators of these particular 777s, but only a relatively small proportion of the total 777 fleet (which also has RR and GE engine options).


      Good God, the article in that second link is looonnnnggg…but full of interesting information. Thanks for posting it!

      • @Bryce

        I know about the flaming engine – I was throwing a cat among the pigeons

        As for the long HH article, it was long and interesting I thought for the general overview of how the market operates to use crises to consolidate and up prices while down service

        But all that may not matter much as people will, in the West, be pleased not to fly

        Asia is different, service wise and not yet I think climate change sensitised to the same degree

        As for Africa, they try low cost and it’s a failure, ET being bad offenders to their considerable expense, perhaps they may shift obloquy over to BA for the mean while, but sooner rather than later they will made responsible suffer a backlash

      • @Bryce

        You are right – I was testing fail safe point with the 777 remark

        Just to see what the ‘intuitive’ reaction would be – there is only one BA plane left to defend, sort of left to defend kinda

    • Hello Gerrard,

      Re: “The 777 is shut down”

      As Keesje pointed out above, the grounding pending inspections is limited to 777’s that use the same PW4000 engines that failed on the United 777-200 departing Denver on Saturday 2-20-21. All 777-300ER’s, 777-200LR’s and 777F’s use GE90 engines and are not subject to the grounding and inspections.

      According to the excerpts below from Reuters article at the link after the excerpts, there are 69 in-service 777-200’s and non ER 777-300’s (all 777-300ER’s use GE90 engines) with PW4000 engines that are affected by the grounding and inspection order.

      “Feb 22 (Reuters) – Boeing Co said it recommended suspending the use of 777 jets with the same type of engine that shed debris over Denver at the weekend after U.S. regulators announced extra inspections and Japan suspended their use while considering further action.”

      “Boeing said 69 of the planes were in service and 59 were in storage, at a time when airlines have grounded planes due to a plunge in demand associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

      “United is the only U.S. operator of the planes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The other airlines using them are in Japan and South Korea, the U.S. agency said.”


      • Yes, ‘shut down’ is rather exaggerated if the requirement is simply ‘inspect before further flight’.

        Inspections are common, with timing depending on the severity – this one being severe, and time is needed to examine the failed engine and devise an inspection if one not already existing.

        Once inspections begin, some fans may need to be changed. But with some of the same model sitting unused that should be just a minor logistics challene.

    • Hello Gerrard,

      Re: “The 777 is shut down”

      Did you read the title and first paragraph of the New York Times article that you provided a link to?

      The title is: “Boeing Calls for Global Grounding of 777s Equipped With One Engine Model”

      The subtitle is: “The company said 128 jets powered by a particular Pratt & Whitney engine should get inspections. Japanese regulators ordered that the planes be grounded.”

      The first paragraph is as follows.

      “Boeing said on Sunday that all 128 of its 777 jetliners powered by a particular Pratt & Whitney engine model should be grounded worldwide until the Federal Aviation Administration determines the best way to inspect the engines.”


      • @A-P Robert

        Yup: I did read and also quoted from the article – my comment was journalistic headliner – the report on the FAA action was widespread – it’s another crisis for Boeing, yikes

        But your quoting more of the article is very useful

        I think there was another incident reported concerning a 747

        • Gerald:

          When you hollar wold you detract from any consideration for the view.

          And its BS that this specifically is a crisis for Boeing.

          If you have to delve into spinning stuff like that then you indeed have reached a new low.

          • @TW

            The burning engine on the 777 is not specifically a crisis for BA?

            I thought that it was, reading the NYT

          • “it’s another crisis for Boeing, yikes”

            Its a maintenance problem, especially for United who had exactly the same uncontained fan blade failure in Feb 2018 on the same type of engine on a 777 , and yes it too was flying to Hawaii. Should have been found during mandated testing, but United wasnt doing it.
            It notice it doesnt get ‘blamed’ by some posters on PW despite it being their engine…how come ? [If it was RR the usual comments would come in fast]

          • @ DOU
            As regards “blaming”, the answer is easy. PW generally has a solid reputation…whereas, in stark contrast, continuous, structural, high-profile, multi-product screw-ups have badly tainted the reputation of Boeing and RR.

          • Bryce:

            There is a reason P&W is not in the large engine business.

            While they have done well on the GTF, they missed a lot of the peripheral aspect that cause a huge amount of grief. The good news was it was not engine core or the gear box.

            The F-35 engine has had its issue and GE out – competes them in the fighter engine business.

            We also had a 747 shed engine parts over Brussels I believe it was yesterday.

            While RR is currently in deep distress, PW faulted out of large engine some time back for similar reasons. You can’t build engines that have deep issue and take years to correct and stay in the game.

            While I have hopes for PW, its not a given and we have to see what the root causes for the PW4000 losses are.

            Inherent issues or maint failures?

          • “PW generally has a solid reputation”
            Have you not heard of the numerous issues with the GTF?
            This is the 3rd uncontained fan blade break on the PW4000 in the last years, so on a superficial level its a PW problem.
            GE has had major issues with its GEnx with whole modules replaced as well but that flew under the radar thanks to Bloomberg news agency close association with GE and getting exclusives.

          • @DoU

            A flaming engine is a ‘maintenance problem’

            No it is not – it is a major problem for Boeing, not only PR wise but in giving serious heft to the accusations that all it’s planes are doomed by un acceptable levels of failure

            Which is true

            Get up on CNBC and say it’s not our fault it’s the guys who made the engines – is not an option

            That’s like saying the Max crashes were pilot failures nada mas – BA tried that on, did they not?, and no one bought that (well no one except the usual suspects)

          • @DoU

            A flaming engine is a ‘maintenance problem’ – oh ?

            No it is not – it is a major problem for Boeing, not only PR wise but in giving serious heft to the accusations that all it’s planes are doomed by un acceptable levels of failure

            Which is true

            Get up on CNBC and say it’s not our fault it’s the guys who made the engines it’s the pilots it’s… – is not an option

            That’s like saying the Max crashes were pilot failures nada mas – BA tried that on, did they not?, and no one bought that (well no one except the usual suspect

          • @DoU: Don’t forget Southwest experienced uncontained engine failures in 2016 and 2018 (WN1380: one fatality and eight injuries).

          • Duke:

            You really have it in for GE when in fact the dangerous one is RR (was, the good news is they can ground the 787s that have those engines and fly the GE replacements)

            Yes GE has had issue that are normal to all engine mfgs.

            But unless you can cite some facts, you are just dissing GE cause they beat RR to a pulp (well RR did it to themselves)

            P&W as noted has had GTF issues, its encouraging they were peripheral to the engine and gears. I have some hope there.

            The PW4000 is an old design and both PW and the FAA should have dealt with it and have not.

            As far as I know the only current mfg for them is the KC-46 and I have no idea why Boeing chose that engine.

            It would be a good report. FedEx taking most of the 767F right now went with GE.

          • What is not being gotten in the frothing here is that the PW4000 issue is dealt with.

            Its grounded and its not in Boeing’s hands (other model may follow).
            Its not the same as the MAX issue, the never e3nding 787, KC-46 etc. Its off the table or will be shortly and ALL are noting its a PW Engine.

            Follow up is a 757 with a P&W engine that had an alert and landed in Salt Lake making headlines.

            That is normal, its the spin off affect and they will get onto something else and it fades.

            The MAX issues, the 777X issues, the KC-46 issues, the Capsule issues, those are all the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Hello keesje,

        Re: “Who grounded / advised to ground PW powered 77s first, Japanese authorities, FAA or Boeing? What was the firing order?”

        According the Boeing press release below, dated Sunday 2-21-21, the Japan CAB order to suspend operations of 777’s with PW-4000-112 engines was issued “yesterday” and the FAA’s similar order was issued “today”. To make things more complicated, note that Tokyo time is 15 hours ahead of Chicago time.

        CHICAGO, Feb. 21, 2021—Boeing today released the following statement:

        “Boeing is actively monitoring recent events related to United Airlines Flight 328. While the NTSB investigation is ongoing, we recommended suspending operations of the 69 in-service and 59 in-storage 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines until the FAA identifies the appropriate inspection protocol.

        Boeing supports the decision yesterday by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, and the FAA’s action today to suspend operations of 777 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines. We are working with these regulators as they take actions while these planes are on the ground and further inspections are conducted by Pratt & Whitney.

        Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”


      • I read that Japan grounded 777 with P&W engines (and no flyover) from newswire @around 5:30 pm Feb 21 (7:30 am Feb 22 JST). Then an hour or so later, FAA took action.

  8. It is only the 777 with PW 4000 engines that is affected. These were the originals and also were available with RR Trent and GE 90. When the 777-300 was introduced the GE90 became the sole source engine.

    Earlier work on open rotors ( UDF by GE ) showed difficulties with installation , making a tail mounted installation likely required. Certification of an engine with no fan containment ring may be difficult. It is also probable that open rotor is suitable for lower flight speeds, around M 0.72. Extensive testing of UDF was done on both 727 and MD90 in the 1980s

    • Any serious studies of open rotors that I’ve seen have been tail-mounted.
      That brings the attendant advantage of a quieter cabin for all passengers…not just those ahead of / above the wing.

      • Yep, and a significant beef up of the structure to carry them there as well as containment and the ability to cross destroy the other power plant.

        Unlike Jet engines there is no common structure and each aircart would have to be different mfg to accommodate different engine mfgs.

        Open rotor is a closed end.

  9. Boeing is no longer able to engineering aircraft in the manner it became famous for sir. The horrible choices of corporate leadership and non-engineer, non-pilot Boards took their toll, as well as the unethical tendencies of financial people taking over focused on stock manipulations instead of company strength in what it does.

    Unless you get a different corporate suite, and get rid of an airline CEO, to get back to your engineering and technical roots, the game is over with Airbus. The processes inside the company and the culture now is to manhandle and abuse suppliers while building an every burgeoning bureaucracy and paperwork that creates more and more white color jobs and drives the cost of plane development through the roof. Simple example – Boeing 777X, a simple logo light outside the pressure hull on the tail, more than 1100 pages RFI. 95% of it nothing technical whatsoever, more focus on finding out who is using Conflict Minerals or square footage of a supplier’s restrooms, than anything related to making an economical and reliable logo light. And yet, the airplanes they make in even the Defense side are riddled with Chinese circuit boards and Chinese electronic products.

    So now blackball me from your forum like you were blackballed from your speech!

    • I see nothing to say you should be blackballed no has Scott ever done so without provocation (he once suspended me for remarks but did not blackball)

      What you wrote is all well stated fact.

      Not sure who that is directed to but Leeham and you can state your opinion with no black balling, but Leeham has said the same thing across a number of blogs previously.

      I can think of only one poster that may be banned or long term suspended and it was a long series of posts well outside the bounds of the stated guidelines and came with warnings.

      • I was just teasing Scott about his previous post where he said he was blackballed after talking the truth at an event as speaker… just an attempt at some humor to let him pass on the blackball. Boeing is in much deeper trouble than many realize… they are not able to engineer much of anything in a rational time or amount of money and honestly, we have particular knowledge of Chinese parts/products going into all of the principle suppliers deliveries to all branches of Boeing.

        • C.Nielsen – “we have particular knowledge of Chinese parts/products going into all of the principle suppliers deliveries to all branches of Boeing…” For example(s)?

    • Airliners have had tail ‘logo lights’ for decades, I think its an option as most airport aprons are brightly lit.
      What is a problem is grievance commentary posing as fact..”1100 pages RFI.. restrooms…conflict minerals..”

      • Duke… — Please correct the ‘grievance commentary posing as fact’ with chapter & verse of the ‘truth.’

    • If I look along the right edge of that photo, on the same level as the engine, I see what appears to be significant damage to the belly fairing…and also what looks like a dark “wound” on the underside of the wing near its juncture with the fairing. One can only assume that catapulted debris was the cause.
      This could have ended very nastily!

  10. Leaves one to wonder what’s the discussion around WN’s C-suite, would they bet the future of their co. (B737-700 replacement) on one from a co. with little strategic vision??

    • I am sure A220 keeps coming up!

      It is odd but it seems South West wants to have the -7 vs a superior aircraft that also allows more competition for its trade.

      • LUV actually was happy with the MAX if you can believe what is printed. They didn’t want to invest in lots of training of pilots and mechanics. Talk about short-sighted. Their leadership attended some of the same schools at Boeing’s…

        • South West has been more successful than any airline out there, so I am not going to question their decision per sea.

          I am interested in the data that supports it.

          The numbers or data we do not see has to be pretty decisive to be willing to live with the -7 vs a the A220.

          • Data?

            Whazza matter wit youse, you want to spoil the fantasies of ignorant conspiracy theorist spouters? :-o)

            Thankyou for wanting data.

      • TW — “… it seems South West wants to have the -7 vs a superior aircraft…” or does SW value commonality with other variants?

      • Hello TransWorld,

        Re: “It is odd but it seems South West wants to have the -7 vs a superior aircraft that also allows more competition for its trade.”

        During Southwest’s 3Q 2020 earnings call on 10-22-20, Southwest COO Michael G. Van de Ven expressed the opinion, regarding the A220 and 737-7, that “both of those airplanes have their strengths and their disadvantages”. See below for some excerpts from, and a link to, a transcript of this call. By my understanding of Mr. Van de Ven’s comments, he does not share your opinion that the A220 would be clearly superior for Southwest’s needs.

        “Michael G. Van de Ven Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Airlines Co.
        A: Yeah. The only thing I would add, Joseph, is in our network, there’s definitely a need for, what I would say, 140,150-seat airplane versus a 175-seat airplane. Today, at the present time, we’re mostly focused on the MAX 8, the 175-seat airplane. And the A220 and the MAX 7, they are the two players in the marketplace and both of those airplanes have their strengths and their disadvantages. And we’ve been looking at both the airplanes.

        We’ll continue that evaluation. We’re just not at a point in our network – we don’t really need to make those decisions till probably 2025 and
        beyond timeframe. So, today, we’re just really focused on the MAX, getting the MAX back into service, making sure that we have the right delivery schedule with Boeing.”

        “Tammy Romo Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Southwest Airlines Co.
        A: And the only thing I would just chime in on is, yes, the MAX 7 and the A220 are both fine airplanes. I think both of them certainly serve the mission. And obviously, as always, just the economics, of course, come into play. And we have long been an all Boeing carrier, and there are certainly efficiencies that come with that.

        But all that gets factored into our valuation. But agree that a smaller gauge aircraft like the A220 or MAX 7, certainly, are aircraft that we will need to fly those shorter to medium-haul markets. But my only point there is, obviously, the economics are a piece of this. And we’ll make sure that we have economics that will serve us well and where we can maintain a long low cost position.”


  11. The 737 still carries with it the design choices of the 1960s and then Boeing drove the C-Series program into the arms of Airbus rather than buying it itself, another massive own goal. It desperately needs a modern narrowbody design, nothing is more obvious.

    If Boeing builds a modern narrowbody, Airbus will then need to explain why it’s still dragging around a 40-year old narrowbody. Sure, still a great aircraft, but it will look more than a little dated. So long as Boeing has the 737, Airbus will hv

    • The 737 was born without a vision.
      ( it was contract work for a customer : LH )

      It never went beyond immediate success.
      The reason why it needed major makeovers every 15 years.
      But it needs the birth gift of lesser certification requirements to stay reasonably competitive. Every step change going forward increases the delta to the competitor.

      Curently I don’t see much of a new visionary approach that would turn the A320 framework outdated.

      • The B737 -8 can fly further and carry more passengers than its ‘nearest rival’
        whats this ‘delta’ you talk about?
        LNA pointed out the A320XL needed so many extra tanks in the fuselage to make its ‘brochure range’ they couldnt have enough passenger baggage containers for a full load so had to revert to ‘old style’ loose baggage in the hold. For the XLR they had to provide a completely new design of centre tank that takes up less space…the problems with a 35 yr old design for a short haul airliner that was never intended for 9 hr flights

        • That is kind of a Pippi Longstockings answer, isn’t it?
          ( compare payload range tables 757 vs A321LR. neither has enough remaining payload to consume hold space )

          -8MAX: more range but less payload. eaten up by that extra can of fuel to achieve the range.

          • A320neo with 1ACT can do 121 pax and 4000nm.
            MAX-8 can do 42 pax and 4000nm.
            Airbus shows payload-range curves with ACT because it makes sense.
            MAX-8 doesn’t have the MTOW to give additional tanks sense.

        • “”The B737 -8 can fly further and carry more passengers than its ‘nearest rival’ “”

          Only with Boeing’s foolish marketing assumptions,
          not with the OEW of ET302.

          • Hello Leon,

            Re: ““”The B737 -8 can fly further and carry more passengers than its ‘nearest rival’ “”

            Only with Boeing’s foolish marketing assumptions,
            not with the OEW of ET302.”

            If you are talking about the 737-8 vs. the A320neo then Bjorn Fehrm arrived at a different conclusion in his 11-9-14 post on this blog titled: “Boeing 737 MAX 8 as a long and thin aircraft and how it fares in general versus Airbus A320neo.” The 737-8 vs. A321 neo would be a different story, but is the A321neo the “nearest rival” of the 737-8 that you were referring to? See below for some of the free bullet points from this paywall article and a link to this article.


            1) The 737 MAX 8 is 1.5m (5 feet) longer than A320 with a 2.5m (8.2 feet) longer cabin. This brings a 12 seat higher capacity, everything else being equal. The result is that the MAX 8 beats the A320neo on per seat efficiency while being worse on trip efficiency.

            2)The MAX 8 has a range on internal fuel of 3,700nm. This makes it suitable for extending the range up to 4,000nm with smaller changes. It thereby is probably Boeing’s best bet of offering a long and thin aircraft before the New Small Aircraft (NSA) comes to market. Its major drawback is a 33 seats reduction in capacity compared to 757-200 when both are configured for long and thin.

            3) A320neo is less ideal to extend to long and thin. It requires several extra fuel tanks to get to 4,000nm nominal range and then there is too little space left for luggage.”

            and also,

            “The A321neo has the capabilities to be extended to cover the range of the 757-200. This was also announced by Airbus during our series. The improvements are an increase in range of 500nm by virtue of three extra center tanks and an increase in max takeoff weight of 3.5 tonnes ( 7,400 lb). The efficiency improvement over 757-200 would be 25% with a small decline in passenger capacity (162 vs. 169 seats) in a typical First, Premium economy and economy cabin.”


          • Thanks Robert,

            I was talking about the A320neo.
            Duke was talking about maximum range and payload. Over 3500nm range the MAX-8 can’t carry many pax if ET302 OEW would be considered. So the 2 or 3 rows longer cabin is useless to carry more pax.
            Again, with ET302 OEW the MAX-8 can carry IIRC 103 pax 3700nm.
            A320neo with 1ACT can carry 121 pax 4000nm.
            Obviously Bjorn’s article was from 2014, not up to date now.

          • I wasnt talking about max range but brochure range, our friend AP gives the references

            12 seats more because of its longer cabin
            same goes for range 3700nm plus a small change to get to 4000nm

            Meanwhile the A320 needs 3 tanks to get to 4000nm, which doesnt leave enough room for all passenger baggage, same issue with longer A321XLR its special tanks were to allow enough room for baggage. A clever solution. I think Boeing regrets not making a proper extended undercarriage leg for the Max 10, but may yet happen for a ‘Maximum’ 10 or ER version.

            So its exactly as I said , the 737 is a better plane based on ‘brochures’, actual airline usage varies, The Max 9 and 10 would be the same except for low ground clearance restricts rotation at takeoff and MTOW
            I never cease to be amazed regular readers here who never read the details of comparison posts

    • “need to explain why it’s still dragging around a 40-year old narrowbody.”

      No they dont need to explain at all. They are a business to to business sales where ‘the lastest’ doesnt matter as much as it does the job. What we do know is that airlines crave discounts more than some quaint ideas about what the date was on the fuselage plans. Any new design/materials for fuselage gives negligible business advantages in fuel economy – thats why the engines are changed more often.

      • More accuracy there have been so few advances in aerodynamics that a even older design is kept competitive with a newer one.

        Even the A220 is not huge jump.

        • Again, on the Subject of Southwest Airlines picking up the A220-300 or whatever dash, Airbus would make them an offer they couldn’t refuse. That would light a fire under the major stockholders of Boeing. Wow, then we’d see a proxy war. Maybe Warren Buffet should take a position in Boeing. He did in GE after another superstar CEO fell asleep at the wheel…

          • Report was that South West gave Boeing a take it or go into competition you will loose offer.

            Stuff we are not privy to on how it all shakes out for commonality, training, spare parts etc.

  12. There was a time when Boeing had two new types being developed in parallel – the 747 by the A team -and the 737 by the B team. On my first visit to Seattle in 1969, there was gloom, with undelivered 747s due engine delivery delays and talk of shutting down the 737 line due to lack of demand. Last man out was supposed to be training to switch off the lights. He wasn’t needed then.

  13. Scott H: Thanks for this *fine* column today. It’s refreshing to read someone who’s willing to do some truth-telling regarding Boeing, despite the costs; one of which you mentioned..

    • Second that. Boeing’s situation will improve when the people, institutions and families that own great amounts of common stock, preferred stocks and bonds get up off their dead trust fund baby @#$&es and hire leadership to restore the company to a going engineering concern.

      • Agreed.

        Its a relevant question if Boeing even has the engineering structure and people to do this.

        They have scattered the whole operation all over the US and when they move it, they fire you in Washington Sate and you have to apply to be re-hired in the “new” location.

        At which point the engineers go to work for someone that cares and appreciates and pays well leaving Boeing with huge holes in knowledge of how to manage a program at all.

        We see that showing up in the constant systematic failures.

        Killing off the Embraer deal was a horrible decision, if Embraer was important to do it in the fist place it was important enough to keep going with.

        Boeing cutting off its nose to spite its face once again (or all about the immediate buck vs the future of the company)

        • “They have scattered the whole operation all over the US”

          No they havent, St Louis is the centre for the defense business, Los Angeles still has the space and satellites, Philadelphia and Mesa are for helicopters , where they were for previous owners. Boeing Global Services is scattered all over the world for its maintenance operations.
          Boeing Commercial Airplanes still has its executives , design centres and assembly operations in Seattle region with a plant in Charleston being new. But Boeing Commercial used to have a plant in Wichita , so it balances out. They arent going to design a new NMA in Charleston or Chicago

  14. Hello Scott, been following your comments on Boeing; I am a former Boeing Quality Assurance Investigator and Quality engineer. I was let go when Boeing had to cut back due to the fall out from 9/11/2001. Boeing never rehired me, but I have been back a few times as a contractor on the 787-8, and at Boeing military. Your comments are dead on. Boeing is self destructing; I was known as being the best of the best in my field, and would have raised issues about the 737MAX, I was a major player in fixing production issues on the 737 Next Generation program. Boeing is going to have a fatal accident with the 787-8 sooner than later the -8 lacked quality control due to production being spread out all over the world, I know I was not rehired because I cost too much. Why hire back a very experienced person when you can hire two people who do not know anything for the same price.
    Boeing has also told several of my friends who are highly qualified engineers to go home, we do not need you. These gentlemen like me were known for not letting issues get through, and not afraid to stand up to management. The Fathers, Brothers and influences (FBI), good old boy system was alive and well when I was there 1988 to 2002 as a direct report, and after I left, Boeing still discriminates against highly effective female managers. Many former Boeing employees I know who were there before things went bad are happy they are not there anymore and angry over what has happened to the company they loved. I am sure you are familiar with the books Turbulence and Emerging from Turbulence about the who Boeing MD merger. I was one of the employees that was followed by the authors yearly to take the temperature of the company. Also if you are not familiar with it Read Capitalist Family Values by Dr. Polly Reed Meyers, its about the history of Diversity and Family at Boeing, I was a major contributor. Keep up the good work

    • @ Marilynn
      Thank you for that very interesting post from an “insider”.
      Your comment about a potential fatal accident with the 787 will chime with many here.
      It is shameful and alarming to think that BA has consistent, persistent, pernicious problems with (multiple aspects of) its entire new product line, and that it just doesn’t seem to be able to tackle the situation (e.g. as evidenced by the botched rollout of new software for the 787, 747 and 777 last December, prompting an AD from the FAA).
      Of course, Boeing cronies will dismiss your comments as “opinion presented as fact”, but that’s just denialist innuendo from a parallel universe.

      • @Bryce: Don’t forget the official tag line – Wait for the investigation report to come out!!

    • Marilynn, thank you very much for the insight. It matches exactly how it looks from the outside, I’m afraid.

  15. Scott — “Boeing’s decision to launch the Max … was a reluctant move deftly choreographed by Airbus…” What do you see as the principal elements of that orchestration and how/why do you think Boeing failed to appreciate (or ignored) it? Were they complacent or did they perhaps see the initial NEO proposals as Leahy-inspired kidology?

      • A question I asked myself also. Simple itterations and projections usually get you pretty close. Hundreds of people at Boeing that can do it.

        Still I have seen so much PR non-sense and apparently executives believing themselves, only hearing what they wanted to hear.. Echo rooms?

        E.g. if you compete with the same engine with a better BPR, that one is gonna offer a better sfc. That’s why you do a bigger fan. Denial all around..

      • Their thinking was that airlines would not go for a NEO, and that both OEM’s would be bringing out new aircraft in the normal development cycle. Scott reported on this awhile back. So they were surprised by acceptance of the NEO, and responded with their own version, the MAX.

        The rest is history. It wasn’t necessarily a bad strategy, airlines responded well to the MAX. But upended now by the MAX accidents and COVID.

        Moving forward, a lot depends on further recovery and development of the market, and movement of the center after COVID. That will determine where Boeing goes with the next aircraft.

        • So they were surprised by acceptance of the NEO,

          PR conjurers being surprised by their PR meme collapsing? That can only happen in the US. 🙂

          Few elsewhere are so gullible.

        • Their de facto assumption was that airlines would not go for a NEO, because they didn’t want to face reality and actually do their jobs. Scott reported on this awhile back. So they were slapped in the face by the huge interest in the NEO, and responded too late with their own slapstick version, the bandaid MAX.

          The rest is history. It was a horrendously flawed strategy, airlines regret having associated with the MAX. All magnified by the MAX accidents, record-breaking grounding and disastrous PR.

          Moving forward, a lot depends on Boeing’s (lack of) finances and engineering prowess. That will determine if Boeing is able to produce a next aircraft.

        • But that’s the thing, Airbus flew around a GTF on a A346 in 2008.
          No-knows like me pointed out what was gonna happen 13 yrs ago.

          Were they asleep? Same with NMA, people showing a flat CRFP 2-3-2 wouldn’t work from the start, 2015. Still they sticked with it. The denial on XWB vs 77x weights, operating economics. An aerospace bachelor on the executive board would have raised his hand. And be ignored, obscured, overruled no doubt..

          • It’s quite a funny thing with human beings: The more powerful they are and the more money they put in their pockets every years, the more they think they are smarter and wiser than the rest of the world. Part of the problem is that plenty of people around them will support that. This phenomenon is widely spread and has obviously taken hold of the entire C-suite at Boeing early 21.Century.
            What happens next is they think they are much smarter than not only their competitors but also their customers and the government (regulator) and only they know the future.
            That’s when things are starting to go awfully wrong and you see companies that were once incredibly successful down the drain. The same happens to politicians and states (empires) by the way.

    • Boeing seems to have kicked off a lot of activity to make Airbus reconsider the NEO step.
      Managed to coopt Leasing and Banking voices.
      The NSA mirage dangled to the markets to give credence to these communications could maybe have worked if the 787 pile up had not happened.
      Airbus called Boeing’s bluff with offering the NEO which then forced Boeing to drop the Potemkin thing and offer real produceable hardware that still cost them dearly. Changes needed to be much wider scoped than for Airbus.

      Add in that Airbus seems to have done more “silent” improvements all along their way
      where Boeing presented any microscopic improvement with multiple avalanches of flashy PR.

      Was the lack luster performance of the AP winglets tested on A320 part of that game?
      ( Airbus own design apparently achieves quite a bit more.)

      • This assumes it was a bluff. I’ve seen no evidence of that at all. Further the winglets were developed by NASA Langley and commercialized by API of Seattle, with whom Boeing then entered into a JV to utilize the technology. Airbus infringed on the API designs and were successfully sued, settling the case in 2018.

        Physics determines performance for both Boeing and Airbus designs, they give similar fuel burn improvement, around 4% to 6%, along with other benefits.

        • The patent was Basler’s from AP.

          the (one) patent was voided.

          Question is what “financials” were successfully litigated.
          my guess: folklore.
          Physics applies globally. true.
          Some seem to have better understanding than others.
          ( Airbus own design seems to improve on the endplates
          by a similar value than the AP(B) items did over the plain wing. i.e. the Airbus article tops the AP article.
          One interpretation would be that AP degraded their product for Airbus to the advantage of Boeing ?
          Rob you can have it either way: Airbus is better or the B side is more insidious :-)))

          • @ Uwe
            Small correction: the patent concerned (US 5,348,253) “expired” rather than “was voided”.
            Corresponding applications were never filed outside the US, meaning that infringement was only possible for planes manufactured, sold or used in the USA. So, outside of the USA, the relevant AP technology was effectively “gifted to the public” (to use US patent jargon).

          • Airbus signed an NDA to share research from API, then used the designs without licensing. When API threatened to sue, Airbus sued first to preempt any claims, and force arbitration.

            Then there was a flurry of countersuits, with the case ending in 2018 with a substantial but undisclosed payment from Airbus to API.

          • You will find that one patent was voided after Airbus asked for a reevaluation.
            ( actually item 1 was voided and the rest was not reexamined as they required item 1 to be valid.)

            you should find the reference links here with the search function inside posts.

          • Uwe, the outcome is what it is. You can spin it any way you like. Airbus made a substantial settlement payment to API for using their research and designs without licensing.

          • ROB: “Uwe, the outcome is what it is. ”

            Sure, but it is not what you make it out to be.
            voided patent is real.
            large payments are folklore.
            ( except you can provide a reference )

          • Sounds to me like Airbus paid for breaching the propriatry information of Aviation Partners but not any patents . Often the case that companies don’t apply for patents, as that would reveal their basic secrets but prefer to keep more complicated secrets out of the public domain.
            Elon Musk is known for this approach for his SpaceX secrets

          • @Dukeofurl

            Litigation IMU was about “services rendered”.
            not afaics about breaking some NDA or similar.

            AP seeing their fleeces going down the river and going for damage control on their side?

    • How Airbus maneuvered Boeing into launching the MAX will be detailed in my forthcoming book later this year.

      • Scott,

        It would also be interesting if you could also cover how the Air Force and Airbus tricked Boeing into under-bidding the KC-46 Tanker. I still remember when that happened and when Boeing celebrated winning the contract – which was like celebrating the catching of a venereal disease.

        When Airbus threatened to pull out of the low-ball bidding process only to be “accidenttly forwarded” the details of Boeing’s much lower bid, I knew the fix was in place when Airbus decided to stay on with the competition. It was so evident what was happening, and Boeing just ignored it. Now they are paying for it.

        • Low bidding does not explain why they botched the execution.
          The visible issues definitely are in execution and supervision of same!

  16. Sorry Scott you were blackballed by PNAA. Put on a MAGA hat (which I know you do in the privacy of your home) and you’ll also be banned from Twitter, YouTube, and interviews with local news media.

    Interesting commentary by the way!

      • We would love to have the name of that sponsor shared and openly discussed. But you’re too profesional for that..

        • Conrad Chun? I always wonder if militarily guys can be good for communications. That follow orders whatever discipline..

    • Scott:
      So how long has it been since Airbus launched a new airliner?
      (A380 preceded the B787, A220 doesn’t count as it is an acquisition.)

      When did the merger or whatever with McD occur?
      When was the B787 launched?

      Did Phil Condit come from McD?
      (Yes, Stonecipher did, both were troubled but IIRC Condit was liked by Boeing engineers.)

      As for the B737-7 being a dud, remember it has not gone into service yet and that many -700s are out there – doesn’t SWA have a bunch along with longer models? It offers more range and better airfield performance, and lower operating costs on low traffic route.

      (Low traffic routes feed high traffic routes, small airplanes prove out routes or not at lower cost, etc.)

      As for what you claim the ‘GE model’ is, I remind you that Jack Welch cleaned out a lot of deadwood to get profitable opeprations which is the only true way to fund new developments, whereas his foolish successor plunged into new things at great loss because he believed PR.

      Burping SPEEA PR obscures the point you are trying to make, which I take to be that the B737MAX family is not competitive in the market (whatever that is).

      (I say ‘whatever the market is’ because it is different today than yesterday, with drastically lower traffic and the trend to cheap long flights with A32somethings. Tomorrow is difficult to predict, especially in the face of climate catastrophists and uncertainty over length of traffic recovery.)

      • Hello Keith,

        Re: “Scott: So how long has it been since Airbus launched a new airliner?”

        I am not Scott; however, I believe that the correct answer to your question is that the most recent clean sheet Airbus airliner design is the A350, which Airbus launched is response to Boeing’s clean sheet 787. The clean sheet composite A350 was launched in 2006 after Airbus abandoned their initial 2004 plan to respond to the 787 with a re-engined A330 with composite wings. Launch year for the 787 was 2004. Sometimes derivatives can compete, other times they don’t work so well. I consider the A220 to be an Airbus acquisition, and not an Airbus design.

        See the Wikipedia excerpt and link below.

        “The first A350 design proposed by Airbus in 2004, in response to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, would have been a development of the A330 with composite wings and new engines. As market support was inadequate, in 2006, Airbus switched to a clean-sheet “XWB” (eXtra Wide Body) design, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines. ”


        • Re: In my post above:” I consider the A220 to be an Airbus acquisition, and not an Airbus design.”

          It occurred to me after I wrote this that when then competitor Bombardier designed and launched the C-Series which later became the A220; Airbus responded with a re-engined A320 derivative and mocked the C-Series until they acquired it, at which time it suddenly became a wonderful idea. The decision by Airbus to re-engine the A320 in response to the C-Series then led Boeing to abandon its plans for an all composite 737 replacement, quite similar to the recently discussed NMA-5X, due to some combination of important customers such as American Airlines and Southwest Airlines indicating that they would rather have re-engined aircraft sooner than a clean sheet aircraft later, and shell shock from 787 development problems. The market voted in favor of the clean sheet 787 and A350 over initial plans by Airbus to re-engine and re-wing the A330 as a response to the 787, but decided, for whatever reason, for derivatives in the case of the 737 MAX and A320neo, at least for the time being. I am sure tha the day of composite A320/737 replacements will come.

          “Yellowstone is a Boeing Commercial Airplanes project to replace its entire civil aircraft portfolio with advanced technology aircraft. New technologies to be introduced include composite aerostructures, more electrical systems (reduction of hydraulic systems), and more fuel-efficient turbofan engines (such as the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G Geared Turbofan, General Electric GEnx, the CFM International CFM56, and the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000). The term “Yellowstone” refers to the technologies, while “Y1” through “Y3” refer to the actual aircraft.[1]

          The first of these projects, Y2, has entered service as the Boeing 787.

          Boeing Y1, to replace the Boeing 737, 757, and 767-200 product lines.[2] The Y1 covers the 100- to 250-passenger market, and is expected to be the second Yellowstone Project aircraft to be developed. Boeing submitted a patent application in November 2009, that was released to the public in August 2010, that envisions an elliptical composite fuselage, and likely signals the company’s planning for the 737 successor.[3][4] In early 2011, Boeing outlined plans for a 737 replacement that would arrive in 2020.[5][6] In August 2011, Boeing announced the 737 MAX, an updated and re-engined version of the 737 NG, rather than progress with Y1 concepts.[7] In November 2014, it was reported that Boeing plans to develop a new aircraft to replace the 737 in the 2030 time frame.[8] From 2015 onwards, it became clear that Boeing was focusing on a “New Midsize Airplane”, a seven-abreast twin-aisle with an elliptical cross-section, expected to be launched in 2019 for entry into service in the mid-2020s.[9] In January 2020, Boeing put these plans on hold and announced a clean-sheet reevaluation of the project.[10]”


          • ‘decision by Airbus to re-engine the A320 in response to the C-Series”

            the link is the arrival of the PW GTF with a thrust suitable for the plane , which is greater than that of the Cseries
            Have engine will fly

          • “Airbus responded with a re-engined A320 derivative and mocked the C-Series ”

            Isn’t that a bit of a rewrite of history?

            It was Boeing’s PR line that the C-Series heckled the A320 and their 737NG was ahead of the race and not in any danger. i.e. the market scraps were there for Airbus and BBD to haggle over.

            NEO offer would just catch up to the NG.

            People with a bit of intelligence saw through this smoke screen.
            At the time:
            NG was not quite the match to the CEO
            and the MAX is more of “not quite” a match to the NEO.

        • Agree, you are correct about the A350 ‘XWB’, which doesn’t seem much different.

          IIRC Bjorn/Scott have commented on usefulness of it vs A330 derivatives, IIRC each has its place, I don’t remember price which is a factor. (Indeed, UAL wanted to buy more 767s recently, as I link to elsewhere in this thread. Airlines want lower price, which Airbus and Boeing both want, I don’t know how they are progressing on that, I gather various people including Russians and the former Bombardier plant in Ireland are trying newer methods of composites fabrication, Boeing was commented on in this forum for automating fuselage fastener installation – with mixed success.))

          I do note that the difference in timing is not a great many years.

      • The 787 was of course launched _after_ the 1997 merger with McD, contrary to what some people suggest about McD influence stopping innovation in Boeing.

        The X version of the 777 was launched in 2013, it has substantial changes from the base model, notably a new wing of composites and Al-Ti (center section), to achieve over 12% fuel efficiency gain when combined with improve engines. Fuselage apparently the same structure but with larger cabin windows and a few inches more cabin width obtained by slimming things and changing wire bundle routing. Seems like the 787 in that its predecessor continued in production for some time.

        IMJ what to do depends on what you start with and how difficult it is to improve against what is cost-effective. The 737MAX lacks the redundancy of the 777, and the flight deck of 757 and later designs, so I agree a completely new design is needed. OTOH, the 777 has And Scott touts a new wing for the A32x series, which would not make the new model a ‘clean sheet design’.

        Phil Condit had a long career with Boeing, as engineer, project manager, and executive. (Including something about high speed 747, in his biography.) The KC-767 ethics problem occurred on his watch, so he resigned. He was in charge for a large expansion of Boeing’s miltary capability through acquisitions, in order to reduce Boeing’s dependency on variation of the commercial airliner market, some say he neglected commercial during that time of military expansion.

        Condit has popped up on the advisory board of Blake Scholl’s Boom Supersonic company. (Blake is objective with good ideas about people and is familiar with startup financing, but hasn’t realized how much work is needed, project is way behind. Wisely building a simple demonstrator first, for part of the technology, which should fly ‘any day now’. Working through questions – Boom and others seem to have switched to three engines to reduce airport noise on takeoff and get better remote/oceanic redundancy (where its initial routes will be), that adds cost and weight. A clean sheet design though engines may be a modification of an existing design.

        Harry Stonecipher resigned after revelation of an affiar with a junior in Boeing, which was not acceptable to the company (after more than 40 years of marriage his first wife fired him when she found out). Stonecipher worked in GM and GE before McDonnell Douglas. He was in and out of the merged entity, returning for a while to replace Condit.

  17. Thanks Scott for that article. I fully agree.

    The Max 10 was merely a disaster solution to a blow-out loss against the A321neo. To not lose more Max customers to Airbus due to the Max 9 inferior to the A321neo.

    But what kind of airplane should Boeing do?
    A Max replacement? Can they improve enough with given technology or will they end up with a newly developed A320neo with a composite wing for 15 bn. $?
    Or shall they build a MOM plane as discussed recently? A A321neo competitor, and a successor for the B757, the B767 200 and 300ER?

    Or do they want to go smaller and build a 150 Pax plane against the A220?

    More important, looking at recent history and development, has Boeing still the ability to develop a new plane?
    The latest developments have either lead to catastrophe (Max), have been close (b787 battery), groundings (Max and B787), have been late and way over budget (B748, B787, Max, B777x and KC46).

    So before going for any new plane, Boeing has to ensure it still has the ability to develop a good, safe aircraft in time and in budget. When that is fixed, they can build a new plane. If they have the money. I’m not sure if Boeing can free up 15 bn. in cash for a new family right now.

    I fully agree Boeing needs a new plane. They loose at single aisle, and the reality is way worse than the numbers, as with the larger and more expensive higher yield A321neo Airbus has a huge financial lead. The A320 fam. will earn way more profits than the Max just because the A321neo outselling Max. 9 & 10 about 4 or 5 to 1.
    With the B777x in trouble, it leaves Boeing with only the B787 as a successful family, while Airbus has A220, A320neo and the A350.

    Boeing needs to do something, but what and can they?

    • Thanks for that…
      This leapt off the page for me – about the design process for the 777.
      “While visiting Airbus in Toulouse, France, UA received a call from Boeing telling them that they were serious about wanting United Airline’s business..”

      Somethings never change for Boeing, going to Toulouse sets off alarm bells at BCA ( I think this was before the era of Leahy)

      • BCA also bought up A340 to spread their 777.
        “Interessting” market tactics.

        Going over the decades Boeing sold more on predatory sales methods than on real quality products.
        they hit it off with the 77W. ( but with high emissions, noisy and initially maintainance prone engines running on a fudged certification. … things haven’t changes in 2020 🙂

        • Uwe,

          The 777 outsold the A340’s models thrown at it. The first 17 77W’s flew an entire year without a single engine shutdown or removal – the same cannot be said of the A346. It’s no surprise the 77W outsold the A346 – something like 840 to 100. In fact, Emirates alone bought more of them then the entire A345/A346 line. If you’re carrying 16 tonnes less fuel, more passengers on a larger cabin floor area, more cargo in larger volumetric holds, being more efficient, more reliable, it’s only inevitable that the 77W would be first choice – and, it had significant pricing power as a result.

          To say that the 777-300ER isn’t a quality product is a highly delusional stance. And Boeing’s path to it was in some respects significantly simpler than Airbus’s with the A346, which in addition to the two fuselage plugs, added wing chord and wing tip extensions – both of which would have required substantial wind tunnel modelling.

          The difference between the 777-300ER and A340-600 is essentially the same as that between the A321neo/LR/XLR and the 737 MAX 10.

    • “With the B777x in trouble, it leaves Boeing with only the B787 as a successful family..”

      Exaggeration IMO, I doubt you know if the 777X is ‘in trouble’, certainly there are some challenges and there is the extra workload of greater regulator scrutiny – no surprise after the 737MAX debacle though the 777 us a much later more redundant design than the 737, and an opportunity for Boeing to make more refinements as airlines are probably in no great rush to get it given severely depressed traffic volume.

      • How do you rate a development, that just took a 6.5 bn. $ charge against earnings (to avoid the term loss!) has a shrinking customer base, is now years late and even the customers that you tailored the planes to don’t want the numbers anymore (Emirates)?


        Are you Muilenburg or McNerney?

        There’s no doubt at all Boeings B777x is in trouble.
        The situation alone, a 400+ pax VLA aircraft in a Covid plagued market.

        • @ Sash
          You forgot the high-profile fuselage rupture during stress testing, the very public statements by Tim Clark that he doesn’t want any “innovative” software on the plane, the rejection of the 777-8 by Qantas for Project Sunrise, and the various (ongoing) deferrals/conversions by almost every customer.

          • Those are exactly the same issues the 747 had in its early days, the ‘oil crises’ of the 70s- remember them- had a lot of airlines dropping the 747. Once the turmoil settled , airlines knew the demand would come back and Boeing was ready to met the changed demand – with derivatives that were very sucessful
            For Qantas they still needed a 777X sized plane at very long range, at guess what they got one , just the timing and the economics at ULR favoured the A350K

          • yeah, you are right, i forgot that blown out cargo door.

            Qantas needs everything but not another VLA. They are scaling back, went from B744 to B789.
            They will take the A350 and be happy, makes a lot of sense, it’s the way lighter aircraft and it has a huge advantage:
            It’s flying, available and certified.

            The B778 isn’t even scheduled right now nor does she have sales….

          • “.. blown out cargo door. ..”

            The door apparently was not alone 🙂

            IMU Boeing went for gaming the Cert requirements.
            Stiffening the fuselage against crumpling from bending moment with increased pressure differential.
            ( Friend of mine wrote his thesis on “failure modes in cylindrical silo structures”. Funny where similarities come up.)

  18. Interesting story here though inaccurate about involving customers – that was done on the B767 program.
    (McKinzie may have been UA’s long-time main rep at Boeing, I think I met him at a supplier in the early 90s.)

    (I was there in 767 as a customer, I remember an F/A in discussion of seat belts, during walk to lunch I asked her how female pilots were coping with the usual Boeing pilot seat harnesses (a strap over each shoulder down to a central buckle for all five straps – one in the crotch, twist the buckle face and all but one lap belt released). I don’t remember what the design ended up with for F/As.)

    That was in the late 70s, the 787 was launced early in this century so over two decades later, to replace the 767.

    Things get confusing, some say the 767 is lower cost than the 787: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-airplanes/boeing-executive-rules-out-reviving-767-passenger-jet-idUSKBN1GH311. At that time it was over 3.5 decades old in design and early deliveries.

  19. As for blathering about outsourcing, which I keep repeating from history it has been done since almost the beginning of Boeing – as in Hal Korry, note that the B767 included risk-sharing with fabricators in Italy and Japan (including the center fuselage). Unions claim to support multiculturalism – SPEEA showed a video of Caesar Chavez – but act xenophobe with the exploitation of one-way trade.

    And automated fastening in wings, more than on the 747.

    And drilling pilot holes precisely in parts, so flaps could be assembled without a jig – I was amazed, given imprecision of 707 floor beams that made repair awkward.

    And for grins, I refer to an enlarged B767 paper airplane referred to as the “Hunchback of Mukilteo” (Scott probably knows where that is), with a 757 body section mounted over the aft main fuselage – it didn’t fly far. Nor did a wider fuselage. (Capacity desires led to the 777. And later the 767-400.)

    This is relatively recent: https://www.flightglobal.com/programmes/boeing-examines-genx-powered-767-x-for-cargo-and-passenger-roles/134757.article. Longer gear to provide engine clearance might facilitate a stretch as a better scheme than a hunchback.

  20. I also believe Boeing has a problem-mostly because of the 777X and the 737.
    The 777X is too big and heavy for these days and beaten by range and efficiency by the current A350. A stretched A350-1000 would carry the same amount of passengers as the 777-9 and still beat it in range and efficiency. If the A350 line “becomes neonized”, then the 777X would come up even shorter.

    737 cant really compete with the A220/A320/A321 series anymore as described in the article, but will still do well as there is still a large customer base (Southwest, Ryan Air, United etc).

    Boeing’s jewel is the 787-9 and along with the A350, they will be dominating the skies. The 787-10 performance could also be improved into ER and LR versions to better compete with the A350. A 787-10 with an A350 range would be stellar plane!

    • “Boeing’s jewel is the 787-9”
      Pity for Boeing that so many 787s are stuck in inspection hangars for the past few months, with the situation worsening by the week…and publicly-vented frustrations from CEOs of lessors only drawing further attention to its wounds…

  21. 777 Update

    FAA orders engine inspection

    Perhaps one should make it quite clear that not all 777 engines are to be inspected, at least not for now

    Further – as per Max – the FAA dilly dallied once again – just like Boeing the FAA appears complacent about planes falling from the sky

    “On Monday, the FAA acknowledged that after a Japan Airlines engine incident in December it had been considering stepping up blade inspections”


    • Wrong conclusions. The NTSB looked into Uniteds previous uncontained fan blade failure in Feb 2018 and found it was a maintenance failure by United, who werent using the proper procedures and missed the evidence. FAA can only ask that an airline actually does what its supposed to do, they dont stand looking over the shoulder when its being done. The VP of Engine Maintenance at United should be looking for a new job this week.

      • Hello Dukeofurl,

        Re: ” The NTSB looked into Uniteds previous uncontained fan blade failure in Feb 2018 and found it was a maintenance failure by United, who werent using the proper procedures and missed the evidence.”

        This is not true. United was sending their 777 PW4000 fan blades to P&W for inspections, and the inspectors who missed the defects were P&W employees. The NTSB attributed this to P&W’s lack of proper procedures and training for their inspectors, i.e. the inspectors didn’t violate procedures, it was the procedures and training that they were provided with by P&W that were bad. Below are some excerpts from the NTSB’s final report on the 2-13-18 fan blade failure on N773UA, which may be found at the aviation safety link that you gave in your post.

        “The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:

        the fracture of a fan blade due to P&W’s continued classification of the TAI inspection process as a new and emerging technology that permitted them to continue accomplishing the inspection without having to develop a formal, defined initial and recurrent training program or an inspector certification program. The lack of training resulted in the inspector making an incorrect evaluation of an indication that resulted in a blade with a crack being returned to service where it eventually fractured.

        Contributing to the fracture of the fan blade was the lack of feedback from the process engineers on the fan blades the inspectors sent to the process engineers for evaluation of indications that they had found.”

        “United Airlines utilized P&W, the engine manufacturer, to accomplish inspection and overhaul of the fan blades per maintenance manual requirements.The installed set of fan blades, including the fractured
        fan blade, had undergone two overhauls at which time the blades underwent a thermal acoustic imaging (TAI) inspection. At the initial TAI accomplished on the fractured fan blade in 2010, there was a small
        indication at the location of the origin of the crack. Review of the records from the 2015 TAI show that there was a larger indication in the same area. At the time of each TAI, the inspectors attributed the indication to a defect in the paint that was used during the TAI process and allowed the blade to continue the overhaul process and be returned to service.”

        “P&W initiated the TAI inspection process around 2005. From the outset of the inspection to the time the United Airlines fractured fan blade was inspected and up to the time of the incident at HNL, P&W did not have a defined training and certification regimen for the TAI inspectors. The 1st shift inspector was trained by the engineers who developed the process and the 2nd shift inspector, who was the one who last inspected the United Airlines fan blade that fractured, was trained by the 1st shift inspector. Both inspectors stated that their training on the TAI was about 40 hours of on-the-job training. In comparison, the certification requirements for the commonly used eddy current and ultrasonic inspections are 40 hours of classroom training and 1,200 and 1,600 hours of practical experience, respectively. In 2005, when the TAI was initiated, P&W, following standard NDT industry practice, categorized the TAI as a new and emerging technology that permitted the inspection to be accomplished without establishing a formal training program and certification requirements. In 2015, when the fractured fan blade was last inspected, and in 2018, when the fan blade fractured, P&W still categorized the TAI as a new and emerging technology, although over 9,000 fan blades had been manufactured and inspected. P&W did
        offer training on the TAI, however, the 1st and 2nd shift inspectors were not permitted to attend so that they could work on clearing the backlog of fan blades that were in the shop. After the incident, P&W reported that they had developed a curriculum for TAI initial and recurrent training.”

        Per the FAA’s AD for 777 PW4000 engines, fan blades will be sent to P&W for TAI inspection. Hopefully P&W’s training for these inspections has improved since 2018, and inspectors will not be held back from training in order to clear the backlog of fan blades.

        • Thanks for that AP, I tried a quick look for the NTSB report, but assumed the overhaul was being done in house.

      • @DoU

        Who is making the ‘wrong conclusions’ you mention?

        The FAA?

        They do not seem to be making any conclusions, merely admitting that some thing, inspections, they had previously thought to do now proves to be necessary

        Reuters? Although I can not see that the article makes any conclusions

        It might be suggested that Reuters imply with this quotation that inspections should have been mounted sooner…but that’s hardly a conclusion

        But this is yet another disaster from and for Boeing – perhaps not yet a conclusion to their long stream of disasters

    • @ Gerrard
      Shocking indeed that the FAA always seems to choose the path of least disruption/effort…even after all the bad publicity of the past 2 years.
      I wonder why they needed so long to “CONSIDER stepping up blade inspections” after the incident in December? Perhaps they were waiting for Moses to descend from the mountain with stone tablets containing further instructions…?

      • @Bryce

        For the FAA one disaster is never enough to allow them to do anything

        They need at least two

        • Oh really .
          What’s the names of the planes the FAA builds?
          What’s the destinations that FAA flys to
          Think of it like the Tennis, the players are responsible for all the action , the referee merely watches to see if any rules are broken

      • FAA wears two hats:
        * Flight safety and such
        * furthering American Aerospace industry.

        a clash.

    • Never a dull day where the Big B is concerned 🙄

      That’s not going to aid the MAX re-cert process in China…

    • Hello Branaboy,

      Re:”FAA alert on possible Boeing 737NG and MAX decompression issues due to failing door fasteners”

      Seems to a be a pretty run of mill AD to me. Inspections, testing or sharp mechanics caught a potential problem which was addressed by the manufacturer and regulator before the problem caused an accident or incident. Just like the following AD’s issued by the FAA on the A320 series since December 2020.

      AD 2020-25-03 effective 12-28-20.
      “SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 99-01-19 and AD 2004-25-02, which applied to certain Airbus SAS Model A320 series airplanes. AD 99-01-19 and AD 2004-25-02 required repetitive inspections to detect fatigue cracking in certain areas of the fuselage, and
      corrective action if necessary. AD 2004-25-02 also provided an optional terminating action for the repetitive inspections. This AD continues to require, for certain airplanes, repetitive inspections of the fastener holes for any cracking, and repair if necessary, and provides an optional terminating action for the fastener hole inspections. This AD also revises the applicability to include additional airplanes and requires, for all airplanes, inspections of the emergency exit door structure for any cracking and repair if necessary; as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. This AD was prompted by a report that during full scale tests to support the Model A320 structure extended service goal (ESG) exercise, several cracks were found on both
      sides of the overwing emergency exit door cut-outs at fuselage section 15. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.”


      AD 2020-26-15 effective 2-2-2021.
      “SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2016-07-14, which applied to certain Airbus Model A319-111, -112, -113, -114, -115, -131, -132, and -133 airplanes; Model A320-211, -212, -214, -231, -232, and -233 airplanes; and Model A321-111, -112, -131, -211, -212, -213, -231, and -232 airplanes. AD 2016-07-14 required replacing the clips, shear webs, and angles, related investigative actions, and repair if necessary. This AD retains the actions of AD 2016-07-14, and requires modifying (replacing) the clips, shear webs, and angles at a certain rear fuselage area with new parts, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is
      incorporated by reference. The FAA has also determined that additional airplanes are subject to the unsafe condition. This AD was prompted by fatigue testing that determined that fatigue damage could appear on clips, shear webs, and angles at certain rear fuselage sections and certain frames. The FAA is issuing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products.”


      AD 20201-03-05 effective 2-22-21.
      “SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Airbus SAS Model A318, A319, A320, and A321 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report that following accomplishment of tap tests on certain modified rudders, disbonding of the rudder was found close to
      the lightning protection plate. This AD requires inspections of the left- and right-hand rudder side shells for defects, and applicable corrective actions, as specified in a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, which is incorporated by reference. The FAA is issuing this AD to address theunsafe condition on these products.

      DATES: This AD becomes effective February 22, 2021.
      The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certainpublication listed in this AD as of February 22, 2021.
      The FAA must receive comments on this AD by March 22, 2021.”


    • AD’s issued by FAA for A320 and B737 series airplanes since 8-1-2020 according to the FAA website.

      Airworthiness Directives (ADs) – Current Only
      Search Results for “Airbus A320”

      AD No. /Effective Date /Subject
      2021-02-17 3/30/2021 Equipment/Furnishings
      2021-03-05 2/22/2021 Stabilizers
      2020-26-15 2/2/2021 Fuselage
      2020-26-01 1/4/2021 Landing gear
      2020-25-03 12/28/2020 Equipment/furnishings
      2020-22-06 12/14/2020 Fuselage
      2020-22-16 12/10/2020 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks
      2020-20-05 11/19/2020 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks
      2020-21-11 11/19/2020 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks
      2020-21-10 11/19/2020 Time Limits/Maintenance Checks
      2020-22-08 11/18/2020 Communications, Cabin systems
      2020-21-09 10/29/2020 Landing gear
      2020-19-03 10/27/2020 Fuselage
      2020-18-06 10/8/2020 Fuselage
      2020-18-07 10/8/2020 Fuselage
      2020-18-10 10/6/2020 Fuel
      2020-17-03 10/2/2020 Fuselage
      2020-17-01 9/9/2020 Fuel
      2020-12-16 9/7/2020 Fire protection
      2020-16-01 8/19/2020 Fire protection
      2020-14-08 8/7/2020 Landing Gear

      Airworthiness Directives (ADs) – Current Only
      Search Results for “Boeing 737”
      AD 2020-24-02 in the MAX ungrounding AD.

      Search results /AD No. /Effective Date /Subject
      2021-02-13 3/30/2021 Fuselage
      2021-02-14 3/30/2021 Fuel
      2021-01-04 3/29/2021 Doors
      2021-01-07 3/9/2021 Air Distribution System
      2020-26-09 1/27/2021 Wings
      2020-26-04 1/25/2021 Fuselage
      2020-24-02 11/20/2020 Auto flight, Flight controls, and Indicating/recording systems
      2020-18-13 10/29/2020 Fuel
      2020-17-04 9/29/2020 Equipment/furnishings
      2020-14-03 8/27/2020 Wings
      2020-16-51 8/26/2020 Pneumatic


  22. “Boeing revamped the MAX into a simple shrink of the MAX 8.”

    Didn’t do anything for sales. ..
    But now it is a minimum change article based on the MAX8!

    B can keep it available without exorbitant outlay for a wide range of bespoke parts that the base original -700 sported.
    In a way cosmetic, but not without value.

  23. “”brochure range
    12 seats more because of its longer cabin
    same goes for range 3700nm
    Meanwhile the A320 needs 3 tanks to get to 4000nm””

    NO NO NO

    It is known that Boeing’s range and pax data are assumptions from Boeing’s marketing fools.
    In this case we talked about Bjorn’s article from 2014 which is no longer valid because there was no payload-range curve from Boeing available at that time, but it is NOW.
    Now those 12 seats can’t be taken on long range because the MAX-8 doesn’t have the MTOW for it, as I said with the OEW from ET302.
    Now Boeing isn’t even mention 3700nm because it can be reached only with around 100 pax.
    If the MAX-8 would use additional fuel tanks it would have less payload than the A320neo.
    A320neo needs only one ACT to reach 4000nm, not three.

    • 737-8MAX 6.5t @ 4000nm ( assuming an OEW that allows 20.8t payload max. ET302 had 2t higher oew for real numbers I could find.)
      A320NEO 12.5t @ 4000nm ( using one ACT, losing ~1t max payload.
      Both ACAPS payload-range table values

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