Pontifications: “Dreadful” or “clearing the decks”? Boeing’s first quarter results

By Scott Hamilton

May 2, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing’s first quarter report was just awful. There’s just no getting around this, although a few Wall Street analysts bent over backward trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (an American colloquialism). One analyst called the quarter “dreadful.” The stock tanked $20 on the day the earnings were reported. As of Friday, it gained $4 from Wednesday’s close.

  • Boeing confirmed the 777X certification and entry into service won’t be until 2025, confirming Tim Clark’s fears that emerged back in October at IATA. Clark is the president and COO of Emirates Airline, which has more 777Xs on order—115—than any other customer.
  • Production of the X will be paused until the end of 2023, adding about $1.2bn in costs to the project. This comes on top of $6.5bn in write offs on the X program previously taken.
  • About 50 777Xs moved from firm order status to iffy, under the accounting rule ASC 606. These are orders that were slated for delivery before 2025. Contracts for these must be renegotiated, yet again, casting a cloud over their status.
  • Boeing took a charge of more than $600m on the Air Force One program. AF One is a two-airplane order for the conversion of two 747-8 whitetails from civilian-passenger configuration to the militarized-VIP AF One specifications. LNA is told by multiple sources more sizable charges will be forthcoming.
  • The OEM also took a charge against the T-7 Red Hawk trainer. This was supposed to be one of the two programs (the MQ-25) is the other that lays the advanced design-and-production groundwork to be implemented in the Next Boeing Airplane (NBA), whatever it is, for the commercial market.

787 appears a bright spot, at last

The one overt bright spot is that Boeing now appears on a definitive path to gain FAA approval to resume deliveries of the 787 in the third or maybe the fourth quarter. A few Wall Street aerospace analysts rightly pointed to this as good news. Some aerospace analysts also said suspending production of the 777X and upping it for the 777LRF is good news, for the 777LRF is high-profit margins. Some also took the position that all the write-offs are “clearing the decks.” This appears to be reaching for the moon.

Boeing’s additional charges on Air Force One and the T-7 prompted Boeing CEO David Calhoun to appear to throw his predecessor, Dennis Muilenburg, under the bus—again. However, this is not entirely clear he did so.

Air Force One

Calhoun said on the earnings call the AF One deal was “a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken. But we are where we are, and we’re going to deliver great airplanes. And we’re going to recognize the costs associated with it.” Muilenburg negotiated the price with President Donald Trump, who as president-elect criticized the $4bn+ price tag as too high. Some took Calhoun’s remarks as a shot at Muilenburg. (It wouldn’t have been the first time.) But LNA is told that the Boeing Board was briefed in detail, including risks, and had to approve this deal. Calhoun was chairman of the company at that time.

Muilenburg’s kissing up to Trump was important, given his personality and Boeing’s position as a defense contractor. Even after Trump was eviscerated for his remarks about a violent rally in Charlottesville (WV) that had racist overtones and in which one person died, Muilenburg remained on an advisory council after other defense contractors’ CEOs stepped off.

But did Calhoun throw Muilenburg under the bus? Remarks about fixed-price contracts immediately before turning to Air Force One suggest maybe not.

“I will have a very different philosophy with respect to fixed-price development. I hope never to contribute to that issue. But we are where we are. And let me also say, because I was on the Board at the time the T-7 and MQ-25 programs were taken, and yes, they were written off the day we took them knowing that we would be investing a fair amount of our own money in the future of those aircraft.”

Fixed-price contracts

The fixed-price contracts above were preceded by the one for the KC-X tanker. Awarded in February 2011, Boeing won the contract for 179 US Air Force refueling tankers based on the 767-200ER. The competition was run under what’s called Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable parameters, or LPTA. EADS, then the name of Airbus’ parent, offered the Airbus A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Boeing’s bid was not just aggressive—it was super-aggressive. Boeing came in a whopping 10% below the price offered by EADS. Boeing now has written off more than $5bn in cost overruns in the initial tranche of airplanes for which the contract was awarded.

The write-offs for the tanker, T-7, MQ-25, and Air Force One suggest a bottomless pit. But in each case, executives claimed that long run, with service contracts and presumed foreign sales, the programs will be profitable.

Boeing competitors remain baffled, however. Airbus (EADS) execs couldn’t understand why Boeing would trim its bid so aggressively. Neither can Lockheed Martin, according to aerospace analysts who spoke with the company. LM competed against Boeing for the T-7. Under LPTA, in theory you only must beat the next bid by $1. Why leave a billion dollars or more on the table, LM asked rhetorically.

Has Boeing bottomed out?

A few analysts thought Boeing was clearing the decks and had bottomed out. But this isn’t the first time a few thought so. This time may not be the last.

Certification of the 737-7 and 737-10 remains a question. Certification of the 777X already has a long overhang. Resuming deliveries of the 787, for which things finally look encouraging, isn’t a lock. Defense programs have continuing challenges. The space programs aren’t going smoothly. China’s still not taking its MAXes that have been stored since March 2019. These account for about one-third of the ~350 MAXes in inventory.

We’ll look at some of these issues in the coming weeks.

155 Comments on “Pontifications: “Dreadful” or “clearing the decks”? Boeing’s first quarter results

  1. Not clear why there’s so much optimism over the 787: last week’s article pointed out that, if/when deliveries resume, it will only be at a rate of 2 per month.
    And, if a parallel can be drawn to the 737 MAX, it will takes years to clear the backlog.
    Net orders of 787s stood at *minus* 11 in 2021, and currently stand at *minus* 7 for 2022. Every month that passes allows more customers to cancel without penalty.

    • It’s interesting that possible Boeing 787 deliveries and now seemingly pushed
      back yet again. “Fourth quarter” could mean
      December. Weren’t some expert commenters here certain that deliveries would resume, uh, last month?

      • Using the word “certain” in any positive statement about BA is — by definition — an oxymoron.

        • Calhoun is performing like a world class CEO.

          Its amazing they have not given him some more money for the train wreck.

          • Mr Calhoun is just another GE Jack Welch Intern
            ” After Calhoun graduated from college, he gained employment at General Electric (GE). He decided to work for GE at that time, due to its close proximity to where he lived in Lehigh Valley.[citation needed] He worked at GE for 26 years, overseeing transportation, aircraft engines, reinsurance, lighting and other GE units, before ultimately being appointed as vice chairman of the company and a member of GE’s Board of Directors in 2005″

            Just part of the McDonnell Douglas- Welch group of beancounters whose only training is how to raise stock prices and often get out before the effluent hits the turbine.
            In the game of financial chairs, he was left standing.

          • I suppose when any organization become successful it attracts people that displace the original spirit, energy and integrity that made the company work. Worst case they effectively become parasites that kill the host and ensure that alternative management is kept down. A bit like Putin’s Russia.
            I’m still amazed that Elon Musk’s Space-X has completely made Lockheed-Martin, Boeing and many others almost irrelevant with their Falcon-9 and Falcon-9 heavy fly back boosters. It’s even made NASA and the USAF look pale. This is a company that came out of nowhere.
            Starship is taking of, doing flip maneuvers and landing. Starship will weigh 5000 tons, that’s 50% more than Saturn V. It can put 150 tons into LE Orbit. The booster stage will allow it to land on Mars.
            Worth watching the flip maneuvers on YouTube.

          • According to Welch ’s speechwriter: “[Calhoun is] the guy who was really the most like Jack”.

          • “That same year, John McDonnell hired Harry Stonecipher, a driven protégé of Jack Welch, as the first outsider to run the family business. McDonnell cautioned him that a sale to Boeing was likely. Stonecipher, then fifty-eight, told an associate that if a merger came to pass, he would probably retire. 29 As it happened, he wouldn’t go nearly so quietly, ushering in a bottom-line mindset that would shake the proud Pacific Northwest engineering firm to its core. In fact, by the end of it, Boeing would be neither from the Pacific Northwest nor, to hear Stonecipher tell it, an engineering firm at all.”

            — Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing by Peter Robison.

            Says it all really. I suspect the stick market regulator needs some new powers.

    • Theres a difference (hopefully) between the production rate and deliverys…. Clearing the parking lot should be quite beneficial

  2. Boeing was warning for forward loss positions on the 787 and 777x Before the sh.t hit the fan (Corona, 787 production stop, 777x EIS delays)..


    With analyst just looking a quarterly results and cashflow, they often seem to loose sight the bigger picture. A wake-up call like todays Qantas order is easily forgotten.

    Reality is we will probably see some loyal Boeing 777-300ER operators ordering A350-1000s, kicking and screaming in many cases (preferred dual source policies). KLM, JAL, SQ, LH, Korean, AF, Air China.. unfortunately they have little choice. What can you do, bet the house on smooth 777-9 introduction & ramp-up?

    Airbus probably won’t overcharge to temper airlines getting uncomfortable.

    It’s very important 787 deliveries and enhanced 787 versions get moving and Boeing launches a moonshot (10% better) 150-200 seater for 2030.

    • > and Boeing launches a moonshot (10% better) 150-200 seater for 2030. <

      My thinking it that Airbus will not be sitting still during the interim- however long it is for

    • It is not remotely clear that Boeing retains the technical or financial ability to do a new aircraft.

      • > It is not remotely clear that Boeing retains the technical or financial ability to do a new aircraft. <

        Agreed- and their "leadership" seem utterly complacent about it. It's not implausible that
        BCA will be dismantled and AB will be essentially

      • You may argue now if it`s more technical or more financial ability that`s lacking.

        I guess someone would give them the money, but i have lost any trust Boeing can develop great airplanes.
        Nor do i belive a 150-200 seater moonshot is the answer, as their troubles lay in culture and processes. And product wise, the Max 8 is the only version that can keep up with the Neo, which is 180-200 pax.
        In fact, they need smth on the larger end.

  3. It’s hard to believe that there are not significant hardware issues with the 777X air frame — i.e. the fuselage of the 777X static test aircraft was split by a high-pressure rupture occurring just shy of the ultimate load (etc.) — and/or other serious issues with software/avionics (etc.)

    • Multiple rumours of all sorts of problems, including basic aerodynamic ones. Boeing opsec are doing an amazing job in hiding whatever it is.

      • Agreed: you don’t get delays of this magnitude without serious underlying causes.
        Very “coincidental” that BA recently launched a HGW 787, and that there’s chatter about a 787F: looks like BA replacements are being preemptively introduced to provide alternatives to 777X customers who want to jump ship…

          • I believe the doors blew open and that was indeed a failure.

            Software was copy and pasted from the 787. The algorithms are probably valid but the parameters will certainly not be.

            The rest is wild speculation when the simple answer of them screwing up detailed aspects is more than enough.

            Failure to cooperate with the FAA has been a big factor. As much that they can’t shift mental gears from doing it the way they want to accepting the FAA means what is says and changing that attitude.

            Each program is in a separate location so there is no cross recognition so the FAA is having to beat the daylights out of each one and then rinse, wash, repeat.

          • The 777 was already FBW .
            Fanciful to suggest they ‘copy and paste’ from a different plane when they had a very successful software architecture and code running for over 30 years.
            A new CPU of course means it has to be recompiled and other changes.
            People with even basic knowledge of software will be shaking their heads over the absurd claims you make

          • Sure…14 years to do some recompilation…

          • -> ” … when they had a very successful software architecture and code running for over 30 years.”

            I guess it explains what happened to the MAX, copy and paste, rinse and repeat??

            Per FAA letter:

            Among the problems:

            – A serious “uncommanded pitch event” during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020 that Boeing hasn’t convinced the FAA that they fully understand and have corrected what went wrong

            – A critical avionics system — the Common Core System, a set of shared computing resources critical to the functioning of multiple systems has incomplete SW

            – GE, the supplier of CCS, provided “inadequate peer review” resulting in inconsistencies AND incorrect use of 787 data.  (the 787 has a earlier version of CCS)

            – FAA exasperation with Boeing’s assertion that proceeding with Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) “merits consideration” — FAA response “the aircraft is not yet ready”. 

            – Boeing can’t put FAA personnel on board flight tests without a TIA.

            – Boeing is also proposing late changes to the 777X firmware and hardware to the actuator control electronics of the Flight Control System, pending modifications to the horizontal stabilizer (uh-oh!) crew alerts, etc.

          • ‘Some models of Airbus A350 airliners still need to be hard rebooted after exactly 149 hours, despite warnings from the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) first issued two years ago.’
            and this

            This are complex planes and mostly the software and avionics comes from T1 supplier. GE Avionics, Collins, Thales etc.

          • Duke:

            Not being there, I can only repeat what I read in Av Week but that was one of the issues.

            I worked controls and you could cut and paste some of the program ops but each one also needed its own tuning parameters or you got some wild results.

            Just because the 777 is FBW does not begin to mean the controls devices and systems are the same or even the program itself wold work regardless of the PID statement values.

            I knew of programs that had been copied and pasted forever until one guy actually looked at it and what it was doing and it was “this is garbage, it doesn’t even do what it says it should”

            Cut and paste error creep or not right at all.

            I saw a lot of kludge stuff that got by but when put to the acid test failed. Spent years unraveling one system. We wound up re-writing the whole thing in line code (vs the picture code garbage, aka so called Graphical Programing).

            When we traced code we found that when it did not work they just added more pictures to it to reverse what they didn’t like and of course it faulted from time to time and it all quit running.

            If it was easy anyone could do it. Been there, done that and have Planeloads of T shirts.

      • Main rumor is still that nose down event they had in tests?

        How could that cause 3 years in delays?

        First delay was due to certification issues of the engine?

        We are still talking about an update, an extensive one, but:
        Small fuselage modifications to get the 10 abreast in with slimmer stringers,
        a new wing
        a new engine
        that can’t take 12 years?

        • MAX fallout. FAA is doing a complete review of everything that’s already been done and then addressing everything that needs to be fixed from the test flights and static tests.

  4. How can anyone believe Boeing has successfully “cleared the decks” until there is genuine confidence in a majority of keystone programs? From where I sit the earliest they could even begin to feel the dip has been navigated is if/when the Max 10 meets its deadline, while still keeping fingers very tightly crossed all 787 problems have been dealt with.

    Best hope there isn’t any other significant shock, internal or external, in the meantime.

    • Boeing won’t have cleared the decks until it has gotten rid of the rot which starts at the top.

      Pretty soon the board is going to give Calhoun the stink eye.

      Someday they will actually get someone who balances the company but it may be a while longer.

    • > How can anyone believe Boeing has successfully “cleared the decks” until there is genuine confidence in a majority of keystone programs? From where I sit the earliest they could even begin to feel the dip has been navigated is if/when the Max 10 meets its deadline, while still keeping fingers very tightly crossed all 787 problems have been dealt with.”

      I sure agree with all that, and Boeing mgmt’s Alfred E. Neuman “what, me worry?” posture sure is a cause for wonder- of many kinds.

  5. I’m still baffled how Calhoun is still at the helm of this company. Of course a new head needs some time to get things going, but by now it should be utterly clear that things are moving in a better direction.

    Yet reality is, that there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel appearing. The longer the shareholders wait, the deeper Boeing will be in a mess, making a recovery more and more difficult. I’m really astonished.

    • The issue is past CEO’s could get away with pushing out investment, wave around promising 20yr outlooks, include historic perspectives, party out free cash flow, supported by a willing public and supportive government.

      And extract the $20-25M/yr rewards for a few yrs. And then the next one, same story.

      Disconnecting executive salaries/rewards from short term financial results. Nobody seems to have the power / courage to implement that.

      It drained the company into it’s current no.2 position.

      • Number 4 and trying hard with Airbus in the 1,2 and 3 slots

        • Matth:

          I explained it. Its the 2 year thing. You can blame the previous guy for two years and then people start to look at you sideways and by year 3 everyone is pissed and by year 4 you are gone.

          The good old boy network is not based on good business ops.

      • > It drained the company into it’s current no.2 position.

        Boeing had plenty, plenty, plenty of warning about all that- which they (for some reason, Mmm)

        Boeing’s course has not been an accident- how could it have been?

    • How anyone can think Calhoun is qualified for his position is baffling. There’s a long list of issues, but think about the need for an A321 competitive product and the focus & performance he hasn’t delivered. Every major Program is now upside down.

    • “Yet reality is, that there’s still no light at the end of the tunnel appearing.’
      Uhh the light IS appearing- its Airbus landing lights..

    • In todays Qatar Boeing 777-8F announcement.

      “On the 777X, Boeing had initially launched the program in 2013 with a plan to bring the jet into service in 2020. But the timeframe has been repeatedly pushed back. Boeing now expects the first jets for commercial service to be delivered in 2023.

      The 777x cargo planes jets connected to Monday’s Qatar Airways deal will be delivered starting in 2027, Boeing said.”

      2023? A surreal marriage, Al Baker fighting Airbus, Boeing fighting FAA, what a party.

      • Now putting the books on the barbie while the BA brass
        has quit rearranging deck chairs on Boetanic and are grabbing the motorized lifeboats, while leaving the rowboats for the
        employees and shareholders.

        Boeing , Bill Allen . T wilson, Joe Sutter are all spinning in their graves so fast we can wire them up and power all of Seattle

      • I don’t believe there will be a 777XF; never did, actually.

        where there’s smoke..

      • > The 777x cargo planes jets connected to Monday’s Qatar Airways deal will be delivered starting in 2027, Boeing said.”

        cough, cough.

      • “The 777x cargo planes jets connected to Monday’s Qatar Airways deal will be delivered starting in 2027, Boeing said.”
        Sure – From the new Boeing airport and plant next to the submarine overhaul base in Tulsa Oaklahoma

      • Poor AAB 😞
        Wizzair will be using A321XLRs out of its new hub in Abu Dhabi (8,700 km range).
        Qatar will now have to put up with 6,110km range from the MAX-10 — assuming that that plane ever actually materializes. If it converts to the MAX-9, it will get 6,570 km range.

  6. We lose money on each plane, miss dates, but thanks to program accounting, we make it up in volume.

    • You can only kick the Plane down the runway so long before it catches up to you.

      Ask Air Asia. That was their MO for a long time, Airbus ran out of patience, no more substituting this for that.

  7. Boeing might provide better value to shareholders if it were broken up with the Military, Space and Commercial Airplane divisions sold to better managed aerospace companies.

    • I think that that is the only way to guarantee a continuing US presence in the commercial airliner business.

      Military can go to Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman.
      Space can go to Musk or Besos.

      But who’ll take BCA?
      Lockheed Martin (Lockheed made the L-1011)?
      Raytheon (does a lot of other aviation stuff)?

  8. In Q2 – 2022, they are going to have to add another $1.5 billion charge to the 777X program. The 787 will still not be delivered. Expect more of the same, another bad quarter.

    Side note: China has 1/3 of the 737 Max inventory. Call it 120 out of 360. Why haven’t the other 240 been delivered? China is a legit excuse for their portion, while is there still a build up in the rest?

    • Who wants to take a plane that’s been sitting in the desert for 2 years…except perhaps Allegiant?
      Much easier to just cancel (free of charge), renegotiate (at a better price), and get a non-corroded airframe that isn’t full of dust, tumbleweed, insects and snakes, and in which the fluids haven’t coagulated.

      • Frank:

        A lot in play but China has shut down as Covid has started its spread there and the lock-down does not work for the more contagious variants.

        Ego, Air Travel is now in the toilet and they don’t need what they have.

        If they needed planes then they would ok the MAX as its met all the conditions they put on it.

        • China is still taking the Airbus planes that ordered…

        • “A lot in play but China ”

          I agree 100%. There is a political angle here that is not BA’s fault. Trump started a trade war and Biden can’t be seen as being soft on China or the opposition will have a heydey with it.

          The point I’m trying to make is that you can look at 1/3 (or about 120 aircraft) in inventory and say “Yah, that’s because of the China mess”

          Airlines are taking aircraft. Air Canada, for example – is taking jets from both BA & AB, the Max is replacing the older A320’s they have, they are taking the A220 and they even ordered 30 – A321XLR’s. They even exercised an option in 2021 to take an additional 3 – 787’s. It’s been good for both OEM’s (even with the order trimming).


          As long as they are maintained, it’s not a freak of nature that aircraft sit. I’m guessing that Boeing will also give a little financial incentive to airlines for taking a jet that has sat for awhile (that’s another conversation) but they also guarantee that the aircraft will work as advertised – airlines are not stupid.

          I guess what I’m asking here, is that is there a process that Boeing has to put those jets in inventory through, to bring them up to ‘code’, that perhaps they can do faster on an aircraft that is in the manufacturing pipeline (building in the process in the production pipeline) that is a lot more arduous and time consuming – which is slowing down the moving of those ~240 aircraft being readied for non-Chinese customers?

          Maybe Scott has heard something about that process?

          • @ Frank
            On the other hand: regardless of what state the plane is in, it will be 3 years old when the customer gets it. As Tim Clark remarked w.r.t. the 777X in the Seattle Times article that I posted below: “you bought new, but you’re effectively getting secondhand”.

          • @Bryce

            There was a photo of 777X’s in the NY Times sitting in a line in Washington, with concrete blocks under their wings to simulate engine weight, back in Q4/2020. It’s probably more like a 5 year old aircraft.

            That being said, TC is no dummy and if he isn’t ready to dump the 777X from his fleet, then he is going to take every opportunity to put the screws to BA and squeeze them on price. He’ll take those airframes, but he’s going to make sure he gets them for peanuts.

            The delivery date is now 2025. TC said he’s cancel if he didn’t get an aircraft by ’23. Now he says they’re still part of the plan. They are because he knows they have huge leverage over Boeing. He wants his aircraft at cost (don’t we all?) and let BA charge someone else to make their margin (if they do).

            Boeing can breathe a sigh of relief. If he’s still going on about the order, it means he’s still a customer. If he’d be quiet in the media… Boeing should worry…

          • 1) How many MAX 7 are stored waiting for certification?? A dozen? More? Two dozen or so? Why is it not certified yet??

            2) How many early 777X need rework? Is TC going to take them, or cancel the order and get a brand new one (later)? How many early 777X are going to join those 787 terrible teens??

        • Remember that a MAX 8 was flown to China on March 14 and was stuck in Guam for over three weeks due to a “minor technical issue”. Don’t you think both the customer and regulator would have second thought about the MAX??

          Poster here was quick to blame virus and lock down, but couldn’t explain why the aircraft could finally land on April 7.

          Calhoun said delivery to Chinese customers would resume in Q1. I remember you take his word at face value! What happened now?

          China Eastern this year plans to take delivery of almost two dozen A320/321 and about a dozen wide bodies, but refuses to disclose how many MAX it’s going to take.

          Air China also plans to take deliveries of over two dozen A320/321 and 9 A350, but doesn’t mention any Boeing aircraft.

          It took delivery of two A320 and six A321 from January to May this year according to planespotters.

          What can you say now? Covid? Lock down? Lol.

    • Frank…
      Lets not forget the effect of stuffing all that 350+ dollar a share stock into the underfunded pension plan…….

  9. Scott,

    Waiting for your analysis on Quantas (a previously loyal Boeing customer) deal with Airbus and its impact on Boeing.

    • There is no basis to your claim
      Qantas currently flies A380 and A330 planes in longhaul and its subsidiary Jeststar (sic) flies A320 domestically. They of course also have 787 and 737, so Qantas group has been dual source for some time

      The A220-300 is a very suitable plane for their network as it can cover for
      thinner routes B717 at one end and B737 at the other . they have quite a few secondary airports as well as the main state capital cities.

        • Thanks for the article. I should have indicated the source for my statement, but it is superfluous now.

          • There have now been three big defections from BA to AB, namely Jet2, Qantas and AF/KLM.
            At the time, Scott appeared to give some hints that there may be yet another one in the works.

            From the BA to AB side, we had Allegiant and Qatar…although Allegiant only bought a handful of new frames from Airbus, preferring instead to buy secondhand frames.

      • https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59677826

        Qantas to switch domestic fleet to Airbus in blow to Boeing

        In December 2021, Qantas announced it had selected the Airbus A321XLR to replace its Boeing 737-800s, and the Airbus A220 to replace it’s QantasLink Boeing 717s. The in-principle agreement was for up to 134 orders and purchase right options over 10 plus years with deliveries occurring sometime after 1 July 2023. The order is expected to be finalised before 30 June 2022.



        Qantas promises direct flights from Sydney to London and New York

        Qantas has announced it will begin operating non-stop flights from Sydney to London and New York from 2025.

        Australia’s national carrier said it had purchased a new fleet of Airbus A350-1000 jets capable of direct flights to any city in the world.

        • QANTAS is keeping open the replacement of its core fleet of
          80 x B737-800, that decision has not been taken yet, but they are getting old. The A321XLR gives exceptional opportunities to open new routes into Asia.

          • “QANTAS is keeping open the replacement of its core fleet of
            80 x B737-800”

            It announced 94 options at Airbus…what might they be for?

            “Domestically, Qantas will start the renewal of its narrow body jets as part of ‘Project Winton’ with firm orders for 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s as its Boeing 737s and 717s are gradually retired. The first of these aircraft will start to arrive in late calendar 2023, with the order including purchase right options for another 94 aircraft for delivery through to at least 2034.”


          • The 94 aircraft remain options. I suspect Airbus will only exercise them after it sees how the B737-10 and B737-7 pass certification.
            QANTAS operates a number of subsidiaries. Apart from QANTAS there is JetStar its LCC (All Airbus A32Xceo at the moment with GE engines but some A321LR on order) and QantasLink which is its regional airline where the A220-300 will go to replace B717 and Fokker 100.
            It’s by no means certain the A321 will replace the B737-800 on its critical domestic routes.
            The B737 MAX climbs faster and cruises faster even though the neo is much improved over the ceo in this regard. On the kind of internal routes with business traffic QANTAS flies that may be critical. Sydney Melbourne is 600km but speed (through climb) is of the essence. Likewise with the longer routes to Perth.
            The range of the A321XLR is simply not needed for domestic routes the B737-800 fly. We will see the XLR flying to Asia and probably Perth/Darwin to New Zealand with some as part of 2 class QANTAS layouts and some as JetStar single class layouts.
            There is no bad blood between QANTAS and Boeing (nor Airbus). Qantas is happy with the B787-9 and are thankful for the effort Boeing put into tendering.
            Likely the work Boeing did for Qantas and Air NZ has lead to the B787-9 and B787-10 HGW.

          • @William

            You: “The 94 aircraft remain options. It’s by no means certain the A321 will replace the B737-800 on its critical domestic routes. ”

            Qantas: “Qantas has selected the Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 families as the preferred aircraft for the long-term renewal of its domestic narrow-body fleet.”

            Qantas again: “The order is in addition to Jetstar’s existing agreement with Airbus for over 100 aircraft in the A320neo family. Part of this new deal includes combining these two orders so that the Group can draw down on a total of 299 deliveries across both the A320 and A220 families as needed over the next decade and beyond for Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar.”

            Still Qantas: “The XLR can carry around 15 per cent more passengers on each flight than the airline’s existing B737-800s, making it well suited to busy routes between capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Its longer range means it can also be used to open up new city pairs.”

            Alan Joyce: “Can I thank Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and the engine manufacturers for the efforts they put into this process. This was a very tough choice to make. Each option delivered on our core requirements around safety, capability and emissions reductions. But when you multiply even small benefits in areas like range or cost across this many aircraft and over the 20 years they’ll be in the fleet, Airbus was the right choice as preferred tenderer.”

            Lastly from Qantas: “Purchase right options provide the Qantas Group with a firm price and preferred access to delivery slots with
            flexibility to match deliveries to demand.”

            The options and slots are to meet demand (read: see how things go post covid), not because they want the Max…

            *Zeroes showing on the clock, referee has blown the final whistle, players are exchanging shirts – clapping to the crowd, managers have shaken hands and are heading down the tunnel, sprinklers are watering the pitch, losing fans are quietly filing out*

            You: “THE GAME’S NOT OVER! THE. GAME. IS. NOT. OVER!!!”

            Someone in the crowd: “Wow – that guy drinks too much…”

          • Haha. It’s a done deal. The ship has sailed, the train has left the station. You may not like what you see, or what you hear, but does it matter??

            It’s structured as option largely to maintain QF’s debt rating not to be downgraded.

          • @Pedro

            “It’s structured as option largely to maintain QF’s debt rating not to be downgraded.”

            That’s a good point. You would think though, that financial analysts who follow the industry would look at this and say, “Hey -they’re renewing their fleet, getting more fuel efficient aircraft in, offering a better customer experience, lowering maintenance costs over older aircraft and they’ll be able to recoup some of the capital costs by selling their older equipment…”

            But nope…

    • 5 years to add a fuel tank ?
      2019 announced , 2023 EIS.
      Its a fine plane , but surely your experience in plane development raises concerns over these minor changes taking so long. Surely ?

      • 4 years…not 5 (basic arithmetic). And even potentially 3.5 years, if EIS occurs early in 2023.

        Not just a different tank:
        “The main differences are the rear center tank integrated in the aft fuselage, the larger waste water tank, a reinforced nose landing gear and main landing gear, including brakes, allowing for an increased MTOW from 97t up to 101t,” says Gary O’Donnell, head of the A321XLR program.”

        Poor BA couldn’t get all that done in that time…


      • “The A321XLR was officially launched at the Paris Air Show on 17 June 2019, with deliveries expected from 2023. Its design offers 4,700 nmi (8,700 km) of range and features a new permanent Rear Centre Tank (RCT) for more fuel, a strengthened landing gear for a 101 t (223,000 lb) MTOW, and an optimised wing trailing-edge flap to preserve take-off performance.[127] The RCT will hold 12,900 l (3,400 US gal) of fuel, the equivalent of four 3,121 l (824 US gal) current ACTs, while it weighs like one and takes up the space of two; a forward ACT can also be fitted if necessary.[128] As the sharklets lowered take-off and landing speeds, the switch from a double-slotted to single-slotted inboard flap will reduce complexity, weight and drag, and the FMS can set intermediate flap positions; the revised design could be applied to other A321neo variants.[129]”


        Sometimes you just have to spend the time and money on design and engineering, otherwise you have aircraft crashing and killing people, your stock goes in the tank, regulators don’t take your word any more, you have to borrow $60 billion dollars, your financials are in ruins, you have to write off billions, you gotta get lawsuits fixed, you have to park inventory in the employee car park, your other programs don’t get certified, you write off more billions in losses, financing walks away from you, customers walk away from you, you have to change management and pay off old management to keep their mouth shut, you gotta pay $460 million in compensation to your best customer so they can stay your best customer and you gotta pay a bunch of trolls money to go out into the internet to prop up your situation (presently comapny excluded, of course), amongst other things…

        …So Yah – sometimes doing things right takes a little bit of time.

        But you can try it the other way, if you like.

        • It was only a new fuel tank . Plus an ‘optimised’ flap, ‘Strengthened’ undercarriage.
          6 months work for a company like Airbus

          Whats to ‘get right’ that isnt already

          It will take 5 years no matter how the months are counted (1st rule of aviation it takes longer )

          • AB is in a much better shape than BA. You should have put your effort into saving the ship that’s going down!

            Boeing, Boeing …. gone!

          • There are some folks arguing that the A321XLR should be done under a new type certificate mainly because of the integral RCT.
            The optimized single slotted flap replacing the double slotted flap is no longer a novelty as it is used o the A350 series. I believe the FCS simply adjusted the flaps, presumably on the basis of angle of attack data and pitot static data. What could go wrong without synthetic air data.

          • Dear Mr. Duke,

            Thank you for your recent interest in Airbus. We have reviewed you letter and unfortunately at this time, we do not have any requirements or availability for someone with you skills and talents.

            We have, however, taken the liberty of forwarding your information and resume to the Boeing Commercial Aircraft division and you might consider a career there, as you seem to be a better fit with their operation.

            Wishing all the best in your future endeavors.

            Best regards,


      • Add a fully revamped ( double to single slotted flaps with no loss of performance ) High Lift arrangement.

        Fuselage hardware wise the complete section behind the wingbox has been “turned inside out”.

  10. IIRC BA has announced the *$1.5 billion increase in cost* because: BA is unable to ramp up the production of B777F to fill the empty slots ASAP.

    -> Reuters:

    “The pause in 777-9 production will help Boeing to add 777 freighter capacity starting in *late 2023*, Calhoun said.”

    • They have different production facilities for the wings and engines.

      Idling the 777X specific production sites comes at a cost.

      Lead time for the ‘ engines and wings’ for 777F production covers the time discrepancy

  11. BA stock is currently down at $144 — a drop of 25% in the past month.
    AB stock is down 5.5% in the same period.

    It looks like Cal’s hot air just isn’t cutting it with investors…

  12. An excellent, must-read Seattle Times article on the bottomless pit at BA.


    (1) “Boeing has already built the first dozen 777Xs for Emirates and Clark said that by the time he gets the first one it will be a seven-year-old jet. “They’re basically second-hand aircraft,” he said. “We have to talk to them about that.””

    (2) “In the interview he [Tim Clark] expressed much more doubt about sticking with the [30] 787s on order.
    “Clearly they are at high risk to be delivered at any time in the contractual timeline,” Clark said. “So, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we just drop those out of the mix completely.”
    “We were due for delivery of our first aircraft in a year’s time and they’ve still got a backlog going back a year plus,” he said. “We’re reviewing the whole situation and seeing whether the 787 has a place in the fleet or not. We’ll let Boeing know accordingly.”

    (3) “A two-year deadline is embedded in the 2020 Aircraft Certification, Safety, and Accountability Act that if missed would require either a revamp of the MAX 10 crew alerting system in order to get certified or a Congressional waiver.
    Calhoun told analysts that the legislation was never intended to apply to the MAX.
    “So I believe our chances are good with respect to getting legislative relief,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’ll get it. And if we don’t, it’s a problem.””


    • 15 completed 777x airframes with no engines…. the question, what’s really happening with the engine development for 777x program

      • From the article:

        Boeing has already built and rolled out four flight test models and 20 production 777X jets.

        So only 9 have engines. Has GE dropped the ball?

        We’ve all focused on BA for the 777X delays, but could GE be adding to issue by not having the engines ready in time?

        • Is 700 engines (2x 350 frames) enough turnover for GE? BA promised them more when the GE9X program started…

          • The wiki page has a list price of $41.4 million per engine (2016 prices, it says) so if all of those are fulfilled (without spares) you get some $31 billion in revenue, at list.

            As a comparison, P&W GTF for the A220:

            “The program cost is estimated at $10 billion.[24] The list price was $12 million in 2011.[25] At the start of its production in 2016, each GTF was costing PW $10m to build, more than the sale price, but should become less than $2m per engine.[26] MTU provides the first four stages of the high-pressure compressor, the low-pressure turbine and other components. In October 2016, MTU started to deliver the engine assembled on its line to Airbus.[27]”

            “The GTF’s market share fell from 45% to 40% in 2016, but 1,523 planes (29%) were still undecided, and as of August 2017 Pratt had an 8,000 engine orderbook including 1,000 non-Airbus planes.”

            8,000 engines gives you $96 billion in revenue.

            It’s all about development cost, revenue and what it costs to build the darn things. They aren’t cheap though, are they?

  13. RE ” Wall Street analysts bent over backward trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (an American colloquialism)”

    Sure you can . First put lipstick on it ( shareprice up up and away )
    Put the$$ in your silk purse
    Get in your reserved seat in the Bored Lifeboats
    Strike up the band and sing ‘ nearer my castle to be ‘

    And cast off.

  14. AirInsight:

    -> “This isn’t an -1000ULR”, an Airbus spokesperson stresses again on the phone to AirInsight from Sydney.

    • Thats only jargon. Qantas just wants people to think its getting standard A350K, but it isnt its a -1000LR

        • Apparently if Qantas has any payload or range restrictions they just let the economy class passengers know about half an hour before landing that all your luggage has been left behind.
          This is what has been happening this week in it’s one stop Aussie to London flights
          Qantas may still be expecting some more range by some methods

          • many years ago – the DC-10/11 did not meet range guarantees, and Douglas had to pay for a few empty seats on cetain flights over the pole by as I recall SAS. But it was a comfortable flight.

  15. It’s around 100 less Passengers than typical premium heavy A350K
    Hardly needs extra weight , which uses more fuel anyway.
    Deactivated front cargo bay is supposed to improve flight characteristics and improve range.

    I had thought the mtow as delivered couldn’t be changed but it seems not, including reduction

    • Not sure if a premium heavy seating would be much lighter, what’s the operational weight for ultra long-haul F/J?

      • 350-400 is the seating mentioned by Airbus in a ‘3 class configuration’

        The lighter ’empty’ weight comes from having a max of 238 seats with Qantas ( and the associated less baggage).
        Singapore in its A350-900ULR has 161 seats and thats only business and premium economy class.
        Singapore to NY non stop is a shorter distance than from Sydney or Melbourne. Although they are using Newark and its runways arent as long as JFK for return flight max load TO

        There must be some engine efficiency or other changes to allow such a big plane make the distance – no matter the weather or diversions

        • The Qantas configuration for the A350-1000 is FOUR class, with 6 first class cabins in a 1-1-1 configuration, and a particularly large business class section. There is a “wellness zone” located between premium economy (40 inch pitch) and economy.

        • Have you enjoyed flying in F/J?

          How long was the wine list? Did you use plastic knife and fork for your meal? Plastic cup for your welcome champagne?

          How about the seat? Amenities??

          Only the gullible would say all seats are equal (in weight).

  16. Much as I hate to be a pedant ( I don’t really), the silk purse/sow’s ear colloquialism is a Scottish expression, earliest use was in 1699.

    “Ye can ne make a Silk-Purse of a Sowe’s Luggs” (‘lug’ is a Scottish word for ear) is recorded in ‘A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew (1699)’

    • “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”

      – Chancellor Gorkon

    • Other pig-related sayings, of similar tone:

      – What can you expect from a pig, other than a grunt?

      – You can’t teach a pig to waltz.

      🐽 🐖 🐷

    • Thistle’s a darn nice boat, though that big main must be a handful when it’s breezy!

      Thanks for the sourcing on the silk-purse quote.

  17. More bad PR for BA…and potentially more costs if this litigation succeeds:
    “Families of crash victims challenge Boeing settlement in US court”

    “Fort Worth (United States) (AFP) – The families of victims of the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 asked a Texas judge Tuesday to overturn a $2.5-billion settlement between the aircraft manufacturer and the US government.”


    Interestingly, the Texas judge “apologized to the crash victim families for not verifying that the U.S. Dept. of Justice has conferred with them before inking the $2.5B deferred prosecution agreement with the Boeing Company but questioned if he could rescind the deal.”


    So, we seem to have a shoddy Dept. of Justice and a shoddy judge — it doesn’t paint a very rosy picture, does it?

    • So they want more money . Well it is the US where the lawyers on % fee will always ask for more

      • “March 21, 2019 JAKARTA, Indonesia —

        The families were still mourning relatives lost in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia when they were crammed into a hotel conference room a few weeks after the crash. Sign this form, they were told by employees of the low-cost carrier, and they would receive 1.3 billion rupiah, or $91,600.

        For those who lost breadwinners in the crash on Oct. 29, the money, government-mandated compensation for loss of life in an aviation accident, was welcomed.

        To collect the money, families had to sign a pledge, called a release and discharge, that they would not pursue legal action against Lion Air, its financial backers and insurers, as well as Boeing, which manufactured the nearly brand-new 737 Max 8 plane.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/21/world/asia/lion-air-crash-families-lawsuits.htmlMarch 21, 2019

        “Thursday, January 7, 2021 Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion”


        • The first thing BA did after the Lion Air crash was to send lawyers out to Indonesia asking victims’ family to sign papers waiving their right to sue.

          • Haha. Have you read “Flying Blind”?? Guess not.

          • have you read the reports.
            It was Lion Air lawyers. No evidence they were Boeings lawyers or they even knew that the families were having illegal pressure in that way

          • Uhhh try the following
            “No evidence they were Boeings lawyers or they even knew that the families were having illegal pressure in that way..”

            Try pages 189-190 of kindle edition of ‘ flying blind ‘ and
            Kendricks of Perkins Coie
            Boeing knew . . .

      • “So they want more money”

        They want justice and accountability.
        They want people to go to jail for manslaughter, rather than just having a corporation being fined for fraud.

        “”I would like to see that the US Department of Justice is responsible enough to make sure that corporations don’t get away with murder,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his 33-year-old wife, his children aged nine months, four and six, as well as his mother-in-law in the Ethiopia crash.”

        • They want more money. Thats just lawyers pufferey as they are only speaking for 8 victims families who are contesting the terms and werent partially/fully? consulted ( according to Law360 ( rest is behind paywall).

          ‘In their court filing, federal prosecutors apologized for not meeting with these [8] crash victims’ families before entering into the Boeing agreement’ -NPR
          Of course no amount of money can bring back the victims ( but this is US so money will have to do), and its not disputed that Boeings negligence was the prime cause

          • Boeing shill DurkofUrl said: “They want more money. Thats just lawyers pufferey”

            No, I think Boeing shill DukeofU is wrong: they want their family members who died in the two all-fatalities Boeing 737MAX crashes to *not be dead*.
            Since that best remedy is not available, they’re doing what they can to find another one.

            As an aside: I’m aghast at what Some People will do for a living.

          • Personal comments , that are completely untrue , Mods

    • Not too sure about involvement of Perkins-Coie, but IF they have been involved, such an ” oversight ” is not IMHO a surprise. Dealing with them many years ago the one sure thing they did was a delay delay delay until the very last minute when they were required to give a response, thus running out the ( your ) clock. Then one time they missed a date by one day- and as a result I had an interesting chat with a top dog which resulted in a reschedule of a public report. So when dealing with such and you have a ‘ butter would Never melt in his/her mouth type discussion ‘ you know they screwed up.

      • Bless Perkins Coie and related DNC supporters- money eer uhh “protection” well spent.

        ” Government lawyers admitted the investigation into the Boeing 737 MAX crashes didn’t turn up evidence of criminal wrongdoing by high-level company executives, rejecting a plea from family members of crash victims for more accountability.

        Justice Department lawyers defended a controversial deferred plea agreement with Boeing on Tuesday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas. The agreement resulted in $2.5 billion in fines, but with it, the government also declined to prosecute Boeing executives for their role in the two 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

        The family members of a dozen victims are asking District Judge Reed O’Connor to toss the agreement with Boeing or at least to set aside the nonprosecution deal for executives. They say their rights were violated under a federal law that requires crime victims to be notified and conferred with before the government enters into a deal such as a deferred plea agreement.’

        Imagine that !

    • Here’s more on this subject, without the paywall.

      “Entry into service of the Airbus A321XLR has slipped by a couple of months from late 2023 to early 2024. The delay is necessary to meet certification requirements, Airbus says in the release of its Q1 results. The airframer also confirmed that it will increase the production rate of the A320neo family to 75 in 2025. First delivery Airbus A321XLR slips to early 2024.”


      “Commercial Aircraft reported an EBIT Reported of €1.242 billion compared to €343 million, EBIT Adjusted of €1.065 billion versus €533 million. Revenues were €8.541 billion versus €7.272 billion. Airbus delivered 140 aircraft in Q1 compared to 125 in the same period last year.”

      • Hope EASA/FAA/AB just get on with exactly what’s needed and get the changes done. To paraphrase Stephen King’s character in ‘The Storm of the century’… ‘Give me what I want, and I’ll go away’… “Give them (regulators) what they want… And they’ll go away”.

        Must download that and give a another watch 😉.

      • You heard it from me first a few days ago !

        It is of course a popular model that has already has done very well, and the timeline is just more evidence that even simple changes to existing models cant be hurried.

        The ‘lessons’ apply across the board

        • It will probably be on the market before the MAX-10 😏

          • Max 10 has been flying its test flights for almost a year now

            You seem very ambitious in that claim ( EIS) considering 2024 is almost 2 years away
            ( 2nd rule of plane development , the first schedule change is never the last)

          • What’s a MAX-10?

            Much is going on beneath the surface,
            and not just at BCA, I think.

          • I think the Boeing 737MAX-10’s possible certification will be a fascinating process
            to carefully observe.

          • Imagine if the FAA and “Congress” give Boeing another waiver for the MAX-10’s
            previously-agreed-to requirements, then yet another one crashes..


          • @ DoU
            The MAX-10 isn’t certified…and there’s a nasty Dec 31 deadline coming (set by Congress)…

          • I remember the MAX 7 took its first flight more than five years ago. Five years! BA’s corp staff seem to be very “ambitious” to believe the MAX 10 timetable.

        • A slip of a couple months vs a delay of a year or more.

          Food for thought.

        • >The ‘lessons’ apply across the board”

          Too bad your outfit didn’t apply them to your
          Boeing 737″MAX”.

          a dog’s breakfast that flies- or plows the ground, depending.

      • “Entry into service of the Airbus A321XLR has slipped by a couple of months from late 2023 to early 2024. The delay is necessary to meet certification requirements, Airbus says”

        I don’t really buy that [odd] reportage. If it were truly a mere matter of a couple of months’ delay for the A321XLR, it would not have been newsworthy.
        Something else is likely afoot, possibly political (what isn’t, these days?).

  18. DoU really should consider learning when and how
    to apostrophize (especially!), spell, and punctute.

    “It’s” is a contraction of “it is” (only), and does not show possession. Just one example of many..
    You’d think his well-heeled corporatist paymasters would require better skills..

    Having a lingua franca is a really good thing, I think.

    • personal comments which are completely untrue ,Mods

      • There is nothing personal in pointing out that one of our
        Most Esteemed Commenters seemingly cannot learn the basic rules of our common language, for the benefit of all.

        give it a whirl, Friend..

      • >personal comments which are completely untrue”

        So your paymasters *do not* in fact require better skills?

        I never thought I’d miss Dear Old R.o.b., but now I do.
        He at least had the ability to write and think clearly, even if he was a paid shill like dukie.

  19. I was just looking at the Wikipedia entry for the Boeing 787, and did not see any mention there
    of that aircraft’s ongoing (for many months now)
    delivery issues.

    Those long-term issues seem quite important, and I’m wondering why they’re not in the 787 entry.
    Maybe I missed something.

    • Look over the page history.
      There are hordes of busybodies swarming Wikipedia
      sanitizing content and doing the 1984 thing in general.
      ( all to the advantage of a certain domain of interest.)
      Lots of noticeable moments in the Boeing and GE domain
      just vanish. ( add some on your own and watch how fast they are redacted .-)

      • Uwe said: “Look over the page history.
        There are hordes of busybodies swarming Wikipedia
        sanitizing content and doing the 1984 thing in general..”

        thanks for that info- makes sense now.


        • from dallas news
          ” Justice Department says it couldn’t find criminal conduct by Boeing execs over 737 MAX”

          AS in couldn’t find posterior with a map flashlight and both hands.

  20. With regard to the Lion Air Boeing 737MAX all-fatalities crash:

    I am 100% certain that Boeing Corporate would never dream, consider, or operationalize a plan to limit BCA’s
    possible [now proven] liability in the criminally negligent
    Boeing 737MAX crashes.

    They would never, ever, dream of such a plan; of that I am 100% sure, though those dirty, nasty Others surely would; probably a long-term, diabolical plot against the
    Advanced West..


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