HOTR: 787 delivery restart appears to slip to April: customers

By the Leeham News Staff

Nov. 30, 2021, © Leeham News: Plans to resume deliveries of the Boeing 787—halted since October 2020—appear to be slipping again.

Customers tell LNA that deliveries may not resume until April, a slip of one or two months from the previous unofficial timeline. Boeing hasn’t announced any timeline, deferring to the Federal Aviation Administration’s review of plans to fix issues related to composite delamination and fuselage section mating.

“As we have previously shared, we are completing comprehensive inspections and associated rework across 787 production and within the supply chain, while holding detailed, transparent discussions with the FAA, suppliers, and our customers,” a Boeing spokesperson wrote LNA in an email.

“Work continues in our production facility and rates will continue to be dynamic as we focus on eliminating traveled work and prioritize resources to support our inspection and rework efforts. We are taking the time needed to ensure the highest levels of quality, and while these efforts will continue to impact deliveries, we’re confident this is the right approach to drive stability and first-time quality across our operations and to position the program for the long term as market demand recovers. None of the issues have been determined to present a safety of flight concern with respect to the active in-service fleet.”

Related Article

Acquiring used 777s, canceling 787 orders

LNA reported on Nov. 6 that deliveries were not likely to resume until well into the first quarter of 2022. As a result, several carriers were studying extending leases on Boeing 777-300ERs or returning to service -300ERs that had been grounded during the COVID pandemic. Some lessors told LNA that airlines inquired about leasing 777s they had on the ground. Some inquiries discussed long-term leases rather than short-term lift.

Some airlines are discussing canceling 787 orders. There are about 105 787s in Boeing’s inventory that have been built since deliveries were suspended.

Civilian KC-390 use?

The Brazilian government proposes slashing in half its order for the Embraer KC-390 tanker transport for budgetary reasons. Embraer is fighting the move. Such a steep cut would put a big hole in Embraer’s backlog of the slow-selling KC-390.

The airplane was designed with special missions in mind. Brazil needs an aircraft capable of short-field, rough runway operations to reach indigenous populations in remote sections of the country. The high-wing, twin-engine jet aircraft has an aft loading ramp for cargo. It also can serve as an aerial refueling tanker. The KC-390 is roughly the size of a Boeing 737.

When Embraer and Boeing planned to combine Embraer’s commercial division into a new joint venture called Boeing Brasil-Commercial, a second JV was planned just for the KC-390 program. Although EMB would own 51% of the KC-390 JV (as opposed to just 20% of the commercial JV), Boeing was going to be in charge of marketing the airplane worldwide. When Boeing withdrew from both JVs, Embraer was once again on its own. Sales have been slow.

There’s the possibility of de-militarizing the KC-390, however, for civilian use. Lockheed Martin (at the time, just Lockheed) did this for the venerable C-130. The civilian version was named the L-100. Alaska and Delta Air Lines were among the carriers that operated the L-100. The KC-390 is somewhat larger than the turboprop C-130.

Embraer considers civilian version

“Embraer is always assessing the market and having conversations with operators to improve the solution and scale demand for potential applications for the C-390 Millennium and its refueling variant KC-390,” the company said in a statement to LNA. “Since its inception, the KC-390 program was conceived with a focus on versatility, with solutions that make the conversion to a very efficient civil freighter feasible.

“As an example of this versatility, during the COVID-19 outbreak, the aircraft was extensively used by the Brazilian Air Force for humanitarian missions, showing its cargo capabilities. The civil certification had been obtained even before the serialization production started, which was an important step towards making a civil freighter version viable. Embraer is constantly evaluating the best timing to develop this version and is in contact with customers who have shown interest in being the launch customer. If and when Embraer has a decision, it will communicate the market.”

 

 

 

158 Comments on “HOTR: 787 delivery restart appears to slip to April: customers

  1. The continuing hiatus on 787 deliveries is coming at a bad time, in view of the worsening pandemic situation; customers may increasingly be tempted to cancel without penalty as their balance sheets feel a worsening pinch.

    Even before the emergence of omicron, European domestic/regional aviation was suffering as a result of the increase in delta cases. The link (in Dutch) shows that, in the past 4 weeks, traffic levels decreased from a high of 81% of 2019 levels to 76.3% of 2019 levels. Even Michael O’Leary has noticed a drop in bookings.

    Longhaul is in an even worse situation, with a widening scala of restrictions being put in place by a growing list of countries. The result is a further hit to revenue. So, although there may be a wish to switch to more fuel-efficient aircraft so as reduce flak from environmental groups, the reality may see more and more airlines limping along with relatively cheap older aircraft — and there are plenty of them currently sitting around.

    https://luchtvaartnieuws.nl/nieuws/categorie/2/airlines/herstel-voorbij-europees-vliegverkeer-krimpt-nu-al-vier-weken-op-rij

  2. In hindsight, it’s too bad they didn’t put the GTF on the KC-390. They put it on the E2s, but it was probably not ready for the 390. That would have given it an even better appeal.

    • Sam1:

      A military airlifeter is not a speed machine. By its nature its performance (in this case of tactical on short and soft field ops) that counts.

      Economics are not prime either, though that is what the GTF would improve.

      P&W had its teething issues and Embraer wanted a well proven reliable engine which is what the military ops wants.

      And in this case Embraer would be trying to compete with the C-130 in civie ops and late to the table means not worth it as the sales won’t be there.

      • This previous Leeham story indicated the C-390 ( they dropped the K part from the name)was just a few tons higher payload than the C-130J
        Sort of goes against saying the Brazilian is ‘considerably larger’ the offering from LM
        ‘KC-390 has virtually the same payload capability as the C-130. The flat cargo bay area is shorter than the Super Hercules but this is compensated by a ramp area which is considerably longer (5.8m versus 3.1m) and at shallower angle…’
        https://leehamnews.com/2014/10/13/embraers-big-bet-on-its-largest-airplane-yet/
        Sure it wouldnt be a big seller in the civilian world but those cargo only carriers with regular cycle operations are always looking at ways they can meet the demand. That would be the way to go rather then the for the oversize market which the LM-100J might have an edge as its ready now

        • Duke:

          Huh?

          The cost for Civie cert and not much if any market is the issue.

          Coin flip on the load and capacity, the KC-390 aka C-390 does not offer anything that offsets those costs for a low production aircraft (that Brazil is trying to cancel half the purchase for)

          Not exactly a shot of confidence for an already nebulous product. sales wise. Shades of the A400.

          • Embraer already is a civilian plane maker OEM so they know the pitfalls and pathways. If LM can do it with their military only background in last 50 years then it’s achievable too. Im thinking it’s likely possible civilian cert guided many of their decisions too.
            How it would work in a civilian freight business is the million dollar question

          • Duke:

            LM did the original Herc while making the Tri Star.

            They always kept civie versions of the C-5 and C-141 in mind (never did them but there are placeholders).

            Its not they can’t do it, its the lack of a base to do it from and no return on the core program let alone adding costs that won’t be returned.

          • The An -124 got civilian certification for about 20 or so planes with an upgraded version. Apparently its much easier for a dedicated cargo plane than one for carrying passengers.

            Its possible but not likely in current circumstances. When the plane was launched it seemed that some images were in Fedex colours. It would take someone like that being very interested for it too happen. You maybe aware the volume of airfreight is going up and a 25 tonne payload plane could be very attractive especially as
            extra volume rather than weight

    • The PW1100G would probably also reduce the takeoff run as well as extend range by 15%. The engine is mature now.

      • Amazon buys a fleet of these, packs in 6-8 Rivian Prime Electrics filled with the usual junk packages, off they go to the out of the way hinter-lands with so-so airports, and the World changes again. That’s if they can make the economics work with the newer engine.

      • The engine thrust ratings for PW1100G are very similar to the older CFM and IAE engines. So the heavier engine means the takeoff run will be slightly longer, but maybe not in reality with auto pilot set take off thrust
        The range would improve but it seems to very adequate as it is.

        • The PW1100G and LEAP powered A320 neo have better takeoff performance and much better climb rates than the CFM & V2500 ceo.

    • Yes, the V2500 are old engines by now. They are in an A380 situation of having the wrong and old engines installed. If Embraer makes a cargo C-195E2 it could be a militarized tanker as well to automatic refuel the JAS-39E/F’s they are getting. It would be modern light weight and maybe a natural replacement for ATR72 cargo aircrafts.

  3. Spice Jet of India is taking two B777/200s in compo for the 19 months of the grounding of the 737/Maxs.

  4. The KC390 obvious is a capable, quiet, quick and roomy transporter. How much would it costs to take out / not build in expensive militairy equipment? I wonder what niche market it could serve.. possibly a different one than converted NB’s.

  5. Very nasty issue (from THE SEATTLE TIMES NOV 19th)
    A lot of contamination among various composite suppliers.

    “The litany of manufacturing defects on the 787 Dreamliner is expanding as Boeing engineers take apart planes and discover new or more widespread issues, a Federal Aviation Administration internal memo indicates.

    The FAA memo, which was circulated internally Monday and reviewed by The Seattle Times, points to new concerns about a previously unreported defect caused by contamination of the carbon fiber composite material during fabrication of the large structures that make up the 787’s wing, fuselage and tail.

    The memo also adds detail about the small out-of-tolerance gaps that have been discovered throughout the airplane structure: at the joins of the large fuselage sections, at a forward pressure bulkhead and in the structure surrounding the passenger and cargo doors.

    The FAA memo, which lists safety conditions affecting airplanes currently in service worldwide, states that these tiny gap defects are thought to be present in more than 1,000 Dreamliners. These are not considered an immediate safety concern but could cause premature aging of the airframe.

    “We’re looking at the undelivered airplanes nose to tail, and we have found areas where the manufacturing does not conform to the engineering specifications,” a Boeing spokesperson said Friday. “None of these issues is an immediate safety-of-flight issue.”

    Those planes currently in service can be inspected and reworked later during routine maintenance, the spokesperson said.

    However, complicating the process, the FAA memo states that Boeing doesn’t have the detailed configuration data on each plane to know which may have the defects.

    It’s unclear if coming up with fixes that will satisfy the FAA will further delay resumption of 787 deliveries into next year.

    Such a delay could increase the total cost to get the 787 program back on track above Boeing’s previous $1 billion estimate and would risk an accounting write-off in the fourth quarter.

    Contamination of composite material
    The internal FAA memo relates how, early this year, Boeing reported to the FAA that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan — which builds the jet’s carbon composite wings — had discovered contamination of the composite material during fabrication that could potentially weaken the bonding when two composite parts are bonded together with adhesives.

    For example, when a stiffening rod is bonded to the inside of the wing skin.

    In the fabrication process for composites, carbon fiber tape impregnated with epoxy resin is laid on a mold, then hardened in a high-pressure oven called an autoclave.

    Bags are placed around the composite material to create a vacuum, and a thin sheet may be placed between the composites and the mold to facilitate release when it comes out of the autoclave. The contamination occurred because some of the bagging and release materials contained polytetrafluoroethylene — commonly known by the brand name Teflon.

    The use of PTFE, which left a residue after removal, did not comply with Boeing’s manufacturing specifications.

    Initial tests conducted by Boeing and reported to the FAA in April showed a positive outcome: although the bond strength was reduced, it was still within the design limits.

    However, the memo includes a new update from late last month, in which Boeing told the FAA that the same contamination has now been found at other major suppliers and affects not only the wing but also the fuselage and tail.

    In addition, further tests of small pieces of the composites now indicated that the strength of the bond between contaminated parts in some cases was below the allowed design limits.

    Boeing last month suggested to the FAA an approach to evaluating the integrity of the bonds in the affected structures. But the FAA isn’t convinced. It responded that the proposed evaluation method is not approved and not validated by testing.”

    • If there is any good news, it seems to be enough overbuilt and or the regs have enough safety factor that there have been no losses.

      Sans that, shades of the Comet and a complete go through to correct the deficiencies, though in this case its the quality control failure (abomination is a better term)

      Truly a classic example of Normalizing Deviation.

      I guess we can look forward to the launch of the New and Improved 787 Mk II.

      • > it seems to be enough overbuilt and or the regs have enough safety factor <

        Should be fine™ – maybe like the 'MAX'.

        • Bill7:

          No, I am not remotely saying that.

          I do well remember the 50s on and all the crashes (probably one a month on average, maybe more).

          Today’s air safety was paid in deaths from that and following era’s.

          Clearly we are fortunate on the 787 not to have had a crash. You never should skirt those edges, we clearly are fortunate that robust specs exist.

          Also totally clear is it all needs to be corrected. It took two fatal air crashes for the FAA to do its job, lessons that should be etched in stone.

          The 787 is very good aircraft and its a very good design. Its been virtually sabotaged by Boeing mis-management.

          And like Mullbenburg, Calhoun will walk away with 10s of millions for a job criminally done.

          • My understanding is there is *no immediate* threat to flight safety, It can still reduce the estimated useful lives.
            I can never understand how it can be spinned into it’s a good thing.

          • Pedro:

            Just like EASA approved RR to fly two known iffy engines on the 787.

            Indian authorities refused to let Indigo fly with one let alone two problem PW engines.

            And they sure kept the A350 surface issues under the rug.

          • “The 787 is very good aircraft and its a very good design.”

            Sure.
            It’s been subjected to 2 groundings, suffered high-profile QC issues with FOD, hasn’t been delivered in more than a year, is at the center of a standoff with the FAA, and is being scrutinized by a Congressional commitee.
            And that qualifies as “very good”?

          • Did you write to FAA demanding to know why they didn’t take any action??

  6. VV is trying to spin this latest 787 debacle yet again as actually a positive thing, for Boeing’s customers.
    LOL!

  7. From the most recent Seattle Times article
    on Boeing’s issues, linked above:

    > the FAA is concerned about the lack of detailed assembly data on every airplane. Boeing submitted its proposal for inspections and indicated that the process >>> would not require FAA approval<<<. "

    “We [the FAA] firmly disagree,” the memo states. This standoff over what level of inspections is appropriate remains the major stumbling block to Boeing resuming 787 deliveries."

    So BCA think or claim they don't need FAA approval for the type of inspections made on the troubled 787s? After the 'MAX' debacle, and the ongoing 777-X certification issues, and the ongoing KC-46 issues ? Wait a minute: do the regulated get to dictate to the Regulator, or … ?

    Where there's smoke, there's fire..

    • BA figures a limited number of inspections, say three (hand picked by BA nonetheless), is the best case to ensure timely delivery resumption. More than that ….

    • Bill7:

      Boeing Management would like to revert to that, but that is not what is being said. Boeing is complying. Management is unhappy but I am willing to bet the engineers are turning cart wheels.

      The management is disagreeing with the FAA (and they have that right). Its the bizarre how far this went off the rails aspect that has come to the fore.

      Under normal circumstances that would be the ebb and flow of a resolution. EASA and Airbus do the same. You don’t think that RR did not pull strings to keep the Trent 1000 in the air? The A350 pain issue has been under the rug for some time.

      e.

      Its not just one area or supplier, its even the Japanese (sans the Yuasa battery issue they are normally very good on their end)

      At least for now, the FAA is sticking to its guns and that is a relief. If we are lucky the ODA will get changed back to what it was intended to be originally.

      KC-46 issues are not air-frame or controls related.

      • “Under normal circumstances that would be the ebb and flow of a resolution.”

        Without a doubt – but this is hardly normal circumstances. You would think that given what has happened, BA would be contrite. Very contrite. “What do we have to do, what do you want us to do, tell us what is needed – and we’ll do it” contrite.

        Instead we get reports of them trying to slide by the TIA on the 777X, putting unqualified staff in positions close to the FAA, the sketchy hiring of the Texas lawyer, the attempt to use the models they wanted to select for 787 inspections and the general feeling that they feel they are still in control…

        The same gang is still there. They haven’t changed.

        • And that lack of contrition / humility is leading to a 787 stand-off that just keeps going on and on: it looks as if the FAA isn’t going to budge, and BA isn’t able/willing to comply. It makes one wonder whether 787 deliveries will ever resume.

          Same with the 777X: the FAA is not going to give a TIA until certain issues have been addressed, and BA seemingly isn’t able/willing to address them.

          Meanwhile, who’s ordering the MAX? Bargain hunters / LCCs who are looking for sharp deals (e.g. on whitetails). Total orders for 2021 have been largely balanced out by cancellations / ASC606 deletions.

          That company just can’t / won’t generate revenue!

          • Frank:

            Av Week quoted from the FAA letter to Boeing pretty extensively if not verbatim.

            In short it said Boeing did not get it. Corporate Culture has baked that We are Mighty into the DNA.

            Suddenly a 2 year old is being told it can’t have candy, and phoom.

            People think everyone else changes their ways immediately but like dealing with kids, they don’t change, you have to be consistent, repeat the message and in for the long stay in doing so.

            I worked with guys who did not get things as well, I never cared if they got it, first step was did they comply?

            And in this case the FAA holds the prize aloft now, Boeing has to satisfy them now.

            Engineers would be the first to buy into it, we hated doing it wrong or seeing people lie about what went wrong and what was needed to fix it.

            But the Boeing ship is going to take some time to change its course.

            You can bet people are getting more and more ticked at Calhoun, so we could see the change at the top that is needed.

            I had some maneuver room at the bottom but if I could get the top to buy into something I had free reign to do it right. Ultimately its at the top it has to start and Boeing has not got there.

            FAA can get Boeing to comply but until (IF) a sea change, then it goes on. Something from sword play of a death by a 1000 cuts.

          • Yeah many commentators who only focus on order gains and order backlog miss that high/good profit margin MAX orders are replaced by low/no profit margin orders.

            What’s next? More fire sale of 777XF to AAB. Hurray.

          • In reference to those 737 Max’s;

            If you have a look at planespotters 737 Max page, then sort by LN, you kinda get an idea when airframes have been made.

            https://www.planespotters.net/production-list/Boeing/737/737-MAX-8?sort=ln&p=7

            Aircraft noted as ‘on order’ are the ones in inventory. Some of the Chinese airlines haven’t taken planes made in 2018, but youhave guys like Spicejet that have an aircraft from Feb/Mar 2019 not taken yet.

            That’ll be 3 years, soon. How much is BA going to lose when interest expense, fixed costs & required maintenance are factored in? So much money tied up and lost in inventory…

        • > Instead we get reports of them trying to slide by the TIA on the 777X, putting unqualified staff in positions close to the FAA, the sketchy hiring of the Texas lawyer, the attempt to use the models they wanted to select for 787 inspections and the general feeling that they feel they are still in control… <

          Amen to all that. When corporations start dictating to Regulators you're in dangerously
          slippery territory.. we're there, IMO (not just talking about Boeing, by the way).

          What's that adequate political descriptor, starts with 'F' ?

      • Anyone who read NTSB’s report on 787 fires would know it’s because the lack of oversight by FAA/FAA’s delegation of responsibilities to BA’s employees.

        “KC-46 issues are not air-frame or controls related.”

        -> Each KC-46 is a $226 million lemon to taxpayers. Period.

        • Pedro:

          Its a surprise you consider yourself a US Tax Payer? Or is that just tax payer who is incensed at any money spent by anyone?

          Battery: No disagreement, that was a disaster in the making. Pretty much the definitive book on how not to do it.
          But that was not the same FAA at work now. Will the FAA stay on course? Long term it will probably drift again.
          That is why EASA, Brazil, Japan and even China are crucial as questioning AHJ’s, if one drifts keep the other one honest.

          As a US Taxpayer, I know the KC-46 will get corrected. No I am not happy. But I have seen some bad ones. C-17 has huge issues to start and almost got cancelled. The KC-46 is easier to fix, its not a core problem

          • @TW:

            Huh?? You know I never paid U.S. taxes? How much do you know about IRC?

            I believe many Americans have a tendency to be optimistic, witness those BA’s repeated (and failed) promises that the MAX/787 would be back sooooooooooon ….

            -> Chicago-based aerospace giant Boeing announced late Monday that it would update flight control systems on its 737 Max 8 commercial jetliners after the plane was involved in two deadly accidents in the past five months. The move came hours after the Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory mandating specific “design changes” no later than April 2019.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/03/12/boeing-promises-update-flight-control-system-after-another-max-goes-down/

            -> Boeing Promised Pilots a 737 Software Fix Last Year, but …

            https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/14/business/boeing-737-software-update.html

          • When did Boeing get the KC-46 contract, again,
            after it was previously awarded to Airbus?
            Boing can’t even get the FOD out of that plane (hmm), let alone solve its Rube Goldberg tech issues..

            Much like the [useless] F-35: the gift that keeps on giving $, twenty years on-

            “We’ll have it sorted out in Block 97B4yerFukd, in FY2047”.

          • @Bill: Boeing won the third round for the KC-X in February 2011.

      • “KC-46 issues are not air-frame or controls related.”

        Hangar queens.
        Nobody looked carefully jet on those. 🙂
        ( most recent find was judicious amounts of FOD?)

      • The EASA did not just approve “iffy” Trent 1000 engines to fly B787. It required an increased level of inspections of the engines as an interim measure to replace the affected parts. If we follow the logic of grounding every time there is a problem then most aircraft would be grounded most of the time.

    • The FAA most likely need to define inspection criterias and methods to calculate a new limit for a new inspection interval and then FAA might need to buy an early production 787 of nominal mass and cut it up for structural testing bits and have 100’s of LCF fatigue testing machines running on the bits and then statistically derive “same parts fatigue data”. FAA could for example pick one or a couple of Norwegian 787’s to cut up.

      • Good ideas in there, *if* it could be determined that the planes sampled were representative of the entire fleet.

        So far, it sure looks like Boeing wants to cherry-pick the sampled aircraft, and still appears
        to be bullying (friends in high places?) the FAA..

        • Yeah, thats the problem, the early ones are totally different and later ones are not really old enough.

        • One can argue that defects have a statistical spread in size and orientation and that Boeing did not ship aircrafts with massive sq. ft composite delaminations, then a few 100 testpieces from each major structure that comes from suppliers around the world will give enough data in fatigue testing after NDT to give reasonable reinspection intervals for the +1000 787 aircrafts in service or custom life limits per Line Number. If massive delaminations are found at heavy checks a new situation arises.

          • It’s not delamination, it’s disbonding.
            Fatigue is going to be an issue, but it’s not really the point.
            When a glue joint in a carbon structure fails, it should take a chunk of laminate from either side with it.
            These joints failed below their design tolerances, they were not strong enough from day one. These design tolerances were set for a good reason. Unless Boeing can prove that they were being massively over conservative and its all fine, how are they going to get out of this pickle logically? How can anyone know that we haven’t just been lucky this far? Perhaps they can bang a few mechanical fastners in to help out?

          • @Grubbie. Often there is a mix of delamination, disbonding and core damage (where sandwich cores exist). Still useful life reductions will be caught in LCF fatigue testing of parts and specimens taken from aircrafts made. We will see how FAA will progress and the data behind its conclusions of any life reductions/new NDT required and its intervals. Would be interesting to add one of the 787 “Terrible teens” in the lot as well.

        • Dickson can’t be bullied. He would resign if politicos starting trying to dictate what to do.

    • I wonder if Airbus will have to put the A350 freighter on the backburner until this problem is resolved.

    • The A350 paint its does appear to be a paint adherence issue rather than anything serious such as galvanic corrosion.

      Carbon Fibre has a very low coefficient of thermal expansion however paint does not. Low adherence of paint to plastic and differences in coefficient of expansion seem to be the cause of the issue. Adherence of the paint to titanium bolts is even a worse issue.

      @Trevor. The A350F is 3.5 years away. The issue will be solved before then.

  8. While Boeing and the FAA debate endlessly about how many thousandths of an inch gaps are allowable at various places in the 787’s fuselage, resulting in 787 deliveries being suspended, only Qatar Airlines and the Qatar Regualtory authorities seem to be concerned about square foot chunks of A350 paint coming off and exposing the metal anti-lighting mesh and the underlying composite structure on A350’s, and A350 deliveries are somehow allowed to continue. Apparently Boeing is the only manufacturer subject to the FAA’s newly found hyper-cautious scrutiny? Is Qatar Airlines wrong to have grounded 20 of its A350’s and refuse to accept new A350 deliveries, while it has grounded zero of its 787’s?

    Below are some excerpts form an 11-30-21 Reuters story at the link after the excerpts.

    “LONDON/PARIS, Nov 30 (Reuters) – The head of Qatar Airways on Tuesday called on Airbus to admit that it had a problem with flaws on the surface of its A350 jets and ruled out buying freighter planes from the European company, effectively handing a potential deal to rival Boeing (BA.N).

    Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker confirmed that the Gulf airline had grounded 20 of the long-range A350 jets in a months-long dispute over paint and other surface damage that has also prompted the airline to halt further deliveries.”

    “They have acknowledged that they are working to find a solution, which means they still don’t have a solution,” Al Baker said on Tuesday, adding the Airbus problems were worse than current production flaws faced by the Boeing 787 (BA.N).

    “And they don’t have a solution because they still don’t know why it is happening. You know it is always better when there is a problem to admit, not to put your customer in a corner and blame them for something which is actually your own problem.”

    NO AIRBUS FREIGHTER DEAL

    Al Baker suggested that any plans to replace the A350 anti-lightning system, known as Expanded Copper Foil, with a new material may require certification. Airbus declined comment.”

    “A Reuters investigation published on Monday found that at least five other airlines had raised concerns over surface flaws since the A350 entered service and that in at some cases damage extended below paint to a layer of lightning protection.”

    “”It is a serious matter; we don’t know if it is an airworthiness issue; we also don’t know that it is not an airworthiness issue. The real cause of it has not been established by Airbus,” he told The Aviation Club in London.”

    https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/qatar-airways-ceo-says-airbus-should-admit-paint-flaws-problem-2021-11-30/

    • 787s have been having paint adhesion issues on the wings for months — there are 787s flying with duct tape on the wings. KL and AA are notable victims. We just haven’t heard that much about it in the press because Al Baker isn’t shouting about it:

      https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1461737

      There are more links in Dutch from KLM:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.upinthesky.nl/2021/06/05/bijzonder-klm-787-naar-victorville-maar-niet-voor-stalling/amp/

      • I’m finding it hard to understand how UV can damage the adhesion through opaque paint, but this definitely happens with clear coats. The paint will last for a least 15 years, but no matter what the manufacturers say about UV filters the UV gets through and damages the surface of the epoxy causing the paint to fall off.

        • One possible (ancillary) explanation: soft X-rays are also referred to as Extreme UV — they’re probably able to efficiently penetrate a thin layer of opaque paint, and they’re produced by cosmic ray showers and very high-altitude lightning (squids/sprites). Perhaps that’s what’s meant?

    • Hurray Airbus has problems too..

      I must say I’m worried about Boeing. How much delivery stops, certification dramas and quality problems, for how long can be carried in parallel? They have make money somewhere to cover the damage.

      Issues always seem to be worse than feared. Probably the “thousands of an inch” gaps are a bit bigger in places that matter. Aluminum is a but more Elastic.

      For months we thought a 777x door blew out & it could be easily fixed. A bad latch or something. Then a photo leaked showing a fuselage rupture caused the door to blow out..

      My sympathy goes out to all the hard working people at Boeing working hard to get all this behind them.

      • keesje:

        Pretty much agreed on it but reports I saw on 777X was it was a structural issue.

        Its gone dark since, maybe someone will do a FOI (freedom of information)

    • I would not be surprised if al Baker works towards some premium offer from Boeing via complimentary airbus bashing.

      • So BA’s new freighter has been authorized to offer?? Why BA is so quiet? 🙂

        • Remember AAB’s “musical chairs” performance with the A320 neo?
          – First he was launch customer.
          – Then he got into a tantrum about GTF issues and decided to order some MAX .
          – Next, he went back to Airbus and decided to upsize his order to A321neos.
          – The MAXs were subsequently pushed off upon Air Italy.

          The man is as fickle as the weather! He runs a fantastic airline, but he might want to consider rage control therapy 😉

          • No one is going confuse him with an Airbus “fan-boy” that is for sure.

          • He has helpt push Airbus towards excellence. Now full focus is on lightening protection in composites and the layers over it (like filler, primer, top coat and clear coat) and how durable it is in operations. I guess the A350 fleet leaders are at Finnair.

      • AAB also said he’s ready to pull the trigger on ordering like 50 new freighters before the year ends.

        Is BA ready?? 🙄

        • Hello Pedro,

          Re: “AAB also said he’s ready to pull the trigger on ordering like 50 new freighters before the year ends. Is BA ready??”

          Depends on whether Qatar wants to wait 5 years or more for 777X-F’s or A350F’s, or wants part of its 50 freighter order as soon as possible. With first deliveries of the A350F scheduled for 2026, and the 777X-F presumably not available for delivery until sometime after that, if Qatar wants new build freighters in 2022 or 2023, 777-F and 767-F are the only available options. If Qatar wants new build freighters in 2022 or 2023 as part of an order for dozens of freighters, I suspect that Boeing would be willing to accommodate by increasing or 777-F or 767-F production rates.

          • AP:

            I would think Boeing could pull off an 777X-F in 5 years.

            That seems to be the next variant vs the -8.

            I don’t see Qatar buying 767, they are into the big movers. So some 777F and some 777X-F most likely.

          • AP:

            As BA’s board hasn’t given the go ahead before the Dubai Airshow and grabbed orders, why would they change their mind in a matter of weeks?

          • Hello Pedro,

            Re: “As BA’s board hasn’t given the go ahead before the Dubai Airshow and grabbed orders, why would they change their mind in a matter of weeks?”

            Normally authority to offer comes before authority to launch. This was the case with the A350F. If Boeing is in advanced discussions to sell 777X-F’s then clearly the Boeing board has granted authority to offer, during consideration of which there would have been discussions about the minimum number of orders needed to approve launch.

            Re: “Why would they change their mind in a matter of weeks?”

            Because the sales team has accumulated the minimum number of firm orders required to approve launch. For the current Boeing board I suspect that the minimum number of orders for launch would be something more like UPS’s 30 firm + 30 options launch order for the 767-F than like Air France’s 5 firm + 3 options launch order for the 777-F, or ALC’s 7 aircraft launch order for the A350F. I suspect either an order for a few dozen from Qatar or FedEx would do the trick. Qatar says they will likely place a large freighter order before year end, FedEx has a board meeting in December and an earnings call on 12-16-21, at which time they may or may not make public a decision on future freighter orders.

          • Didn’t you say in the post above that there’s a long wait (years after the first delivery of A350F) for the arrival of 777X-F?
            Do you truly believe that Qatar would consider 767-F??

            I recall from a report from AW BA’s top salesman stated that a new freighter is *not* a program priority for BA.

            I don’t know why you would think BA’s board is about to go ahead. It makes them look like a bunch of fools IMO.

            Why you think Qatar, assuming they are in need of new freighters to replace old ones (as AAB said), would wait most likely more than a decade for the eventual arrival of 50 plus 777X-F?

      • Fingers crossed Airbus does not have a major problem. Worst case is hydrogen blistering from galvanic corrosion between the carbon fibers and copper. Hopefully its just a primer adhesion problem or a problem with the mesh adhering. If the copper mesh is corroded its lightning protection function is compromised. Airbus has to understand the problem, come up with a solution and then maybe have to certify it.

        • And then modify the existing fleet in the areas with the blistering. Lots of carbon fiber structures has been painted over the years but maybe not a combination of carbon structure with electric discharge mesh in pressurized fuselage sections on metallic frames fully exposed to the elements?

      • I would not be surprised if he considers it his job as the top executive to not accept the run around from an OEM when he has invested billions of dollars in the fleet.

    • -> “square foot chunks of A350 paint coming off and exposing the metal anti-lighting mesh …”

      Where do you get this? 🙄

    • Has Qatar grounded aircraft it can fill, or “grounded” aircraft it can’t fill. If the latter it is useful to blame the grounding on Airbus ad extract some compensation.

      • Hello jbeeko,

        Re:”Has Qatar grounded aircraft it can fill, or “grounded” aircraft it can’t fill.”

        According to the excerpt below from the 11-8-21 Business Traveller story at the link after the excerpt, Qatar is putting A380’s and A330’s that were parked and slated for retirement back into service to make up for the capacity shortfall caused by having 20 of its 53 A350’s (38%) grounded.

        “As reported by Business Traveller at the start of October, the carrier is planning to reintroduce select A380 services to destinations including London Heathrow and Paris CDG from mid-December.

        The move has been forced on the airline due to the recent grounding of a total of 19 of its A350 aircraft*, due to “accelerated surface degradation below the paint”.

        Qatar Airways said it had taken “the reluctant decision” to bring at least half of its fleet of ten A380s back into service to cover the capacity shortage.

        The carrier’s superjumbos have not flown for over 18 months, and the airline has repeatedly said that “it is not commercially or environmentally justifiable to operate such a large aircraft in the current market”.

        Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said that the grounding of the A350s “has left us with no alternative but to temporarily bring some of our A380 fleet back on key winter routes”.

        “This difficult decision reflects the gravity of the A350 issue and is intended to be a short-term measure to assist us in balancing our commercial needs,” added Al Baker.

        “It does not signify a permanent reintroduction of our A380 fleet, which were grounded in favour of more fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

        Qatar Airways has also reactivated a number of A330 aircraft to help cover an increase in capacity requirements due to easing travel restrictions and the upcoming peak winter holiday period, which it says are anticipated to see a return to pre-Covid levels.”

        * Update, the number of grounded A350’s has increased from 19 to 20.

        https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2021/11/08/qatar-airways-reintroduction-of-a380s-a-short-term-measure/

        According to the excerpt from the 12-3-21 Ch-Aviation story at the link after the excerpt, Qatar is also in the market for leased aircraft to fill the capacity gap created by its defective grounded A350’s.

        “”Airbus has made a very large dent in our widebody operations. The issue is that it’s a serious matter. We don’t know if it is not an airworthiness issue. We also don’t know if it is an airworthiness issue… We have a problem, and Qatar Airways cannot sit with its arms folded and legs crossed when we have a problem. We need to solve it, and this is exactly why we are out in the market to lease airplanes,” he said.”

        https://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/110362-qatar-airways-considers-leases-to-fill-a350-gap

        According to the following excerpt from the 12-3-21 One Mile at a Time story at the link below, it seems that the leased replacements will include 777-300ER’s from Cathay Pacific.

        “As noted by the awesome @AirlineFlyer, Qatar Airways seems to have plans to lease Boeing 777-300ERs from Cathay Pacific in early 2022. I’m still working on figuring out the scale of this lease arrangement — I suspect this has to do with Qatar Airways having to ground much of its A350 fleet due to fuselage issues. Keep in mind that Qatar Airways also owns a stake in Cathay Pacific.”

        https://onemileatatime.com/news/qatar-airways-leasing-cathay-pacific-777/

        I extend my condolences to any readers who get all their aviation news from this blog, and were thus unaware that since August Qatar has been grounding A350’s due to manufacturing defects, and having found out that Boeing isn’t the only aircraft manufacturer that has problems with manufacturing discrepancies, are now in a state of shock.

      • Whether or not Qatar could fill the airplanes is irrelevant. The airline purchased the airplanes with the expectation they would remain in airworthy condition. Who would adjudicate whether or not Qatar could fill the airplanes? Airbus fanboys?

    • The EASA has finally got around to deciding that the A350 has more than a paint adhesion issue that doesn’t affect safety. EASA says that only 13 aircraft are affected and that grounding is not necessary, while Qatar’s regulator has grounded 20 aircraft. Time will tell who is right. Will more and more airlines start reporting the problems (as Delta now has), or will the defects be limited to only 13 aircraft as Airbus and EASA claim? Since Qatar was the A350 launch customer, it has the oldest A350’s. See the excerpt below from the 12-6-21 Reuter’s story at the link after the excerpt.

      “The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in a proposed airworthiness directive that Expanded Copper Foil (ECF), designed to safely disperse lightning strikes, may not have been installed properly on the wing covers of 13 jets.

      If a cocktail of factors comes together – including an adjacent fastener also being incorrectly installed – then a heavy lightning strike in the same zone could lead to fuel vapour igniting and “consequent loss” of the jet, EASA said.

      The proposed directive calls for gradual inspections and where necessary repairs, enforcing a bulletin from Airbus, but does not call for any of the 13 planes to be grounded.

      An Airbus spokesperson said the draft directive is a “normal part of the continued airworthiness process”.

      The call for checks comes as Airbus is locked in a dispute with the biggest A350 buyer, Qatar Airways, over what Airbus has called a “surface paint” issue and the airline describes as problems under the paint, affecting the ECF and composite shell.

      EASA has said it has found no evidence of any airworthiness problem, while Qatar Airways says this has yet to be proven. It has grounded 20 of its 53 A350s as skin damage appears, saying it is acting on the orders of its own regulator.

      The row widened last week when documents seen by Reuters here revealed that at least five other airlines had complained about paint or ECF flaws since late 2016. Airbus has until recently suggested the issue focused only on Qatar Airways.”

      https://www.reuters.com/article/airbus-a350/european-regulators-propose-check-for-anti-lightning-flaw-on-some-a350-jets-idUSKBN2IL1KM

    • I have never seen a company in a crisis with a CEO that takes such a low profile.

  9. I’m finding it hard to understand how UV can damage the adhesion through opaque paint, but this definitely happens with clear coats. The paint will last for a least 15 years, but no matter what the manufacturers say about UV filters the UV gets through and damages the surface of the epoxy causing the paint to fall off.

  10. Paint adhesion problem, strip it off and do it properly. Obviously it’s a much more serious problem and I suspect water has got in and damaged the copper /gelcoat layer.
    PTFE contamination, I can’t see any way of properly validating these joints without destroying them. So we are left with Boeing attempting to replicate them and the FAA retrospectively declaring that the design tolerances don’t really matter.

    • Grubbie:

      That was my take on seeing the A350 pictures, its a serious deeper issue.

      As for 787, you might be able to stress test joints, agreed its a variable and is one worse than another.

  11. The engine thrust ratings for PW1100G are very similar to the older CFM and IAE engines. So the heavier engine means the takeoff run will be slightly longer, but maybe not in reality with auto pilot set take off thrust
    The range would improve but it seems to very adequate as it is.

    • Pratt and CFM tested/ promised 35k lbs versions of the GTF and Leap long ago. With A321 gaining popularity for longer flights (XLR 101t MTOW) I would have expected more news, progress. It’s very quiet. Maybe time on wing would suffer?

      • Huge legal bill and pissed off a major customer. Southwest has ordered hundreds of 737 7 anyway,, mainly because Airbus wouldn’t be be able to deliver. Bombardier on its own and staved of investment would have been even less likely to have been able to deliver a decent product on time Boeing was claiming that the c series was being being sold for less than it cost to produce and would never make a profit. Just like the 787.

  12. The old Boeing management had a strong streak of conflict avoidance. It knew that too much conflict with customers, regulators, employees, or suppliers was bad for business in the long run.
    In the post-merger GE-Boeing the future is irrelevant, all that matters is now. It actively seeks conflict. This comes directly from the Jack Welch playbook. He was a hyper-aggressive alpha jock, who thought that the only way to get the best deal possible was through a big fight. The new Boeing is constantly fighting someone: foreign competition, FAA, labor unions, suppliers….
    Many of these conflicts cannot be justified by any reasonable cost-benefit analysis. The personality of the C-suites is that they would rather lose $100 million in a fight than $10 million in an amicable compromise.
    It’s as though these guys get up in the morning saying to themselves: “Let’s go kick some a$$…and if a few planes get built in the process, even better!”

  13. Seeking Alpha, historically very pro-Boeing, always optimistic contributors, no has some worried articles. That worrying itself.

    China reactivating the 737MAX will take some time, before new aircaft can absorbed.

    • keesje:

      They had MAX in country as well. Have to see if flight approval happens when they have the training needed done (and or if the upgrades have been done)

      As Leeham pointed out when the numbers were run, simply not enough aircraft to meet the future needs and either they had to -re-cert it again or suffer an enormous impact internally.

      • Airbus delivered almost 100 aircraft to Chinese customers, no doubt a majority of those were NB (not sure if it includes aircraft owned by lessors).

        The “good news” is the fleet continues to expand notwithstanding the halt of MAX delivery.

        • @ Pedro
          After re-cert, let’s see how fast the orders pour in.
          On the basis of that Air Current article that you posted above, it might be prudent not to hold one’s breath…

        • To be clear:

          (Even during 2020 when U.S. airlines deferred orders and pushed back deliveries) Airbus delivered almost 100 aircraft to Chinese customers …

      • We can hope for that, but the Chinese can overhaul existing aircraft, buy at Airbus and Embraer while pushing their own Comac’s into production.

        Projecting the past into the future might look nice, but realities might be less optimistic.

        E.g. the huge deals of the past were often political driven, as we can remember..

        • keesje:

          Have to see how ti goes. Reports out that the MAX can fly in China airspace by end of the year.

          That is exterior countries, have to see how the in country fleet of MAX is handled those would be the first into service internal China.

          That of course depends on their current Covid status.

    • I’ve noticed that most market analysts who cover Boeing do little more than take the data provided by Boeing and translate that into a target price. They have no time or inclination to look beneath the surface and judge the company based on management’s ability to execute its projections. It’s a very short-term focus: where will the stock be in 3-12 months?
      They are indifferent to the fact that Boeing behaves like a farmer consuming his seed corn for future crops. They appear indifferent to the abysmal record of failure on nearly every program. At the very minimum common sense would dictate reducing any Boeing financial projection by 20% to account for inevitable technical failures baked into the culture of technical negligence and indifference.
      Real aerospace analysts are unanimous that Boeing must develop a new plane soon. General market analysts say, what for?

      • Well John,

        After the news about China and BA came out, the stock went up but has now slid back below $200 again – so I think that investors are starting to see the real mountain that Boeing faces, including a crappy product lineup and a mountain of debt.

        But who knows – look how the DWAC-SPAC took off and rocketed to $175, only to have slid back down to $40, without any financials or viable product. People aren’t very bright, these days…

        • Frank,
          I agree with everything you said, but to me, the most concerning indicator of the events to come is the Boeing sales at the recent Dubai Airshow compared to that of Airbus. Airbus outsold Boeing ~ 4:1, seeing that I would be horrified … As Boeing people in the ME Sales & Marketing used to say “orders come and go, relationships stay”. But in this case, I can’t help but to observe that the relationships are exhausted and the orders simply never came in. For this reason alone, you’d expect the stock to be valued at a much lower level than now.

          • FWIW, until Boeing gets more of the MAX inventory cleared, the MAX recertified in China (which has about one-third of the 737 inventory) and the 787 deliveries restarted, there isn’t a lot sales can do.

          • Hello Mr. Hamilton,

            Re: “FWIW, until Boeing gets more of the MAX inventory cleared, the MAX recertified in China (which has about one-third of the 737 inventory) and the 787 deliveries restarted, there isn’t a lot sales can do.”

            According to the 12-14-21 Seattle Times article by Dominic Gates at the link below, as of the end of November 2021 Boeing is leading Airbus in year to date net orders by 400 to 243. This includes the Indigo orders announced at he Dubai Air Show, but does not include 143 not yet finalized intents to purchase announced by Airbus at the Dubai Air Show. If one adds all of the 143 not yet finalized purchases announced by Airbus at Dubai to the year to date net orders for Airbus, then Boeing would still lead Airbus in year to date net orders by 400 to 386 (243 + 143 = 386.

            Apparently you consider leading your competitor by 157 year to date net orders (not including non finalized deals announced by Airbus at Dubai) or 14 net year to date orders (including all non finalized deals announced by airbus in Dubai) to be evidence that for Boeing “there isn’t a lot sales can do”. By how many orders would Boeing’s year to date net orders have to exceed year to date net orders for Airbus to change your opinion on this?

            What big deals are likely to yet be concluded this year?
            KLM narrowbody order?
            QATAR large freighter order?
            FedEx large freighter order?

            Below is a link from the above referenced Seattle Times article and a link to the full story.

            “The net order tally through November stands at 400 airplanes for Boeing versus 243 airplanes for Airbus.

            However, the Airbus total does not include 143 sales commitments announced in Dubai that it will hope to finalize by year end. That includes 111 airplanes for Air Lease Corp. of the U.S. and 28 A321neos for Jazeera Airways of Kuwait.

            And Boeing’s total of 400 doesn’t include a net total of 57 aircraft that were taken out of the backlog as dubious the previous year and returned to the backlog this year when the financial situation of those airline customers improved. These should not really be counted as 2021 orders.”

            https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/boeing-barely-beating-airbus-on-2021-jet-orders-but-far-behind-in-deliveries/

      • Back in 1998

        -> At Any Cost: Jack Welch, General Electric, and the Pursuit of Profit

        By Thomas F. O’Boyle

        • Investors discount the stock for known immediate issues which affect profits now. They don’t seem to discount the stock for the fact that management has proven to be incompetent.
          Any Boeing program with known defects very likely has as many again more defects which merely have not surfaced yet. Continuing maturation of the fleet will discover all these hidden defects over time.

    • I’m struggling with the idea put about by some that NDT can help very much with something that has been proven to not be strong enough in the first place.
      Airbus engineers hair will be turning white, Boeings engineers won’t be worried about that because its all fallen out.

    • Reuters 7 Mar 2014. Maybe this goes back a long way and maybe it involves a bit of state capture as well.

    • Why shouldn’t the press “pile it on”?

      It’s difficult to take this program seriously any more…it just hobbles from one crisis to the next.

      • If the aviation system is catching issues and requiring fixes that is a sign the process is working.

        Yes Boeings decision to go all moon-shot on the 787 may impact it’s profitability but so far it does not look like safety has been compromised.

        Battery issue excepted and really that is on the FAA as much as on Boeing. Boeing had no guidance on what reasonable standards for a large Li battery on an aircraft should be.

        • jbeeko:

          One of those cases where the press is fully justified even if not for that specific issue. Its gotten beyond belief.

          It does look like its the same issue of shims in another location and this has been part of the process and addressed last year and not a new issue.

          I disagree that the 787 was a moonshot. Call it state of the art but executed correctly it would have been fine.

          Massive outsourcing and no oversight was the initial huge issue. That is all on management. But the current also is on management as those decisions to undercut ODA and its own workforce are all on Boeing.

          The battery issue is really a failure of FAA but equally, Boeing refused to convene the RTC to address it. Driving a nail into a battery with no engineering basis is as stupid as it gets.

          Much like MAX with a single point of failure as well as the spiraling of the MCAS into far more aggressive. That is not a technical failure, its a failure of the systems (Boeing and the FAA). The engineers certainly know better and so do the managers.

          MCAS was limited to a single system.

          The 787 quality control failures extend from one end of the air frame to the other. A lot of it is supplier but this one is heart of assembly.
          It looks to be both Charleston and Everett.

          You are right, the good news is its getting brought to light of day and corrected. The tragedy is what lead to this exposure and the cost in lives to get the FAA headed in a better direction.

          I have noted its not the first time the FAA failed its oversight and the previous failures were pre ODA.

          That is what many do not get, the FAA never was a gold standard, It was just something that has been repeated over and over again.

          The FAA still needs to be broken up into two parts and ODA fully reverted to its original form. Equally it needs to be monitored. Congress has sat on its rear ends far too long.

        • “Boeing had no guidance on what reasonable standards for a large Li battery on an aircraft should be.”

          Poppycock!
          1. That is what good Engineering is about. Determine where you have to expand your knowledge to handle things in a new problemdomain.

          2. There was enough prior art around to take cues from.

          3. Boeing couldn’t even be bothered to stand back from their premature chemistry selection made in sonicCruiser context.

        • @jbeeko
          “If the aviation system is catching issues and requiring fixes that is a sign the process is working.”

          If a serious structural flaw is discovered in a building *after* construction, no sane civil engineer would qualify that as “a sign the process is working”; the trick is to catch serious flaws *before* they occur — e.g. by triple-checking designs, and by applying rigorous oversight / QC during preparation and construction.

          “Cracking in structural joints” does not sound like a superficial issue…

          • Battery Issue:

            There was a very good report written on that.

            Yuasas: I start here because it did not reach the headlines (or even most publications). The battery plant was filthy. To produce quality Li Ion batteries it requires a clean environment. Dirt and dust widespread in the plant. Yuasa knew what the Li Ion batt requirements were, they did not follow them. Thge clean part was indusry standard.
            They also had not quality control process that is required. Li Ion has a realivley high fialure rate in proeucdion (20 -40%). Yusas was pssing 100%.
            The battery metal forms were being pouned into shape by hand. You cannot being to maintain consistany doing it that way.
            There were no tests involved. All that was corrected. Boeing is obligated to the quality of its suppliers. They had none in place.

            Charging System: That was designed by a firm that was Aviation Security, not even remotely involved in batteries. Because it was an appendages of Thales that got the overall battery contract.

            The detector board was from Japan. The reality is you had 4 different entities involved that had no idea what the other was doing.

            It was recommended to Boeing to convene the RTC to get standards. Boeing refused. The result was almost catastrophic and only good luck prevented an in flight fire.

            The RTC was the one who came up with the standards after the failure and its proven to have worked. Those are very rigorous standard for the whole battery system. Not driving a nail through a battery as a test.

    • Never a dull moment in this year long saga. Too bad it’s Friday.

      I’m told 500 or so B787 are affected.

      • -> ” Fatigue cracking … could weaken primary structure so it cannot sustain limit load”

        One AD requires airlines to inspect “for cracking of certain areas of the aft wheel well bulkhead body chord and … side-fitting and fail-safe straps, and repair of any cracking found”.

        The other “requires repetitive inspections for cracking of certain areas of the front spar pickle fork and front spar outer chord, and repair”.

        Production issues are not discovered for ten years and over a thousand aircraft delivered??

          • Remember JL123?

            The crash was caused by an improper repair by BA seven years ago.

            Take those claims of no immediate safety risk with a huge grain of salt.

        • Fatigue life calculations for composites are notoriously difficult and no-where near as well understood as those for metals. And even with metals there can be surprises.

          As for after 10 years, well pretty much by definition you are not going to see unexpected fatigue issues until the product has gone through a lot of cycles.

          Hopefully for Boeing the inspections will not turn up much.

          But either way this will lead to an advance in the understanding of fatigue live in large composite structures. The 787 is probably the first large such structure reaching reaching that milestone.

          • I believe one of the many selliing points from BA is because of 787’s “revolutionary” composite body, airframe maintenance costs would be cut by one-third or so and more time available for revenue service. I don’t think the customers were told they would be guinea pigs in a science project. 😱

            Inspections are known to be hit or miss, like what happened to UA328, WN2294 and WN812!

  14. More movements toward mandatory pre-flight and post-flight testing rather than use of vaccine passes:

    “AMSTERDAM, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Dutch health authorities on Thursday said most of the 62 people who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving on two flights from South Africa last week had been vaccinated, lending weight to a call for pre-flight testing regardless of vaccination status.

    In addition, all 14 passengers who were later found to have been infected with the Omicron variant were vaccinated, health officials said on Thursday.

    …A spokesman for the health authority for Kennemerland, in which Schiphol airport is situated, said “around 90%” of those that tested positive were vaccinated.”

    https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/dutch-covid-19-quarantine-ends-most-safrica-passengers-authorities-2021-12-02/

  15. Reuters:

    Leonardo will furlough the bulk of its employees making parts for Boeing’s 787 aircraft for 13 weeks

    • One could posit that “we’re in no rush” is another way of saying “we don’t have the ability”…

      • Remarkable ‘PR’ from Boeing. I’ll say again that something is going on beneath surfaces- and not
        just at that beleagured large corporation.

        • The word ‘rush’ is not in any Boeing quote, it only appears in the headline. What Boeing says is pretty vanilla:

          “We are taking the time needed to ensure the highest levels of quality, and while these efforts will continue to impact deliveries, we’re confident this is the right approach to drive stability and first-time quality across our operations and to position the programme for the long term as market demand recovers.”

          What else would we expect them to say? “We are NOT taking the time….”

          • Well, they might — for example — say:
            “Seeing as the 787 is an important source of revenue for us at a time when we’re in a nasty financial tight spot, we’re working around the clock to fix the issue a.s.a.p. — as opposed to fudging and playing chicken with the FAA”

          • Cover a bad message in positive, upbeat language:

            – taking the time needed
            – ensure the highest levels of quality
            – confident this is the right approach
            – drive stability
            – first-time quality across our operations
            – position the programme for the long term
            – market demand recovers.”

            Hi Boeing Marketing Communications. I think you need to review this way of communicating. It’s increasingly seems to hurt Brand credibility. The feel good linguistics give the impression Boeing underestimates issues or is leaving out essential info. Or both. The wording seems to cover broken links with Caramel Whipped Cream. I wouldn’t underestimate who’s reading your statements.

      • As BA and its engineers take the time to rectify production issues of 787, more and more new issues pop up.

        Analysts have started to complain it wrecks mgt’s credibility and shows the lack of visibility of new issues.

        • I disagree with the premise that Boeing management has any credibility to wreck.

  16. Raytheon’s P&W agrees to meet Airbus’s A320/321 2025 production demand.

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