Podcast: 10 Minutes About the Boeing Board of Directors

Feb. 23, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week, Boeing announced that two members of the Board—Arthur Collins and Susan Schwab—will retire at the end of their terms in April. No replacements have been named yet.

Earlier, Ambassador Nikki Haley resigned over policy differences related to the COVID crisis CARES act. Haley was not replaced. More recently Caroline Kennedy resigned from the Board. She was replaced by the former CEO of the accounting firm KMPG.

Boeing’s 12-member Board is heavy on representatives of the defense and finance industries. It has ex- politicians, pharmaceutical and communications members. But other than Lawrence Kellner, who is from the airline industry, there is nobody representing commercial aviation manufacturing, design, engineering or production.

LNA’s podcast today takes a look at these facts and Boeing’s Board of Directors.

 

Leeham News and Analysis
Leeham News and Analysis
Podcast: 10 Minutes About the Boeing Board of Directors
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164 Comments on “Podcast: 10 Minutes About the Boeing Board of Directors

  1. I think everybody was cheering Boeing until 2018 because of free cash flow and stock value. The accounting method, impressive outlooks/backlog suppressed any critical remark on buybacks, portfolio, debt. Many benefited, so didn’t intervene.

    Lobbied politics (congress, senate) gave Boeing free cards, handed them tanker contract, “streamlined” FAA, gave tax cuts,Ex-Im financing, blocked BBD, Airbus etc etc. Boeing became the invincible, above the law.

    Meanwhile a board without real knowledge about aircraft was easy to manipulate. And they got paid to be nice, agree. No pooking at all.

    I think they should pay Boeing fixed good salaries, not largely based on short term free cash flow -> buy backs -> stock value -> bonusses. But on long term company health, integrity. Smart investment instead of beach parties.

    • keesje, I agree that the board and C level executives need to have their compensation be more in line with long term objectives of the companies viability. Gordon Bethune in his book “From Worst to First” (his story of turning around Continental Airlines), makes a point of showing how people will bend common sense into a pretzel, depending on what they are measured by. For example, If a design and operations team is measured by not allowing any changes to require additional pilot training, then that is how they will build an airplane. If they are measured by saving costs at every turn, not being able to bring proper engineering cost/benefit analysis into the design, not properly holding design/review meetings, the inevitable will result. I call it spreadsheet management. Boeing was started by a Pilot Boeing and an Engineer Rensselaer. I don’t know if any good Pilot or Engineer would want to join Boeings board now. I don’t think Boeing is up against the wall enough to make the tough decisions needed to force a major change in course. When Bethune took over Continental, they were minutes from bankruptcy. When Alan Mulally took over Ford, they were looking towards bankruptcy. Until the Board of Directors can see the lights of bankruptcy headed towards them, I don’t think things will change.

      • And the major stockholders step forward and demand the company be run properly. The families, the institutions, the ETFs and Mutual funds. I’d presume CALPERS has a stake in BA. If they don’t, hedge funds and other private equity could do more wrong than good. Warren Buffett rescued GE. He possibly could be a positive force.

        • Sam:

          We own stocks, we get the notices of voting, I look at them, some seem common sense and others?

          Same for Board of directors. How do you choose? Its a yea or nay and for a focus stock like Boeing I could work through it (if I had it, mine are all Mutual Funds so I have no direct input)

          I have yet to figure it out any more than I can or have school board or the local Electrical utility sans a blow up and the paper has enough information to make a decisions.

          Many stocks are wrapped up in mutual funds, I don’t even know if I have Boeing in the mix.

          • Yes for the small retail investor it is hard to have much of a say in the large corporation they hold shares in. Boeing has suspended dividend payments. One would think the big owners would be up in arms about this. Many times there are proxy wars with different factions fighting to put their guy in charge and turn the company around.

          • Sam:

            Yea its been my observation that at times our best allies can be strange bedfellows.

            But greed trumps all so it runs off the rails.

            Just had a discussion with my Investor Guru, you are a bit too exposed in some areas, they have done well but have kept creeping up, suggest we pare those back.

            Agreed, I set policy and you keep an eye on all of it!

            ps: we are piss ant in the scheme of things investment wise, but its really important to us. Just luck of the draw we had money to invest. We have a very dedicated manager who care about small as well as big.

    • Keep in mind a large portion of salary is stock, and they can also buy stock independently. So either way stock value is a driver, whether for bonuses or capital gains.

      • Its one of the most corrupt parts of the allowed system.

        Stocks involvement with either direct compassionate or good buddy deal buys should be illegal.

        Its not the only part but its one important part.

        CEO and Board Chair should never be allowed to be the same person as well. That equally is a corruption of the intent of the corporate system for balance.

        Limit should be one lawyer on a boar as well as a balance of relevant industry people.

        Duke energy has no place on a board not a political hack like Haley.

  2. Forbes raised the possibility of Calhoun being granted an extension by the board at retirement. This was at his appointment, before COVID hit.

    His main task was getting the MAX back on its feet, so maybe that will be considered complete by next year. Surviving the COVID crisis and bringing out a new aircraft could be considered the next major tasks. Perhaps those are tasks for another person. I suspect the board will put that question to Calhoun and consider his views on whether a successor would be best.

    • “His main task was getting the MAX back on its feet”

      With rigged re-cert flights (“keep your finger on the pickle switch”), babysitter pilots, chaperoning fleet-wide flight monitoring by the FAA, a still-absent re-cert in China, and a deferred MAX-10 due to extra demands made by EASA, one could perhaps more accurately say “back on crutches” or “somewhat re-mobilized in a wheelchair”.

    • I’ve heard multiple times that Marc Allen is the supposed Successor to Calhoun. I don’t know if Scott wants to comment on that further

  3. Scott, very good analysis.
    I agree that the next CEO should be an engineer type but let’s not forget, Dennis Muielnberg was an engineer and came up thru the ranks, but and this is key, he was a protege of McNerney and the GE style as is the same with Calhoun. Calhoun though is not the engineer type, as a once insider I personally don’t think he nor the board care about any of this. It’s all window dressing.
    This safety board set shortly after the max max crashes was all window dressing, as employees we never heard nor received any updates. Stan Deal last name fits him perfectly and Leeann Carret for sure is not fit, she’s just the bubbly airhead yes person that they want, good grief her team can’t even get the space program squared away since the debacle in December 2019.
    I totally agree with Bryce’s comments.
    IMO, Boeing wants to continue with the status quo and appease the Wall Street masters.

    • William Allen, Boeing’s best CEO, was a lawyer.

      It’s the ethics. They were different then.

  4. While Boeing has specific US Corporate Governance issues that need correct (they are not along, Caterpillar also has the CEO and Board Chairman the same positions) the regulatory side is beyond pathetic.

    The FAA was studying the PW4000 problem and had done nothing until the blow off of the Denver 777. That is the third, all UN-CONTAINED !

    It should have grounded the PW4000 fleet after the first, but keep in mind that is the regulatory MO, we will study it.

    Its not just the FAA. EASA allowed two bad RR engines on the 787 and we had another near call at Rome. The one that failed was supposedly the BETTER of the two.

    The standard as minimum is you have a brand new engine paired with a questionable one until you can document, not computer model the issue.

    Equally flaws in software are let gone until its convenient to fix.

    4 years ago my wife was flying to Denver and there was one of those flaws on the A320. It was in the distracting ops are of MCAS 1.0 and they had 5 years to fix it. That is truly insane. It should be fixed NOW.

    The good old boy network need to change to a regulated environment and quit playing Russian Roulette with air safety.

    • this was not uncontained. the fan blade stayed in the case. the impact shock when it hit the case caused the cowling to separate.

    • Wow, that SF article is a bombshell!

      “During its earnings call yesterday, CEO John Plueger said that the planemaker should focus on getting its own house in order, specifically noting that a resolution to the ongoing problems with the 787 Dreamliner should be a priority.”

      “It’s clear that the production issues that have arisen on the 787’s seemed to have mushroomed, and there’s just greater and greater levels of inspection going on due to the non-conformity findings.”

      The issue, he said, is not so much that the 787 is undergoing inspections which are impacting operations and deliveries of the type, but that there seems to be no clear path out of the situation. He continued: “It is difficult to see a definitive fix that is agreeable by the aviation authorities going forward.””

      Every day that goes by, the Big B sinks further and further into the mire…

      • For anyone looking up, check out bloomberg or other publications that pick up the piece.

        Don’t forget the line going repeatedly: they are just making a safe plane safer™
        😜

    • Shows the various pressures within the industry. The suggestion is made that the 787 be used as-is, having been approved with the machining and assembly flaws, because that is the best result for the lessors.

      Boeing is not likely to agree to that, it would be far better in the long term to endure a few cancellations (which are happening now with COVID anyway) and fix the problems correctly. But there are always short-term viewpoints and pressures.

      Also better for the lessors in the short term for Boeing to not launch another aircraft, but not for Boeing in the long term. So although the lessors won’t get their way, these decisions will both result in a stronger Boeing in the end.

      • Shows the intense pressure on Boeing. The suggestion is made that the 787 be used as-is, having been approved with the machining and assembly flaws, because that is the easiest result for Boeing.

        Customers are not likely to agree to that, it would be far better in the long term to go ahead and cancel (which is happening now due to multiple 787 woes anyway) because the problems will probably never be fixable correctly. But there are always short-term Boeing viewpoints and pressures.

        Also better for the world in the short term for Boeing to not launch another aircraft, but not for Boeing in the long term. So although Boeing won’t get its way, these decisions will result in a safer aviation world in the end.

        • I hear the blender running again.

          Sadly there are not even lemons to put in it.

    • Boeing’s official forecast of restarting delivery in Feb. or even Q1 looks more and more questionable.

      What’s going to be the number of 787 undelivered at this quarter end? 100? Or more?? What further lever can Corp BA pull to paint a better CF picture?

      Another case of aim high, shoot low??

      More worrysome as more jets are delayed more than twelve months, customers now have the upper hand to renegotiate.

      • When it rains it pours.

        In flying its referred to as a death spiral. A series of horrible decisions leads to a crash.

        This is the Dutchboy on steroids, more like a dike like a Colander . Well except the Dutchboy in this case poked the holes in the dike in the first place.

          • It is more like the too short bedspread thing.

            At some point you can pull it whichever way:
            Things will be exposed: just different ones 🙂

        • ” (Bloomberg) — Boeing Co.’s hunt for the source of manufacturing flaws with its 787 Dreamliner extends deep into its supply chain, a sign the planemaker risks further delays as it works to resolve issues that have halted deliveries of the jetliner since October.

          Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., which makes the Dreamliner’s nose and cockpit, is at Boeing’s request conducting an engineering analysis of so-called “noncomformities” on its portion of the carbon-fiber frame, Spirit Chief Executive Officer Tom Gentile told analysts Tuesday. “

          • Well, this is — of course — good news for Boeing, because they can try to blame someone else. It’s a bit difficult to blame pilots in this issue (though they’ve probably considered it), but blaming suppliers is an acceptable alternative for them 🙂

            However, has anyone noticed that Airbus doesn’t appear to be having any critical problems with its suppliers?

          • Its up to Boeing to either check the quality of items brought in (which can be done in the case of the nose) or ensure that the documentation of the quality is presented with each part (sometimes batches per fasteners)

            But quality control is not a simple up or down. It has to be proven that if you do batch quality, the quality of the batch and process is adhered to so tightly that you cannot have escape .

            I saw an entire 747 hangar come down (1/3 main structure assemble) because of weld lack of quality to meet the seismic codes. The entire hangar was replaced with a completely different mfg structure.

            They could not cut out the welds (all bad) and re-weld at any rational cost. They gave up their bond when it was obvious it was not economical feasible (we guessed 4 to 5 times the cost of the whole original structure)

            They sold the package into a lower seismic rated area!

            There was no inspection anywhere in the system to check that they met it, not at the ori9ginal mfg, not at the Port of Seattle, not on arrival in Anchorage.

          • @Bryce: Airbus’s R&D is not spent on fixing current products like Boeing, money is invested for the future. That’s why Boeing’s carbon reduction strategy is renewable fuel, i.e. free ride.

          • Boeing is engaged in a review of quality control that reaches out to suppliers as well. If they didn’t do this, they’d be criticized. If they do this, they are criticized. It’s all noise in the end, the important thing for Boeing is to resolve the issues, which they are doing.

          • Boeing is engaged in a “review” of quality control that attempts to scapegoat suppliers. If they didn’t do this, they’d be failing their reputation. If they do this, they are justly criticized. It’s all smokescreening in the end, the important thing for Boeing is to resolve the issues, which they are seemingly incapable of doing.

          • Delta CEO: International travel will not come back in any meaningful form for probably another twelve months, may be spring 2022 for the real start.

            Boeing engaged a review of quality control … after delivery of close to 1,000 787.

            How good is Boeing quality assurance system? Is it working in the real world (vs. on paper)? Has Boeing initiate a quality control review of its production system? Why airlines complained FOD?? Has Boeing look into the mirror?

          • “However, has anyone noticed that Airbus doesn’t appear to be having any critical problems with its suppliers?”

            Airbus is king of interfaces ( design, execution.)
            from day one of its existence. Working across entity and national borders.
            Supplier or just different department : the differentiation is fluid.
            ( never a path to fix stuff over the fast lane at workforce / shop floor level that Boeing seems so proud of..)

          • “Boeing is engaged in a review of quality control that reaches out to suppliers as well.”

            Traditionally Boeing seems to “reach out” with knife and baseball bat !?.

            About the way they handle their workforce.

  5. Somewhat off topic: upcoming painful cancellations for Boeing/Airbus.
    Reuters: “Jetmakers to lose orders in Norwegian restructuring”

    “Norwegian has 88 A320neo-family narrow-body jets on order from Airbus, according to the manufacturer.
    The airline said last June it had cancelled orders for 97 Boeing jets and would claim compensation for the grounding of the 737 MAX and for 787 Dreamliner engine troubles.
    However, the orders for 5 Dreamliners and 92 MAX remain posted on the Boeing website”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norwegian-air-restructuring-aircraft/jetmakers-to-lose-orders-in-norwegian-restructuring-sources-idUSKBN2AN17Q

    • That is a funny area. I thought the new standard would remove them.

      Maybe loop holes in some decisions like going belly up and a final despite the writing on the wall.

      I only see Norwegians with A321 orders (30)

      • Further review Norwegian gave up all its Airbus stuff at least A320 and not sure where the A321 is.

  6. Suggestion for an addition to the board: Calin Rovinescu, who is retiring from Air Canada. Did a great job turning that airline around (including improving labour relations while controlling costs). Only problem is he is already 65.

    • Age I don’t think applies to the board, it does to the Executive officers

      He would be a good example of relevant aviation experience for the board.

      One area to give thought to is when a company like Boeing is split between defense and commercial aircraft (taken with a grain of sale right now) should there be two boards?

  7. Hopefully the money managers driving the board changes will insist on Alan Mulally having a seat at the table.

    Knows Boeing like the back of his hand – Check

    Knows how to turnaround companies in dire straights – Check

    Did not work for GE or McDonnell Douglas or other failed business models – Check

    Understands that more bean counters are not the solution – Check

  8. Would be interesting if Norm Augustine, Alan Mulally and Chesley Sully got onto the Boeing board and could direct and force the company forward…

  9. I like the last two a lot!

    Not familiar with Augustine other than a Volcano in Alaska though that might not be a bad move.

    • Normal response to a blade-out incident. Inspect the affected engines for possible additional instances of fatigue cracking. That had been ordered previously as well.

      • If you actually read it, the whole thing has been totally half assed and that is being kind.

        Lighting conditions , people hat don’t know what they are looking at, not trained, the usually.

        MAX all over again except its the FAA, Dickson is a much a failure as Muilbengerger and Calhoun.

        This should have been handled on the first go, not the third (or the 4th depending on finding on the 747 though that is a different Model of the 4000.

        Containment failure is becoming the norm. That is beyond pathetic.

        • The FAA requires inspection. The airline reported the blades were inspected and no issues found.

          On examination of records after a blade failure, it was found that the technicians mistook a small imperfection for a paint flaw. That flaw was real and resulted in a blade fatigue crack. The technicians were improperly trained.

          This goes to SMS and safety culture, things that Dickson is trying to implement across the industry. It’s proof that he is right, not wrong.

  10. I would love to see Elon Musk do a Tesla stock swap and get a controlling interest in Boeing. All he would need to do is fill the board with egineers and airline people. He could then be a silent owner. It wouldn’t cost him a cent and he would save Boeing.

    • An airliner undercarriage is more complicated than a Tesla car, and the whole design and construction business is very highly regulated …do you see Musk wanting that ?
      Then theres the profits Boeing made up till 2019, Tesla cars are a money loser except for the carbon trading made of selling pieces of paper to other manufacturers in 2020.
      “Tesla generated $24.6 billion in revenue in 2019, buoyed by a fourth quarter revenue figure of just shy of $7.4 billion.
      Tesla still didn’t turn an annual profit — in fact, it lost $862 million in 2019.”
      https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/29/21113987/tesla-q4-2019-earnings-results-profit-revenue-model-3

    • They should split up Boeing.

      No real synergy between the commercial and defense side.

      Main problem is the company does not have the internal talent to manage the whole enterprise.

      Maybe Bezos would be interested in the commercial side and would have the ability to manage it.

  11. In More Good News for a resurgent Boeing

    DOT FAA BA Update

    https://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/38302

    Yet another DOT report critical, or very critical, of the FAA : one of a long series that resumes the same old same negative judgement on the FAA’s procedures behaviours and reliability

    Yet nothing changes with the FAA – witness hesitation after first Max crash == equivalent hesitation after first JAL engine flaming

    http://www.boeing.com/commercial/market/commercial-market-outlook/.

    Same day same co incidence : BA bull forecast for the market :

    Instead of Asia fueling the world market it will now be their own resurgent backyard Latin Am and South Am, a kind of Madison doctrine will ensure, perhaps, BA dominance

    The following quote contains more than a hint of official gvmt policy cum DoD global security zoning

    « Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As a top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth. »

    If one wishes to question this sudden surprise emergence of an undersuspected aviation powerhouse market one may contact Boeing Communications directly

    One may not be surprised to see a follow up on the Africa market predicting BA dominance over this very large segment with a list of gvmts signing up for protection

    So- back to glory days very soon ; the new normal resembles an efficient re organisation of the world to the tune of ‘who needs Asia’

  12. More Great News for Boeing

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-24/united-air-s-grounded-777s-had-troubled-history-in-debt-markets

    United attempted to use BA 777s as collateral – the market demanded 11% interest

    The planes the market said are not worth it – please note this was before the flaming engines and before FAA puzzling about what to do about……er..maybe look at ….no let’s go back to sleep*TM

    The market could see what United, BA and the FAA could not – in spite of this no-one did nothing

    « The aircraft that showered debris over a Denver suburb this past weekend was among assets that investors had been reluctant to accept as collateral last year when the airline sought to borrow billions of dollars to ride out the pandemic, according to flight records and debt documents reviewed by Bloomberg.
    United’s first attempt to sell debt backed by some of its oldest planes — including the 26-year-old 777-200 with the engine mishap, and dozens more like it — collapsed in May after investors demanded interest as high as 11% to compensate for the risk.
    A second effort to pledge the same aircraft for a new debt sale a few months later, along with engines and other spare parts that United had scraped together, was more successful. CreditSights analyst Roger King described the deal at the time, however, as a “kitchen sink” offering because of the poor quality of the underlying assets. »

    • Reason for the low collateral value was the age and remaining life of the aircraft, which unsurprisingly significantly reduce their value.

      The article mentions that the reduction in collateral, if the affected 777’s with the P&W engines are retired, is estimated at 4% of the overall valuation.

      • @Rob

        Yup low value aircraft is correct, low value engines ….well negative value engines, also correct

        You can read this part of the article right

        What you didn’t read was – how come these negative value planes are flying, sort of flying, and none of the concerned parties, BA, United, FAA, can see that they should not be

        But WS can

        Conclusion – the only people who have interest in making sure they are getting it right are WS, but not Boeing, nor FAA, nor United

  13. Downbeat report on the future of airtravel

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-23/quarantines-crushing-air-travel-are-getting-longer-and-lonelier

    Contradicts optimistic Boeing and upbeat FAA

    Vaccine passports are not being used, nor will be, especially in Asia, where quarantining of incoming is reaching ‘soul jerking’ standards of isolation and lengthiness

    In some extreme Antipodean cases a new form of apartheid is being introduced – these countries have long been preparing a vision of themselves as a post nuclear isolated luxurious haven, now’s their chance to live the dream

    « Rather than gradually being wound back, some quarantines are approaching permanency. The Australian state of Victoria has started looking at “long-term” solutions for separating overseas arrivals from the local population, with arrivals housed in newly-built complexes near airports. The review followed an outbreak of the virulent U.K. strain from a quarantine hotel in Melbourne. »

    • It’s likely that most countries will use vaccination certification in some form. If those are digitally issued as encrypted certificates, and displayable with QR code on cell phones, as some countries are now doing, then it would be relatively straightforward for countries to have honoring agreements and verification from scanners at check-in. This dispenses with the need for an immunity passport. The secured technology to do this already exists in e-commerce. Works for domestic flights as well.

      • @ Rob

        Bravo on maintaining the outlier dissident opinion and ideology

        The Honest thrust of debate with diverse non white privilege viewpoints is essential

      • @Rob

        Your vaccine passport dissident opinion follows in the footsteps of your former President

        Both of you disregard the WHO

        « ‘At the present time, it is WHO’s position that national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry.’ »

        • WHO is developing guidance for universal digital certificates. As mentioned, this is something that is likely to happen as vaccination status is much easier to establish than immunity status, and many governments will require it internally anyway.

          https://www.who.int/groups/smart-vaccination-certificate-working-group

          Also in the WHO statement that proof of vaccination should not be required for travel, they still recommend that vaccination status be monitored and recorded.

          “Regardless of any technology implemented in future, the COVID-19 vaccination status of international travelers should be recorded through the International Certificate for Vaccination and Prophylaxis based on the model presented in Annex 6 of the IHR. The same format could be adapted once WHO pre-qualified COVID-19 vaccines become available universally and relevant recommendations are provided under the IHR.”

          Lastly the current reasoning of the WHO is that sufficient evidence does not yet exist for absence of transmission with vaccination. But real-world data increasingly show that this effect does exist, so given that and the developing presence of vaccination certificates, it’s likely to be adopted by governments at some point.

          • @Rob

            You are right

            One day, maybe, the WHO and everyone else will change their mind

            Let’s hope so

            Hope is a little bird that never says his name…

        • @ Gerrard
          Apart from that, there’s still no meaningful data on transmission (which, of course, is why the WHO sees nothing in the idea).
          Studies in Isreal *suggest* that vaccines are having *some* effect on transmission, but nobody can put a real-world, hard-data figure on it. Remember that, for the fishbowl countries (China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and NZ) anything short of 100% prevention of transmission will not be acceptable as regards incoming passengers — although Singapore is creative and realistic enough to fall back on a stricter testing/tracing regime as an alternative. And, as regards the E484 mutation, every country outside SA and Brazil is effectively a fishbowl country.
          Countries (such as Israel) that are introducing such documents for domestic use are doing so in an attempt to encourage higher uptake. Interestingly, other countries proposing similar ideas are suggesting that CoViD-recovered patients should also get such a document, since they also have “immunity”. Though virologists on the sidelines still point out the emptiness of such documents from an epidemiological point of view.

          • @Bryce

            Exactly

            Just when everyone thinks they are successful at playing catch up, there is a new mutation or a recombinant which throws the cat at the pigeons

            One day maybe when the bug settles down and reaches his flu like goal then there’ll be ….er..no quarantine, nor testing, nor even WHO alerts, except when it comes to Covid-20 or 21 making his entrance

            But bureaucrats sure like paperwork, and some countries think that soothing speeches about certificates passports and indeed gold stars may make their populaces feel a little bit happier and less inclined to throw stones

      • It’s unlikely that many countries will use vaccination certification in some form. Regardless of whether those are digitally issued as encrypted certificates, and displayable with QR code on cell phones, as some parties are now proposing, it says nothing about the real-time virological status of the holder. This idea has been proposed at various junctures by different countries in the EU, only to be flagged down by epidemiologists as being an empty gesture. The secured technology to do this already exists in e-commerce, but it won’t help much in the cross-border travel industry.

  14. The new IG report is the follow-up to the investigative timeline report published in July 2020. That report said that recommendations would be forthcoming, and they are now published in the current report.

    Notably the FAA has accepted all 14 recommendations, and most are already in progress. In addition, in 2020 FAA closed out 4 prior IG recommendations. FAA also will have addressed most of the DOT Special Committee recommendations in 2021, finishing those in 2o22.

    The NPRM for requiring SMS for manufacturers is expected in September 2022. Complete rulemaking and compliance with all recommendations is expected by 2025.

    The IG thus considers the recommendations resolved, but they will remain open and monitored until final actions are complete.

    One important decision for Boeing will be next month’s FAA ruling on the 2015 Settlement Agreement. The settlement will be closed, but further action could be taken if Boeing has not met the settlement criteria.

    • @Rob

      FAA still asleep at the wheel if that’s the right industry insider phrase

      In spite of all the reports inquiries and recommendations FAA still manages to FaaUp everything they touch

      Please explain how they manage this

      • @ Gerrard
        Indeed…a whole stream of bad press for the FAA, which Reuters this morning is showing to be incompetent (first link), withholding documents (second link) and devoid of its old “authority” (third link).

        “U.S. audit report cites ‘weaknesses’ in FAA certification of Boeing 737 MAX”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-737max/u-s-audit-report-cites-weaknesses-in-faa-certification-of-boeing-737-max-idUSKBN2AO2P6

        “U.S. lawmakers urge FAA to submit delayed airline engine safety report to Congress”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-777-congress/u-s-lawmakers-urge-faa-to-submit-delayed-airline-engine-safety-report-to-congress-idUSKBN2AO2ZT

        “Boeing working with regulators, customers on return of 737 MAX in Asia”

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-asia/boeing-working-with-regulators-customers-on-return-of-737-max-in-asia-executive-idUSKBN2AP0A7

        • @Bryce

          Crikey! That’s a lot of bad news for one small part of one day

          But there were no accidents ? Nothing at all ? : then perhaps the news is not all that bad, perhaps

          This quote reflects the general FAA sleep mode of operating

          « The lawmakers added they were concerned any “recommendations to improve airline engine safety have been languishing for well over a year. Even more concerning is the potential missed opportunity to address similar airline engine safety issues before they occurred again.”

          Before they occurred ? Who ? What ?

          And This quote appears to reflect a sensible decision to co operate/collaborate on certification, mindful of China and their common interests, economic etc political, but also logistical

          ‘So far, all Asian countries have held off from approving the MAX’s return, though Boeing said last month it expected to win remaining global regulatory approvals in the first half of 2021. »

          It’s a new world : one which is not favourably disposed towards either BA or the FAA, neither domestically US nor especially not in Asia, for some time now both have been running on empty

          • @ Gerrard
            What is particularly interesting is that Asian nations are also not following the EASA’s re-cert of the MAX: they evidently see EASA’s original approval of the MAX, followed by Ky’s minimalist re-cert modifications, to be an insult to their intelligence. It seems that they’re waiting for Chinese re-cert — if that comes at all. Not surprising, since most carriers in the region will want their shorthaul planes to be able to fly to Chinese destinations. But, as we’ve said before, China is in absolutely no hurry: it took China years to certify the A350 after that plane’s earlier certification by the EASA…not because there was anything wrong with the A350, but because China wanted to use the certification as a strategic pawn.

          • Australia and New Zealand have said they will follow EASA, but at their own pace since air travel is still heavily restricted there. Other island nations have said they will follow these two.

            Several nations have permitted ferry flights to begin preparations of the MAX aircraft.

            China remains opaque and their conditions are not yet met (Ethiopian final report). Also they have said publicly that relations with the US also matter, as well as recovery of the air travel market. All Boeing can do there is work with airlines and CAAC to make sure the MAX aircraft are prepared to resume service.

          • Australia and New Zealand have said they may follow EASA, but at their own pace since they want to be thorough. Some island nations have said they will follow these two.

            Some nations have permitted ferry flights as a preparatory gesture in case the MAX aircraft gets re-cert some time soon…but nobody is holding his breath.

            China remains resolute and their conditions are not yet met (probably a long list). Also they have said publicly that soured relations with the US play a role, as well as a restoration of tarnished safety of the air travel market. All Boeing can do there is hope and pray that the MAX aircraft are allowed to resume service at some juncture in the not too distant future.

          • @Rob

            Why do these South island nations say they will follow EASA?

            Should they not rather follow the FAA?

            If not why not

            Who, then, will follow CAAC?

            Maybe no one will ‘follow the FAA’

  15. Biman Bangladesh Airlines has appointed Dr. Abu Saleh Mostafa Kamal as the new Managing Director and CEO of the flag carrier on February 23.

    The former Biman MD and CEO Mokabbir Hossain has been made Chairman (Secretary) of Land Appeal Board at Land Ministry.
    https://bangladeshmonitor.com.bd/

  16. With a board like that, it’s almost as if Boeing is planning on exiting the commercial aircraft business.

    • @Matthew

      Yes – others have drawn to the same conclusion

      What management is doing to BA is a classic case of value destruction

  17. KC-46

    https://mobile.twitter.com/beverstine/status/1364661974332825600
    Yesterday I was able to get an up-close look at KC-46 RVS. It’s hard to really describe the challenges boom operators have with the current set up. I saved this slide from a recent presentation on what the boom operator sees through RVS 1.0

    Why reinvent the wheel??
    “There is not a camera in the world that will replace the human eyes. The job requires tremendous amounts of hand eye coordination, and depth perception. Nothing beats this. The USAF decided to go with the cheaper option of using a camera rather than the combat proven one.”

    • If you expand the photo in the tweet, the bottom two images are more typical of the system. It does have dynamic range issues under the conditions of the top two images, which are worsened by the LCD displays.

      RVS 1.5, which is now being installed, uses software dynamic range enhancement to improve the images, but does not totally resolve the problem. The RVS 2.0 system will use technology that is 10 years newer, together with a LIDAR grid representation. Also will display in true color with true stereoscopic collimated display.

      The comment about it being cheaper with RVS is not really valid. The KC-10 is large enough to have a seated operator position, the KC-135 has a prone operator. The RVS was meant to improve the operator environment. Also for the KC-46 that has the wing pods, the operator needs to have 180 degree views, to refuel 3 aircraft at once.

      • The RVS 2.0 will also have autonomous capability. It will lead Airbus when it becomes operational.

        KC-46 has now been approved for limited noncombat ops, to free up the existing fleet for combat deployments.

        • ” It will lead Airbus when it becomes operational”

          How can you say that about something you don’t have ??????????????

          • @ Rudolf
            Some people like to “present opinion as fact”…or, in this case, “present fantasy as fact”.
            The KC-46 is still a big, fat, dysfunctional, lemon. FlightGlobal posted an article about it just yesterday. It has cost Boeing $5.1, and it’s still not functioning properly. Another “net loss” program for BA (on top of all the others).

            https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing/usaf-explains-why-fixed-price-contract-caused-problems-for-boeing-kc-46a-tanker/142653.article

          • Rudolf, the specs for the RVS 2.0 exceed that of the Airbus system. Airbus could always respond and update their system as well.

          • Rudolf, “the specs for the RVS 2.0 exceed that of the Airbus system”… provided you define “non-usability” to be a spec 😉
            “Airbus could always respond and endow their system with this feature as well”, though it probably wouldn’t be very popular with customers.

        • “… t will lead Airbus when it becomes operational.”

          Yes Rob, Sure Rob.
          One usually creates problems when one wants to lead by way of copy from snooped information.

          • The KC-46 RVS 2.0 is very clearly not a copy of the Airbus system. It was developed by experts in the US who served on the design review panel formed by Boeing and the Air Force.

          • “The KC-46 RVS 2.0 is very clearly not a copy of the Airbus system”

            Yes, the difference is clear: the Airbus system actually works, whereas the KC-46 system is an extremely expensive lemon.

    • So, the serious issues on the NG include the pickle forks, engine cowlings and now this door failure problem. Have I missed anything?

      For the MAX we have the MCAS fiasco, sub-standard wiring, EASA’s objection that two AOA inputs aren’t enough and now this door failure problem. And, of course, the continuing lack of re-cert in China. Anything else to add to the list?

      For the 787 we have the ongoing fuselage problems front and rear, the never-ending FOD issues, lightning-conduction controversies, and of course the initial battery fires. No deliveries since October.

      I wonder is Alaska Airlines still proud to be “All Boeing”…

      • @Bryce

        Plus the 777 – here’s another incident

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-26/boeing-777-makes-emergency-landing-in-moscow-with-engine-trouble?source

        « A Boeing Co. 777 aircraft operated by Rossiya Airlines made an emergency landing in Moscow at 4:44 a.m. local time due to engine trouble, less than a week after a similar aircraft flown by United Airlines Holdings Inc. suffered a dramatic blowout over Denver, shedding debris onto neighborhoods below.
        The Rossiya Air flight was operating as a cargo service from Hong Kong to Madrid, according to an employee at Sheremetyevo International Airport, who declined to be named. Neither Boeing nor Rossiya Air were immediately available for comment.
        The crew of the plane requested to make the emergency landing after one of the left engine control channels failed, according to Interfax. No injuries were reported. The type of engine wasn’t immediately clear. »

        • AVHerald says the aircraft was on descent to the airport when the left engine control unit failed. It landed normally and without incident.

  18. “””The Chicago airframer will also pay $1.2 million to settle two previously-disclosed enforcement cases, also involving the company’s ODA.
    In August 2020, the FAA had proposed settling those cases for $1.25 million.
    “The FAA alleges that Boeing managers exerted undue pressure or interfered with the work of FAA designees at the company’s plant in South Carolina,” the agency said in August 2020.”””
    FlightGlobal

    PROPOSING a fine is a joke and even more reducing the proposed fine.
    The ODA staff should wear a Colt to get the needed respect.
    Dickson isn’t able to do his job.

  19. The aviation regulator in Australia has lifted its ban on the MAX.

    Concurrently, the NZ regulator has declined to do the same, saying instead that: “The CAA will not issue a blanket approval for the Boeing 737 MAX to fly into New Zealand but will work with any future operators on a case-by-case basis to clear flight operations into New Zealand”

    Reuters –Australia lifts ban on Boeing 737 MAX, among first in Asia-Pacific:
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-737max-australia/australia-lifts-ban-on-boeing-737-max-among-first-in-asia-pacific-idUSKBN2AQ09Q

    • “MAX flying into NZ.”

      Is that actually an urgent existing demand?
      ( i.e. is there any pressure on NZ for a solution?)

  20. On CNBC yesterday evening, and now on other news channels:

    “Boeing fined US$6.6 million for failing to comply on safety accord”

    “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday (Feb 25) announced the penalties in a press release. The company agreed to pay US$5.4 million to settle earlier cases brought against the company and another US$1.21 million for two more recent cases, the agency said.”

    “Boeing failed to meet all of its obligations under the settlement agreement, and the FAA is holding Boeing accountable by imposing additional penalties,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a press release. “I have reiterated to Boeing’s leadership time and again that the company must prioritize safety and regulatory compliance, and that the FAA will always put safety first in all its decisions.””

    “Boeing fell 5.6 per cent to US$216.45 at the close in New York, the biggest drop on the Dow Jones Industrial Average amid a broad rout in US stocks.”

    https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/boeing-fined-us66-million-for-failing-to-comply-on-safety-accord

    • @Bryce

      A report on what are the inspections and repairs to the 787 – I do not know if this has been widely reported

      « Boeing is beginning painstaking repairs and forensic inspections to fix structural integrity flaws embedded deep inside at least 88 parked 787s built over the last year or so, a third industry source said.

      The inspections and retrofits could take up to a month per plane and are likely to cost hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars, though it depends on the number of planes and defects involved, the person said. »

      « The 787 production problems have halted deliveries of the jet since the end of October, locking up a source of desperately needed cash for Boeing.

      The fuel-efficient 787 has been a huge success with airlines, which have ordered 1,882 of the advanced twin-aisle jet worth nearly US$150 billion at list prices.

      But the advanced production process and sprawling global supply chain caused problems over the years.

      As of February, Boeing had fixed the 787 production process causing the wrinkling defect, according to two people familiar with the matter.

      However, planes rolled off the assembly line with the flaw for more than a year, at least, continuing even after the flaw was discovered in August 2020.

      “It’s difficult to see a definitive fix that is agreeable by the aviation authorities and all going forward,” Boeing customer Air Lease’s CEO John Plueger told analysts on an earnings call on Feb 22. “I don’t think that we’re there yet.”

      Boeing has been working on the three potentially-hazardous defects as it charted plans to consolidate final 787 assembly in South Carolina starting next month, at a sharply-reduced rate of five 787s per month.

      One senior supply chain source said they will have to cut rate again, but another person close to the company said there was no discussion of an imminent cut.
      Boeing said last month it expects to resume handing over a small number of 787s to customers later this quarter.

      It has an ambitious internal plan to deliver 100 of the jets this year, one person said. Analysts say deliveries are not expected to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

      ‘OPEN-HEART SURGERY’

      But before any jet is delivered, it must go through invasive inspections and costly repairs.

      First, technicians must pull out the passenger seats, open up the floor paneling and use specialty tools to measure whether defects invisible to the naked eye are present, according to three people with direct knowledge of the process.

      The repair work – already underway at Boeing factories in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina – is even harder.

      In the bowels of the jet, technicians have to remove multiple specialty fasteners on both sides of the inner fuselage skin, then install newly produced “shims” that fill out gaps and remove the structural dimpling.

      Workers then replace all the fasteners, re-paint, and re-install the interior, they said.

      “It’s like open-heart surgery,” one of the people said. “They’ll be retrofitting the fleet for potentially several years.”

      /www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/boeing-hit-with-us-6-6-million-faa-fine-faces-much-bigger-787

      • @ Gerrard
        Yes, these issues were known…though this description of the required stripping/repair procedure is particularly detailed.
        One can imagine that a repair of this magnitude and complexity might be repulsive to customers with jets on order. The worst single-aircraft accident in history (a JAL 747 crash) was caused by an improperly repaired aft pressure bulkhead after a tailstrike (interestingly, the repair was carried out by Boeing engineers). I can imagine that customers might view the 787s undergoing this huge repair as “tainted goods”. Just this week, the CEO of lessor ALC indicated that some customers may make use of the ongoing delays to cancel orders without penalty. Would you like to fly in a 787 that had received surgery of this magnitude…bearing in mind that the company performing the surgery is still being fined by the FAA for shoddy safety procedures, and is under immense financial/commercial pressure to deliver airframes?

        On top of these issues, 222 other 787s were recently slapped with an AD by the FAA because of a possible issue with torn decompression panels.
        https://worldairlinenews.com/2021/02/17/faa-issues-airworthiness-directive-for-222-boeing-787-dreamliners/

      • I am still looking out for a reasonably technical description on what really is amiss here. I have some ideas but it remains guesswork at the moment.

        • I imagine that Boeing is vehement about keeping such details as secret as possible: the more detail we get, the bigger the likely loss of face for Boeing, and the greater the likely criticism of how the issues are being addressed. Too much detail can be frightening 👿

        • It’s been pretty clear from the beginning that the three issues were section surface roughness being out of spec, shims too thick based on disabling software protection, and assembly of stabilizer sections with excessive clamping force.

          To fix these requires disassembly of the various joins, and reassembly with the correct methods and remediation of the surface roughness.

          • @Rob

            You have given a superb technical description of the problems and the repairs, together with in depth costing of delivery delays, repairs and likely cancellations

            Just the sort of in depth analysis which the FAA would be proud of

            Thank you

          • Gerrard, I have no data to backup your premise here. I expect Boeing will address these problems, delivering 787’s and 737’s throughout this year and next, as they’ve made clear. The Washington FAL will be devoted to the 787 repairs beginning next month.

            The FAA is involved in this matter and has full awareness. You do not, I do not. You can speculate as much as you please. I’ve just given the facts that are known, and the expected resolution.

          • @Rob

            I have made or adopted no premise

            I have congratulated you on about as informative an analysis and a description as can be un redacted of the 787 situation, in 6 lines, or was it seven, this is achievement indeed

            As for future sales, well thank you again for the alert as to ‘expected’ or is it ‘predicted’ 787 and 737 sales and deliveries even if this section of your report lacks some precision

            Although succinct to a fault, is very helpful

            The re assurance you provide that the FAA is involved is indeed very re assuring, considering their past history of only waking up when the plane fell out of the sky or the engine, or something

            They were said to be involved in the past, but now we know that ‘truly’ they are involved, I assume they have re assured you they are now ‘involved’

            Long live BA

          • @ Gerrard
            Returning to what Uwe wrote above (which initiated this thread) he referred to a “reasonably technical description on what really is amiss here”. Such a desire is, indeed, not sated by a 6-line, vacuous, feel-good doodle. What Uwe (together with many others) wants is a detailed technical description (e.g. a journal article or manual) complete with drawings, photos, flowcharts, calculations, simulation data, etc. But, as I said above, we won’t be getting that any time soon, because it’s in BA’s interest to keep a lid on the (embarrassing and alarming) detail as much as possible.

          • @Bryce

            Yes – no adequate description of the technical problems nor the repairs

            Nor, as far as I know, are there ‘official’ recordings of the precise numbers of planes involved

            Along with some idea of costing and timeframes for resolution

            All this the BA PR will say is ‘confidential information’ –

            Indeed impossible for BA to divulge descriptions of the problems when they do not know the extent of them, nor the manner of their resolution, and when costs are an open ended anybody’s guess

            Burying costs was Lynn Doughtie’s KPMG speciality

            The same old sad singsong with the press, public, legal system, administration, and congress, oh and the airlines as to cancellations, dates, deliveries and prices

            (Let’s leave out the FAA : if there’s anything more desperate than an incompetent manufacturer it’s his corrupt sidekick)

            All BAPR will exfilter are the comments of such as @Rob – i.e. nada

          • Neither Boeing nor the FAA has any obligation to provide the requested materials, and they have a legal basis for not providing them, Just as they did for the MAX. It’s not their role to educate others on their private affairs, or to deal with the endless and largely incorrect speculation that would result.

            We know enough to understand the basic problems and what the resolutions are. Now we wait to see the results, as deliveries resume.

          • @Rob

            No one is obliged to do anything under US law as I pointed out – that is why the system is working so badly, engines planes FAA and BA both – why not draw a ready parallel with your bug nightmare

            Under cover of secrecy BAFAA prove themselves to be both incompetent and corrupt, and are correspondingly penalised in the market

            Loss of confidence in the FAA is already so world wide that even according to BA PR other country regulators are following EASA and not FAA with regard to Max re cert, when they are not making up their own minds and declining to do so

            And the more dishonest BA is about the problems with it’s planes, the less the market will buy them

            This has been seen with the United collateral problem, with the increasing disfavour in WS and with comments from industry leaders such as T Clark, problems with Congress, law suits……and so on and so on, down to Board of Directors unfit for purpose

            You claim to know what ‘the resolutions’ are to the 787, 77, and 737 problems – are you not allowed to describe these? A contractual issue ? A ‘legal basis’ ?

          • Both Boeing and the FAA have every reason to withhold the requested materials, since they want to keep a lid on the dirty laundry, just as they did for the MAX. It’s not their desire to educate others on their shoddy affairs, or to deal with the endless and largely correct questioning that would result.

            We don’t know nearly enough to understand the basic problems and what the resolutions are. Now we wait (and wait, and wait) to see the half-baked results, though deliveries continue to be zero.

          • We’ve had the argument over disclosure endlessly before. No need to repeat it again here. The law has not changed, nor is it likely to change, as it exists for good reasons.

          • @Rob

            ‘the law exists for good reasons’ ?

            In this case the law is largely absent, what little is left ill administered or ignored

            The results of such lawlessness are a disaster not only for the company concerned, but for the public

            And result In lack of governance and regulation, in poor product and practice; which makes of the US a laughing stock in the eyes of the world

            Resulting in badly made planes, loss of market, and corrupt business practice

            These are good reasons only by default, not for the US, but for EU and Asia

          • “It’s not their role to educate others on their private affairs, or to deal with the endless and largely incorrect speculation that would result. ”

            In the same vein any solution from B. must be judged as convoluted lies to get away without substantial and forward looking fixes to their issues.

            Thank you. it is about what can be observed.
            no mode change at all.
            directly from the horses mouth at that. 🙂

          • @ Gerrard
            Compare Boeing’s opacity in this matter with the hot-air pep-talk that it likes to hold up to the press:

            “New CEO tells staff Boeing must be ‘transparent'”

            “New Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun told employees on Monday the company must strengthen its culture, focus on “integrity” and be “transparent,” according to an email sent to staff.

            “That includes engaging one another and our stakeholders with greater transparency, holding ourselves accountable to the highest standards of safety and quality and incorporating outside-in perspective on what we do and how we do it.”

            https://news.yahoo.com/ceo-tells-staff-boeing-must-transparent-161654364.html

          • @Bryce

            This is a good link

            It must be that @Rob has not yet received this memo from Calhoun, and is still practicing the old Boeing habits of secrecy, duplicity and smothering of inconvenient fact

            I will, with your permission, forward it to him – requesting that he put into practice here the necessary requirements directed by Mr Calhoun

          • @Uwe

            Of course the lying BA has practiced over many years to the press the public the regulator Congress their suppliers the law courts, and to foreign airlines –

            (they give all the truth they can to LUV)

            – has proven such a success they are bound by their duty to their owners – the shareholders – to continue

            How can it be said that the operations of a public corporation under the supervision of a Regulatory Authority subject to review by Congress are ‘private’

          • @Rob

            Here is a memo from M Calhoun which directly contradicts your many posts here

            Please update your conduct and immediately adopt best company practice, giving only expression to transparent honest and detailed descriptions of people and events at BA

            Please note the date on this memo, your continuing failure to adhere to this directive is grounds for dismissal

            https://news.yahoo.com/ceo-tells-staff-boeing-must-transparent-161654364.html

      • “”However, planes rolled off the assembly line with the flaw for more than a year, at least, continuing even after the flaw was discovered in August 2020.””

        August 2020 is interesting because it’s the same month when undue pressure was used on the ODA staff in North Charleston which the FAA now fined with $1.2m.

        The shim issue fix was reported long ago, just use smaller shims. BUT now the bigger gap, because of smaller shims is not mentioned. Will it be swept under the carpet as fixed?
        Boeing knows the problem since Feb 2020 when engineers complaint and Boeing still has no idea how to fix this.

        So Boeing delivered deliberately 787 which didn’t meet specs and therefore didn’t meet certifications and FAA is quiet. Unbelievable.

        Of course 787 orders will be cancelled and if there is demand my favorite A330neo will replace those 787 orders which Boeing can’t deliver. Made my day.

        • I agree that the A330neo is a wonderful plane 👍 2-X-2 seating in a modern widebody is bliss. Let’s hope orders pick up.

        • Actually surface roughness and shims don’t go together at all. ( shims bridge gaps between flat surfaces 🙂

          So Boeing appears to have lied. “surface roughness” is a fib.

          What the description being available could mean is
          that there is a pronounced circumference mismatch.

          In the beginning of 787 manufacture the fit tolerance were often negative.
          Brute force was used to mate sections. Just like on the 777. But the join at least looked OK even when “undesigned” stresses remained in the material.
          Now apparently tolerance is positive, a loose fit.
          easy to mate but now the fasteners will create little bulges in the interstices between fasteners. That excess circumference has to go somewhere!.

          • Uwe, the join has two main goals, to limit gaps so as to avoid flexure which reduces fatigue life, and to align the butted sections so as to evenly distribute stress and loading (where surface roughness comes in).

            An ideal join behaves as a continuous piece, in transmitting load, distributing stress, and eliminating flexure. With either excessive gaps or surface roughness, that behavior is less than desired. Hence the repairs now taking place.

          • You could have spared us that posting
            and nothing less would be known.

            i.e. and IMHO mumbo.
            Bit like APB’s patent. a generic description ..

            Apropos: who is that wonder girl Ovost that you like to reference?

          • Sticking to known facts rather than theories about circumference, which are unsubstantiated.

          • “”a loose fit.””

            I see it the same.
            Boeing could glue the whole joint so that forces could be carried over through the joint, with the disadvantage that the joint couldn’t be opened easily again and then closed again only with a different new solution.
            But even for that, Boeing would need a new cert.

            This 787 issue is bigger than the MCAS issue was.
            Nobody will order the 787 again.

          • “Sticking to known facts rather than theories about circumference, which are unsubstantiated.”

            HOT, HOT, HOT.
            Thank you.

            apropos for better style look around for some synonyms for “unsubstantiated”, please.

          • Uwe, you are welcome to give your substantiation of your circumference theory here. Any published source that has listed this as the problem. I’m not aware of any.

          • “”Actually surface roughness and shims don’t go together at all. ( shims bridge gaps between flat surfaces””

            You have to imagine this. The design tolerance of 0.005 inch can’t be seen, only measured. The roughness can’t be seen either, it’s flat. Boeing calculated the fuselage with unachievable tolerances to get better cheaper results, but tricked themselves, thanks karma. Boeing thought that they could manipulate QC engineers with undue pressure to hide the tricking.

            Now imagine, all Boeing calculations are like this.
            Dickson might know this, but is just saying that he didn’t check all cert documents of the MAX, the most scrutinized plane which was never checked.
            I wonder if regulators want to see the calculations for 777X certificatons now.
            How can Boeing survive this, if everything they did is trash.

          • @Rob.
            I gave the apparent “mechanics”.

            But a debate club curriculum doesn’t prepare for engineering. too sad.

          • @Rob

            In addition to the ‘honesty and transparency required’ memo from Mr Calhoun, already brought to your attention

            I must ask you to focus on another memo calling for ‘diversity’, to put an end to the ‘monolithic white privilege culture’ which focuses not on objective reality but on a supremacist ‘narrative’

            This must be countered with ‘a return to dialogue’ and a commitment to inclusion conversation

            All these rolled together, it may be noted with pride, form a composite of optimism in the values of democracy debate and discussion which we are proud to call DiversityInc

            Please obey this directive and join the program – Now !

            Heed and learn the following from Sara Bowen, Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion

            “In these challenging times we need to empower our people to be their best, and that requires inclusion. We also need diversity to bring rigor to our decisions, combat group think, and challenge each other to consider different viewpoints and perspectives. Inclusion and diversity are vital to every organization’s success.”

            https://www.diversityinc.com/boeing-company-2020/

      • WOW!! Will they have to ground any planes? And how far back in production will they have to go? Do they know how many in service frames are affected yet? I wonder if any of this resulted from disgruntled workers who were unhappy with Boeings production movement to cheaper labour markets.

  21. For those grounded 777:

    What’s the capacity of TAI at P&W HQ?
    How long it takes to unground UAL’s fleet?
    Can it happen before high season?

    • Failure of a fan blade on the same type of engine on UA1175 in Feb 2018 shows the inadequacy of P&W’s inspection, the failed blade was missed twice during inspections.

      The technician responsible for the 2015 examination said he felt pressure to get blades out quickly. In NTSB’s final report in 2020: ” … 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. “

  22. Norwegian has now officially cancelled its 88 outstanding Airbus orders (via an Irish court order), and is in the process of trying to cancel 97 outstanding Boeing orders (which is trying to fight the cancellations).

    “Norwegian has cancelled all the 88 narrow-body jets that according to Airbus’ financial filings remained on order, a Norwegian spokesman said on Friday, adding that the company is in a legal process with Boeing.
    A person familiar with the discussions said Airbus would not contest the cancellation imposed by an Irish court but had not voluntarily agreed to the move. The planemaker is now expected to move swiftly to start selling empty delivery slots.
    Norwegian unilaterally terminated its remaining orders with Boeing for 97 aircraft last year and sought compensation for the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX jets and technical problems with 787 Dreamliners.
    Boeing has contested the move and also made counterclaims against Norwegian, documents filed by the airline show.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norwegianair-restructuring/norwegian-air-books-1-5-billion-charge-as-it-seeks-fresh-start-idUSKBN2AQ0R9

    • Boeing’s short falls seem to continue to hamstring Norwegian over many years.
      787 delivery delays
      787 and GOLDplated sh*t CARE.
      MAX grounding
      But cancellation can only be an absurd idea .. ?

      • @ Uwe
        A company in BA’s debt-laden financial situation, without any meaningful revenue generation, needs every penny it can get. So it’s natural that it will fight tooth-and-nail to avoid having to pay refunds/compensations…particularly if it fears that some sort of precedent might thereby be set.
        It’s a consequence of doing business with an “El Cheapo” OEM.

        Look on the bright side: With “customer care” like this, Norwegian will never order a BA product again.

  23. More MAX-related PR misery for Boeing:
    Muilenburg have to take the stand (that will be entertaining)

    “Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show.
    Separately, the families urged lawmakers in letter to demand that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration turn over internal emails and documents spanning the Lion Air crash and one month after the Ethiopian crash. Together, 346 people died.
    “There is serious unfinished business,” the families said in the letter, reviewed by Reuters.”

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-737max-litigation/boeing-ceo-asked-to-testify-in-crash-litigation-lawmakers-demand-faa-release-records-idUSKBN2AQ2S5

  24. Interesting article on the plagued KC-46 flying lemon:

    FG: “USAF explains why fixed-price contract caused problems for Boeing KC-46A tanker”

    “Boeing has yet to get the Remote Vision System to work as required and that caused a delay for full operational capability of the KC-46A. In part due to issues with the Remote Vision System, but also due to other manufacturing and design issues, Boeing has lost more than $5.1 billion on the tanker programme.
    The USAF seems to imply that the fixed-price contract structure is disincentivizing Boeing to fix the developmental problem quickly, as all investment is at the company’s expense.”

    https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing/usaf-explains-why-fixed-price-contract-caused-problems-for-boeing-kc-46a-tanker/142653.article

    • General Van Ovost testified to this before Congress, as I’ve reported here. The contract put the entire burden on Boeing. It set up an adversarial relationship rather than cooperative. She testified that it won’t be used again, for that reason.

      The RVS is actually a minor part of the revisions that were required by the USAF over the baseline KC-767, that have led to the cost overrun. The modifications were very extensive. The RVS was the last in a long chain, and by no means the most expensive.

      The boom redesign was the only element that the USAF paid for, because the specs clearly stated the international standard for connection force, and did not mention the lower forces required for some US aircraft.

      In the end, the aircraft is now a much better design, so a good thing overall. But in future, the contract will be structured to allow more cost sharing.

      • Companies and contractors all over the world work on a daily basis using fixed-price tenders — knowing de facto that cost overruns are to be borne by the entity that secured the tender. It is the responsibility of that entity to ensure that it provided/accepted a realistic price in order to secure the tender: deliberately quoting/accepting a low price in order to secure a tender, and then poor-mouthing about how harsh life is when unforeseen costs arise, is an example of “tough luck”. In this particular case, the armed forces gave the tender to the “El Cheapo” of the aviation world — which is up to its teeth in debt and is effectively insolvent — so one can expect grumbling, penny-pinching and corner-cutting when (completely expected) cost overruns occur. Also, seeing its recent track record on “innovative” solutions — such as MCAS — it’s no surprise that the “innovative” boom control approach in this case has been a complete flop.

        The FG article states quite clearly that the problems are not yet fixed. An outstanding example of a very expensive lemon…or, rather, a bottomless pit that is lined with lemons (and FOD).

        • Different for military contracts where the customer has very extensive requirements and will not accept anything less than exactly what they want. That has always been the rational for cost-plus, the military can request any change at any time and the cost is borne by them.

          Both fixed cost and cost-plus have advantages and disadvantages. Neither is ideal. This was the point made before Congress. General Von Ovost testified that it was a learning process and she had her procurement specialists looking at contract terms that would blend the two ideas. That’s a sensible approach.

          • The military is no different to any other modern, high-tech customer: the semiconductor industry — for example — is full of exacting requirements, changing specifications, tight deadlines and minimal error margin.
            The problem here is that, for reasons of patriotism, the military decided to go with “El Cheapo” rather than a more reliable offering from overseas (which it had originally chosen, before political intrigue stepped in). Unfortunately for the military, it put its money on a (very) lame horse. There’s a nice saying in Dutch which covers just such a situation — it translates as: “He who burns his ass, will just have to sit on the blisters”.

          • This is not the position of the USAF, as per the General’s testimony. It has no validity from any authoritative source. However you are welcome to your opinion. In the end it won’t matter, the KC-46 will be produced in numbers and have a long and successful career. No amount of Internet bashing will change that.

          • This is precisely the position of the USAF, as per the other General’s “lemon” labeling. It has excellent validity from various authoritative sources. However you are welcome to your opinion. In the end it won’t matter, the KC-46 will continue to be sub-standard (while clocking up exorbitant extra costs) and have a tarnished career. No amount of Internet optimism will change that.

        • “Companies and contractors all over the world work on a daily basis using fixed-price tender”

          Wasnt that the basis that Boeing won the USAF T-X contract for the T-7 Redhawk, with a few minor tweeks

          ” the $9.2 billion amount would be obligated to Boeing if the service executes all of options that would allow it to buy more aircraft at a quicker pace, purchasing all 475 planes.
          Additionally, Boeing assumes the preponderance of the risk with the T-X program, which starts as a fixed-price incentive fee contract, but at the fifth lot will transition to a firm-fixed price structure, Roper and Bunch said.”

          Im surprised that Boeing had even even a hint of ‘adversarial’ withUSAF, probably its biggest customer. But I suppose over the last few years with a former Boeing executive as The Deputy SecDef ( the day to day operational head) they could treat the USAF like a tin pot airline.

          • If you read the actual USAF statements, the distinction is made between development projects and those which use developed products. The USAF made the determination that the KC-767 was a developed product, and therefore suitable for a fixed cost contract. But the actual changes they required for the KC-46 made it more of a development project.

            As far as the adversarial relationship, that resulted on this project alone, from a long chain of design changes required by USAF. Most of these were accepted, but Boeing pushed back too long and too hard on RVS 1.0. In the end there was really no way the USAF would accept it. Boeing was too highly invested in the Collins system.

            That changed when Calhoun came in, he recognized it was counterproductive to argue any further with such a lucrative customer. Better to accept the initial loss and make them happy, with the extensive follow-on revenue generated by the program. Now, the Collins revisions will be used for a few years as a marginal improvement, until RVS 2.0 is ready.

          • T-X was a complete new development and yet it’s still essentially a fixed price contract with tweaks…..the other factor that is coomon with KC46 is Boeing underbid to get the contract.
            That’s the core of the KC46 issues, underbidding and then management denial of the issues until the companies reputation is trashed just to avoid registering a loss that will affect the line managers bonus.

          • No, Duke, that’s false. Again if you read the actual statements, the USAF has specifically said the fixed-cost contract for KC-X was selected because it was not primarily a development contract.

            If what you say were true, they would not be altering the future contract mechanics to provide fairer distribution of costs. They would be aggressively pursuing fixed cost as it resulted in the lowest cost to them, with the ability to require changes on the contractor’s dime.

            The under-bid perspective is a simplistic view of a complex subject, that ignores the reality of what actually occurred. All of which is in the public record. That correct understanding is what’s driving the USAF response.

            The Airbus crowd here will never accept this, they need to believe it was all a conspiracy and everything was Boeing’s fault, and/or done to benefit Boeing. Fortunately none of that dissembling matters in the least. The USAF has been honest in their criticism of the KC-46 but also honest about their own contribution.

            Last week the Air Force chief of staff flew the KC-46 in a refueling mission as receiver aircraft from another KC-46. Then continuing to refuel F-16’s, including night-ops. With politicians on board as well, to observe the KC-46 capabilities and also see first-hand the issues with RVS. It’s that first-hand experience that has driven the response, and the solutions.

          • Duke, please read what I wrote. I said that the flight’s purpose was so show both capabilities and problems, in order to demonstrate that the KC-46 is ready for limited ops. Those will be continually extended as progress is made.

          • @ DoU
            If you feel inclined to do any extra reading, rather than paying lipservice to the feelgood hot air served up by the BA PR Dept., you might (for example) want to consider this informative article instead, which I posted below.

            The flying lemon is up to its collar in problems, and it won’t be out of the woods for several more years. As you probably know, armed forces don’t tend to like utilities with “limited ops”…so that whole idea is an oxymoron.

            https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32818/the-air-force-has-revealed-that-its-troubled-kc-46-tankers-leak-fuel-excessively

    • Boeing was pretty obtrusive in presenting themselves as tanker kings. nobody can do it better than them.

      An adequate vision system is state of the art essentially a COTS item since the introduction of the A330MRTT.

      It was part of the contract from the getgo.
      hic rhodos. hic salta.

  25. FAA tell fox to guard the henhouse, “be nice”!

    Boeing Dreamliner production problems threaten the aircraft’s safety, former quality manager warns

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-28/boeing-whistleblower-dreamliner-production-issues-safety-threat/11904396

    – ‘ Former Boeing quality manager John Barnett worked on the company’s flagship 787 Dreamliner in the United States but he does not consider any of the planes that left the company’s North Charleston factory airworthy.

    “I would not fly on a Dreamliner and I’ve asked my family and begged my family not to fly Dreamliners because I know, I know what’s under the skin,” ‘

    – ‘ Mr Barnett had worked for Boeing for more than two decades and “loved” the company and all it stood for.

    When he was moved to its new factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, he began to see serious problems in the manufacturing of aircraft. ‘

    – ‘ The FAA visited the North Charleston factory to investigate his claims and found the metal shavings as Mr Barnett described.

    It also found Boeing could not account for the disposal of some damaged parts.

    Boeing was ordered to fix the problems.

    The FAA also found Boeing was aware of the oxygen system problems and was addressing them — but Mr Barnett does not have confidence they are being properly fixed.

    In a statement to 7.30, Boeing said the concerns raised by Mr Barnett were not a safety issue and the matter involving the oxygen systems had been addressed. ‘

    – ‘ Mr Barnett retired in 2017 and is now taking legal action against Boeing under legislation to protect whistleblowers from discrimination.

    He is worried about the planes that have left the factory with the problems he flagged.

    “There’s a rule of thumb in production, that it takes eight to 10 years for a defect to become an issue on an airplane,” he said.

    “Our first delivery out of Charleston was late 2012. So, we’re just now getting into that eight to 10-year window with the 787s delivered out of Charleston and I’m concerned, I’m really concerned.” ‘

  26. @ Pedro
    Thanks for that!
    Particularly striking is the following passage:

    “There’s a rule of thumb in production, that it takes eight to 10 years for a defect to become an issue on an airplane,” he said.
    “Our first delivery out of Charleston was late 2012. So, we’re just now getting into that eight to 10-year window with the 787s delivered out of Charleston and I’m concerned, I’m really concerned.” ‘

  27. Regarding the KC-46 flying lemon, here’s an article from March 2020 that contains a nice discussion of this fiasco of a project. Some highlight extracts:

    “At present, work on a fix for that problem isn’t expected to be finished until some time between 2023 and 2024 and it will take some amount of time afterward to update the dozens of existing aircraft.”

    “All of this is already driving the Air Force closer and closer to hiring private contractors to provide aerial refueling solutions. The service has already begun to walk back a plan to retire a number of existing tankers, which other senior U.S. military officials have warned could create a dangerous capability gap while the KC-46As remain largely incapable of performing their main mission set.”

    “This includes the aforementioned issues with the Remote Vision System (RVS), as well as the fact that it requires more force for the boom on the Pegasus to connect with a receiving aircraft than with previous Air Force tankers. Boeing is still working to fix these problems, but has resolved another Category I issue with the cargo locks on the cabin floor in the aircraft.”

    “The Air Force announced that it had defined the KC-46A’s fuel system leaks as a so-called “Category I” deficiency on Mar. 30, 2020. Category I issues are problems that would prevent the aircraft from performing one or more primary missions.”

    “The Air Force took delivery of its first KC-46A in January 2019, years behind schedule. As of December, the service had received 30 of the tankers. Even before the announcement of the fuel system leaks, the Air Force had already publicly described a number of other Category I deficiencies with the existing aircraft, as well as those in production right now. ”

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/32818/the-air-force-has-revealed-that-its-troubled-kc-46-tankers-leak-fuel-excessively

    • The USAF did a study that considered the contracting of private tankers to fill the KC-46 operational gap. They decided instead on the limited ops that are now taking place, to best utilize the existing and growing KC-46 fleet.

      • In other words: they put all their lemons in one basket, and will just have to put up with the very sour menu for quite some time.
        Oh yes…and also hope they don’t get involved in any wars any time soon.

  28. China Max Re cert Update Negative

    https://apnews.com/article/technology-beijing-china-united-states-software-d16c3954760ac3de86a8e7caaea4b179

    China says ‘Niet’ to BA over Max re cert

    CAAC, unlike FAA, focuses on the technical details of the plane and puts politics to the side

    « Major safety concerns” raised by Chinese regulators have not been fully resolved, said Dong Zhiyi, deputy administrator of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, at a news conference.

    « Design changes must pass approval for airworthiness, pilots must receive “effective flight training” and conclusions of investigations into the two crashes must be clear, Dong said.

    “The technical review has not yet entered the certification and flight test stage,” Dong said Monday. He gave no timeline for when that might happen.

    China is, along with North America and Europe, one of the biggest markets for Boeing Co. and its European rival Airbus. That makes the 737 Max’s approval by Beijing important for its commercial success. »

    Comments invited from BA

    • This is a repetition of the existing opaque response, with no new detail or information. The same conditions apply as before. So basically the status quo, which is in no way surprising.

      “CAAC, unlike FAA, focuses on the technical details of the plane and puts politics to the side.”

      This one is really a hoot, Gerrard. China is on public record as saying the recertification depends on relations with the US. So the exact opposite of the truth. No other regulator in the world has tied the recertification to politics, as China has.

      • Poor Boeing: China has a trump card, and Boeing can do nothing about it.
        BA will just have to busy itself with trying to fix its products, its finances and its image, and hope/pray that the Chinese see fit to re-cert the hapless MAX. Don’t hold your breath!

  29. Boeing Trade War Update Loser

    Boeing has lost out in the US China Trade War – witness no Max re cert, and so on, although given all the BA plane problems this is a chicken and the egg situation

    According to this new report Boeing also loses out in the US EU Trade War, although the analyst remarks it’s hard to state with certainty given that all Boring planes have all sorts of problems which inhibit sales and deliveries at so many levels

    « That’s the case when I try to answer the question whether the tariffs of aircraft slated for delivery to European customers has had any adverse impact. If you include all European customers, the answer seems to be “no” but if you exclude European lessors since they place the aircraft with carriers around the world without even taking possession of the aircraft with a European aircraft registration the answer seems to be “yes.” If you add to that there are problems with various Boeing aircraft programs and a clouded demand profile for aircraft it’s hard to give a convincing answer because the delivery flow also is a reflection of aircraft airlines have on order and aircraft that Boeing can deliver to airlines and that does not include the Boeing 787 and just has started to include the Boeing 737 MAX. »

    https://seekingalpha.com/article/4409381-trade-war-is-boeing-losing-out?mail_subject=ba-trade-war-is-boeing-losing-out

    • The problem with self inflicted wounds is people take advantage of them.

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