Airbus begins “stuffing” A220 to speed assembly, cut costs

By Scott Hamilton

Florent Massou. Photo: Airbus.

Sept. 28, 2021, © Leeham News: Airbus is streamlining some of its production of the A220 to reduce costs and the time to assemble the airplanes at its Montreal and Mobile plants.

Florent Massou, the SVP and Head of the A220 program, told LNA the company wants to shave 50% of the final assembly time for the A220. There will be an unrevealed cost reduction, which Massou declined to reveal. But he said it isn’t a one-for-one cost reduction.

Final assembly typically runs 5% to 8% of the total cost of the airplane, according to Boeing’s touch labor union, the IAM 751. Whether this equates to the A220, which began life as a Bombardier aircraft, is unknown.

Cutting costs

Bombardier was faced with start-up costs of what was then known as the C Series. An analysis early in the program by LNA concluded the early CS 100s cost about $33m. The larger CS 300 cost $2m-$3m more, according to the same analysis. The cost comes down as the learning curve goes up.

Airbus purchased control of the program in 2017. It has since increased its ownership from 50.1% to the current 75%. The Province of Quebec owns the remaining 25%. Airbus can buy out the 25% in 2024.

An early Airbus challenge is to bring the cost down, dramatically. At the current low-rate production of about 5/mo, Airbus loses about $400m a year on the program, according to a London financial analyst who follows Airbus. (Massou declined to confirm this figure.)

Massou decline to reveal how long it takes Airbus to assemble an A220. LNA estimates it takes about 14 days. A 50% reduction, to about seven days, is in line with Boeing’s time to assemble a 737, pre-COVID, pre-grounding of the MAX.

Reducing the assembly time and increasing the production rates are key elements to cost reduction. Airbus wants to increase the rate to 14/mo by 2025: 10 at Mirabel and four at Mobile. Mobile, a brand new plant, currently assembles the A220 at the rate of 1.5/mo, up from 1/mo at the beginning of the year. The rate will increase to 2/mo early next year, Airbus says.

Stuffing fuselages

A220 Pre-FAL line under construction where fuselages will be “stuffed.” Photo: Airbus.

Cutting costs from the supply chain has been a goal by Airbus since before the 2017 transaction closed. This effort continues. This new plan already has been implemented: Airbus began “stuffing” fuselages with systems above the floor level before fuselages hit the final assembly line in Mirabel and Mobile.

The old Bombardier/Mitsubishi CRJ production building, which Airbus purchased as part of the C Series deal, is being converted to a pre-FAL line that opens early next year. The pre-FAL area will be able to meet the 2025 production rate of 14/mo.

The FAL is to focus on final assembly, Massou told LNA, not stuffing systems, pipes, insulation and such that goes behind the sidewall panels. The center fuselage comes from a Chinese company, but it so far has not been able to stuff the section. Airbus had to do this work at Mirabel. Wings from Spirit Aerosystems in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are stuffed there with the lines and piping.

Fuselages from Mirabel destined for the Mobile FAL are trucked.

Future Airplane

Renderings by Leeham Co.

The A220-100 and A220-300 (nee CS 100 and CS 300) are assembled at both plants. Bombardier designed a larger CS 500, a direct competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-8. Now called the A220-500, the design has “flown” in computers and it ready to go any time Airbus is ready to launch the model. With 2,537 A320neos in backlog at Aug. 31, Airbus doesn’t have a pressing need to do so. (Parenthetically, Airbus has a backlog of 3,047 A321neos, or 54.5% of the backlog of the two models.) Launching the A220-500 most likely won’t happen unless or until the backlog of the A320 shrinks and few orders are coming in.

If Airbus were to create an “A320.5”—a slight stretch of 12 passengers plus a new wing and upgraded versions of the current engines, an A220-500 would slot in nicely below this larger model. Airbus’s single-aisle product line would then span 110-240 passengers, smothering Boeing’s 737 MAX.

Rendering by Leeham News reader Keesje.

MAX backlog

There are 4,078 MAXes in backlog, including about 225 MAX 7s. Adjusted for the accounting standard ASC 606, which identifies orders as questionable for financial reasons of the customers, the backlog is 3,325. Boeing doesn’t break out MAX sub-type orders. However, LNA estimates that about 15% of the backlog is for the MAX 9/10, or 611 to 500 before-and-after ASC 606. Because Airbus doesn’t identify the ASC 606-type of impact, we’ll ignore this accounting standard. Airbus has an estimated 83% market share of the MAX 9/10 vs A321 sector backlog. LNA believes Boeing has a slight edge in the 737-8 vs A320 sector. Boeing has roughly three times the Airbus share of the MAX 7 vs A319neo sector. But throw in the A220-300, the direct competitor to the MAX 7, plus the 70 A319neos, and Airbus has twice the backlog in the 125-149 seat sector.

Adding an A220-500 to complement the A320.5 would be devastating to Boeing’s single-aisle product line.





259 Comments on “Airbus begins “stuffing” A220 to speed assembly, cut costs

  1. Interesting article! The interview with Florent Massou shows Airbus is investing seriously in the America’s A220 line. It seems they have to, to honour the customer deliveries contracted.

    Taking a closer look at the A220 backlog, it becomes visible the airlines have a strong preference for the A220-300 over the A220-100.

    Airbus probably doesn’t want the line to become a single type line & want to offer A220 operators a future growth option.

    If you take a close look at the A319NEO backlog, it’s even weaker than one might think. Spirit is the biggest customer but they recently stated they are going for A320s & A321s.

    All suggests the NB portfolios of the OE’s probably won’t be set this decade, there are threats and opportunities for all involved.

    • How very apropos

      “We have told Airbus for a long time that we would be very interested in a stretched A220 as an A320 replacement, but discussions are preliminary so far,” said Ben Smith, CEO of the Air France/KLM group, in Paris.

      Airbus CCO Christian Scherer confirmed this had been a long-standing plan in talking to on the same occasion: “It’s not a question of if, but when a stretched A220 will become the successor of our narrowbody A320 family, these plans have existed since Bombardier started initial designs for the CSeries” – the aircraft’s original branding before Airbus took over the program in 2017.

  2. Nicely summarized. Now if only Airbus could get those hamburgers under $8 in the cafeteria, everyone would be as happy as pigs in poop.

    Airbus is very quietly working on their product line-up and one has to ask the question;

    Boeing has four airframes (albeit based on an older design, with no room to improve) up against a current seven models in the narrowbody segment – with options waiting in the wings to expand to nine.

    Covid is hurting the widebody segment so focus is on single aisle aircraft, for the near future.

    What will BA do to counter Airbus, with little money to spend on the necessary $15-20 billion it would cost, to roll out a new aircraft? Will it just be a case of Boeing supplying the airline leftover orders that Airbus just can’t possibly fill because of supply constraints? (“Well, the wait for an Airbus jet is 5+ years, so we might as well go with Boeing…”)

    As well, with the A220-500 and the rewinged A320.5 sitting in the filing cabinet, waiting to be dusted off – is their any move that Boeing could make without Airbus beating them to the punch in terms of time and cost?

    • Pimping the 737-9?

      Use 737-10:
      – landing gear,
      – improved flap design,
      – c.o.g improvement,
      – improved body contour to reduce the risk of tail strikes
      – MTOW, payload-range improvement,
      – hot-high take-off performance,
      – bigger mid-exit doors meeting exit requirements

      in the (important) niche Airbus is currently absent: 200 seat single class with reasonable seat pitch, galley capacity and normal space lavatories.

      Maybe forcing Airbus to launch a similar capacity A320.5, possibly weakening the A321 tsunami..

      • @keesje

        So I’ve looked around and for the life of me, I could not find an OEW for the Max 9. Strange, since it is in service, no?

        The best I got was an estimate of 51 tons +- on

        That is pretty much what you get with a standard A321Neo at 50.1 tons.

        If that’s the case, you pretty much have your answer as to why it doesn’t match up well and I’m not sure how a Max9+ would do against it.

        From my understanding, a benefit of launching the A320.5 is that it clears the space underneath it, for the A220-500, which would compete directly with a run of the mill A320.

        That won’t happen until Airbus owns the A220 outright and if they could convince customers who hold orders to shift up into either the A321Neo family or the A320.5, if they launch it. If airlines find both of those options too much aircraft, they might get them to flip into the A220 program – or just make the A320Neo as ordered.

        Decision, decisions.

        (on a side note: with Airbus holding some two-thirds of the NB segment, they are in the enviable position of not having to do a damn thing, offering wise – and wait to see what Boeing does. As Scott mentioned above, they can work on internal efficiencies and streamlining production, without worrying too much about the competition, as they shoot themselves in the foot.)

        • Frank:

          Pretty much spot on.

          The dilema of course is they now have a duplicate aircraft and lines for what is a more modern A320.

          Also to be a major aspect, I don’t think A320.5 moves anyone one way or the other, nice if its there but if you are an Airbus operator, not a serious issue being a bit short of a MAX-8 either.

          The other aspect is the A220 flight logic and display setup is not common with the other Airbus line.

          Some aspects like the throttle movement (back driven) unlike Airbus. You might be able to remove that, but adding it to A320/A330/A350 line? Then you have legacy fleet that does not have it (and that is just the one I know about!)

          So you have a different type rating needed between the A220 and A320.

          So which Airbus flight control logic wags which dog or do you leave it split?

          And the longer it goes with A220 logic alone, the bigger your A220 legacy fleet is that is not common and if you change?

          Good problem to have but problem never the less.

          • @TW

            That’s a good point. I’ll ask my guy up the road about it, but I’m pretty sure that the AB guys have already looked at this and it pretty much comes down to numbers;

            Will there be enough orders to justify spending the cashola to get the A220 into fleet commonality with the A320 family. Or perhaps it’s the other way around (not likely) – what if those guys built a better system then currently exists in the Neo family and they transfer it the other way!? lol

            As much as we dump on Boeing and the bean counter mentality, I’m sure the Airbus has it’s share of number guys, sitting in an office saying, “We need X amount of orders to cover the cost of switching over, at which point the added benefit generates Y surplus orders from customers, giving us Z more profit. Until we reach that point we recommend not changing anything”

            Interesting point. I’ve got a friend who flies in an airline that has both A220’s and Neo products – I’ll ask him if he’s heard anything on how different the two systems are.

          • The first thing Airbus should do is introduce active side sticks on the A320/A350 series as they already are on the A220. Passive side sticks just lead to errors, many have been fatal, when there is a crisis.

            That on its own shouldn’t be too difficult technically, it could even be a retrofit, though it will require some pilot retraining. Airbus has of course updated its cockpit. We know that because when touch displays were introduced on the centre console some crews spilled coffee on one and it shut down the engines not one but two A350 in mid air.

            This actually goes back to the unusably small cup holders on A350 (like all things European) which are so small flight crew use the centre console as a coffee table. It appears EASA let Airbus self certify the cup holders.

          • William:

            And there goes you commonality with every Airbus built previously.

            I don’t know what the answer is though leaving A220 and rest of Airbus as is might be it.

            I continue to feel that the AHJ should mandate how those areas work. Back driven throttles is one. Joystick might be another.

            When Auto throttle kicks in unless you specifically turn it off (not as a result of a mode change per the FLCH Trap per Boeing)

            Years back they standardized flight instruments for a reason.

            Throttles for GO was forward (France I believe had it the other way)

          • @Transworld. I’m of course not concerned with commonality of the A320/A330/A3350 with the A220. I think an upgrade is needed for the A320/A350 series. I am concerned with safety. My view is that Airbus is heading towards exactly the same problem Boeing did with the MAX by focusing on commonality so much they fail to make small upgrade, finally being so far behind it is overwhelming.

            I see 2 Upgrades needed:
            1 Synthetic Air Data. This will add a very robust redundant 4tth alpha sensor , altimeter, varometer and air speed sensor. This will ensure that flight envelop protection can stay engaged and the aircraft can operate in normal law. I don’t think this will have a significant effect on training or type rating.

            2 Active side sticks. At the very minim a stick shaker that operates on duel input. It would be little more than a cell phone vibrator.

            From Wikiepedia:
            In the centre stick design, like traditional airplane yokes, both the pilot’s and co-pilot’s controls are mechanically connected together so each pilot has a sense of the control inputs of the other. In typical Airbus side-stick implementations, the sticks are independent, the so-called ‘passive’ side-stick. The plane’s computer either aggregates multiple inputs or a pilot can press a “priority button” to lock out inputs from the other side-stick. However, if both side-sticks are moved in different directions (regardless of which pilot has priority), then both inputs are cancelled out and an aural “dual input” warning sounds. Examples of this occurring include the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447 (an Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris), the 2010 crash of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 an Airbus A330 from flying Johannesburg to Tripoli and the 2014 crash of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 (an Airbus A320 flying from Surabaya to Singapore). The “dual input” warning will not activate at very low levels if the EGPWS activates due to its lower priority compared to EGPWS.

            However a later, significant, development is the ‘active’ side-stick, which is in the new Gulfstream G500/G600 series business jet aircraft. In this system, movements in one side-stick produce the same actions in the other side-stick and therefore provides valuable feedback to the other pilot. This addresses the earlier criticisms of the ‘passive’ side-stick. The ‘active’ side-stick also provides tactile feedback to the pilot during manual flight and many, such as the three largest avionics manufacturers, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Thales,[believe it will become the standard for all new fly-by-wire aircraft. In 2015 Ratier-Figeac as a subsidiary of UTC Aerospace Systems, and supplier of ‘passive’ side-sticks to Airbus since the 1980s became the supplier of ‘active’ side-sticks for the Irkut MC-21.[This is the first Airliner to use them.

        • Frank, you’re forgetting the (not so) little aspect of production capacity. Lets assume the A320 family market were moving towards a A320.5, how much would remain below that – maybe a third? Thats still 20 planes a month. Now contrast that with Airbus plan to reach a rate of 14 for the A220 in 2025. I’d say there won’t be enough production capacity to replace the line below the A320.5 with A220-500s anytime soon.

      • The B737-10 has a linkage that extends the undercarriage by 9.5 inches yet retracts into the same wheel well. Nice video of how it works,
        It seem Boeing had intentions of a longer telescoping extension for a longer MAX-10 at one point but went with the current design as a lower risk option.

        I suppose they could adapt the elevator trim to provide an anti tail strike function to improve take-off run.😀

        • > I suppose they could adapt the elevator trim to provide an anti tail strike function to improve take-off run.😀 <

          a single sensor should do it- the pilots
          won't even know it's there. 😉

          • I’d like to know about weight differences
            MAX8 gear :: MAX10 MLG

            the 10 design carries forces around freely.
            The levered telescoping part carries about twice the load as in the established “just telescoping” design.

      • -> “in the (important) niche Airbus is currently absent: 200 seat single class with reasonable seat pitch, galley capacity and normal space lavatories.”

        What is the definition of “reasonable” seat pitch?? Does Boeing have a product in that market segment?

        The MAX 9/10 are low risk, low cost derivatives. I believe BA’s engineers had done their best to maximize benefit/cost of the MAX 9/10, i.e. it’s the MAX.

    • Airbus seems well positioned, to me. And the “someday, baby” refrain from the other outfit
      rings hollow.

      • Agreed, but there are still issues to work out with the A220 as to where it fits and the split controls logic now.

    • NASA seems to try to help, they just sent out contracts to different US manufacturers to I guess “improve the NASA-Boeing Truss Brazed Aircraft and make it certifiable” as well as some money to PWA and GE. Once the results come back I guess they need another pile of money to get Boeing to put it into its computer programs to make a full preliminary design out of it and calculate program profits unless the USAF orders it for a JSTARS replacement and then Boeing can make an airliner of it.

      • claes:

        And the Various EU so called Clean Sky programs and billions put into them is not a support for Airbus?

        NASA has provided their information to the world for free (not sure they do now)

  3. The A220-500 seemingly is very much on Airbus’ cards with the same likely to see action during the second half of the current decade. With its composite wing and further refined PW GTF engines; the A220-500 is going to be like a torpedo hitting Boeing’s deck from below in a market moving further towards single aisle side in the post-COVID world. Boeing’s latest market outlook already projects 75% of the aircraft deliveries over the next 2 decades to be single aisles. The A320neo and A220-500 hunting pair against the 737MAX would be the classic pincer move from Airbus in the narrow body market. That will another Deja vu moment in commercial aviation with sides reversed and reckoning time for Boeing for its own encirclement of the A380 in early 2000s with the 787 and 747-8 to scuttle it. Dig deeper on the same at the link below. Recommended!

  4. It’s just a matter of timing. The A319 orders have largely been replaced by A220s, but the A320neo is too new a plane for Airbus to want to replace (or excessively cannibalise).
    The current Airbus line-up, despite the contortions in the article, is pretty comprehensive, and much better than Boeing’s.
    Airbus has the A220-500 and the A322 waiting on the wings, but launch date will likely wait for – and be influenced by – Boeing’s NMA/B797. Because whatever Boeing decides, Airbus can match, and come to market quicker (unless the NMA is a direct B767 replacement, possible but unlikely).
    And Boeing cannot launch the NMA yet, as it would not only cannibalises the MAX, it would send the message that Boeing didn’t have confidence in the MAX.
    Your article seeks to give the impression that Airbus is under pressure from Boeing in the narrow body market; the opposite is the case.

    • Not entirely true;

      “Adding an A220-500 to complement the A320.5 would be devastating to Boeing’s single-aisle product line.”

      As is pointed out, the NB segment is fragmented into various sub-categories, with AB in a dominant position in two of the three (A220 & A321) and tied in the middle (A320).

      He extrapolates that the addition of two models would further exacerbate the poor situation BA is facing, which makes sense.

      The weaknesses Airbus faces in the A220 line are also very relevant – higher production costs, shared ownership, working out the production kinks in new facilities, lack of fleet commonality, ramping up production; The good news with all of them is that they usually work themselves out, over time.

      I prefer the cautious, conservative approach. Yah, Airbus is in a good position, but let’s not start popping the the corks on the Dom Perignon just quite yet. Still work to be done…

      • “Adding an A220-500 to complement the A320.5 would be devastating to Boeing’s single-aisle product line.”
        There’s not a lot of evidence for that assertion. I can’t think of one MAX sale that would definitely have been lost to a A220-500, though a few that might.
        “I prefer the cautious, conservative approach”
        The cautious approach is to carry on with their current very successful lineup, and wait for Boeing to blink first.
        “The weaknesses Airbus faces in the A220 line are also very relevant” but probably overstated. Sure economies could probably be made, and will be over time, but again, there’s no evidence that current inefficiencies have significantly affected sales.
        If Boeing had a rival offering, then it world be a big issue, as they’d need to fight more on price. But until Boeing do, it’s not a make or break issue. Lucky Airbus!

        • The operating cost advantage of the A220-500 over the 737-8 would be significant.

        • “I can’t think of one MAX sale that would definitely have been lost to a A220-500, though a few that might.”

          Death and taxes (and SWA ordering from Boeing) – that’s all I guarantee. Everything else is up in the air.

          “…but probably overstated”

          If Scott’s numbers are in the ballpark, then the almost half a billion they lose on an annual basis works out to somewhere in the $10 million an airframe (give or take). That’s a tough way to run a business.

          “If Boeing had a rival offering, then it world be a big issue, as they’d need to fight more on price. But until Boeing do, it’s not a make or break issue. ”

          The Max 7 is the closest offering BA has – but you’re probably right. Aside from SWA who want fleet commonality and the low price Boeing is willing to give them, not many would consider it against the A220 in a side by side.

          • @Scott

            I encourage you to re-read your book.

            You will discover there are often times when the head of sales says one thing for public consumption but actually believes something else.

      • > I prefer the cautious, conservative approach. Yah, Airbus is in a good position, but let’s not start popping the the corks on the Dom Perignon just quite yet. Still work to be done… <

        Agreed. That company doesn't seem to be
        resting on its laurels though, to my mind.

  5. Very good indeed.

    Missing cost wise though is the BBD comitments to the outside suppliers and contracts that Airbus has to live with until they expire (or possibly re-negoitaite though that is tough as the suppliers hold the cards)

    The A220-500/A320.5 is serious food for thought.

    But wold those A320 operators just move up to the A320.5 and not buy the A220?

    Or, with the A321 backlog, shift the mfg lines and resources to the A321 from the A320 and the A220 becomes the aircraft for that slot.

    A220 is both a win and a dilema for Airbus. And loosing 400 million a year on a program you were given, that puts the peril of BBD in perspective.

    • > or possibly re-negoitaite though that is tough as the suppliers hold the cards

      Airbus has cards to play as well. For example Spirit builds the A220 wings. But Spirit is also looking for more work from Airbus on other programs and may have other Airbus contracts coming up for renewal. Those other programs give Airbus leverage over the cost of the wing program.

      Same for suppliers across the board. The message is “if you want work from us on other programs, let’s look at those A220 contracts”.

      And this is not even a question of forcing the suppliers to work for nothing. They got favourable terms by accepting risk, Airbus is asking them to take some of the risk premium out.

      • …bearing in.mind that, in the current political environment, AB may soon be “encouraged” to increase intra-EU parts production at the expense of production in “certain countries” outside the EU…

          • Worse for such a company is when its sales freedom is curtailed by political gameplaying involving foreign suppliers. Unfortunately, that’s something that is increasingly on the cards.

      • No disagreement but the report was that they were really really good contracts as BBD was desperate.

        The suppliers have got beat down so they will look at it in possible business pick up and profits vs a really really good profit on the A220.

        Equally the tool used is to compete the mfg against each other to reduce costs, so if you give Spirit say a nice contract someplace else, the balance is to Spirit.

        So you gain on A220 but loose some on another program.

        I am sure its in discussion and probably more carrot than stick. But so far I have not seen anything that says there has been a re-vamp.

        We will to the -500 if you drop X on it and and Y on the 100/300.

      • The Spirit carbon fibre wing factory in Northern Ireland was previously fully owned ( but generously subsidised) by Bombardier.
        Not sure the charges would be the same as for a supplier who came onto program much earlier.

      • @ Jbeeko , in the case of Spirit, you have to remember that the A320Neo P&W engine nacelle contract was given to then Bombardier Belfast factory (spirit now) in 2017. But taken back into Airbus giron a few years (or is it a few months ?) later before the factory even produce one nacelle. I’m sure if Airbus tries to lower the contract with Spirit with the promises of future contract , they will be reminded quite well by the employees at the Belfast plant of the stab in the back Airbus gave to that same factory. Can Airbus be trusted this time around ? Not sure… They stab in the back their own employees after giving that same contract, to Collins Aerospace a few month ago… Spirit will maybe sign a reduce rates with heavy fines for Airbus , if they back out of their promises for futures contracts. I know that the way I would play it, if I was Spirit.

        • The A220 does not need a $1billion+ new wing. At most I’d see a redo of the winglet. They have a bit of span left before the reach gate max and apparently some strength margin in the wing. So the wing tip could get a treatment similar to the A350. But even that is unlikely by 2026. Some minor aero clean up and a PiPed engine is what is likely next. Together might give about 2-3% range improvement.

          • Uh, nono!
            The new wing is not for performance.
            It is for production cost and production rate!
            Did you see the link for the new spoilers?
            Brand new factory for that, moving production from Malaysia to Scotland.

          • I am not the only one thinking about that:
            “On the smaller side of things, Airbus has a couple of issues with its A220. …. However, the plane is expensive for Airbus to make. So, could the Wing of Tomorrow make for a faster, more affordable way to make the aircraft?”
            “… the A220 is another matter. Innovations in the Wing of Tomorrow programme could benefit the aircraft more quickly. Also, a new wing could facilitate the introduction of a longer A220-500 variant.”

          • If Airbus does the numbers the A322 with the new carbon wing and hotter engines deliver +35k will get more money into Airbus pockets while giving a chance to debug the production and the hotter engines. Here is also a chance to move to active sidesticks and update the cockpit while keeping the rest of the fleet the same. Hence the cockpit could be almost the same as on the A220-300. That way Airbus could skip the A220-500 and sell the A322 instead for a hefty profit. Eventually the A320neo family needs replacement with carbon wings and maybe the RISE engine, that would be the natural switchover for the A320 family to a new cockpit similar to the A322 while the A350 gets a mid life update with RR Ultrafans and the new cockpit.

          • A.Tabiadon:

            The issues is it take big bucks to design and build an all new wing for a product that is loosing money (and questionable if not unheard of for one that is making money).

            You only do a new wing out of desperation (777X)

            There is no financial rational for a new wing on the A220. You never would get a return on the cost no matter how efficient the mfg is.

          • TW, the WoT program itself is a lot of money already spent waiting for an application.
            A shop floor application, like this:
            Moving production from Malaysia to Scotland means production costs are waaaay down.
            And WoT is also looking at big reduction of tooling cost.
            Time will say, and in the meantime Boeing fiddles with shims and digital design…

    • As noted, AB would probably wait till they own the A220 completely in 2024 before starting the -500 / -700. Then the A320 could possibly go away and AB would concentrate on the A321 and 322.

      Wouldn’t that be unusual if Airbus did a 767 replacement in three lengths… With domination in SA planes they might move into NMA territory. But when it’s all said and done, Boeing could still make 5000 MAXes.

      • I don’t understand why AB would buy out the Quebec governed share of 25%. What would that get them? They already have full control of the program and if they invest more, in say the -500 development, the Quebec share is diluted in proportion unless Quebec matches the investment.

        Buying out Quebec will just increase the risk for AB and tie up a lot of capital that could be used for other things. I bet they will let Quebec remain a silent risk sharing partner.

        • I think that as a condition of Airbus getting control of the A220 (initial agreement) there was a clause that Quebec would not be asked for any further investment in the program – hence the $1 price.

        • Speaking about capex, from March 2021:

          Le géant européen vient de reprendre la partie de l’usine où Bombardier a assemblé des jets régionaux CRJ jusqu’en janvier. Le dernier appareil CRJ a été livré au transporteur américain Delta Air Lines en février. Bombardier est repartie avec son équipement, laissant derrière elle un vaste espace de plus de 100 000 pieds carrés. Airbus en fera sa ligne de préassemblage pour la gamme d’avions A220, l’ancienne C Series de Bombardier.

          Rappelons toutefois que globalement, l’avionneur prévoit investir plus d’un milliard de dollars dans l’A220 cette année, après y avoir injecté des centaines de millions de dollars l’an dernier.

          Pour contribuer au financement de l’A220, Airbus emprunte sur les marchés. Ces emprunts sont en partie garantis par le gouvernement du Québec, actionnaire de l’A220 à hauteur de 25 %.

          Essentially – Airbus has taken over another 100,000 sq ft of CRJ space for pre-assembly. They’ve also invested a billion in 2021 and a few hundred million in 2020. The went to market for the money, which was guaranteed by the Quebec gov’t.

          Putting some serious cash down on the barrel head.

        • @jbeeko. I would think AB buying the rest of the program is a monetary decision. It’s probably a fixed price, and then the profits of the -500 stay completely with Airbus. The -500 could be quite the cash cow.

        • Airbus is a European show. It has room for investment in China, USA for purposes of economic engagement and for political reasons and now significantly in a French speaking part of Canada called Quebec.

          However with the A320/A321 series the dominant cash cow and employer for Airbus in Europe Airbus can not transfer production to Mirabel of 50 aircraft/month.

          A220 and its systems and parts manufacture will need to move to Europe. Else it looses political support and dies.

          • Majority of orders migrate to A321. AB is a global co. and can open new FAL for the A220 in Europe if and when it sees fit.

  6. @TW

    What a joke! BA renegotiates with suppliers *all the time*, leveraging higher production rate for lower prices in return. It happened to both B787 and the MAX.

    • > leveraging higher production rate for lower prices in return. <

      Push those idea too far, though, and you end up with that outfit's present situation: unhappy suppliers making poorly-QC'd, shoddy product.

      • Pedro:

        Unfortunately the joke is your snap and uninformed comments.

        I take my information from good sources and in this case Av Week had a good article on that issue.

        The current reality is that those suppliers took major risks and they got very good returns to do so.

        No one is saying they can’t be negotiated, but the supplier does not have to and Airbus has to offer something in return.

        But regardless of you view, the high cost contracts are a current reality that Airbus has to live with.

        As those are the majority of the costs of the aircraft that in turn means its the area at biggest issue and the suppliers know it.

        Its just good business for them to either reap good returns or get a benefit that equals that loss if they drop the price.

        And they have a major investment in the tooling up and all the work they have done to establish that as well as the high quality required.

        • I remembered BA and AB had been badmouthing “the nice little jet” for years, spreading FOD. BBD’s plan was to ramp production up so that the program can be profitable.

          The source you trusted also reported a few months ago BA’s ready for a new jet (NMA this time) to compete with AB’s A321XLR and posters like you rejoiced and congratulated each other. What happen now?? There’s more like smoke and mirror, only you would trust your “good source” 100% of the time.

          • I really do wonder if there will *ever* be a new Boeing commercial passenger aircraft made.
            If there someday is, I expect PR from that company like it’s truly the Second Coming..

          • @Bill7

            -> “I really do wonder if there will *ever* be a new Boeing commercial passenger aircraft made.”

            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.”

          • @ Scott
            Thank you for posting that item…which is extremely interesting.
            When I posted it below earlier today, I got attacked by a grizzly from Alaska 😉

          • BA has to find the cash to pay back the debt due in a little over a year, then have the luxury to think of a new jet.

          • Its Scotts blog, I try to respect the guidelines.

            Asking to go off topic and then just doing so is not respect.

            Granted I would be happy to introduce you to real AK grizzlies.

    • > leveraging higher production rate for lower prices in return. <

      Push those notions too far, though, and you end in that outfit's present situation: with unhappy suppliers making poorly-QC'd, shoddy product.

    • „BA renegotiates with suppliers *all the time*, leveraging higher production rate for lower prices in return.”

      That’s the Boeing-way. Negotiating lower prices.

      Airbus talks to suppliers about the weak and strong points in the production, where to shift or rearrange, if it’s better the one or the other way.

      That has changed the A220-production already, like the size of the bits an pieces of the fuselage.

      Now it is about further steps, the pipes and wires, the easier way to put it together.

      And after that they talk about money.

      • Zack:

        If a supplier is stuffing parts and it was not in the contract then Airbus would have to work out paying them on top of whatever the base contract said.

        So money comes first though it may be an interim deal that they continue to discuss that aspect as well as the base contract.

        For sure it is more efficient, but also not a freebie, that is a costly and complex thing to do.

        When we did that sort of thing it was an adder to the contract or even cost plus.

        My one huge impact one was a plumbing tree that had 4 new pumps inserted but the Tree and the support system had serious issues. They could not get their new pumps and flanges to seal.

        I took that to the manager, this is not their fault. That setup was bad from the start and it was not in the contract to replace it (we had discussed it and I had asked for it as it was a weak spot in the upgrade and existing system)

        In that case it was a one off, they cut an emergency order to keep the Flight Sim upgrade project on schedule and while it cost a pretty good chunk it saved huge.

        We usually had good contractors and could work out terms that got what we needed and did not affect their cost or even saved.

        For a supplier its an investment in gear up, people etc that has to be worked out in advance.

    • What they did was bringing suppliers into dire straits
      and then forcing renegotiation/change of ownership.

      all to the tune of “we had buy them up to fix the issues” .. cheaply 🙂

      • > What they did was bringing suppliers into dire straits and then forcing renegotiation/change of ownership.. <


  7. I don’t think an A220-500 would really replace A320NEO. The latter sold in the thousands rather than the hundreds and many airlines, airports (out side the US) have now transitioned to 3500 lbs AKH luggage containers and cargo pallets. Saving on time and labor, opening up NB cargo services. The A220 can’t handle those.

    That said most LCC’s use bulkload, as well as airlines with mixed A320-737 fleets, low labor costs and/or no cargo ambitions.

    • keesje:

      Most of the belly on the Single Aisles is passenger baggage.

      There is some high value expedited freight but its not a big mainstay like the Wide Body aircraft are designed for.

      Asia apparently that is different as I recall the discussion between most other sand Asia on the NMA was the NMA did not have enough freight capacity to satisfy their requirements in that regard.

    • I agree with this. And even if A220’s replace some A320’s that means Airbus may be able to fill the slot with an aircraft from the A321 family capturing a greater margin.

    • Customers like AirBaltic and Breeze know what they want. AB would be smart to let the market to decide.

    • I think an A220-500 is as useful as a peremptory threat to that other outfit, as it is as an actual plane. Nice placeholder..

      Fitting quote from the great Rod Laver: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

      • Bill7:

        Thank you, for the quote. I had a similar quip but had not seen that one.

        I worked with a guy who said I was lucky. No, I did the morning maint on the scanner systgem to ensure that scanners and printing were working.

        His MO was to claim he did the morning checkouts but sat in the shop and then complained about the mess of failure he had to respond to (we were assigned a rotation and he got it once a week)

  8. @TW “777X gear is being made by a previously unknown firm ” An unknown firm ???? Heroux-Devtek has been making landing gear for 75 years ! They made the landing gear for Apollo 11 in 1969 for landing on the moon ! They make the landing gear for S.Korea KF-X jet fighter, SAAB Grippen Jet, Embraer KC-390 and Legacy 450/500, Lockheed Martin C130-J super hercules (for 30 years !) , BAE Hawk jet trainer , Silkorsky CH-53K helicopter, Boeing Chinook CH-47, Leonardo AW609 tiltrotor Helicopter and landing gear uplock for the Lockheed Martin F-35, should I go on ? They have shops in the Montreal area (3) , Ontario (2) , Ohio , Kansas and Washington state , plus Runcorn , Nothingham and Bolton in the United Kingdom, I pretty sure they have been considered a Tier 1 suplier for a very very long time ! In fact they delivered the first 777/777x landing gear to Boeing in July 2016 !!!!

  9. Gentlemen,
    I just had the pleasure of flying a Delta 220-100. Its IS an outstanding piece of kit, but nobody is listing its limitations. The fuselage diameter is such that it is a 2-3 seating arrangement. Not a big deal until you start considering the fact that container freight such ad LD3s or LD3-45s don’t fit, so its reduced to hand loading bulk freight. Cargo is such an important revenue source that this limitation should be remembered when comparing legacy aircraft to the 220.

  10. “Fuselages from Mirabel destined for the Mobile FAL are trucked.”
    That’s a long drive from Mirabel to Mobile. Would it not be cheaper and faster to send them by rail? or investing in a nice subfleet of Beluga to ship them by air?

    • Is freight rail in the US “fast” ?

      few longer rail routes can take freight that
      goes beyond the rail system wide assured
      minimum clearance outline.

      737 fuselages moved by rail is an outlier.
      ( and not without issues. accidents and locals having fun with taking potshots at transient cargo.)

      • > Is freight rail in the US “fast” ? <

        Heh!, no. Check out our USian "healthcare" [deathcare] system.. some things (nominal wealth) really *do* flow uphill.

        great country or what?

    • About a 24hr drive + border. And that is door to door, no transhipment to and from the rail depots on either end. I doubt rail could beat that.

      • Completely agree with Bill7 and jbeeko above.

        Even despite the fact that one carrier (CN Rail) actually connects Montreal (35 miles south of Mirabel) all the way to Mobile within its own network.

        But relatively low volume of fuselages shipped to Mobile doesn’t make it worthwhile (1.5 per month?).

  11. “ASC 606”

    IMU that isn’t solely about bad apples in the basket.
    ( even if Boeing tries to present it as such.)

    like IFRS 15 ASC 606 is about revenue recognition.
    .. and Airbus conformance seems to be up to date in that respect.

    So where is the difference?

  12. @TW and Pedro, like I said in my second post about Heroux Devtek, they delivered the first landing gear to Boeing for the 777/777x in july 2016 !!! So in the last 5 years, I think that they are more that up to speed as you say. Thoses planes are flying commercial right now. The 777 is a big plane I agree but the super hercules (c130j) is that not small either and they have been making that landing gear for Boeing for more than 30 years. So I think that Boeing knew they could handle the task and that Heroux Devtek is considered a tier 1 supplier by Boeing I’m sure.

    • BlueDog:

      Woa, I agreed I was wrong! Please don’t associate me with Pedro.

      I disagree that the many smaller gear on the C-130 is a big gear.

      Good news on the low rate production for Heroux Devtek is indeed a long ramp up time and any problems can be sorted.

      Keep in mind, one off hand built has to be transitioned to an industrial process and that always has its challenges.

      Nice position to be in if you jump from single aisle gear size to massive 777X gear.

      • Further to below: where is Scott’s permission to deviate off topic with your ill-informed ramblings over landing gear? The article is about fuselage stuffing…not undercarriages.

  13. @BlueDog , correction I meant Lockheed Martin C130J super Hercules….But I think Boeing seeing Heroux Devtek past contracts, could see they could handle the task.

  14. If Scott will be kind enough to allow a small foray off topic, this BNN Bloomberg article seems to suggest that BA currently doesn’t have any implementable new plane designs on the shelf:

    “Boeing Names New Digital Chief to Prepare for All-New Jetliner”

    “(Bloomberg) — Boeing Co. is looking to digital tools for an edge in designing its next new jetliner and upgrading its manufacturing systems.

    The aircraft giant has tapped veteran engineer Linda Hapgood — who worked on Boeing’s flagship 747 and 787 programs — to lead the digitalization effort. Her ascent to the new position signals a renewed focus at Boeing on its core business — designing and building airplanes — as it emerges from one of the worst crises in its history.

    Hapgood will lead an integrated product team to prepare for the planemaker’s next commercial jet development program, effective immediately, three of the company’s top executives said in a memo to employees Wednesday.”

    • It’s Deja Vu all over again at mcBoeing.. good thing the competition’s fast asleep.

        • Ahh yes, Rob the bank and then, well they did not object when I went in and held them up (aka Baby Face Nelson)

          • @TW

            ? Unh? What’s @Rob got to do with nothing…? He’s at the …what.. bank..?

            This is terminal typomania

    • @Bryce

      Great link – what this means is not hard to guess – either they have been doing nothing until now, and this could be said to point to that

      -or this means simply that they are continuing to do nothing but think it’s finally time to let on

      • @ Gerrard
        Another option: they had attempted something, they’ve since come to the conclusion that it’s a dead duck, and now they’re doing a re-hash with the new “digital dame” 😏

        • @Bryce

          You are being very reasonable – @Bill7 points out below BA have long been sounding off about an ‘intergated’ ‘digitil’ solution

          The usual verbiage used when ‘not having a clue’ is the more accurate description

          Just like the US fumbling 5G, their vacuous response is to declare a ‘digital’ fix

          Note the weasel language – she’s there to prepare ‘for’ the next plane program, nada mas, not actually to do something outrageous like….er…designing one

          (PS what’s the chatter about bank robbers holding up the Olympics..? )

  15. And also interesting, if Scott will allow this post: this article highlights the effect that the US-China trade war is having on BA sales:

    “Beijing Abandoned Its Commitment by Blocking Boeing Airplane Purchases: US Commerce Chief”

    “U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sept. 28 that China was holding back domestic airlines from purchasing “tens of billions of dollars” of U.S.-manufactured Boeing Co. airplanes.”

      • This topic is also posted on the LNA Twitter feed, so it doesn’t seem to bother Scott.
        Further: can you point out where Scott gave permission to discuss the 777X landing gear in the middle of the comments here?

    • @Bryce

      Even greater link : transparently false statements from the US Commerce Secretary

      “There’s tens of billions of dollars of planes that Chinese airlines want to buy but the Chinese government is standing in the way,” she said in a question-and-answer session after a Sept. 28 speech in Washington.

      It is more accurate to state that given the sanctions the US has imposed on Chinese companies, these have been unable to buy not only US but third party manufactured essential products

      Given that the major China airlines are state owned it would be foolish to suppose that they wish to stand in their own way to not buy US planes – they can buy AB, no ? Or has US applied sanctions to such a possibility ?

      In any case does BA have any planes to sell ? Are they not all, very nearly all, grounded ?

      • @Gerrard:

        Remember the saying: Full of sound and fury …, like the twenty-year war that unceremoniously ended??

        On another note:
        BA’s Calhoun said China needs Boeing’s jet because of the coming Winter Olympics; IOC just announced that Beijing Olympics would only allow spectators from China. Now Calhoun have to figure out another reason why China wants jets that his co. is desperately pushing out the door.

        • @Pedro

          Thanks for link – was’nt the US pushing for an international boycott of the Olympic games? Laws in the Senate or somewhere to say no? Rustling up the ‘international community’ to ‘human rights’ sanctions

          So…to try and force planes down their throat at the same time seems contradictory and plain stupid

          In any case – given all the we will ‘keill’ you wartalk why or how can China buy from a major DoD contractor, even if BA aircarts generally can not be used in combat

          China is confused by all the confusion

    • France and Germany have an advantage when dealing with autocratic regimes. You cannot count on them to protect Western values when it runs counter to their business interests. The way Germany has ploughed ahead with Nord Stream 2 after the Russian take over of Crimea is a disgrace.

      • I remember another takeover of another territory in 1967…it didn’t in any way deter the USA from remaining very chummy with the party involved.

        Scott doesn’t like politics on the forum.

      • If I were the German to choose between two mafias, I would rather pay the one that charge me the least, not the most. At least that guy wouldn’t berate me in public and call me delinquent.

      • NS(1,2) removes the extortion lever from the hands of Ukraine and Poland ( and thus the US) up to now Ukraine is the only one to have actively used gas cut off as path to extortion.

        It is essential for European gas supply in scope of covering transitioning measures ( NL, UK are both out of gas, LNG is about as Carbon Dirty as Coal. US shale gas production as source for LNG even more so.

  16. > I did not see Scotts permission to go off topic <

    valve lash settings, boilers, plumbing trees, carpentry..
    rendered in nearly incomprehensible, decontextualized prose

    • Bill7:

      Regardless of you views, no one here has exhibited any hands on mechanical knowledge.

      Feeler gauge use and the situation are well withing the topic of a the 787 fuselage issues.

      It is some sadly needed insight of the tech hand on world so many lack.

  17. “..Boeing chief engineer Greg Hyslop, Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal and Chief Information Officer Susan Doniz said in a joint memo to employees that for “our next BCA development program” the company will “create a digital environment where the next new airplane and production system can be designed together.”

    The idea is that both Boeing and its suppliers will use a single source of definitive design data for the airplane and its production system.

    “This effort will determine the standards and interfaces by which we are linked together with a digital thread through design, test, certification, build and support,” the memo said..”

    I love all the corporate-speak buzzwords..

    So the 787 fiasco *redux*, except that that outfit fired most of its seasoned engineers long ago, and steadily ground its suppliers into dust..

    Should be fine.

    something else going on at that outfit

    • @Bill7

      As per all other recent developments in US – WS is interested only in Silicon V style digital solutions

      Anything HardHat, no – Actual production, engineering, infrastructure etc –

      BA is mouthing the platitudes in an attempt to play pleeese

      • > WS is interested only in Silicon V style digital solutions <

        A bit of context from the estimable Eamonn Fingleton, 2014:

        "..The 787 story began more than a decade ago when, in the manner of a man undergoing a mid-life crisis, Boeing suddenly embraced a New Age redefinition of itself: it aspired to be primarily a “systems integrator,” not a manufacturer. According to one online dictionary, the term systems integrator connotes “an individual or company that specializes in building complete computer systems by putting together components from different vendors.” As the commentator Mark Tatge has pointed out, the term suggests a largely service-oriented role similar to Dell Computer’s in the personal computer industry (Dell confines itself to the design and marketing of products assembled in East Asia from bought-in components).

        Evidently wearying of trying to stay ahead of Airbus, already then in the passing lane, Boeing would henceforth delegate many of its most technologically challenging manufacturing tasks to a consortium of three Japanese “Heavies” – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Fuji Heavy Industries. These rank first among equals as Boeing’s so-called Tier 1 suppliers and have been the recipients of much of Boeing’s most advanced knowhow.

        Boeing’s retreat from manufacturing was powerfully symbolized also by its decision to move its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. Executed in 2001, that decision seems to have been made during the wild stock bubble of the late 1990s. It is tempting to imagine that the directors of America’s most Olympian manufacturing company talked themselves into a shift to postindustrialism at the height of one of the most ludicrous outbreaks of crowd madness in American economic history.."

        And mcBoeing is trying to sell this PR-tripe one more time..


    • @ Bill7
      Indeed! The vacu-speak in the article is typical of what one often hears from fudging executives. We got more of it the other day in that interview with the BA chief sales officer (regarding a possible 777XF), who told us to “watch this space” — for the unenlightened, that’s another way of saying “we’re scurrying to come up with something, and don’t yet know if/when we can make a formal announcement”.

    • “single data instance design.”

      Isn’t that what Airbus finalized as a design/manufacturing environment with the A350(XWB)?

      Tomorrow Boeing will tell us they invented it 🙂

  18. I don’t understand all the boosterism here for the A220. There is no synergy with the A320NEO family and it loses money according to the Wall Street analyst. Two sites and low production volume is a recipe for financial failure. It is good to have for the annual order count tally but not much else. The suppliers must be loving the security of the Airbus wallet but the original procurement costs of Bombardier.

    • > I don’t understand all the boosterism here for the A220. There is no synergy with the A320NEO family and it loses money according to the Wall Street analyst. <

      That's how it goes, in the *short* run. The Japanese didn't mind early losses in various
      strategic programs, either. 😉

      I think the A220
      is a good plane with a bright future, and am
      surprised (more than that) that AB could
      acquire it for very little. Stay tuned..

      Next up, perhaps: mcBoeing announce public/private Partnership™ w/ USG
      to produce ultraGen world-beating
      A321xxx-beater for.. 2039 EIS.

      "..First slowly, then faster." -Hemingway paraphrase

      • The Japanese line is an old tired Airbus argument that dates back to the A380 financial disaster. It did not work out that way.

        • @OGB

          Your statement is incorrect

          The notion that investment of capital in industrial production is necessarily on a long term basis is the very foundation stone of modern capitalism

          Short term quick returns is the mark of the scam the con the quack – and of modern US capitalism

          Long term investments do not always work out – short terms never do

          • Quincy:

            You have a good point. As noted in previous comments its both a commonality issue (controls logic and setup) as well as the financially burden and losses.

            It may be as much Airbus picked off the C series to keep it out of Boeing hands (who knows, maybe the light would have come on). Boeing certainly needed it worse than Airbus by leaps and bounds.

            That said, Delta has different mfg aircraft and Air France does as well. Delta I can see, Air France seems odd but they like it a lot and want the -500.

            As a stand alone its an extremely impressive accomplishment and very well done modern aircraft.

            I got to see one in person and the pictures do not do it justice.

        • @OGB

          Just watch how deep a hole BA is in thanks to a focus of cash flow, ROI and shareholders’ return (i.e. stock price). Case closed.

          Amazon is barely profitable; Netflix? Nope. Intel is very profitable but its future is challenged.

          The Standard Trust squeezed out its competitors by undercutting their price. That’s how Rockefeller became a very, very rich man!

    • @Quincy

      All you have to do is review how hard Boeing tried to kill the program, to know it’s value. Then, when things were good (pre-covid and Max crash) they quickly scrambled to get into bed with Embraer to acquire a (somewhat) competing product.

      Airbus has Delta locked down tight. Ditto for JetBlue, all A220 operators Breeze & airBaltic. Air France wants an A220-500.

      This is an investment for the future. BA has nothing in this space and are getting squeezed in the NB segment from top to bottom. The A220 has essentially killed off the Max 7, E2-195 & the A319Neo.

      Covid has also revealed the value of smaller aircraft capable of long and thin routes. Out of all the aircraft flying during the pandemic, the A220 had the least number of jets parked.

      Sometimes it’s not all about today

      • Looking at E195-E2 configurations, they seat 122-132 seats single class. Putting it significantly below the A220-300 (145 seats) and A319/737-700

        • @keesje

          All true – but that’s only half the story. The E2 line is essentially a regional jet. 2×2 seating.

          Mainline carriers fly the A220. No legacy carrier flies the E2 line in it’s fleet. airBaltic is now flying the A220 from Riga to Dubai, over 6 hours.

          Imagine being cooped up in an RJ for that long…

          • I think the E2 and A220 blurred the distinction between traditional Regional and Mainline operations.

            Same as mainline mixed up over the years with leisure, feeder and LowCost. They sit in the same aircraft now. Passengers buy online & don’t care how the operator qualifies itself.

            In the end payrates, scopes didn’t really stop this development. The E2 and A220 “inbetweens” benefit.

          • keesje:

            Stop no but hold both back yes.

            US is the biggest market for both (its a big country and our train service sucks)

            The E2 would not make Dubai so you get to stretch your legs in Ankara!

  19. Another interesting article, if Scott will permit:
    Uncle Sam has given Boeing an early Christmas present.

    “Boeing Gets Air Force Pact Worth up to $23.8B for C-17 Globemaster III”

    “Boeing Co. has received a U.S. Air Force contract valued at up to $23.8 billion over 10 years to support the C-17 Globemaster III worldwide mission.

    Under the agreement, Boeing would continue performing critical sustainment activities, including engineering, field support, and material management, for a global fleet of 275 aircraft.”

    • @Bryce

      Ceci explique cela – these are the tens of billions that the Commerce Secretary meant to refer to when she said she wanted to give ‘lotsa money’ to Boeing but could not remember who how why or why not

      oof, glad that one’s over

    • Nice for Boeing, congratulations! Defense / Washington Government is by far the #1 Customer, R&D partner, Export promotor, Financer, Auditor, Everything.

      • > Defense / Washington Government is by far the #1 Customer, R&D partner, Export promotor, Financer, Auditor, Everything. <

        Funny about that, isn't it?

        • @Quincy

          Alive perhaps just but well, no

          Read any the DoD reports and or various defense specialist publications on the very degraded state of the MIC complex

          For once, they’re not kidding

          Look further than the BA non combat combat refueler to an industry more in sorrow than in tears

    • From the gov:
      “The period of performance is nine years and eight months, consisting of three 12-month ordering periods, two 37-month options, and the six-month option to extend services, for a total maximum value of $23,764,751,000. ”

      You know all options will get taken, so some $24 billion filtered into Boeing for:
      “This contract will provide support and sustainment services to the government product support manager/product support integrator for the C-17 weapon system. Support includes, but is not limited to: program management; sustaining logistics; material and equipment management; sustaining engineering; quality assurance; depot level aircraft maintenance and modifications; F117 propulsion system management; long-term sustainment planning; field services, unique foreign military customer services and Air Logistics Center partnering support for the worldwide fleet of the C-17 aircraft.”

      WTF does that even mean?
      There were a total of 279 aircraft made. This contract gives BA $85 million per aircraft. What a great gig – if you can get it…

      • State subsidy — dressed up as a (ridiculously overpriced) service contract.

        • And the A400 is what?

          You clearly do not understand that maint costs money. Ask Germany with their 6 laid up subs. Oooops, no maint money, no subs.

          We bought those subs why? Uhhh, it keeps our sub builders in jobs!

          C-17 is the finest strategic air transport in the world. As the UK, Australia , Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, India, Quatar UAE.

          note it was for 275 aircraft to those operated by other countries are included in the contract and will be billed.

          All those pesky details like life cycle costs that you pay or your stuff rusts away.

          • The foreign “allies” are forced to foot the bill of U.S. subsidies to BA. Nice!!!

  20. As a side note on a possible A320.5; it probably would not be an “easy” A320 stretch. The A320 seems pretty much optimized around 80t MTOW & you wouldn’t want to compromise on it’s range.

    On the other side, “shrinking” the A321NEO/XLR with it new MTOW & fuel system, wing included, wouldn’t produce a very efficient aircraft. The A321 is more and more optimized to carry a lot of people on medium ranges. A “simple” A321 shrink would produce something relative heavy and capable of up to 4000-5000 +NM range with 200 seats, capability nobody seems to be asking for.

    So while a A320Plus seems a very desirable sized aircraft for an airline, from a supplier standpoint it might require a significant re-design, next to the standard A320, the A321NEO and the XLR. Out of production efficiency / supply chain considerations not a real attractive situation.

    • And not just that: Qatar may bring back all 10 of them, rather than just the 5 that it had previously indicated.

      Striking that Al Baker can’t deploy the A380 effectively, whereas Clark generates 80% of his profit with them 🤔

        • @Miles

          You should read the link you quote

          This states that last year EK did lose money, due to the bug ‘fighting’ measures, for the first time in three decades

          If you wish to make an argument you should interest yourself in the facts of the case

          • @ Miles
            If you want to get picky about semantics, note this: my original comment about Emirates said “generates”…not “is generating”; there’s an important difference between the two.

            For example: “John drives a BMW” doesn’t mean that he is currently in the process of driving his BMW.

          • @Bryce

            To out nitpicker the nitpicker – one may say that EK generates x % of it’s profits from say Asians, but it would be tough grammatically to argue the reverse

            Same with the plane – whether EK generates a profit this year or that year, or not, it remains true to say that EK generates x % of this from…etc etc

            The losses come from elsewhere, the bug, the panick, the Max

        • @Miles

          Cripes – well if you want to get nitpickety – to say EK is losing money is present tense, you do not know if this year this is the case

          Or- the phrase is sometimes used to state that ‘recently’ ‘over the last few years’ etc i.e. currently – in which case comments require historical context

          Last year and this may well be or have been exceptional, most everybody knows this, all airlines, hence airplanes, nearly all, are losing money

          If you have something to say beyond the banal – About EK, the 380, or the industry? It might be apposite to discuss whether the 380 can/will be profitable, or ….

        • Interesting indeed.

          Is it the paint, the climate, the surface or a combination of more than one?

          • @Bryce described it inartfully as an issue of a “bitching” customer . . . truth be told it was the regulatory agency in Qatar that mandated the grounding. Safety is rightly priority one in Doha.

          • @ Khalid
            From what I recall, the issue was first raised by Qatar Airways, and only after a while did the regulator in Doha get in on the action…perhaps as a way of “officializing” the issue so as to put pressure on Airbus? That, in turn, prompted EASA to announce that they couldn’t find any issue, and to state that other big users such as Cathay and Singapore hadn’t reported such problems. Which, in turn, left Mr. Al Baker with egg on his face.
            Somewhat akin to his ballistic tantrum over the wallpaper quality in his A380s.

        • Could there be something in the water (figuratively) that led to the conclusion of local safety regulator (and the only one) that paint damage is a safety issue?? 🙄

        • @Javier

          Your statement is incorrect

          EK made the 380 work profitably, perhaps Sing could not, or perhaps they see current and future international travel as so much reduced there can be no place for such a plane

          Even if EK say they will continue to use all the 380’s they can

          It’s not the machine, it’s the management, although I’ll make an exception for the killer Max

        • Singapore Airlines used to enjoy being at a hub between Europe and Australia; everyone flying between those two continents would inevitably make a stopover in Singapore and/or Hong Kong. Those days are gone, because the Gulf hubs are better situated, and have taken a huge bite out of everyone’s longhaul cake. Any plane that can’t be adequately filled is going to be operationally/commercially unattractive, and SIA just doesn’t have the required passenger volume to sustain a fleet of A380s. Emirates, on the other hand, used to fill 11 A380s a day on its London routes, and it made a fat profit doing so. As stated above, the airline generated 85% of its profits with the model.

          • @Bryce

            Thanks for your explanation

            Am I wrong-did not EK have three flights a day Dxb to Manchester, at one time anyway

            (As far as airtravel) Singapore seems to be transforming into an Sth Asian specific hub, putting in flights all over the sub region, and bringing in a lot of China IT HQ’s

          • @ Gerrard
            You’re right: even secondary UK airports like Manchester had enough demand to fill multiple A380s per day!

            And Singapore has indeed “reinvented” itself as a central hub in Asia-Pacific…a shorthaul version of Dubai (sort-of). It’s a hub for SIA, Scoot, Jetstar and FedEx.

  21. Congratulations:

    Forget the naysayers, the A220 compliments Airbus’ offering.

    -> Airbus SE has been chosen to equip the fleet of Italia Trasporto Aereo, with the Italian flag carrier agreeing to buy 28 aircraft and lease others.

    ITA will buy 10 of the plane maker’s A330neo long-haul aircraft, seven A220-family regional jets and 11 A320neo-family planes, the company said Thursday.

    ITA said it has also signed an agreement with U.S-based Air Lease Corp. to lease 31 Airbus aircraft.

    • Nice catch.

      They’re buying 7 A220’s from Airbus and leasing a further 15 from Air Lease Corp. I’m guessing that those 15 will come from the 50 that ALC has on order from AB.

      Good for Airbus & the A220 program. On the march towards 20 operators and critical mass.

      • I don’t think nay sayers are the operative word.

        I like it and would love to fly in one.

        My question are all in regard to where it fits inside of Airbus with non common controls and how they deal with the -500 in particular as a duplicate of the A320.

        I hope its a huge success. BBD may have been foolish in the reach, but they did the right part making sure it was technically a success.

        Boeing who should know better messed up big time on the MAX and it was not even a new aircraft.

    • Shipping a sovereign country’s jobs and productive capacities to a far-off land
      for the short term benefit of the former’s tiny ruling class seldom ends well.

      who coulda known..

      • Pedro:

        I have never poste4d anything in regards to Trade Wars that makes that stupid statement associated with me.

        Bill7 hits it spot on. Sold out by our Lords and Masters

        • The trade war started by the former guy is continued by the current guy. Faces changed only.

          In a free market economy, how do you stop entrepreneurs from sourcing at a lower cost? If you believe in free market, then you have to accept its consequences. You can’t scold others for not following capitalist’s free market and whine the lost of jobs as a result of it. It’s hypocrisy.

          • > In a free market economy <

            Show me a "free market" economy.

            Hint- there is no such thing: winners and losers are a result of political processes, constructed for desired outcomes of this or that [power]

  22. Interesting article on Forbes:
    “Boeing 737 Max Aftermath: The Big Fish Get Away”

    Particularly noteworthy:

    “So, how did the senior people at the FAA and Boeing manage such a clean escape?

    A last fact may be the most telling: Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney who led the Boeing case, left the Dept. of Justice to become a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. That firm — with profits per equity partner averaging $6.2 million — serves as Boeing’s outside counsel.

    Want more? Her joining the firm was announced by her new partner, Mark Filip. As Boeing’s counsel, Filip signed the sweetheart Deferred Prosecution Agreement on behalf of the company.

    Filip, incidentally, also came to Kirkland & Ellis from the Dept. of Justice, where he issued the much-touted “Filip Memorandum,” setting forth “Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations.” No kidding.

    Something here smells.

    Perhaps it’s the big fish that got away.”

    • @Bill7

      I guess you are being anarchical and saying that nothing and especially not team sport is off topic as far as Boeing is concerned, and this is even twice true if the post is about Airbus

      Or perhaps the Marino you mention represents Airbus’ US home town/state?

      I still think the DoJ prosecutor deal should go down in history as the prize example of playing against the team

      • Bill7:

        Much like the A220, I will argue that Rogers is Marino on steroids!

        Unlike the A220 I think he is past his peak though still good.

        Much like the A220, their O line has been amazingly resilient this year.

        Like the A220 the D may need a save but they may work through the initial poor showing.

        • TW- I haven’t seen Aaron Rogers play,
          but Dan Marino had (rare!, grudging)
          good things to say about him. No doubt
          Marino has an ego the size of Dallas,
          but with skills like his.. some passes he’d make into blanket coverage
          just made me shake my head in awe.

          I’ll try to have a look at Rogers.

      • @Scott Hamilton

        Big Team Sports is the only thing men can agree to disagree about all the while claiming some common ground

        • @Scott Hamilton

          In casemy last remark should be taken as sexist, please let me add that they should swap recipes at the same time as discussing Marinos

  23. -> Premium economy, one notch below business class, is generally an upgrade from regular economy, with slightly wider seats and more legroom, and sometimes better food and bigger TVs. Seats typically take up nearly two-thirds less room than business-class berths and are up to 10 times cheaper to install, which makes them very attractive to airlines, per Bloomberg’s report.

    Premium-economy seats are around 40% more profitable per square foot of a plane’s cabin space than business class, Lufthansa told Bloomberg. The airline has premium-economy cabins on each of its 102 long-haul aircraft, and is considering replacing some business-class seats with more premium-economy ones, it told Bloomberg.

    Lufthansa Technik, the airline’s division that focuses on cabin maintenance and repair, told Bloomberg that it has received enquiries from other airlines considering shrinking business class so that they could add premium-economy sections. Some Asian airlines are even considering scrapping business class completely, the company told Bloomberg, without naming the airlines.

    American, United, and Delta – the US’s three largest airlines – are installing premium-economy sections in their widebody planes, which have three aisles of seats, per Bloomberg’s report.

    Emirates unveiled its first planes with premium economy earlier this year, complete with leg and foot rests, while Finnair is adding the section to all 27 of its widebody planes, it told Bloomberg. Carriers including Singapore Airlines and British Airways introduced premium-economy sections before the pandemic.

    “The investment has been an easy decision for us,” Finnair CEO Topi Manner told the publication. “Premium economy is the most profitable real estate on the aircraft, and the pandemic is reinforcing that.”

    Lufthansa told the publication that it was initially worried that business-class customers would downgrade to cheaper seats in premium economy, but that actually, most premium-economy customers are people who upgrade from economy instead.

  24. Agreement at last between COMAC and BOEING

    At last proof that sanctions work to fast track development of target countries essential industries and to hasten the onset of war

    COMAC predicts China to become world’s largest aviation market by 2040

    China is on shoring all aspects of plane production

    ‘If there was any doubt that China’s J-20 stealth aircraft is a capable match for its US counterpart, the F-22 Raptor, those doubts were blown away this week at Airshow China 2021, Global Times reported.

    • Airbus will be next to noticeably increase on-shoring of parts.
      When trade with foreign companies is continually disturbed by political/protectionist posturing at government level, it’s time to find new suppliers. Iran was a wake-up call, but it will be a seismic event if the US tries to impede EU exports to China.

      • @Bryce

        The US has already sanctioned EU exports to China (note to the grammatically deficient, this does not mean all exports)

        Notably in the case of the Dutch company ASML

        Surely a better informed search would reveal many other EU companies affected by US China sanctions

        You can probably name some – have they the US not tried this on with AB yet? After than 20 year lost war in the WTO?

        • @ Gerrard
          You are correct — but instances like the ASML export block have been “noise in the margins” up to now, particularly seeing as China is a relatively small market for ASML.
          A broader block of Airbus activities would be of an entirely different order of magnitude. And one can posit that such a block is coming, because the posturing has already started:

          • @Bryce

            You are right – China used to ‘buy’ the products of ASML tech, partly construed by US IP, via third parties

            The sanctioning of such was not direct – but made China understand that domestic production was required

            For the US to sanction AB exports, in a roughly parallel fashion, would be a graver affront/disavowal to/of the EU than, even, the sub deal – one to push EU closer toward an even more comprehensive CAI, plus AB onshoring of all production and decontamination of remaining US IP, plus a further rapprochement with Russia

            A triumph of stupidity to turn a recent ally into an enemy, to show two major antagonists the advantages of an alliance, and to make an enemy of the manufacturer of just about all the essential goods (phones! christmas treats! medicinal drugs!) you just cannot live without

          • @ Gerrard
            Further on this interesting subject, here’s a Chinese perspective in the Global Times. Of particular note:

            “China has been developing its home-grown jetliners with an inclusive approach, adopting a global supply chain with involvement of both US and European companies. It means that the market share of C919 in both home and overseas is directly linked to interests for American and European firms as well.

            However, if US authorities, adopting a narrow mindset, chose to continue its efforts to block the development of Chinese jetliners, Chinese developers will adjust their own supply chains, for instance, changing suppliers from the US to Europe. In the meantime, the country is expected to accelerate investment in basic research to break tech bottlenecks and realize technological independence.

            With an unrivalled domestic market and increasingly participation of private investment, it is only a matter of time for China to resolve external tech blockages. As one of the top civil aviation markets, China has a firm and solid foundation and determination to develop its own aircraft.

            The US should try to understand China’s determination so that it won’t sacrifice the interests of its companies by preventing them participating in this opportunity. The global civil aviation market is growing, and global players could all gain interest by collaborating.”


          • @Bryce

            This quote/statement about the development of the China plane is eminently reasonable and well spoken

            Who could argue that the initial choice of co operation with US and EU companies was not only technically necessary and logical but of benefit to all

            As would be necessary increasing self reliance for the realisation of technical advancements – as per other industries only by designing as well as building can breakthroughs be made

            Compare this language to the infantile rabblerousing nonsense the US Commerce Secretary was quoted

            This is the difference between having a plan and having no clue

            Reporting from the China Air Show is sparse, as far as I can see, this would merit much greater attention in the USEU

  25. This interesting story is from the LNA Twitter feed:
    “Public cost of training Boeing workers far higher than projections”

    “When S.C. lawmakers in 2009 first approved massive taxpayer-backed funding for aerospace giant Boeing to build an assembly plant in North Charleston, the state estimated it would spend nearly $34 million over 15 years for worker training.

    But over the past 10 fiscal years, the state has spent $58.3 million – an approximately 70% hike over original projections – to train Boeing workers through the S.C. Technical College System’s “readySC” program, according to information provided this week by the college system to The Nerve.

    The average per-worker training cost to the state also jumped significantly, from about $8,950 as initially estimated to approximately $12,100 – a 35% increase.”

    And yet, despite all those investments, we still get SC workers doing shoddy (FODdy) work.

    • Not limited to Boeing, apparently. My guy up the road, who has been to ‘Bama a couple of times, doesn’t have the greatest things to say about the Mobile workforce.

      I put it down as an airplane guy with a few decades of experience ranting about the younger generation, but it seems that there is more than just that.

      Apparently people down in the south aren’t – what’s the word (s)…motivated? Detail oriented? Airplane guys?

      • Boeing found that out in Charleston.

        Not that they care as long as the big boys get their big bucks.

        Contract workers (aka retired Union Hands) were and maybe e still are the glue that holds Charleston as together as it gets.

        All the fuselage join issue came out of Charleston (Spirit had some shim issues on the nose bulkhead as well but some odd wording as to what those issues were, supposedly not on the fuselage fit)

      • @ Frank
        I can imagine such a scenario: after all, we recently saw some embarrassing manufacturing screw-ups with vaccines in Baltimore, which indicated a very unprofessional workforce.
        However, how come that recipients of airframes made in Mobile aren’t complaining about FOD and other quality issues?

      • Is this a Down South thing or a Boeing thing?

        All the non US manufacturers “Down South” ( like BMW, some of its competitors, Airbus ) all seem to have few to no issues.

        Hating your workforce can’t have a good outcome, unions or not, , can it?

  26. Ah yes, the three-ring circus surrounding the bridge tanker is starting to pick up steam:
    Las Vegas Sun: “Why the KC-46 is the better plane for taxpayers and troops”

    “Airbus’ Lockheed Martin partnership has caused members of Alabama’s congressional delegation to go all-in for Airbus. Airbus’ planes, a modified A-330, are slated to be assembled in Mobile”

    Amusing oxymoron at the end:
    It’s time to remove politics from the tanker fight and look squarely at what’s best for the U.S.

  27. @Scott
    It may interest you to know that the current LNA article has been cited by SimpleFlying:

    “According to Leeham News, Airbus is streamlining some of A220 production to assist the assembly of jets at both its Mirabel and Mobile plants. This move will see a reduction in both costs and assembly time. The media outlet reports that the head of the Airbus A220 program, Florent Massou, hopes to reduce the final assembly time for the A220 by 50%. Massou also confirmed costs would be reduced but declined to say by how much.”

  28. And then there’s this:
    “Italy’s Leonardo says Boeing to update 787 production plan this month”

    “DUBAI (Reuters) – The chief executive of Italian aerospace firm Leonardo said Boeing was expected this month to release an updated production plan for its 787 Dreamliner wide-body jet.

    “In the next day they will come out with a new plan,” Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo told Reuters at the Dubai Expo on Saturday. “They are saying they are ‘slightly more optimistic’, shall we say.”

    Profumo did not say whether there would be a change in production rates in the new plan to be released by Boeing. Leonardo manufactures part of the Dreamliner airframe.”

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