HOTR: Dropping Embraer comes back to bite Boeing

By the Leeham News Staff

Updated with details of Air France – KLM order

Dec. 16, 2021, © Leeham News: When Boeing decided to drop its joint venture plan with Embraer, there were good business reasons to do so.

The grounding of the 737 MAX was dragging on much longer than anyone ever expected, and there was no end in sight. The coronavirus infections exploded into a global pandemic the month before. Air transportation plunged as much as 95%. Airlines were grounding fleets and some, at that point, looked certain to go bankrupt or go out of business. Boeing was bleeding cash and debt exploded by more than $20bn. The company was in survival mode.

Embraer faced the same industrial and customer challenges Boeing did. And while none of its airplanes were grounded, the E175-E2 turned out to be an airplane with no customers because the US market for which it was designed disappeared. Restrictions in pilot contracts limiting the weight of airlines in regional operations killed the airplane.

Finally, Embraer’s market value at the time the joint venture was agreed was set at $4.5bn. By April 2020, it had fallen to $1.25bn. Given the business environment and the drop in value, why pay the higher price?

With Qantas Airways abandoning Boeing, we now know why going through with the deal may have been smart.

Airbus’ product line power enhanced

Airbus’ product line is stronger than Boeing’s, in part because it acquired the Bombardier C Series in 2017. (This was the result of Boeing filing a trade complaint with the US Commerce Department that drove Bombardier to seek a deal with Airbus. The complaint was a gamble Boeing lost but strategically, it turned out to be a bad, bad idea.)

The C Series, renamed the A220, gave Airbus a modern, clean-sheet airplane to effectively replace its poor-selling A319neo and compete against the equally poor-selling 737-7 MAX. The A220-300 has better economics than either of the re-engined airplanes, each based on old designs going back decades.

Airbus saw the immediate benefit and Embraer was immediately hurt. As soon as the C Series deal was closed, Airbus announced an order from JetBlue for the A220-300. Bombardier competed against Embraer for the deal. Embraer offered the E195-E2, its own re-engined airplane based on the 2004 E190. Embraer was the incumbent at JetBlue, a launch customer for the E190. EMB was thought to be winning the campaign as a result.

Airbus was the incumbent at JetBlue for mainline aircraft. Now, with the Airbus power behind the former C Series, JetBlue swapped some A320neo orders for the larger A321neo and selected the A220 over the E195-E2. Embraer officials bemoaned its inability to compete alone against Airbus.

The joint venture

While Boeing and Bombardier were still duking it out over the former’s trade complaint, Boeing and Embraer announced they agreed to create a joint venture. They claimed the E2, slotting in below the 737-7, filled a gap in Boeing’s product line. It did, but the E2 product line wasn’t a perfect match against the A220-100 and the A220-300. Boeing’s product line would be better but still weaker than the Airbus-C Series lineup. But the No. 1 reason for the JV was access to Embraer’s young engineer workforce. Boeing’s engineering group was aging, with some 5,000 due for retirement in the coming years. Embraer’s Brazilian workgroup also was cheaper. Embraer would contribute significantly to developing Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane (NMA), at the time somewhat of a foregone conclusion. The JV called for the new Boeing Brasil-Commercial to be responsible for developing a brand new airplane in the 100-150 seat sector.

When Boeing walked from the JV, charging Embraer failed to live up to the terms of the agreement (which Embraer denied), all this went away. Boeing’s weak 737-7 MAX remained the smallest airplane in its product line. The gap in the 100-140 seat sector remained unfilled.

Dropping Embraer comes back to bite Boeing

Observers saw it was only a matter of time before dropping the JV would come back to bite Boeing. The Qantas agreement to abandon the 737 with an order for the A321XLR and A220-300 is the most visible sign.

As for struggling Embraer, it competed at Qantas for an order for the E195-E2. It was the incumbent there. There’s little it can do about competing against the A220 when Airbus can offer the A320 family as a package. Losing the JV came back to not only bite Boeing. It also took a big bite out of Embraer.

Another blow for Boeing later in the day

Air France – KLM announced a firm order for 100 A320neo family aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional 60. Those aircraft will replace from 2023 the Boeing 737 NGs operated at subsidiaries KLM, Transavia, and Transavia France. The loss is probably more significant for Boeing since it had an incumbent advantage and Air France – KLM had not ordered A320neo family aircraft so far.

The group also signed a letter of intent for four A350F freighters for Air France. The A350Fs would replace the pair of 777Fs and grow the carrier’s cargo business. The A350F order does not bode well for Boeing’s chances to win a 777X order to replace Air France’s fleet of 43 777-300ERs.

Read about the Boeing trade complaint and the JV in Air Wars

You can read all about Boeing’s trade complaint against the Bombardier C Series in Scott Hamilton’s new book, Air Wars, The Global Combat Between Airbus and Boeing. The book details why Boeing filed the trade complaint after passing on Bombardier’s approach to sell the C Series program to Boeing. It details how Airbus, which also once rejected Bombardier, agreed this time to buy into the C Series. And Air Wars details the creation of the joint venture and Boeing’s decision to ashcan the deal.

345 Comments on “HOTR: Dropping Embraer comes back to bite Boeing

  1. So how long until BA tucks it’s tail between its legs and comes crawling back to EMB?

    • BA now has nothing to offer EMB — the little bit of cash that BA has left is needed to keep the lights on.

        • The hull was slit open long ago when everyone is dancing in the grand ball room with champagne flowing. It was a slow leak but the captain turned a blind eye, insisted full steam ahead before he was sent off in a lifeboat. Now the water is gushing in …

      • Not over the horizon.
        See those icebergs lining its path?

        What expectations did EMB have in relation to the US scope clause and its future evolution ( or not )?

        Another case of US brinkmanship to bring EMB’s value down?
        Over the top renegotiation is such a US thing ( ask Iran, .. 🙂

  2. At what point do regulators start to look at this as antitrust? The EU held up the Boeing/Embraer deal for months which ultimately pushed into COVID which killed the deal. It seems to me this went too far consolidating products and needs to be spun off.

    • In the circumstance where both Boeing and Embraer give up and quit, that’d be unchartered territory for the global aviation market. Never before has there been just one manufacturer, and no one will really know what to do if it happens.

      If Airbus were the last one left standing, it’d be very difficult to break up the company without simultaneously destroying it, or increasing prices. The world needs at least one airliner manufacturer and doesn’t need price rises…

      If a government like the USA starts propping up Boeing in a big way (nationalisation), it’s difficult to strike an equitable balance between necessity and outright subsidy. It’s hard to demonstrate efficiency and effectiveness when the taxpayer is footing every bill and wiping out every loss. Over do it and both Airbus (fighting against a nationalised Boeing) and Boeing (having infinite financial support) wind up being compromised, and we’ll all pay for the consequences one way or other anyway.

      Leahy had a big vision of taking the sales fight to Boeing’s front door, smashing that door down and gaining serious market share at Boeing’s expense. And Airbus have been highly successful at doing so. But I expect Airbus never did envisage that they might actually obliterate Boeing. Did Airbus ever count on Boeing making a good job of obliterating Boeing too? Probably not.

      I rather expect that Airbus are hoping that Boeing don’t go under, because I think they know that they’d then be in a very uncomfortable position with worldwide competition authorities. But I’m not sure now that there’s anything they can do. They’ve now broken into Qantas, KLM. Other Boeing operators will sit up and pay attention to that, meaning Boeing are going to be driven down on price even further with their remaining operators. And Embraer are now looking very vulnerable.

      So what do Airbus do? Deliberately stop engaging with some operators in the market, just to ensure Boeing and Embraer win sometimes? Would that get Airbus into legal trouble in other ways, i.e. with its shareholders? Does that start looking like a cartel (also illegal), even if there is no actual agreement between the companies?

      I think we could start seeing some very, very strange company / government interactions over the next few years.

      • The high-end lithography industry has had just one supplier (ASML) for the past few years, and it works just fine.
        The idea that a single supplier will automatically milk the market by raising prices ad hoc is a mindset that may be prevalent in “certain countries” but luckily not in all countries.

        • @Bryce

          Everything looks like a nail when all you have is a hammer. 😂

          Import imbalance? Blame foreign low cost producers.
          Too many drug addicts? Blame foreigners who make the bad stuff. When there’s demand, there’s supply.

          What’s BA’s problem??? Inferior products, holes in the product lineup. Nah, better circle the wagons and use the big guns.

        • One thing I’m pretty certain of is that Airbus as sole remaining airliner OEM would be very careful on price. The potential for government intervention would be so high. It is possible that Airbus’s profit per sale now is higher than it would dare charge, if it found itself to have become a global monopoly.

          One problem with monopolies is a risk of developmental stagnation. We’re already seeing this; Airbus launched the A320neo family which, whilst it’s a good improvement, it’s not as big a leap forward as they might have taken from a fuel economy point of view (a whole new design could have been CF, lighter, even better aero, etc). They did not do so because they estimated, correctly, that Boeing would stick to the 737…

          That’s the problem with Boeing being so weak or failing completely. Airbus may end up as a globally permitted monopoly, but how do we keep the pace of development up?

          I’m not sure that the US gov would care to have no manufacturing of large aircraft under its control in the USA. The way things are going with the Chinese buying up the Antonov 225 from Ukraine, the US is eventually going to need to upscale its strategic lift capacity.

          ASML are indeed a global monopoly in extreme UV litho, just as TSMC are effectively a global monopoly in advanced silicon processing these days (no doubt they’re an ASML customer). The US government is very uncomfortable about the TSMC, which is why it is paying TSMC $billions to set up in Arizona, again (last time the fab was obsolete before it was completed). The reason for the alarm is because Intel’s MBA managment screwed up by letting go all its talented engineers. Sounds familiar?!?! It is only a matter of time before it looks at companies like AMSL and Airbus as being equally strategically important and equally beyond its control.

          • US government intervention abroad is pretty much independent on what the alleged perpetrator has done or not.
            Political utility is all that counts.
            Expect some contrived chain of arguments fully detached from reality.

            Usually takes 2..3 decades for the realization that reactive blowback neutralizes/inverts these measures.

        • With ASML, it makes sense that no one would intervene as they are the sole supplier of a technology the world is dependend on. Until someone else could potentially emerge that can compete technologically with Airbus, then they are in the same situation: No one would dare to put a foot on the brake to stop Airbus, as it would compromise the entire airline industry even moreso than trying to punish Airbus for the failing of Boeing (which they took advantage of, which they should as they are obligated to their shareholders).

          What instead will happen is that airlines, lessors and suppliers are gonna be less profitable over the long-term, with Airbus taking a huge chunk of that aviation profit cake instead. Will things change much for the average consumer of aviation services? Probably not. There will more likely be a readjustment of profits in the aviation industry, with everyone else losing a little except for Airbus

        • Launch aid might indeed come into play, but at the moment one wonders whether or not Boeing is capable of spending it wisely. It’s been wasting money on all its programs of late (777x, MAX, 787).

          If ever there were a company that needed to be cleansed of business administrators and put in the hands of experienced engineers, Boeing is it.

          • Boeing wants gifts, no strings attached.

            RLI ( that Reimbursable Launch _Investment_ ) was/is a
            productive steering tool.

            Guess why the US and Boeing were so set on killing that kind of steering tool.

      • If Boeing became insolvent it might be allowed to trade its way out under Chapter 11 or it may be liquidated with the investors loosing a high proportion of their money but with the assets and running business units sold to someone like Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman.

    • What happens if EU unilaterally decides those foreign Big Tech firms are too big and wants to break them up??

  3. Airbus can thank LH making Bombardier stop and redo the CS130 according their input to make it a +156 seat aircraft and Swiss being an early customer. Still Airbus has to redo the aircraft and its contracts to drive it towards profitability maybe 10 years from now. Airbus might be forced to do the A220-500 to get new supplier contracts and competitive pricing for both A220-300 and -500 while at the same time launch the composite wing A320.5 We will see how airbus decides.

      • A 220-500 was said to be off the table until 2025 as supplier contracts which BBD had were too expensive. ABs pricing power will change that.

      • I believe AB is not in a rush to push the A220-500 out is because of:

        1) AB will be able to wholly own the A220 program by 2024. Launching the A220-500 will i) push up its investment in the program *and* the amount AB is going to pay minority shareholder, no different than shooting its own foot (no doubt BA has a habit of doing so 😂).

        2) Airbus has to consider the impact on its A320. It better waits for its “Wing of Tomorrow” ready and launch the A321 plus plus and A320.5 first.

        3) Airbus had been working on lowering the cost of A220s since it took control and got results from major suppliers. They are now working on streamlining the production process which will further lower cost.

        4) The current operating result is mainly caused by corona virus, which led to production rate went to as low a one per month in Mirabel this year.

        • For what it’s worth, the Wing of Tomorrow isn’t meant to be mated to any airframe. I think they call it a mid-cycle development. I.e. it’s testing new technologies that will go on to be used on the next generation wing.

          So once WoT is done, they still have to apply what they’ve learned to the A320NWO (New Wing Option?), develop that, launch, build, test, etc.

          I’m guessing if they go ahead with a rewinged A320, it will be launched nearer the end of the decade. They’ll already have the A220-500 launched, and the 320NWO would probably ditch the 319 and add a 322. And would add a newer engine option.

      • The C-series is a design “in middle ground” with more composites but limited robotic assembly. Hence the next nattowbody will be much more robotic composites and its designed tuned to those robots. So I assume the A220-500 is being redesigned to fit a new generation of robots. Probably is Airbus doing the same with the A322 (A321++), the longer you test and modify robotic lines the better results, hence until Boeing moves Airbus can iterate the A220-500/A322 design and production system while making money on the A321neo-family. Once Boeing moves and offer a cheap carbon robotic built narrowbody, Airbus is forced to respond and refine what they have final designed and verified costs to get firm customers.

    • LH influenced/conceptualized airliner products.
      A long and winding story with ups and downs. ( one could write a book? 🙂

      • Yes, sometimes it goes wrong (A340-500/600, 747-8) but often right. Another problem for LH is that LHT want MRO licenses for new Aircraft/Engine/Nacelle/Avionics/APU/Landing gears and thus forces LH to launch/buy all different aircrafts/engine types to get what they need at discounted prices with full support. We will see how the big and heavy 777-9 with LH as launch customer fares against the lighter longer range A350-1000 “Qantas Double sunset version”

  4. Very true, and sharp analysis with a conlusio missing – why would airlines want A220 and Neos together if they don’t have a lot of synergy?
    The A321neo would work as well with the E2 195 as the A223.

    The main point is: Airbus has the better product in both cases. The A321neo is unstopable by the Max 9 or 10. The large Max are just limited by the old design.

    And the clean sheet A220 is at least a decade more modern than the E- Jets, has the wider fuselage, more range / payload, and is directly designed to come up where B737-700 and A319 have been.

    It’s not even the synergies, e.g. same type rating, maintanance, parts, etc. – it’s the simple fact that Airbus has the two best available SA families.
    While Boeing and Embraer have a underdog each.

    Just imagine how that would be if they would even come with the same features the A330/A340 or B757/767 had.

    • Sash:

      I think that puts it pretty well.

      There is probably some saving aircraft wise for Embraer and if you don’t need the range, it works fine.

      But straight up, yea, MAX does not compete with A321 and Embraer E195-E2 not with A220 (which can me a mix of 100/200 and eventually the 500)

      • Exactly, it’s not that the A320neo is beating out the Max8.
        It’s the upper end, the A321neo and it’s LR version have Boeing cornered, and the Max 9 / 10 don’t stand a chance.

        Same is true for the A220, the -100 doesn’t even play a role in most orders anymore and also the E2 jets almost soley see orders for the 195. Which is a great airplane, cheap, very good cost wise, but just not the best plane in its size category available.
        If you don’t need the range, and you fly more regional routes, it’s a great solution.
        But if you want a bit more airplane, a bit more PAX, a bit more range / payload, you have a better option with the A223 and you know that the A225 is lurking around – which might even enable better economics.

        Next to Qantas, now AF-KLM has ordered A320 NEO fam. – it’s the 2nd long term Boeing customer that’s switching over.
        IAG is the big order remaining, and they already have some Neos + they are with A320 fam. – so very likley to order Airbus.

        How long can Boeing watch this? Their Max is still struggeling, and it’s not doing well with sales at the moment. Pretty sure they will give O’Leary his price for the Max 10, just to come up with an order.
        Their B777x is in trouble, the B787 isn’t delivered now for about one year.
        And they are sold into oblivion by Airbus atm.

        • it’s not that the A320neo is beating out the Max8.

          For what it’s worth a quick look at what is floating out there in orders:

          A320Neo orders: 3,748 (1,372 del’d)

          737 Max 8 orders: 2,135

          Mind you, there are some 1,500 unknown orders, with 785 unidentified customers AND the order for Jet Airways of 125 still in those numbers, but you get the picture.

          • Its that nice combination of all 3 Airbus can offer.

            KLM short range runs the E195 type.

            It will be interesting to see engine choice as AF runs the A220.

            CFM has a get out of competition free card with the MAX and whatever they want to compete on the A320.

            P&W is doing an upgrade, mostly longevity oriented but a bonus 1% on SFC.

          • Ok, I agree with the fact that BA has fewer orders than AB when you look at these two aircraft, BUT the numbers may not be accurate……

            In the real world, BA is required by ASC606 to remove orders from their order books when the viability of the order meets certain removal criteria. ASC606 does not exist in the EU…. Perhaps a fine point, but definitely of note….. Cheers

          • That’s why LNA does its occasional look at Airbus and tries to level the numbers by assessing the at-risk Airbus backlog.

          • @SC

            The list used by Frank consists of unfilled orders before ASC 606 adj. by BA.

            So the unfilled orders are on the same basis of those from AB.

          • Any info around as to
            gains in OEW ( lengthening, MLG weight increase ) and
            maintainance requirements ( rather complex MLG )

          • @ Uwe, Boeing claim 5% less trips costs than the A321neo. Since they carry 5.2% less passengers their seat costs should be the same especially now that the PW “Advantage” upgrade to the PW 1100G has reduced fuel burn by 1%. They’re also claiming 5% less operating costs per seat. I can solve a simultaneous equation but this one is going to need Gauss or Heisenberg to do. I’m leaning to David Hilbert.

            Seriously though the B737-10 looks like it gives Boeing an aircraft with 230 seats that can compete with the 244 seat A321neo. Up until now their best offering has been the B737-8. For some reason the B737-9/900 hasn’t been popular, with exceptions such as Fly Dubai.

          • What advantages Boeing clains is rather moot.
            (They’ve covered the “our product better” PR range from “okay, if you say so” up to being ridiculed by the recipients/public.)

            Looking at customer decisions there seems to be “better sliced bread” around. 🙂

          • Should I take BA’s marketing material at face value?

            UA split its NB order for 70 A321neo speak volume.

            No way UA would make such decision if the B737 MAX 10 is as competitive. 😂

    • Pratt & Whitney has a nice synergy with the A220, E jets and 50% of A320 series suggesting Embraer can tag on to both A220 and A320 series orders because of this. Boeing can’t offer the same with GE/Safran. Americans concerned with loss of business in the narrow body sector should take solace that its an enormous gain for Pratt & Whitney is gaining and these engine contracts aren’t chump change as they say. (about 1/3rd of the cost of the airframe I believe)

      • What is the “value add” distribution across the GTF partners/subcontractors ( TCDS is manuf:IAE 🙂

  5. Wow, if Airbus also wins KLM this may finally be the start of a virtuous cycle for the A220 and Airbus. For example Lufthansa mainline has 91 A319/E190/E195 and CRJ900 (plus another 59 A220ceo) that will need to be replaced over the next decade. It is know to be considering the A220 and a package deal may let Airbus make a very attractive offer.

    Even short term, yes, the A220 program may still cost Airbus $400 million per year, but if it is the lever that lets them pry open large new accounts then even that figure takes on a new light. How much in customer acquisition cost would Airbus have paid to get Quantas and KLM as customers?

    • Of the 8-9 factors mentioned in reuters article for the KLM order, i see several factors in favour of airbus.
      1) huge discounts from airbus
      2) poor deal on the leap1B engine
      3) political incentives
      4) max tarnished reputation
      5) superior economics of the A321neo
      6) the A321XLR

      As for the Qantas order, Jetstar is already currently operating the A321neo. Its a matter of time before Qantas consider consolodating and streamlining it to the A320neo family.

      Both Qantas and KLM were not impacted by the max grounding, thus they do not have any boeing credits that they needed to utilise, hence making their order unbias and significance of “may the best aircraft wins”

      • Why would Airbus offer huge discounts? The backlog is quite large already so why not focus on margin and let Boeing run itself ragged selling a lot but earning almost nothing.

          • Vince:

            That is a dart on the credits Boeing is paying out to secure orders.

            Good one to look at.

          • in reverse you would talk about keeping the other party honest 🙂

            With Boeing at the moment you see the same processes at work that enabled the GFC.

            Risk spreading and value hollow out so evenly that everything looks good until … suddenly .. all the terrain is under water, flooded. “structural” foam dissolved in water.

        • @JS
          The huge discounts I’m referring to is the better than the usually discount given for a typical 100+ unit order. There are clear incentives to provide these additional to Qantas and KLM.
          1) additional discount to flip the incumbent boeing fleet
          2) additional discounts due to the pandemic downturn

          • AB can’t win based on its superior products and flexibility offered?? 😂

      • Don’t forget the MAX now requires sim training. $1m per jet? (A decade or so ago??) Harder for the MAX to compete on a level playing field.

        • Pedro:

          That was the discount not the cost with the known deal with South West.

          • @TW

            How much it would cost then, by your estimate? Is it far off?

          • Sim costs for a wide body were about $50,000 an hour. Call it the same for a full motion single aisle (could be a bit less)

            A couple hours MAX (pun intended).

          • 1) Lol. Not just the sim costs, there’s also lost of work+ rest hours, travel cost, hotel accommodation and meals etc. It starts to add up quickly.

            2) You are not training a handful of pilots, you are training the whole pool of MAX pilots. Southwest had over 9,000 pilots to go thru’ sim training.

            3) Southwest bought additional sim for the MAX to return to service.

      • I think 3) might have been a deciding factor. France gave a lot of money to AF during the pandemic. You’d expect them to order French in this case.

          • I know, but Boeing/Embraer are not French at all. Keep in mind that the French state owns 29% of AF-KLM and 11% of Airbus. Airbus is an important employer in France employing upwards of 60’000 people including suppliers. All states like to interfere with state owned assets. Why would you allow one state owned asset to order American after they snubbed you on the Australian submarine deal?

          • @ Alex
            Your last point is certainly of potential validity: the underlying attitude demonstrated by that sub deal may cause repercussions for a long time to come.
            Similarly, the Aussie government may be hoping that the Qantas order will help smooth some tensions with Europe — regardless of who owns/controls Qantas.

            But at the end of the day, both airlines gave very convincing, non-political motivations for ordering from AB rather than BA.

          • @Alex

            Dutch state owns 9.3% and Delta owns 6% of AF-KLM. Don’t they have representatives sitting on the board?

        • projecting from US thinking ,. probably is not helpful in accessing the situation.

          • Easy to blame “unfair” interference while enjoying music from the band in a deck chair on a sinking ship.

        • @Alex


          Delta ordered AB. As did JetBlue.

          Air Canada ordered Boeing Max’s. As did Westjet.

          How about airlines are just gonna do what’s in their best interests?

          • Frank:

            I suspect there was some strong arming with KLM as they do run a 737 fleet.

            Granted the MAX is not fully common but less costly to shift. KLM Cityhoppper (?) may just not need an A220 type, ergo the E195s.

            Air France probably allows the shift over at less cost than normal and commonality with them.

          • @ Pedro
            It seems that some people just don’t realize that the MAX has (permanently) fallen out of favor. No matter how good its stats may look on paper, it has a tarnished reputation, and it’s a dinosaur from a bygone age in terms of its basic design. It isn’t available in a ULR version, it can’t take containerized freight, and it doesn’t have an ultra-modern smaller sibling that’s a huge hit. Its only buyers since re-cert have been a handful of US bargain hunters and LCCs — and many/most of those orders have been negated by cancellations/deletions in the past year. Penalty-free cancellations are still continuing.

            There really is no “arm twisting” necessary to entice airlines to look elsewhere.

          • @Bryce

            The next shoe to drop, compensation to Chinese airlines/buyers.

    • I think AB need to consider (quickly) using the a380 halls to build new a220/a321 lines to meet demand. They’re seems to be a very large market for a220s. It must be sold out for a considerable number of years now?

        • Haha… Never!!! I was suggesting a ‘speed up’ to fully utilize the entire a380 FAL for European based a220 lines and more a320/321s, as opposed to the single line referred to (which was mothballed for year during covid 1.0). 😉

          • The current strategy is to build stuffed sections in Mirabel and supply those pre-stuffed sections to the two FALs. If more FAL capacity was needed here is a lot more space at Mirabel Airbus could acquire. Possibly in Mobile as well. Politics will decide if and where a 3rd FAL may be added. I doubt that will come down to Europe.

            But FAL capacity is probably not the gating factor anyway. It will be the rest of the supply chain. Engines, cockpit, wings, stabilizers, raw body sections etc.

            And if the supply chain can handle the volume it will probably be the pre-stuffing operation that will next need to be upgraded. After that more FAL capacity.

          • AFAIK Toulouse has two A320 FAL lines. the are the oldest IMU )
            Till recently limited to A320 frames.
            modernizing and universalizing seems to be
            the path taken. ( one downside was that A320 customers targeted for delivery from TLS upset the production schedule when upgrading orders to A321.)

            FXW saw the repurpose of some A380 dedicated buildings recently.
            Only with the last A380 delivery are TLS buildings available for a repurpose.

          • Its complex but Airbus has to get the whole program under control and integrated and as noted, Alabama has room.

            US is low cost assembly wise so that would be the choice.

            I believe they are loosing 400 million a year right now so getting it rationalized and then making money would be the goal not more assembly points causing more costs

          • If the A220 becomes the monster it may become that rivals 50/month production rate of the A320 series and B737 series then we’re going to get ‘workshare’ arguments crop up. These are not unknown to Europeans and will be resolved. This may represent the beginnings of increasing integration of European and Canadian high tech with engineers and managers seamlessly crossing the Atlantic.

        • It might be more prudent to use some of the available hall space to start a wing production line in the EU, and then expand from there. The relationship between the UK and the EU (particularly France) continues to deteriorate. From a risk management point of view, it’s imprudent to leave all eggs in one basket.

          • A220 wing production will not leave Northern Ireland. The factory is not owned by Airbus and because much of the R&D was funded by the UK gov there are undertakings in place preventing that.

            In a similar way the majority of assembly will not leave Quebec, I think in this case Airbus gave assurances when the took on the program.

          • @jbeeko
            That doesn’t stop other wings from being manufactured in the EU, e.g. for the A350.
            And who says that ALL A220 wings have to be manufactured in Belfast? Did someone grant a monopoly to that factory? What impediment is there to keeping Belfast as a supplier for X wings per year, and setting up a second facility elsewhere for Y wings per year.

            Bremen already has a facility for “fitting out” naked wings coming in from the UK. The activities there could be extended.

          • LOL, A350 wings are made in UK

            A220 has long term contracts with the suppliers. It can’t break those without an incredible penalty.

            Part of the wink wink nod nod of Airbus is spreading out the main work between UK (wings now) France, Germany and less so Spain (though they get the A400)

            So the UK keeps the wings.

            That is just the political reality for free moneyT.

          • Airbus production has nothing to do with ‘being in EU’ anymore
            Italy makes fuselage sections for the 787.
            They are interested in the best product and best price.

            I understand the A320 series wings are mostly made in China now, for the A350 part of the wing is made by Spirit in US. Other suppliers are Korea.
            No tariffs from those countries when the parts arrive for final assembly

          • -> “A220 has long term contracts with the suppliers. It can’t break those without an incredible penalty.”

            It’s repeated ad nauseam. After AB took control of the C-Series program, they had put cost under microscope and talked with suppliers. Raytheon and Spirit agreed to lower their prices. Lol.

            The second stage is to improve the process. They are working on that.

          • @ DoU
            In the coming years, I think there’ll be a lot of re-shoring — particularly from countries that are considered to be “unreliable”.
            The EU has a consistently excellent relationship with Korea and Japan, for example, but an increasingly souring relationship with certain other countries — including the UK.
            China and Russia are also re-shoring certain key activities, for the same reasons.
            It makes good business sense. Globalization looks great on paper — but it becomes a disaster when it has to contend with trade wars and “sanctioning overdrive”.

          • “LOL, A350 wings are made in UK”

            Yes, TW, we know that — we’re all taking about the UK here.
            Northern Ireland is also in the UK — didn’t you know that?

          • @Jbeeko, there are also assurances to the UK parliament from then Airbus CEO Tom Enders that Airbus would not leave the UK after Brexit (Specifically Broughton in Wales which is where Airbus Wings are made). Worth noting that when the British Government pulled out of Airbus over the cancellation of the hopelessly late and oversized RB207 when the A300 was downsized to A250 seats (RB211 would have been worse) that the German Government actually stepped in to fund Hawker Siddley through loan guarantees.

          • @ William
            Giving an “assurance” that you won’t leave the UK doesn’t mean that you have to continue to grant exclusivity to the UK: you can honor that “assurance” and still open up parallel lines in other countries.
            Also, when the UK has no problem reneging on contractual obligations and “assurances” in other areas, that opens the door to similar measures from counter-parties.

          • If Chancellor Merkel had of been incapacitated of a heart attack 5-10 years ago there would be no Brexit or talk of others leaving. She was profoundly financially incompetent and rode on the coat tails, excellence and competence of previous chancellors who record and managed well. She was incompetent at anything but keeping in power. She sent Germany and with it much of the EU down hill. Easy to blame brexit on British conservatives but the reality lies elsewhere.

          • @ William
            It seems that the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland weren’t as bothered by Merkel as you suggest — they voted to stay in the EU, and the Scots would even like to re-join.

            Brexit was always on the cards where the English are concerned — Rule Britannia, and all that stuff. And, yet, the electorate in London also voted to stay in the EU.

            Meanwhile, “Singapore on the Thames” is starting to look more like “Detroit on the Thames”.

          • It’s actually pretty tricky to move whole teams around inside Europe. Despite the “free movement of people”, few actually do it. The problems are varied – language, culture, food, but also quite significantly taxation. The EU never harmonised tax, and this matters a lot when it comes to things pensions, or capital gains on selling a house; you can easily lose a lot of money to the differing tax rules. The movement of people across borders inside Europe is dwarfed by the number of people who move state inside the USA every year.

            Also, Airbus is a global company. Dealing with the UK being outside of the EU probably isn’t any harder than having a US, Canadian and Chinese subsidiaries.

          • Like rats jump off a sinking ship, Lord Frost resigned. He sees what’s coming ahead.

          • Yes, I wonder when Dassault will get involved designing/building Airbus wings to increase the competition against UK while Germany/Bremen is logically waiting to get a bigger bite. How Dassault/Airbus/Germany can agree how to compete against the UK on the coming robotic built composite wings.

          • @ Matthew
            Who’s talking about “moving whole teams of people around within Europe”?
            It’s possible to set up a wing manufacturing line in the EU using local talent — no need whatsoever to import people from the UK.
            The wing plants in Broughton and N. Ireland can stay doing their thing, and one or more additional plants can be opened in the EU to provide additional capacity (e.g. with an eye to higher future production rates).

            Further to your comment: you think that tax is harmonized in the US?

          • MOL said: “You wouldn’t hire Johnson, Patel or Gove…they’re all idiots.”

            -> On Brexit: “They want to fight over about five trawlers in Jersey, instead of saying ‘Look let’s have a bilateral agreement where all British passengers arriving in and out of Europe are allowed into the EU passport control queue’.”


          • -The UK leaving the EU “Brexit” is a blow to the EU. Britain was the second largest economy in the EU, slightly behind Germany and ahead of France. It has a technically capable and savvy population.
            -If Airbus decides to shrink or retreat into Europe by for instance leaving the UK then this disengagement will ultimately see Airbus shrink.

            -Chancellor Merkel was financially incompetent. She left Germany in a mess and with it the EU. Things will never be the same again and Europe has lost finical stability it could have had.. Most criticisms of politicians are ideological but here is a woman who escaped scrutiny by the press and who blamed the issues in the banking and financial system on other nations for their borrowings. The woman was a communist from East Germany, no East German voted for her (they knew her kind). She was voted in by naïve West Germans.
            -Due to Merlel nations such as Italy and Hungary started talking of leaving the EU. Incidentally like much of the European left wing political elite she doesn’t care about Europe she cares about expanding into “Eurabia” and Eastern Europe. We saw that during the refugee crisis.

            -The kind of gleeful anti-Americanism and Anglophobia I see here suggests that some folks are willing to cut of their nose to spite their face.

          • @William, I said no politics. Pay attention.

          • @ William
            Despite Scott’s request to stop the politics, you still found it necessary to post a longwinded and repetitive anti-Merkel rant.
            That woman really seems to have upset you.

      • Even better: in addition to the 4 A350Fs in the LOI, there are also options for another 4…making a total of 8.
        That now brings the A350F order tally to 31.

          • I guess they will. But I suspect that a single 777XF order from Qatar will dwarf them. Still fine for Airbus though – a toehold in large freighter market and another shiny distraction for Boeing to prevent them from doing anything to upset A321/A321XLR money train.

          • Singapore is another A350F order.

            Yea the KLM is a small potatoes operation.

            Lufthansa likely to stick with Boeing, Air France?

            The real big ones would be FedEx, UPS (not likely currently as they are well supplied with 747) – Emirates – Atlas – stay tuned.

            The 777X is transition to the main 777 line and once they get straight with the FAA and EASA, it should be a rapid flight test as they have done them.

            I have not heard what the correction for the blowout is or was.

          • LH seems have sat an eye on the A350F now.
            Fall: Mushrooms popping up all around 🙂

          • “I have not heard what the correction for the blowout is or was.”

            Probably because there isn’t a correction.
            Ditto for the un-commanded pitch change issue.

            “A TIA, a TIA…my kingdom for a TIA”.

          • -> ” … a single 777XF order from Qatar will dwarf them.”

            One day, someday.

  6. According to Reuters, AirFrance-KLM is about to renew all or almost its fleet with Airbus planes. Once again, Boeing is losing a customer (KLM) and pays the price of the Bombardier trade complaint. Scott’s book perfectly describes what happened : a tremendous and historical backlash for Boeing.

  7. The Monumentally Shortsighted cancellation of the Embraer JV is about far more than EMBs small jets. Sure. we all know about the Engineering staff hole Boeing needs to plug looking forward and the Brazilian Brains do that by being in the right place at the right age with the right cost structure, but even that isn’t the whole story. Embraer was selling the crown jewels, and nobody noticed. Embraer holds 1 of the 3 remaining Transport Category EASA Approved production systems in the world. Its was all there for a pittance. All the material specifications, all the process specs, the approved quality plans, recognised flight test experts, you name it, it was there for BA basically for free. It was a turnkey, step right up do business opportunity.

    BAs failure to complete the acquisition left the fastest most complete path to restoring its regulatory reputation on the table. BA could have taken the MCAS corrections through Embraers EASA cert path and avoided all the questions of oversight and excessive coziness with the FAA. It would have stopped congressional oversight of the FAA/BA connection and more importantly, placed EASA in the recertification drivers seat, something the world would have cheered. It would have gone a long way to restoring the worlds credibility in 737 design. There was NO DOWNSIDE to doing it this way. But the path was closed when BA said that EMB cost too much. The breathtakingly shortsightedness of this decision will haunt BA for the rest of its time in the transport category aircraft manufacturing business. If EMB is purchased/absorbed or stolen by China, they shave decades off their goal of becoming credible as a seller of trusted certified aircraft, a skill they do not yet possess.

  8. I’m at this point waiting for the next best manufacturer that will replace Boeing because they’re on their way out and airbus can’t swallow all the demand. Would be too much. The worst part is their management that come out every quarter and open their mouths to say rubbish.

    • That’s the big issue: who has the pockets and the knowledge to to go into Airbus territory? Embraer has the knowledge, but does not have the pockets (5 bi plus program is too much for Emb size). COMAC has the pockets, has the Engineering, but lacks the certification and production homologation knowledge. Also has the political issues which might affect the supply chain. It is easier for another group or fund takeover Boeing Commercial airplanes division and start over than another player coming from the rest of the world.
      This is likely to be a scenario that Airbus will be dominant with 90% or more of marketshare for the following 20 to 30 years.

      • ONO:

        Boeing will be number 2. Neither Russia nor China can produce in the quantifies Boeing still can.

        Nor would anyone in their right mind buy a product from either country.

        They can’t produce, they can’t support and they are alwyas sabre rattling.

        • Same old song and dance…hopelessly stuck in the past.
          All the old 1950s assumptions, overtaken by the reality of a new world order.

          • Sure I can.
            But what has that got to do with China’s volume production abilities? Or Russia’s?

            Can you say Afghanistan?

            Incidentally: the US buys $450B worth of products from China each year, and $24B from Russia.

            Still stuck in the 1950s.

          • Well I guess if you get an MC-21 it comes with the we won’t shoot it down feature!

          • Putin is banking on Germany being willing to turn a blind eye to Russia undermining democracy in the Ukraine in exchange for cheap heating in the Winter.

          • All those engaged in political comments: Stop. These have nothing to do with the post.


        • “Boeing will be number 2. Neither Russia nor China can produce in the quantifies Boeing still can. ”

          Deliveryies( and those staying delivered ) counts ,
          not production of defective items 🙂

  9. Let Airbus take the whole market then. The future will tell what it means to this industry the lack of competition.
    Don’t know how much Embraer will be able to hold on alone. Eventually it might also walk away and focus on other products out of commercial aviation.

    • It won’t have a lack of competition: it will have COMAC, Irkut and CRAIC.
      Some commentators may dismiss these companies, but Airbus takes them seriously.
      Also, maybe someone in DC will arrange for the commercial aviation division of Boeing to be acquired by a Salvator with lots of cash, e.g. Tesla or Amazon, in which case there would still be a US presence in the market.

      Regarding lack of competition: there’s no competition in the high-end lithography market (ASML is the only player), and that works just fine.

    • “The future will tell what it means to this industry the lack of competition.”

      Bombardier and Embraer were the competition until Boeing tried to get rid of the CSeries by suing Bombardier. The end result of the lawsuit is that now Airbus dominates the narrowbody sector and Embraer cannot compete anymore. The irony is that Boeing itself can no longer compete in the narrowbody sector.

      • NH:

        Compete yes, win, not so much.

        Boeing still has a nice backlog and how soon Airbus can deliver vs getting a MAX is an issue.

        But they sure are getting pummeled!

        • Boeing’s backlog is getting cancelled left and right — and without penalty.

        • -> ” … how soon Airbus can deliver vs getting a MAX is an issue.”

          1) That’s why airlines look ahead and have long-term plans. Fleet renewal has decades long impact.

          2) Both Qantas and KLM can secure delivery in 2023.

          3) When are you going to pull your head out of the sand??

        • Embraer and Bombardier were competitors. Neither really competed with Boeing or Airbus. Even the cseries would not have made much of a dent under BBD.

          It is in the hands of Airbus that the A220 is such a threat to Boeing. If you read the comments from Qantas, they will be given the flexibility to firm up orders for anything from the A220-100 to the A321XLR. That is a fleet planners dream.

          • “Embraer and Bombardier were competitors. Neither really competed with Boeing or Airbus. Even the cseries would not have made much of a dent under BBD.”

            Obviously Boeing saw things differently.

          • @NH

            BA’s all-out war against BBD’s C-Series is phenomenal, in terms of backfiring badly.

  10. The new composite wing will be on the A220 first:
    1) lower production costs due to the reduced handwork;
    2) optimization of the existing wing with some tweaks to get an higher value product;
    3) smooth introduction into an already existing production site.
    Point 1 means years of WoT project starting to give savings from day one of introduction (lowering costs of an already existing CFRP wing);
    Point 2 means that a good product becames compelling (that means premium prices);
    Point 3 means that you are not going to risk revolution on your bread & butter product, but you start modifying something that already exist.
    IMHO, obviously.

    • I wonder if Boeing also has remorse for not being the C-series program or Bombardier commercial outright? I believe Bombardier approach them before Airbus?

  11. I also wonder how much P&W had to do with this win? A 737/E2190 mix means splitting the engine order between P&W and CFM but A321/A220 mix can be all P&W.

    I’d assume you get a better deal on purchase and maintenance if you order twice as many engines.

      • Win for P&W on the Qantas order. I think Airbus had that all along, the synergy of P&W on both the A320/A220 is a nice one.

        Next is to see what engine KLM orders

        And if one of the two low cost ops goes Boeing to keep competition?

  12. Boeing is a complete cluster-screwup.

    This was once a great company, now its becoming relegated to a “has been”.

    As I’ve been incessantly stating the past 3-5 years, its management and BOD need to go!

  13. Next is Embraer / Airbus merger. That would kill off Boeing and there ancient 1950’s designed 737 Death Max.

    • that would never pass anti-trust. Airbus would have too much market share.

      • Scott:

        Arguably Airbus has too much market share now!

        Bust them up and give the A220 to Boeing? (grin)

        And don’t even get me started on Microsoft!

        • -> Bust them up and give the A220 to Boeing?

          From free market to state enterprise?

          Willing to bend and twist whatever rules to see fit?? Lol.

          • Pedro:

            Sure, its the way of the world. Airbus skates for its corruption, Boeing does.

            Me? No I would be in prison, good thing I lived a fairly clean life!

  14. Given that Brazil and China are both in the BRICS arrangement, it is not inconceivable that some kind of synergy between Embraer and Comac is being planned.

      • Most of Embraers planes are made by other T1 western suppliers, very little is made in Brazil.
        Its the poster boy for ‘we design and final assembly’ while others make their assemblies/systems and send them off.
        China isnt one of the Embraers suppliers and they tried a final assembly line for the E145 regional jet but either the product wasnt up to scratch or the local airlines didnt buy.

  15. I’ve taken a closer look at modern NB specs. Taking single class, same density, 100 kg/ pass for payload as starting point.

    It seems the E195-E2 and A220-100 figures are remarkable close overall. The A220-300 is significantly more capable than E195-E2 and close to the A319NEO.

    The gab between E195-E2 and (stretched -700/ shrink 737-8) 737-7 mk2 is significant.

    Noticeable: the A220-100 share of A220 orders has been low and shrinking..

    Once again, Boeings short term free cash flow + rosy outlooks driven decision making come back to bite it. Remember they passed on both CSeries and Embraer to safeguard short term free cash flow, dividents, executive bonusses, stock price.

    Stating the MAX would be fine until 2030-35 and opportunity lays 200-250 seats medium range dominated 2010-2020. Ignoring the writing on the wall early on.

    Group thinking and denial unfortunately has reduced Boeing options at this stage. A new lean superior 150-200 seater / 2500NM made in US seems required. If Boeing can’t, some one else step in (Raytheon/ Spirit ?).

    • @ keesje

      You have some old figures for the A220. There have been increases in MTOW and the ranges are now 3,450nm and 3650nm for the 100 and 300 respectively.

      I think total cabin volume to passengers is not a good way to measure passenger comfort. You have the A220 substantial below the E2-195 but by all accounts the A220 has best in class passenger comfort. Also the A220 has bigger bins on one side and a toilet with a window ;).

      I think you should subtract out the aisle volume before dividing by passenger count. Or at least discount that volume.

      Interesting that Qantas is ordering the A220-100.

      • Same for E2. Current certified MTOW is 62.000 kg. And heard a new increase is coming.

        • Qantas is replacing the 717s so the 100 make sense for the routes flown. I wold expect they have option to change to 200 if they see the need.

          Boeing could sell a lot more 787-8 if it was common to the -9/10. There really is nothing in the 767 slot.

          Embraer is going to do their best to make the E195 cross US distance, but that is still picking at the lower edges of the A220

    • Kind of off topic, but your data sheet shows A220-500 having 167 seats in high density (instead of 170). Do you mean a -500 needs extra emergency exits and that’s why it loses 2 seats?

  16. Maybe there will be a class action lawsuit against the terrible leadership that decimated this one time amazing company. You know, all those business minded savants who got their Wall Street acumen from Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School. I’m still amazed at the largest shareholders who put up with these frauds as executives.

    • They got a lot of money, that is all they care about.

      Kind of like the Rain Forrest farmers, cut, burn, grow and move on when you have extracted the best.

  17. Boeing lost the war in 1997. They should have bought the Fokker company. The Fokker company had a protfolio in the market segment 0 uptill 106 seats. Boeing should add a 140 seater and then Airbus was blowed out of that marketsegment. The second big mistake is that Boeing should have launched a clean sheet plane for the narrowbody market and for the MNA. the third mistake is the cargomarket. Boeing must lauch the 7778F and the &&9F. Airbus is taken almost every day an order for their new freighter.
    Currently Airbus is aeating in the captaisn seat.

    • “… hey should have bought the Fokker company. ..”

      Synergy and the US business religion are incompatible.

    • The list of post-merger Boeing errors is long. I would start it with the disastrous global supply chain of the 787. This cost them about $20 billion and served to reinforce the boards fear of launching any clean sheet program.
      Now they are reduced to upgrading the engines and avionics every 20 years, slapping a new coat of paint on it, and calling it good. Sad.

  18. Icing on the cake will be Ryanair getting their order of 200 737 Maxes at cost just to keep Boeing factories busy.

  19. Incoming! According to Dutch news KLM has ordered 100 A320 and A321 for KLM and it’s budget arm Transavia.

    I don’t want to be dramatic but KLM is probably the most pro Boeing airline in Europe that isn’t a budget airline (Ryanair being the most pro Boeing of all). Losing them as a costumer for narrow bodies should be a huge wake up call to Boeing.

    • Should be…but won’t be: there’s not enough money in the till, or engineering talent on the payroll, or competence (or humility) in the boardroom.

    • Julian:

      I keep wondering when Boeing will wake up and what it will take.

      As my old boss used to say, it could be worse and sure enough, it got worse.

      Stay tuned!

      • At this rate of getting worse and losing traditionally loyal customers they’ll end up having to lobby Biden to make a deal with Iran so they can sell planes to Iran.

        As Scott once mentioned, at some point they might as well change their name (back) to McDonnel Douglas (paraphrasing).

        • They need a new world war.
          During (cold)war times Boeing really florished.

          And the US administration is bent down to achieve that ASAP apparently.

          • “During cold War times Boeing really flourished…”
            But before the merger in ’97 Boeing’s military footprint was negligible, it was essentially a commercial airplane company, so not sure how the Cold War helped Boeing sell 737’s and 747’s back in the day.
            I agree that Boeing flourished back then, but I would say it was because it’s management wanted to build excellent commercial airplanes. Since the merger management has wanted to build planes cheaply, and to become some kind of GE-style conglomerate.

    • When the mystery( european) airline that was converting from all Boeing to Airbus was floated by Scott some weeks back , I picked it was Transavia then

  20. Back in the early 80s I was sent to school on a new engine we had acquired. There was some explicit instructions on what oil to use. They had found an oil anomaly use issue in testing and it took them quite some time to sort it out.

    I asked the Instructor why so long. He said they could not get a slot in the engine test cells as they were going 365 days a year 24 hours a day for pre-planned tests.

    This was in a serious economic down turn. I was impressed that the company was not slowing product development at all. Full speed ahead. Either there was a future they needed to be ready for or it all was going to melt down and make no difference.

    That was my take on Boeing and Embraer. As painful as it would have been they should have stayed with the deal.

    Boeing Management never attended the school of hard knocks, they had the Golden Goose. You make a lot of stupid decisions and get away with them until one day the cards house comes tumbling down.

    We can only hope that this leads to a clean Management sweep and they get the house in order.

  21. The surprise in this order is the A321XLR for Qantas domestic. We know the XLR was picked previously for its regional asian and south pacific routes, but Australia itself ?
    The main east coast routes dont need XLR range and the flights to Perth can be done by the 737-800 anyway so the Max8 and A321 neo should manage.

    What the XLR does is allow more gross weight AND hold cargo . For Australia domestic cargo in belly has become more important when you have the frequencies of Qantas and the long distances.
    The A220 was the winner in hold cargo as well, as it can carry more than even a A320 ( according to Swiss who fly both)
    Qantas only in last few years bought out its partner who flew B717 on Qantas Link services but the A200-300 is more suitable for a lot of mid sized Australian cities including the capital Canberra

    the holy grail for Airbus would be a common type pilot rating for A220 to A320 models but there are some differences

    • Maybe they meant a plane that can be used on domestic routes AND on longhaul, depending on seasonal requirements.

      Or perhaps they consider Bali to be an Aussie outpost 😏

      • They already had A321XLR ordered for longer regional routes in 2019.
        Separate seating arrangements and different crewing

        • People keep talking about common type rating with A220, reality is that you would have to dumb down the A220 as you would loose that common type rating for the A320/A330/A350 and the legacy A340/380s flying.

          they will just live with the A220 being different.

          • A320 ISNT common with A330 . Its A330 to 350 + differences training

            This is the training required for A320 to step up to the wide body
            ‘4 days Ground Phase + 4 days combine Simulator Training, Skill Test and ZFTT.

            A330 to A350 Differences Training: A330 to A350: 4 days Ground Phase + 4 days combine either FTD or FSTD Training.

            Its not dumbing down for A220 at all. The differences in cockpit were covered before in LNA, its probably a better cockpit

          • Common type rating is not just cockpit layout. It has to do with the flight dynamics as well. Therefore, for example, you would need to have the same engine failure response for an A220 and A320. This is a complete re-design of the flight control laws. A complete new certification. Would cost a lot to do. Therefore, I don’t see common type rating with A32x coming to the A220 model.

    • For QF I think the XLR offers impressive containerized / pallet cargo capability.

      On top, if virusses, energy crises, new competitors pop up in the next 20 years, QF can convert XLR’s, offering options in difficult times.

      • All A320 offer the containerized cargo. Mostly US does not use it.

        Oz seems to, not sure about the rest of the world.T

    • The MAX were offered at “substantial discount*. I doubt it bodes well for cash strapped BA.

      • Any prepayments are well come 🙂

        rebates will hurt in the end but not up front.

  22. I commented a couple of weeks ago that Forkner was just a scapegoat, a distraction from the real issue of who was responsible for certifying the final fatally flawed version of MCAS.
    The fact that neither Congress, the Dept of Justice, or the FAA had any stomach for a true investigation of the central issue is curious…..perhaps the facts lead straight to some big fish.
    This could still get interesting!

    • Forkner is used as scapegoat, obviously from day one.

      seen this: (double post? )

      “Federal Aviation Administration officials have approached U.S. prosecutors to warn them that the lone person charged with a crime after the two fatal crashes of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max is being made a “scapegoat,” according to a court filing in the case.

    • 2012-2018 The forced “Streamlining” of FAA Aircraft Certification was demanded, supported, pushed by Boeing, the aerospace supply chain, Congress, GAO, Senate and lobbyists. Shoulder to shoulder, .Google logged it.

      Most talking heads are still around and just want to forget, move forward. No reviews. Lots of jobs on the line.

      • Forkner was guilty, so are the rest T.

        But politics here as in the EU says you can’t charge Boeing because if you do, per US law, they can;t bid military contracts.

        What were they thinking when they wrote that law?

        Don’t make a law you are going to break.

        • But politics here as in the EU says you can’t charge Boeing because if you do, per US law, they can;t bid military contracts.

          Good point. It was one reason why Airbus was so anxious to reach a settlement/DPA on its bribery scandal.

          • Scott:

            I knew about Boeing but had not thought to apply it to Airbus but spot on.

            Push comes to shove no better or worse, sometimes better or worse in different ways.

      • Agreed, Forkner is a scapegoat.
        But I still have some hope, or fantasy, that a proper investigation may be conducted of exactly how this flawed MCAS was certified, and somebody will be held accountable.
        My ultimate fantasy is a sort of Max-gate cover up scenario which, in the end, leads to Calhoun’s ignominious exit while saying “I am not a crook”!

    • P&W grabs market share while CFM stands still. Market force works wonders. It’s a matter of time before CFM changes its mind.

      • GE desperately needs to make money. They have around 50% of the A320NEO (maybe a bit less now).

        All of the MAX. Granted that is working up to or is 30 a month now.

        Still without having to try too hard they match P&W (granted not on the A220 or the E2 Embraers so P&W is getting more market share.

        I doubt Russia sells any MC-21 with the P&W engines. but I doubt anyone outside Russia takes it. All that aggression makes buyers look the other way.

  23. Boeing is in rough shape. I honestly don’t even know why they are proceeding with the 777X. Its 20 tons heavier then the 350-1000. 20 TONS!!! If Airbus delivers a good 10 row solution with some fuse mods, the 777x is COOKED. I can’t honestly see why anyone would consider a 777x freighter. 20 TONS did I mention 20 tons? Also the 321 XLR + the A220 make Airbus single aisle range SO much better then Boeing. Airbus is probably afraid to launch the A220-500 in case the US govt sanctions them. That would be a death blow to the max 8. Will Mullenberg go down as the worst CEO in history? Really the man should be charged with homicide.

    • Strictly speaking, Boeing *isn’t* proceeding with the 777X — there’s still no sign of a TIA.
      It may be flying around, but it isn’t actually going anywhere.
      The lack of a 777XF intro — despite the competition from AB — is an indication of the true state of affairs behind the PR smokescreen.
      Fresh up: the GE whistleblower earlier this week who drew attention to 20 potential certification issues with the GEnX which he felt had been fudged over.

        • Oh wow, ground tests! 8 years after program launch!
          Tim Clarke will be very encouraged to hear that 😉

          • Pedro:

            Av Week, you have to subscribe to get most of it.

          • BA is carrying out “Boeing tests”, not the same as certification tests.

          • @ Pedro
            Yes, indeed, Boeing tests…the Boeing marketing manager (Mounir) referred to them in an interview a few weeks ago.
            One wonders what they entail. Taxi-ing around the hangar and taking photos from different angles — perhaps with some good-looking flight attendants thrown in, for good measure? Then sending the new photos to Tim, in an effort to get him enthused?

            Tim: Thanks for the new photos, guys, but when’s that TIA coming?
            BA: Eh…

      • Indeed: figures on the web indicate a difference in empty weight (B777-9 vs. A350-1000) of 66 tons.
        The difference in MTOW is 43 tons.

        • ! 66t !
          That is a bit high of a difference estimate.
          What did you use for numbers?

          A35F OEW ( IMU anywhere 125t..135t ? )
          777-9X pax OEW? ( IMU ~~185+t )

          removing the cabin stuffing has a significant impact on OEW. But for both frames. (25t.. 30t 🙂

        • 66 TONS OMG? Is this some sort of lead/tungsten/DU composite Boeing is using? 66T overweight is LUDICROUS.

          • It was/is a favorite slogan of Airbus that:
            “A full A350 weighs less than an empty B777X”

          • @Bryce

            Still we hear from time to time major customers will pull out their cheque book for big 777XF orders anytime soooooon.

            I wonder if those commentators are aware of the specs. and how does it compare with A350F?

      • Yes but that is with 16.5 inch seats, AB is working on a solition to add some with and some super high tech seats that get closed to 17″

  24. BTW not only did Airbus get the A220 for 10 cents on the dollar, they got a whole workforce and lower cost center of production and a factory in the N. American free trade zone. Why Boeing did not take over the Cseries when they knew the 737 was on its last legs is really inexplicable. They got their karmic justice.

    • I think you have to watch the low cost work force in NA

      Alabama yes, Canada, no.

    • I think they honestly didnt think it was on it’s last legs. I think Boeing thought the Max was a superb aircraft, at least as good as the A320Neo series. Remember all the talk of A320 just catching up. I honestly believe Boeing was so arrogant they actually believed their own bubris of A320(Neo) just catching up.

      And that Boeing turned down Bombardier when they approached Boeing offering the then C-series for next to nothing to them, that is a further proof of the incredible arrogance that Boeing had (or still have). Next Bombardier approached Airbus and the rest is history.

      • SN:

        Arrogance yes. They knew the MAX vs the NEO was pure baloney.

        Boeing has put out a lot of that over the years but the operated that had both always said it was a coin flip from flight to flight on the costs comparisons.

        To me the astonishing thing was that they made the 737NEO (aka MAX) equally competitive with the A320NEO (flight cost wise, not sales wise)

        Sad state of Aerodynamics that no big gains even with all new. A220 is some nice gains but not leaps and bounds.

        Boeing is burning and Calhoun Fiddles on.

        • @TW

          To me the astonishing thing was that they made the 737 MAX so compromised that the MAX 9/10 are not competitive with A321neo.

          Their focus was to have a wider moat to retain their existing customers. Nice plan. 🙄

        • MAX ( and before that the NG ) compete via reduced requirements derived from the grandfathering setup from the 60ties dragged into the here and now.
          a 9g fuselage needs less structure and has less mass.
          Less demanding obstacle clearance on OEO allows for less thrust, smaller, lighter tailfin.
          This adds up.
          Also observe that Boeing competes strongly in “out of band properties”.

          My guess is that one reason why Boeing is shy about a clean sheet design coming with much higher certification requirements that will have an impact on airframe weight and thus on competitive performance.

          finally: the convoluted thinking established for leveraging grandfathering advantages has negative impact on good design metrics: KISS. really good designs are simple, straightforward.

          • very important point indeed!
            I read a long time ago that these “reduced requirements” from the Corvair vintage safety features mean around 2000kg weight reduction.
            Not peanuts…
            Of course, the fuselage for instance cannot be as strong…

          • guess why 737 fuselages break around the pickle fork stations. ( fuselage tube to wingbox discontinuity )
            and kill passengers.

        • > To me the astonishing thing was that they made the 737NEO (aka MAX) equally competitive with the A320NEO (flight cost wise, not sales wise) <

          Two of 'em (über-kludge MAXs) crashed, though, and that's a bit of a problem. Then add the cost of and time requirements for the MAX™ Simulator training that should have been mandatory in the first place..

  25. And then there’s this!
    In an effort to draw attention away from all the orders it’s losing, BA is treating us to an episode of Star Trek:

    “Boeing wants to build its next airplane in the ‘metaverse'”

    “SEATTLE/PARIS, Dec 17 (Reuters) – In Boeing Co’s factory of the future, immersive 3-D engineering designs will be twinned with robots that speak to each other, while mechanics around the world will be linked by $3,500 HoloLens headsets made by Microsoft Corp”

    • “mechanics around the world”
      So the lowest cost engineers from third world countries will replace expensive WA state based angineers. And this Metaverse in marketing lingo will be the magic tool that will make it happen.
      I can see the 787 debacle to be a cake walk compared to this metaCharlieFoxtrot.

      • > And this Metaverse [™] in marketing lingo will be the magic tool that will make it happen.
        I can see the 787 debacle to be a cake walk compared to this metaCharlieFoxtrot. <

        Hear, hear.. these Woke™BoeingPR-clowns are effing deluded (and worse..).

        "Metaverse™", my aching backside.. Real-world makers like COMAC, Irkut, and of course the preeminent Airbus, must
        be laughing their asses off..

          • Wondering if Fo0d and Energy and such are readily available in said “Metaverse”.

            the endless credulity of techies continues to amaze.

          • Yes, this “Metaverse PR” is just the latest magic bullet conjured up by the 25 year old Kinsey business consultants whose role is to provide the ex-GE mafia with the means to seduce Wall Street. 15 years ago it was the “global supply chain”, then it was McNerny’s “More for Less” (Less for Less, more honestly), and the latest gimmick is “the Metaverse”.
            Just another scam to make gullible analysts believe a $20 billion clean sheet program can be magically accomplished for $8-10 billion this time.

  26. Pretty easy to see the flaws of the Boeing Corporation at this time. Their strategy is to sell as many MAXes as they can; and to get the 787s off the lot. Then use the profits to build a new single aisle / NMA. Can they do it? If not maybe Lockheed will get back into the commercial airplane business, if and when they take over Boeing at less than 100 dollars a share, or buy the Commercial Division outright. Just trying to look down the road a few years…

  27. The Airbus order book is therefore, more than ever, filling up quickly, which, suddenly, is likely to accelerate a worldwide movement of orders, just to have a production niche available. From here tonthe end of our decade. It will take a large order to hope to obtain a single aisle from 2023-2024. Naturally, all of this will put a lot of pressure on the supply chain of suppliers who will no doubt require direct and indirect financing from Airbus to ensure parts and deliveries on time, two areas under cost pressure. In short, this race for the slots available at Airbus may drown Boeing on a financial level. Significant discounts for all future customers, cancellation, major outlays to cover the guaranteed residual value of MAXs (the used MAX market will quickly tell us, like the actions of the major aircraft lessors, etc.), ever more expensive commercial campaigns, offers service and maintenance at a discount: in short, the MAX will start smelling faster than hoped … And here we are not even talking about the stigma that this model is decked out with major buyers around the world … from its deadly glitches.

    With a context of permanent mutations of COVID-19 variants, Boeing will have to convince itself to take a break of at least ten years in the single-aisle sector. Is it worth investing in R&D just to emulate / catch up with Airbus? It would be another black card to play and fraught with uncertainty. Invest in new technologies that are immature and non-existent today? Here again, it will be necessary to take out the checkbook to also finance potential suppliers. But first, it’s the reconstruction of a culture of engineers to obtain an organizational engine perfectly suited to future growth and technological challenges. And here again, the return on the invested capital will be equal to zero, which will not be able to convince the shareholders, the creditors since it is a question here of investing in an intangible asset … which does not yield anything immediately. In summary, Boeing’s luck will undoubtedly reside in the reconstruction of its board of directors, this decision-making body which will have to preside over the renewal of Boeing in the very very long term … Probably that these new appointed members of this board will have to retire, before even having been able to see the fruits of their visionary work… like the builders of cathedrals in the Middle Ages who ordered 75-125 years to complete them!

    • CS:

      Well if Chrysler and Ford can come back, Boeing can.

      Yes it will take a shakeup but as the greedy type investors see the long term no return, they will dump Boeing.

      Its a matter of when the blow up occurs, not if.

      Boeing has a lot of assets it can borrow against (military side is doing well).
      So its far better shape than Ford or Chrysler was. Actually Chrysler has had two miracles of come back.

      But we have to go through the painful process.

      Get the 787 back into delivery and the 777X certified and you have a decent base. Maybe even a 787-11 and possible an NEO in 5-10 years.

      It just won’t be the money maker they were before so the glad handing hand outs won’t be there.

      I saw updated figures on Airbus losses on the A380 at 30 billion. They clearly survived that.

        • Just hold the breath a little longer. With a rosy glass, everything looks so much better.

        • BA’s 787 ASC 606 adj. is creeping up to 77.

          Calhoun’s promise to return BA’s NB market share to parity looks hollow. What would he say now?

          • Probably things like:
            “This is Boeing being tough on Boeing”
            “We’re in no hurry — we want to do it right this time”

            Vacuous fudge like that.

        • As Airbus moves on from the A380 production era, the KLM & Qantas deals (and latest A350 freighter orders) signal it enters a period of dominance over Boeing.

          -> ” *Boeing is waiting for China to give the MAX final signoff that will allow Chinese airlines to return the MAX to its fleets and allow Boeing to restart handing over the aircraft to Chinese customers.* ”

      • Boeing has a lot of assets it can borrow against (military side is doing well).

        They’ve done that already, haven’t they?
        ( IMU Boeing shows negative equity. )

      • TW: Boeing is not taking any of the steps that would show they’re serious about staying in
        the commpercial passenger aircraft business,
        except for some late-minute milking to benefit their C-suite types.

        Evidence to the contrary is welcome..

        PS: I think there will be no 777XF- it’s just more vaporware to keep the stock price up.
        Who’d buy it, anyway?

    • The board has been reconstructed. There’s an engineer, there’s a pilot, there’s a former executive from one of their biggest suppliers.

      Isn’t that what you all asked for?

      Most of the board is brand new people.

      You people just always talk with no actual experience of how to turn a company like this around.

      Oh just change the board, oh just move back to Seattle or just change the CEO. Boeing can do all of that and have the same problems.

      Their problems are so deep rooted in a company of over 100,000 people spanning 3 divisions and pent up that it will not change as quickly.

      Can they change? Yes but for a giant like this? Hell will almost freeze over till it’s complete and we on the outside can see some tangible differences

      • Without enough cash, nothing will change.
        Isn’t a fundamental tenet of doing business that you have to generate enough revenue to cover (and exceed) your costs?
        What’s the current (and realistically expected) revenue stream? And what are the current costs?

  28. So KLM Cityhopper has a number of orders for the E2-195.

    So KLM will have Airbus (2 types), Boeing & Embraer models flying.

    Any chance they’ll kick the tires on a C-919 just to have a ring on every finger?

    • I imagine that the first non-Chinese C919 tire kickers will be in SE Asia, Central Asia, Africa and S. America. Buyers there will be easy to find, and easy to tantalize with deals along the line of “we send you planes, you send us raw materials”. No dollars involved, so very attractive for those who are considered to be bold boys by the West. Following the old “Western” certification rules will not be necessary for many/most of these countries: after all, they have no problem buying other “un-certified” Chinese products, and they saw the complete failure of “Western” certification in the case of the MAX (and the 787). Taken as a block, they can fly an extensive network of routes without ever going near the US, EU or Australia.

      Airlines in Europe (apart from Ryanair) will probably not be interested, though the EU will probably take a serious look at certification. Same for Australia.

      The US probably won’t touch the plane and won’t certify it either, out of hubris / indignation.

      Of course, all of this will probably be on the basis of domestic/Russian engines, since the US will likely do everything it can to keep CFM products out of China. In return, China will probably stop buying Boeing, and the US relationship with the EU will cool even further. All of this will merely serve to push China and Russia further into each others’ arms.

      Interesting times ahead 😉

      • Frank

        Impossible. they can’t even get the C919 certified in the Government controlled non independent AHJ, let alone zero path to Western Certification.

        Say a Miracle occurred cert wise (Thor?) they would not be able to deliver until about 2030.

        And then there are the Chinese engines on the way. Yee hah

        • No one is going to buy the C919 unless it has EASA or FAA cert.

          The iffy situation with Taiwan also is an impediment as well as the inability of China to get it certified in country let alone in production.

          And that does not count for the lack of ability of China to support an aircraft as Bjorn has pointed out, its a hugely complex operation all unto itself.

          MC-21 has the support issues as well as the attacks on Crimea, Georgia and threatening Ukraine and Poland. No one will buy that either.

          • China can try to force C919 certification in the west by holding back the certification of western products in their territory, like they are doing with some latest models.

          • @ Max
            Yes, China can certainly play that game, and probably will.
            But just for “form” — not because it’s seriously eying the US/EU markets.
            Its principal (huge) market is domestic. And outside of that, it has made lots of shiny new friends in the last few years (most recently Iran) — friends who have traditionally been left in the lurch by the “west”, and who like the dollar-free, sanction-free trade schemes that China utilizes. Brazil is one of those friends 😉

            Get a map of the world and look at the area occupied by the US and EU — it’s tiny compared to the rest. So there’s plenty of fun to be had without ever going near the “old world”.

          • >TransWorld
            December 17, 2021

            No one is going to buy the C919 unless it has EASA or FAA cert.

            The iffy situation with Taiwan also is an impediment as well as the inability of China to get it certified in country let alone in production.

            And that does not count for the lack of ability of China to support an aircraft as Bjorn has pointed out, its a hugely complex operation all unto itself.

            MC-21 has the support issues as well as the attacks on Crimea, Georgia and threatening Ukraine and Poland. No one will buy that either <

            Saved this comment for future reference; say, five years from this date.


          • Ryanair has said that it will look at the C919 when the time comes: after all, it’s prepared to gamble on the MAX, so why not take a chance on the C919? 😉

            As regards tired, repetitive old dogmas such as “No one is going to buy the C919 unless it has EASA or FAA cert”, one only has to look at all the countries that bought/used vaccines that hadn’t been (and still aren’t) approved by the FDA and/or EMA. Which, of course, will prompt the tired, repetitive old dogma that “yeah, but those vaccines were no good” — in turn founded upon a very selective overlooking of the inconvenient side-effects of “western” vaccines (clots, cardiomyelitis), the removal of the J&J vaccine from the FDA recommended list, the abandonment of the AZ vaccine in the EU, and the data published by Israel in July regarding the rapid waning of the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines.

            As if a country like Iran, Afghanistan or Venezuela (for example) gives a hoot what the FDA/EASA has to say on any matter: anything that the Chinese or Russians can provide is better than what those countries currently have, isn’t it?
            Add to that a whole list of countries in a similar situation: Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan and other “Stans”…the list goes on and on.

  29. Where does this leave Southwest, with their orders for MAX 7 ? Will they have cost pressures as others have lower cost per seat mile. And even if that is the right size for a route, what about competitors with A220 ?

    One can only assume that with the increasing volumes the A220-300 is going to come down in cost. I assume that the higher prices that Bombardier committed to would only apply to the quantities envisaged or committed to at that time, and if those suppliers want to be part of expanded production they will have to sharpen their pencils.

    • Robert:

      Airbus has a challenge ahead of it to deal with the existing contracts on the A220 BBD incurred. As it was an iffy program, BBD gave a lot away to get what they needed.

      Right now its rationalizing and cleaning up the build (efficient) and they are talking to the suppliers and may or may not have success with adjusting contracts. Suppliers are in the drivers seat so Airbus has to offer them something more, possibly contract in other aircraft.

      There is a quoted figure of Airbus loosing 400 million a year on the program.

      They can package it with the A320 series and take a bit less money there to cut some of the pricing but its a tough issue for them.

      A220 is much more a Boeing type program with wings from (now
      Spirit) Fuselage from China some tail parts from Alenia.

      As Boeing found out on the 787, controlling all those outside entities has been a problem (major fuselage issues from (now Leonardo) , Spirits shim issues, Japan and others composite contamination issues.

      Its a huge amount to deal with and suppliers have the upper hand though I expect Airbus will offer higher produion levels in return for some cost reduction.

      Boeing actually gave up on Chance Vought and (now Leonardo) in Charleston and bought out that part of the operation (and then turned it into the 787 mfg factory)

      • “Suppliers are in the drivers seat”

        This is a much more nuanced situation. True suppliers want to get paid for the risk they took on the c-series program. But they also want the A220 to be a long term success and they really don’t want to fall out with the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world over a smallish program.

        Depending on Boeing for future contacts is looking a bit risky. Who knows when Boeing will get their rates up or launch a new program? And if not Boeing or Airbus who else will be building aircraft at scale in the next 10 years? So seriously right now, would you as a supplier, not be willing to give a bit to stay on Airbus’s good side?

        I tend to believe Airbus when they say they have seen this trajectory before and that though a combination of contract renegotiation, better efficiencies at both Airbus and the suppliers and volume the program will be profitable by 2025. I doubt any of this bothers Airbus at all. From their perspective by mid-2025 they will have a profitable product with a good future acquired at a total cost of about 2.0 billion (say 0.5 billion purchase price plus 1.5 billion loss over the first 7 years).

        • It’s important to realize that Delta, AC and a few other early CSeries buyers got screaming deals. I would be fairly certain that since then the price has risen. Part of the reason Airbus will be making money in three or so years, is because they will have delivered most of the give-aways, and be building planes for these later orders.

    • Southwest reaps what it sows. It avoids short-term pain, leading to no long-term gain. The next two decades would see its lower cost advantages being chipped away.

  30. The list of post-merger Boeing errors is long. I would start it with the disastrous global supply chain of the 787. This cost them about $20 billion and served to reinforce the boards fear of launching any clean sheet program.
    Now they are reduced to upgrading the engines and avionics every 20 years, slapping a new coat of paint on it, and calling it good. Sad.

    • starts earlier and the trend is telling:
      Original 777 development was in time but doubled cost.
      NG production FUBARed ( no idea what kind of bill that rang up.)
      787 massively over ran cost and timeframe planned.
      Add longstanding festering and unresolved production issues .
      MAX MCAS, grounding, fixing, production issues ..
      777X, oh my!

      a rising line “compression” of blowback.

      • good summary, i think.

        Boeing: “We’re #1 !!! ”

        ok dudes [smiles and snickers all around]

  31. More misery for Boeing:
    “NASA Says Glitch on Boeing Rocket Delays Launch Again”

    “NASA plans to replace an engine controller aboard its massive SLS rocket after finding a communications glitch with the system’s avionics during pre-flight testing, the latest setback in a program for which Boeing Co. is the main contractor and that has been plagued by years of delays and billions of dollars in costs beyond its initial budget.”

  32. OUCH!
    The South China Morning Post has noticed the Peter Robison book, and has written a scathing article on Boeing:

    “Review | How decades of deskilling at Boeing doomed two 737 MAX flights – author dissects the death of its safety culture at the hands of corporate profiteers”

    ” – Aviation reporter Peter Robison charts the hollowing out of a once-great engineering company by managers focused on narrow corporate self-interest and profit.
    – Their cost-cutting, the firing of thousands of engineers and a disregard for safety led to the crashes of two brand new Boeing 737 MAX airliners, he writes”

    After they’ve read the article, it would be interesting to poll Chinese readers and ask them if they think that the USA represents any sort of “gold standard” in aviation…

  33. So….Business Insider did a puff piece on how great the E2-195 ‘Profit Hunter’ was and how airlines should be buying more of these and it’s ‘so much better’ than the A220 line

    “I went onboard one of Embraer’s newest yet worst-selling jets and can’t understand why more airlines aren’t buying it.”

    At the end of the day, the E2 line is a 2×2 regional jet. It’s not a mainline aircraft. The problem is it’s a regional jet that doesn’t fit in scope clauses and is too small to fly in mainline fleets.

    While perhaps the price of acquiring the E2 line by Boeing might have been a little steep, given the pandemic – I am sure that this played into it, as well.

    The E2 cannot compete with the A220 line.

    • Well right in the sub-title you have:

      “Embraer says it offers lower fuel burn and costs but airlines want the additional range and space of the A220. ”

      Combine that with Airbus giving you the flexibility to ultimately acquire any combination of A220-100 to A321XLR over then the life of a purchase agreement and P&W possibly providing a deal if you commit to all Pratt engines and you can see the difficulty Embraer is in.

    • All astute observations à la Frank 😏

      However, it would be interesting to know if the program’s fortunes would improve if it had a heavyweight behind it.

      Related question: how many customers choose ATR because of the fact that there’s a heavyweight (AB) behind it? Does it play a role?

    • According to Wikipedia, of the total A220 orders (as of Nov 30, 2021), 556 (86%) are A220-300, the rest are A220-100.

      • @ Keesje/Pedro

        The A220-300 seems to be the definitive version and what mainline carriers are looking for. It competes with the A319Neo and the Max 7.

        AB have bumped it out to 3,600NM range, with 160 max pax.
        319Neo is also 160 max pax with 3,750NM.
        Max 7 is 172 pax with 3850NM range.

        This is where you’ve got to be, to compete.

        The E2-195 gets you 146 max pax (in 2×2 seating) , 2655NM. Not enough pax and range to compete in the space.

        Another thing:

        Embraer is continually saying how their aircraft is so much more efficient then the A220. The OEW of the A223 is 81,750 lbs. The OEW of the E2-195 is 78,700 lbs. That’s 3000 lbs.

        Not a huge difference for 15 extra pax and 1000NM of range.

  34. I looked around a bit to see what build rates are forecast out to 2025 for mainline narrow bodies (i.e A22x A32x, B737, C319).

    My numbers:
    End 2021 – Airbus 50, Boeing 25, Comac 0
    End 2021 – Airbus 66%, Boeing 33%, Comac 0%

    Mid 2022 – Airbus 61, Boeing 35, Comac 0
    Mid 2022 – Airbus 63%, Boeing 37%, Comac 0%

    Early 2025 – Airbus (84-89*), Boeing (50-60~), Comac (5-10#)
    Early 2025 – Airbus (56-62)%, Boeing (34-40)%, Comac (3-7)% ^

    Some conclusions:
    1. Airbus is clearly in command now.
    2. It is hard to see how Boeing is ever going to get back to 50% and may still be at only one third of the NB market come 2025.
    3. If Comac can’t get to 5/month by 2025 they may be “lapped” by the next generation coming. I wonder what guidance they have given suppliers?
    4. Is there a tipping point coming for Boeing where the 737 looses market share ever faster and funds for R&D are no longer available so no new products can be launched. If so where is it? I suspect not, if Boing can get the 737 back to >40 that should be able to fund new programs.

    * 89 is based on 14 A22x and 75 A32x
    ~ 60 is probably generous, but Boeing has mentioned a rate as high as 57/m pre crashes and Covid.
    # Total wild guess but I doubt anything over 10. But even 5 may be to generous.
    ^ Range calculated by taking the high and low for each and then respectively the low and high for the others.

    Some sources:

    • I think COMAC’s planning has been / will be thwarted by US embargos on parts, particularly engines. I can imagine that the Chinese are now looking to on-shore every part of the plane, just as the Russians did with the MC-21. That will cause temporary pain. After that, once they’re free of western shackles, they’ll have a lot of lost time to make up for…and a lot of incentive to do it.

      Once they get the current model up and running, improvements will probably come in quick succession…just like their high speed train programs.

      • > the Chinese are now looking to on-shore every part of the plane

        Easy to say but very difficult probably impossible this late in the development cycle. They are currently performing certification flights. Go back now and replace anything with western content. Just a short list includes:
        * aircon system
        * flight controls, APU, wheels and brakes
        * high lift system
        * cabin systems and avionics
        * electrical system
        * engines, nacels, thrust reversers
        * hydraulics, actuators and fuel systems
        * landing gear
        * tires even

        Not to mention that many of those of JVs with western firms. To break those agreements means losing access to knowledge.

        This aircraft will either get certified with western content or not all all.

        • It can get domestically certified with the current western content, and then get modified on a piecemeal basis from there.
          As regards losing access to knowledge: that’s a price that just has to be accepted when you’re on the receiving end of a “sanction everybody” policy.
          The Russians were able to do it without western content — the Chinese will manage it too.
          These people are not going to be stopped.

  35. Always amusing to see the ultra-conservatives who blindly assert that China couldn’t possibly produce a successful aerospace industry. Let’s see…just from the past few days:


    “China’s future spaceplane may be able to take off and land at airports”

    “China is developing a spaceplane known as Tengyun, which has a horizontal take-off and horizontal landing (HTHL) system. That gives it an advantage over the US equivalent, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), which is rocket-launched, according to military magazine Naval and Merchant Ships.”


    “China developing 6,000 mph hypersonic nuke missile ‘based on design’ ditched by NASA”

    That’s in addition to the existing DF-17 hypersonic missile (for which the US and EU have no equivalent).


    And let’s not forget the space station currently under construction, and the successful Mars rover (first attempt).


    Of course, what the Chinese don’t know (but, luckily, we do) is that a magical tooth fairy will materialize any day soon and just make these inconvenient developments disappear, like snow in the sun 😉

    With that knowledge: what could the Chinese possibly offer Embraer?

    • The vita of Mr. Ming Han Tang, the inventor of the concept used is “interesting” 🙂

    • Bryce….
      The China/Embraer hookup would only exist as a Chinese purchase. All Embraér has to offer is the holy grail of Transport Category Aircraft. The EASA approved manufacturing system with every spec and standard included for literally peanuts. Imagine the Comic 919 follow on being run with a fully approved production system by folks who have repeatedly certified aircraft. That is frightening. That’s the only thing they need to catch up on,

        • Expect US drone attacks on the Embraer site 🙂
          ( that is what the US did to frustrate Generica production in Afrika. )

      • Aviation needs more competition. If COMAC + Embraer would be able to challenge the current duopoly, then more power to them.

      • About 12 years ago I was flying in Vanuatu on Harbin Y-12s. Special deal.. Like A Twin Otter but with a glass cockpit. Now back to twin Otters. In the end, even in the 3rd world, Airlines need to have reliable aircraft. Unlike motor vehicles it is hard to sell a bundle of cheap units to get used to building a good safe craft.

        • “…it is hard to sell a bundle of cheap units to get used to building a good safe craft.”

          Rings a bell with the MAX, doesn’t it?
          And with the 787 also.

          • The key is MAX 7, MAX 9/10 are *not* competitive (no matter if BA acquires 80% of Embraer or not). The only way for customers to place orders is to cut prices or entice them with compensation credits. In the long run, it’ll only make the weak player even weaker.

  36. I work in Toulouse and I can tell you that all the young Embraer talents Boein was hoping to tap in now work for Airbus and its contractors.

    • More and more engineers at Boeing also appear to be leaving…a serious braindrain.

    • What are they doing? Airbus has(appears to have) less on its plate than Boeing.I suppose there is a lot to do on the C series mk2.
      Boeing must have grabbed some of them during what they called “the carving out process”

      • Grubbie said: “..What are they doing? Airbus has(appears to have) less on its plate than Boeing..”

        Say WHAT ??? What’s Boeing got on their plate, besides Mo’ Betta PR ?

        A321XLR and A350F proceeding apace for Airbus, with the A220-500 in comfortable reserve.. maybe R.o.b. will set us straight on mcBoeing’s continued superiority (haven’t heard from him lately; did his contract expire?).

    • Ironic that a “grounding” can be precipitated by something that the article characterizes as “flaws in their finish”.

  37. What are they doing? Airbus has(appears to have) less on its plate than Boeing.I suppose there is a lot to do on the C series mk2.
    Boeing must have grabbed some of them during what they called “the carving out process”

    • Hopefully Airbus does not have to re-do the anti-lightning system. That would be a real mess.

      • BA has a similar problem on 787 wings. It appears that re-painting the wings is curing the problem.

  38. Bryce. The BIG difference in the 787 paint adhesion problem and the A-350 problem is that the 787 embeds phosphor bronze whiskers within the top layer of the laminates so that the conductivity elements for lightning protection are a part of the structure. The A-350 relys on a fine copper wire mesh being wrapped around and bonded to the carbon parts. This creates a faraday cage electrically isolating the aircraft inside it. Now when the paint fails in the manner that it has on the A-350, you cannot prove that the lightning protection has not degraded. THAT is the issue, not the workmanship of the painting itself. There may be a need to produce lab generated evidence of a repair that will withstand simulated lightning. That’s the long winded way to say, the 787 can be completely fixed with a simple respray, while the A-350 may not today have a path forward to airworthiness.

    • Conversely: when the paint fails in the manner that it has on the A-350, you also cannot prove that the lightning protection HAS degraded.
      Apart from the regulator in Qatar, no other regulator has indicated that there is a potential issue with the lightning protection.
      None of the published photos shows a break in the copper mesh underlying the paint.

      • Respectfully, you are incorrect. The faraday cage is required to be encapsulated. Loss of encapsulation allows surface corrosion to occur on the mesh. That changes the resistance and bonding paths. The occurrence of the defect at penetration points is even more worrisome as these penetrations rely on the mesh bonding to protect the structure.

        • Respectfully, you forgot words like “ultimately” and “can” before the verb “allow”.
          A Faraday cage with a small hole in it still acts as a Faraday cage: the current just goes around the hole.
          Even with a small girdling gap, it will still act as a Faraday cage.

        • I have looked hard at them.
          I don’t see any interruptions in the mesh pattern.
          I see discoloration of the mesh in a few places, but there’s no crackling visible –> it’s not breaking from corrosion.
          Copper with a surfacial oxide layer can still conduct perfectly through its sub-surface bulk.

          It’s certainly ugly and it needs to be fixed; however, on the basis of the published photos, I don’t see a lightning shielding issue.

          Please remember that every window is effectively a (more than) square-foot hole in the lightning mesh — and there are a lot of windows in a passenger fuselage. And, yet, that doesn’t cause problems.
          The link (e.g. Figure 4) shows that regular features like the seams around doors form a much bigger lightning shielding “issue” than a bit of localized surface corrosion of the lightning mesh:

    • There’ll be many more airlines in a similar (or worse) situation in the coming months.
      Singapore has put its VTL travel scheme on hold, and Thailand has also suspended quarantine-free arrivals…right in the middle of its tourist high-season.

        • It’s still quite odd to me that airlines are placing large orders for planes, directly after being massively bailed out by governments..

          but that’s just me.


          • COVID aid was provided to many companies in many ways. In Germany for Lufthansa it was Government loans which are now being repaid basically by selling parts of the company. In the US it seems to have been aid to not furlough employees. It was effectively orders from the US government that prevented them from flying. (I regard the handling of COVID to be bungled, to be blamed on an election campaign and the media and finance that owns it)

            I think the orders for new generation aircraft are being driven by their improved performance. About 15% less fuel burn per seat, possibly as much as 20% for the A321neo with improvements in seating arrangements. The new aircraft also seem to offer at least 20% more range. There are also the CORISA and COP26 nett zero targets and pledges. Airlines with a high carbon foot print may get targeted.

            The improved performance of the neo, A220 & MAX seems to be the driver.

    • A familiar pattern:
      “You sanction us, we just go elsewhere for stuff”.

      As already pointed out, Iran has now turned to China…why not, when only one country lies between them (Afghanistan)? Seeing as the current regime in that latter country is not adverse to China, Iran and China can now also connect by air and road, as well as sea. Makes it much easier to cooperate on all sorts of fronts.

      I suspect that Iran will never again order Boeing.

    • Nest up: Saudi Arabia:
      “CNN Exclusive: US intel and satellite images show Saudi Arabia is now building its own ballistic missiles with help of China”

      China now increasingly has (large parts of) the Middle East in its sphere of influence. Logical — while some countries are sanctioning and restricting, others are embracing opportunities.
      More potential markets for COMAC and Chinese arms sales.

      It REALLY makes you wonder when the penny will drop.

      • “China now increasingly has (large parts of) the Middle East in its sphere of influence.”

        LOL . . . obviously you have never been to the Middle East.

        • I have, actually. Have you? 😏

          My statement is perfectly accurate: Iran and Saudi Arabia are the biggest countries there, and they’re “working” more with China than a few years ago. Same with the UAE, for example. From the link:
          “China has been the biggest winner in the post-U.S. Middle East. Beijing was already the largest buyer of the region’s oil. Now, without fanfare, it has become the only outside power that has strong political and trading ties with every major country there.”

          Do you have a problem with China’s increasing role there? I don’t. I think countries are free to choose their own friends.

  39. The Chinese made COMAC ARJ-21 has just had its first overseas customer, a lease for 30 aircraft to an Indonesian carrier TransNoosa.

    This should have been a win for Embraer but without a big company such as Airbus or Boeing behind or a Government backed lessor the chances are much reduced.

    The fact that scope clauses pretty much destroy the sub 100 sea market in the west is another.

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