Pontifications: Suppliers don’t lack for demand, but haven’t recovered from Pandemic crisis

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 3, 2022, © Leeham News: Aerospace suppliers don’t lack demand. But they still have a long way to go to recover from the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic began in earnest in March 2020. While largely under control today, there are still COVID variants sending people to hospitals and deaths.

Jeff Knittel, the president of Airbus Americas, homed in on the fundamental question during the US Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Summit last month in Washington (DC). Knittel moderated a panel with suppliers Tom Gentile, CEO of Spirit Aerosystems, and Paolo Dal Cin, Senior Vice President, Operations, Supply Chain, Quality, Environmental, Health, and Safety for Raytheon Technologies.

“Is this the beginning or the end or the end of the beginning in terms of [supply chain] disruptions?” Knittel asked. “This has been painful for everyone, and outside our industry also. Where do you see us today in terms of the recovery and next steps for you and the industry?”

“I would say that the recovery has started for the supply chain, but we still have a long way to go,” said Gentile. At the July Farnborough Air Show, there were few orders announced. The whole story was the supply chain.

The supply chain’s ability to produce

“It’s not a demand issue. There’s plenty of demand. It’s about the supply chain’s ability to produce,” Gentile said. “The suppliers are stressed right now for a number of reasons. One is that during the pandemic, a lot of us had to take on additional debt because we had to get liquidity. The interest rates are higher. We’re paying more interest expense, which means less to invest and grow productivity.

“At the same time, the demand has not recovered back to where it was in 2019. For example, in 2019, we produced 606 737 MAX units. Last year, we only produced 162. This year, we’ve targeted 300. We’re only about halfway back to where we were in 2019.”

Gentile said all suppliers are affected by inflation in labor, material, utilities, and logistics. Then there is a shortage of labor. “It’s harder to hire people back right now.”

Spirit, which is headquartered in Wichita (KS) offered signing bonuses of $3,000 for some positions. Competitor Textron, which has a production plant nearby, offered a $4,000 bonus. “We’re in a bit of an arms race, but that’s the market,” Gentile said.

Dal Cin said Raytheon’s suppliers need to make similar investments undertaken by Raytheon. The dynamics for workers and raw materials mean Raytheon and its suppliers need to be in step.

“I think that we’re going to have to go in steps and we need to find ways that make it easier,” he said. “Even if you don’t have the full suite of digital tools, you can still provide in a relatively simple way a manual input into where your status is. We just need to know a few critical ones and that will help tremendously.”

Competiting countries

China and Russia (the latter before the Ukraine war) increasingly became competitors for labor, suppliers, and materials. Russia also was a go-to engineering resource, particularly for Boeing. But events since the beginning of the pandemic changed things.

“The biggest issue with Russia is titanium,” Gentile said. “A few years ago, half of the aerospace gray titanium came from Russia, specifically VSMPO. Starting with the Crimea situation back in 2014, the OEMs started to shift away from VSMPO–both Boeing and Airbus. Obviously, with this current situation, Boeing completely stopped purchases of VMSPO. Airbus is still continuing, but everybody is looking at making sure they have stockpiles in titanium. They are also starting to certify and validate new sources.

Gentile said sourcing titanium will be a challenge for the next two to three years.

“With regard to China, China hasn’t been a low-cost country for a long time. It’s really about being there because there’s demand there, both from Airbus and Boeing on the commercial side and from COMAC on the Chinese side. It’s getting harder with licensing going forward, so I think that part of the supply chain is changing,” Gentile said.

“I would say that while there is a focus on simplifying the supply chain and making sure it’s closer, it’s still staying global. This is a very global industry and as we look at our supply chain, we still buy a fair amount from overseas suppliers because of cost, quality, and their ability to be reliable. I think it’s going to stay global, but I think you’ll see less from China because it’s no longer low cost and it’s getting harder and harder.”

Dal Cin agreed, and added, “We’ve got great support from our suppliers in the space that are making those investments. They are finding alternative sources of raw materials. Do I think that we’ll see our way through that, and will it be at the same price levels that we’ve been used to? Maybe not. But we’ll have that security of supply.

“Because there are shortages of materials, supply chain challenges, and labor challenges, part of the solution is going to is to think about advanced technology, advanced manufacturing. Some people call it Industry 4.0, but these tools are now getting mature and we’re implementing in our factories.”

151 Comments on “Pontifications: Suppliers don’t lack for demand, but haven’t recovered from Pandemic crisis

  1. To what extent are suppliers being allowed to pass on their increased production costs to OEMs?
    Suppliers currently have to contend with increased costs for raw materials / components, utilities, labor and financing — if the OEMs are refusing to budge from previously agreed pricing, then it will quickly be “game over” for suppliers.
    For example, AB was/is engaged in a drive to get A220 production costs down: does it now soften its stance so as not to throttle suppliers?

    • “To what extent are suppliers being allowed to pass on their increased production costs to OEMs?”


      To what extent are OEMs being allowed to pass on their increased production costs to airlines?


      To what extent are airlines being allowed to pass on their increased production costs to the paying public?

      If the demand is there and people are willing to pay more, then everyone down the line will get paid, no?

      • There are built-in clauses in contracts between airframers and customers, no??

        • I suspect that many clauses — in all sorts of contracts — are currently being abandoned due to “force majeure”.
          Many contracts have inflation clauses, but they often contain caps: nobody anticipated 10-15% inflation in the US/EU in modern times.

  2. In light of what’s been going on with: 1) the Uighurs in western China; 2) their “best friend forever” directly to the north and west of them; 3) their rather outsized claims to ALL of the South China Sea, and 4) the very real likelihood of their pending invasion of Taiwan by 2028, how is China AT ALL a suitable supplier and trading partner for the U.S. and Europe? Does it remind you of a certain now fully discredited central European power in the ‘30s? Will those at all trading with them and/or having facilities there fully suffer from the opprobrium, shame, and recriminations that will mostly come by, say, 2030, when Okinawa, Guam, and Hawaii are probably “wiped off the map”? Food for thought.

    • Bit dramatic.
      The world is still trading with Israel, despite that country’s 55-year catalog of ill behavior toward the Palestinians (and others).
      The world also kept trading with the US during GWB’s illegal invasion of Iraq.
      Nothing as transparent as selective indignation.

    • @Montana

      Well, that is apparently NOT the position held by the previous administration – who encourages sale of engines to China:

      Trump blasts proposed U.S. restrictions on sale of jet parts to China


      “I want China to buy our jet engines, the best in the World,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I want to make it EASY to do business with the United States, not difficult. Everyone in my Administration is being so instructed, with no excuses…”

      “We’re not going to be sacrificing our companies … by using a fake term of national security. It’s got to be real national security. And I think people were getting carried away with it,” Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before departing for a trip to California.

    • Indeed.
      It will be interesting to see to what extent COMAC suffers from issues with domestic suppliers — if at all.

        • Why would servicing a C919 outside China be any different to servicing the first Eastern Airlines A300s outside Europe?

          No reason why COMAC can’t/won’t open a local MRO operation where needed.

          • Agreed….maybe within Nigeria But if you use the Sukhoi Superjet as an example, having a global response would be difficult

          • Yep, all COMAC has to do is wave their magic wand and presto, and MRO fully staffed with full support appears.

            I am sure there is an APP for that.

            Its so easy 30 or 40 large commercial aircraft mfgs are doing it.

          • @ TW
            China has 4 times the population of the US, and it has a vast legion of highly qualified mechanics, technicians and engineers. It’s building railroads, dams, ports, power stations, etc., in a whole list of countries outside China. So setting up MRO facilities will not be a challenge.

          • @Bryce
            When will our poster see the sobering reality of BA??
            Or maybe that’s why some posters are in such a state of inexplicable fear, whether it’s aiming at AB or any one seen as a potential threat!

          • With the size of the Chinese market, I don’t even expect the C919 to get int’l certification – nor do they need it.

            “Boeing [NYSE: BA] forecasts that China’s airlines will require 8,700 new airplanes by 2040, valued at $1.47 trillion”

            About 7,000 narrow body aircraft, over the next 20 years, or so? That’s 30 planes a month. 350 a year.

            Comac has all the market they need, for the forceable future. It’ll be the next plane, when they learn how to make and certify a fuel efficient, safe and cost effective aircraft – that will be the problem for BA & AB.

          • @Scott
            I think you’re 100% correct — for as long as the C919 contains western parts.
            Once the design has been “Sinofied” and purged of such western parts — which may happen at a surprising pace — the game changes entirely.

            I expect that it won’t be long before China is manufacturing PD-14 engines under license…and I suspect that production rates will climb far more quickly than one might expect.
            China is, after all, “the world’s factory”.

          • Where have I heard this before???

            -> Necessity is the mother of invention

            Rome is not built in one day, and the Roman didn’t need a magic wand.

          • @Scott

            While Bryce has a valid point about underestimating them, this kind of simplifies things for the Chinese – doesn’t it?

            If they aren’t able to get up to those numbers, then there is no use in investing into international certification. Ditto for MRO operations around the world. No need for sales/marketing offices either.

            Perhaps they are only able to make 2000 of them.

            It’s 2000 less jets that fall onto the BA & AB balance sheets. More jobs for Chinese workers. They develop the know how to compete with the big guys.

            If it accomplishes those goals, it’ll be a win for them.

          • Looking back how many 737 BA were able to deliver during its first decade of service: less than 500. In most years, BA only delivered around 40 or less a year.

          • @Pedro

            “how many 737 BA were able to deliver during its first decade of service”

            You know, that’s a really good point. To that end:


            BA delivered a total of 1,988 Classics over the 17 year production run. That breaks down to 10 a month. This being their second bite at the 737 NB apple.

            I think that this is a fairly realistic and doable goal for the Chinese.

          • The C919 currently has production capacity of 4 aircraft a month The airframe subassemblies production equipment and FAL tooling is western. So do they buy more from the West or duplicate with Chinese suppliers.

            In terms of decades for development, I wouldn’t underestimate the Chinese Comac Hmmm…do I recall a story back in the 1970’s when US companies Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed didn’t give that new European startup company for commercial aircraft serious consideration….now more than 50% of commercial marketshare?

          • David P:

            The problem with surface analysis and simple comparisons is they do not get into the details and its the details that make or break an organization (see Bjorns articles on building a 19 Pax Aircraft)

            COMAC is at the Shadoof stage of pumping water vs an electric dirven pump with the power system behind it (major complexity, works 24 x 7 , ubber reliable and pumps vastly more water.

            Airbus when it was formed had mastered aircraft building (in it various and prior divisions) it understood certification and organization complexity and equally, aircraft support and what it took to achieve that. They were not micro managed, they were given a full freedom to design whatever they thought would work and focused at segments they thought they could penetrate.

            COMAC has none of that, they are directed and managed by the Chinese government and told what to do (which included failing to get either FAA or EASA certification).

            China in fact can turn out world class equipment, but the world class part is at the direction of Western Owned companies who know the standards that have to be met and ensure they are.

            Airplanes are not transistor radios or computers.

            And as the article noted, the surface of the 919 is Chinese, all the stuff that makes it work is Western. At best its supply shortage and as China makes none of that equipment, if they want to change it they have to build a dozen different industries just to support the C9191.

            The reality is that unless you have worked in a tech world, you don’t understand the underlying complexities . You just assume on the surface no big deal.

            But when you go to start training, like an electronic tech filed. You start with atoms, what electrons are, how they are made to move, the materials that are good for electrons to move in (and do electrons acualy move?) as well as insulators, solid state devices and how they work, the electrical laws and how they apply.

            Then and only then you build simple circuits to see for real how it works, test results and eventually you have some idea of what you are looking at and testing (which include electric meter use and Oscilloscope use).

            Giants such as Ohm, Watts and Tesla figured all the basics out. Edison did not, he was a trial and error type (and he would have been far ahead if he had been reading about Ohm and the laws he developed).

            China is fully capable, but they have done so many short cuts they don’t have the fundamentals down nor taught and its a 5-10 year process to replace those items in a C919 that have 100 some years of fundamental and development behind them.

        • The Chinese have experience in providing MRO support for their aircraft in Africa. Currently in Ghana just “down the road” (300 miles east of Nigeria). there is a little airline operating there called AWA (Africa World Airlines) that operates Harbin assembled Embraer ERJ145 regional jets out of Accra’s Kotoka International Airport.

          AWA has HNA Group and a Chinese Investment Fund as shareholders and they have setup a maintenance facility in Accra (Ghana) to support their airline’s operations. Also at the same airport, the Chinese have established a maintenance support facility for the Ghana Air Force K8 advance jet trainers. So based on the successful support to AWA (airline has been operating for about a decade in the West Africa sub-region), and Ghana Air Force, I don’t see why they cannot provide same or better support for a Nigeria based airline operating a Chinese aircraft for regional flights in West and Central Africa.

          • Assembling an aircraft is not understanding the support and the support for the aircraft when all the parts come from Brazil, the US, Europe etc.

            And how efficient is it and do they just replace stuff until it works?

            I have seen people do that, then they have a lot of excess time into a repair and they have not a clue if there was a dual problem and that they have a bad part in their now bunch of spares.

          • @ TW
            Aircraft tech is child’s play compared to lithography tech — which is something that China mastered in just 10 years, whereas the US never got a grip on it.
            Sit back and be astounded by the pace at which the C919 will now evolve.

          • Oh “but the world class part is at the direction of Western Owned companies who know …”

            Apple struggled to manufacture computers in the U.S. from the 80s.

            They couldn’t really make money until the production was moved overseas. And it learned another hard lesson trying to make its high-end computer in TX.

          • @ Pedro
            US chip designer AMD has its chips made abroad — because it doesn’t have the technology to manufacture them itself.
            Intel has been trying for years to produce at the 7nm node — but it can’t. China can. And, in Taiwan, TSMC is now advancing to 2nm — at least 5-7 years ahead of Intel.

            It’s pure self-flattery to believe (or, actually, assume) that the Chinese won’t be able to rapidly catch up in aviation technology.

          • East or west of Nigeria, who cares when you’re talking about the aircraft industry? (LOL)

          • The last manager the company had was a classic.

            He would work on something until he had it messed up entirely, then he would say, we need to replace the whole thing.

            The crew joke was he wanted to jack the building up and slide a new one underneath.

            That is what Aero Mexico tried with the S100. Lots of spares laying around hoping you could keep one running. They finally ran out of ramp space.

            That is what happens when you don’t have nor understand support.

            Dispatch rates of 98% are demanded. Better is expected.

          • @ DoU
            If Intel’s 7nm production will be “at volume”, then why is it outsourcing 7nm production to Taiwan?

            “When 2023 arrives, Intel will introduce its first 7nm chip for PCs. However, the product will arrive alongside another set of new Intel chips, except these will be manufactured by TSMC, the foundry behind rival AMD.”

            “Gelsinger made the comments as Intel had been mulling whether to outsource the company’s 7nm chip production to a third-party foundry, such as TSMC. Intel’s own 7nm process was originally supposed to arrive in this year’s fourth quarter, but a defect caused the company to postpone its arrival to 2023.”


          • @Bryce

            Thanks. Pretty hard for me or anyone to believe that INTC is in any shape or form of mass producing any 7nm chips, given that recently it has to walk back about shipping to consumers in 2023!

          • Some misunderstand why TSMC is producing only part of the Intel 7nm processor
            Its the change to ’tiles’ instead of a monolithic unit
            ‘This will mark the first time the company combines tiles from different nodes on one package. It will create the I/O and CPU tiles on Intel 4. [7nm]The other two will be made by TSMC. The GPU tile will be a 3nm part, while the SoC will be N4/N5.”

          • -> Delivering samples to customers isn’t the same as being ready for a consumer launch, of course — and given that Intel *walked back what it told us about shipping to consumers in 2023*, we’re now wondering if that might have been delayed after all.

            The TrendForce report suggested that Intel wouldn’t even begin mass production of a key Meteor Lake component *until the end of 2023*, and that “this incident has greatly affected TSMC’s production expansion plan.” TSMC wouldn’t comment on Intel, but denied that its capacity expansion project had been affected in a statement to China’s Economic Daily.


  3. While Suppliers may be struggling to meet demand I bet their finances are not struggling.

    • Aren’t they under a ton of debts??? 🙄
      Have you looked at Spirit? Beg to differ.

  4. FG: Royal Jordanian selects A320neos as it sets out fleet-modernisation plans

    • That’s a best case scenario.
      I think BA will be lucky to get the MAX-10 certified at all — regardless of what Congress does or doesn’t do.

      • What will the rest of the world’s regulators do? Maybe the FAA gives them a break, with some help from Congress. Will everyone else?

        • Frank:

          It is only the US that passed a law on the type of crew alert system. Note, type of alert system.

          All the 737s including the MAX have a crew alert system, its not the current regulated one for NEW aircraft (and clearly from the number of A320 crashes it does not work any better than the MAX).

          EASA as well as others had a requirement for the third AOA.

          Nothing world wide required other than the synthetic AOA that the -10 has to have to be certified and then backfitted.

          What happens if the -10 is not put into production? Does Boeing have to back fit the synthetic AOA?

          And if the -10 complies with US law then all other MAX aircraft do not follow (and are not required) and then you have a bad situation that the -10 is totally different than the rest. Talk about confusion and a way to cause accidents.

          • APA, which represents pilots who fly the MAX, cleary disagrees with you.

            What happens if the MAX 10 does not go ahead?

            A huge black eye for BA;
            massive write-down;
            stock falls massively;
            debt analysts are forced to reassess and quite possibly BA got downgraded to junk;
            customers like Ryanair, UAL etc got fed up with BA;
            huge compensation follows;
            more downward spiral …

          • From the Seattle Times:
            -> [APA] explicitly rejected Boeing’s argument that keeping the system the same as on prior 737 models would avoid potential pilot confusion and therefore would be safer.

            -> “We oppose any extension of the exemption and don’t agree with Boeing’s claim that pilots could become confused when moving from an airplane without the modern alert system to one that is equipped with it,” said APA President Capt. Edward Sicher. “Nothing could be further from our flight deck reality.”

            The APA position appears heavily influenced by the two 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019. On those flights, the crews were clearly confused by the series of distracting and conflicting alerts triggered by a faulty sensor and couldn’t understand what was happening.

            -> “Boeing needs to proceed with installing modern crew-alerting systems on these aircraft to mitigate pilot startle effect and confusion during complex, compound system malfunctions,” he said. “Once these systems are installed and pilots have been properly trained on them, our crews will be better able to identify system failures and prioritize corrective actions that could save lives,” Sicher added. “Doing so will also help Boeing to continue rebuilding public trust.”

            -> The public opposition from the pilots union at the world’s largest airline by fleet size undercuts Boeing’s argument about safety. It also *undermines any claim to putting safety first from a politician voting to grant an extension*.

          • @ TW
            Always intriguing to hear your views — but I suspect that more weight will be attached to the views of the 15,000 pilots at AA, who explicitly want to have EICAS on the MAX.

            It’s striking that BA was apparently so busy lobbying lawmakers in D.C. that it forgot to consider what the opinion of pilots might be…

  5. One certainty is that there will never again be lockdowns such as we suffered of late. The damage done to the global economy alone renders another simply un-affordable let alone to the fabric of society and particularly as we now know, they were completely ineffective in their objectives. Unless of course, there is some ulterior motive.

  6. Airbus is conducting a series of flight tests on the Pratt & Whitney GTF advantage engine mounted on the A320neo

    -> The GTF Advantage configuration reduces fuel consumption by an additional 1 percent. This new configuration delivers higher thrust, both at sea level and for “hot and high” airports

  7. The paint de-lamination problems on 787s are back in the spotlight again:


    BA apparently thinks that this is a UV-induced de-polymerization problem, as opposed to the adhesion problem in the case of the A350 paint issues. Both problems appear to be solvable by using adjusted paint recipes, and applying them using more controlled parameters (such as lower humidity).

    Any other synthetic parts on other plane models suffering from paint peeling?

    • In fact Airbus is working on a whole new mesh system.

      If you look at the thickness of the Airbus mesh, its really not a paint going over it, its a plaster job.

      • Airbus is *considering* alternative mesh systems as a way to allow more freedom of choice as regards paint / painting parameters for future frames.
        For present frames, carefully controlled re-painting seems to be perfectly acceptable.

        Surface tension effects are able to naturally bridge the small grid openings in the mesh — no “plastering” required.

    • According to Bloomberg, “*Airbus was the frontrunner to win the China Airlines order until the last moment*”. China Airlines ordered 787, because of “external influence”?? 🤔

      -> “Boeing’s exclusion from the Chinese market is poised to extend amid a worsening US-China relationship, *lengthening the company’s recovery timeline and crimping its outlook*,”

      -> A longer-term rift threatens to put Boeing well behind Airbus, with deliveries already falling to a “negligible level” since 2020, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, which warned that a lack of sales in China will curb build rates and strain the US manufacturer’s supply chain.

  8. Interesting that Delta may order A350-1000s, around 20 or so.

    It’s said that the A350-1000 burns about 30% less fuel per seat compared to the similarly sized 777-300ER

    Bloomberg also reports that AB “Delivered About 55 Jets Last Month”

    • As regards Delta’s interest in the A350-1000: maybe the airline is being offered attractive pricing/timing on the ex-Qatar frames?


      As regards BA deliveries:
      Planespotters is indicating 39 MAX deliveries in September, and 6 787s (one of which went into parking).
      The delivered MAXs include various whitetails, such as this ex-China one that went to Brazil:


      Also note this curious Korea – China – Malta frame:


      • LNA:
        ” …. when during the grounding and pandemic some Chinese airlines notified them that they no longer wanted the MAX. The lessors canceled some orders when, during the same period, replacement lessees couldn’t be found. These airplanes reverted to Boeing.”

    • “MAYBE”!!!!!!! Kinda obvious where they’re coming from..
      AB convinced Ethiopian they somehow required the a 350-1000… ofcourse, with the magic number of 4 airframes … exactly what they have lying around collecting dust from the defunct Qatar order..
      Kudos to them ..Looks like they’re offering Delta another irresistible deal ,to fill all the vacant 350-1 slots..

    • @ Pedro…..It’s said…..by whom!??
      AB’s marketing dept …!!! 30%… more efficient… highly doubtful!!!
      Would understand ;; they got to try something to bolster sales of the floundering a350-1 program….
      There’s no denying the sales have been stagnant for years…
      Everyone claims the 777x isn’t selling ,yet it nearest competitor can hardly muster half the sales of the latest 777 varient…
      I’m being kind ,
      That’s even with the bogus Iran Air order still in the books . which should have been removed years ago..!!

      • Don’t forget all those ASC606 deletions for the 777X; some analysts put the whole program in the ASC606 category, because they doubt the plane will ever be certified…

        • So glad you brought up the ASC 606 ruling up Bryce!!!
          A pity AB doesn’t abide by those accounting standards for it’s own order backlog..
          Leeham themselves did an interesting article titled ” Applying the ASC 606 to the Airbus Order Book” a few years back.
          Ohh I do think you should go back and upload the article.
          In it, you would find very informative info on how it would effect AB’s order book if they played be the same rules as Boeing,..
          Since they don’t ,let me review some of highlights for your viewing pleasure.!!
          Stated many orders in the AB portfolio would be affected!!
          First off,
          The long standing Iran Air order for 52 AB wide-bodies would be one of the first to go!!!
          Namely (8) a330-200’s ( a type not even in production), ..(28) a330-900″s,and (16) a350-1000’s…
          I know it’s only 52 wide-bodies,that mean nothing to the all mighty AB backlog !!!
          I’d say it does.. Look no further than the already depleted 330 neo
          Losing 28 orders from the order book , would be devastating for the program!!
          I can see why they’ll do whatever it takes a feign a robust backlog for the floundering 330 n..
          Even the great a350 would not be exempt from the ruling..
          The aforementioned (16) Iran Air 350 1’s.. the long dormant..,Afriqiyah Airways order
          for (10) a350 9’s, ..Libyan Airlines order for (6)a350 9’s..,as well as Yemenia’s order for (10) a350 9’s…
          All would fall under the ASC 606 ruling…
          Again , kudos to you Bryce, for bringing that ruling to my attention…

          • There’s an EU equivalent to ASC606: shaky orders are compartimentalized, though they don’t have to be specified according to model.

            Shall we talk about actual deliveries?
            A350-1000: 65
            777X: zero

            That’s the problem with uncertified aircraft — they can’t be delivered.

          • @Bryce

            BA was busy building those 777X!! Bloated B/S.

            Remind me how many B777-8 (direct competitor of the A350-1000) BA was able to sell? How many are under ASC 606??

            BTW posters here are good at digging up old and outdated information: why @TC doesn’t ask Scott to update? AirAsia’s order has now been reconfirmed with new delivery time table. Poor posters appear don’t know what they are talking about. Haha

          • @ Pedro
            Don’t forget — Qantas chose the A350-1000 instead of the 777-8.
            Perhaps Alan Joyce called Tim Clark for a chat beforehand?

  9. @TW (above, regarding EICAS/Congress)
    “if all other Boeing aircraft comply, then why was it needed?”

    Eh…are 5 crashes enough for you?
    Read the MITRE report.

  10. SMIC 7nm is truly 7nm technology, how it compares to TSMC 7nm

    Comparison confirms that SMIC reaches 7nm without access to western equipment & technologies


    Kids are shaking in their boots


    -> China has gone to space, the moon and will go to Mars. It’s built a blue water Navy. Anyone who thinks it won’t get a viable commercial aerospace program underestimates. China waited 99 years to get Hong Kong and Macau back. Patience and determination will reward China one day.


  11. UA expects to receive 53 NB from BA this year, only seven arrive as of August.

    • @Pedro…That’s great, now convince the airlines that the tremendously efficient a350-1 is actually worth adding to the fleet!!
      Yeah ,we get it .. everyone says..
      Be patient…,the numbers will soon change . we’re talking 15 years on since launch….
      Any idea when your fabulous a3501 will live up to your extravagant claims..??

      • The A350 is certified and flying.
        The 777X hasn’t even got a TIA — and its planned EIS keeps getting postponed.

        • That’s true … But where is AB to capitalize on Boeing’s misfortunes???
          The 350 1 should be selling like “Hotcakes “…
          Simply hasn’t happened yet , despite Boeing’s shortcomings with the 777x ?

          • With emphasis on “yet”.

            BA has been stringing customers along: there comes a point at which they jump ship.

  12. Looks as if BA’s EICAS gamble with Congress is starting to unravel, as referenced above by @Pedro and @CSFAN.
    Here’s a paywall-free version of this story.
    Some interesting quotes:

    “WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The union representing 15,000 American Airlines pilots said on Wednesday it strongly opposes an effort in Congress to extend an exemption from modern cockpit alerting requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX 7 and 10.”

    “Allied Pilots Association President Capt. Edward Sicher said “Boeing needs to proceed with installing modern crew alerting systems on these aircraft to mitigate pilot startle-effect and confusion during complex, compound system malfunctions.””

    “Relatives of many of those killed in the MAX crashes also oppose giving Boeing an extension. They wrote a letter in July opposing the extension and suggest Boeing had resorted “to bullying Congress.””

    “Sicher said the pilots union did not agree “with Boeing’s claim that pilots could become confused when moving from an airplane without the modern alert system to one that is equipped with it. Nothing could be further from our flight deck reality.””


    This makes it difficult for Congress to grant BA’s wish — just imagine the headlines if it does:
    “Congress ignores pilots and puts dollars before safety”

    It will be interesting to see if non-US pilots unions also weigh in on the debate.

  13. Looking at the specifications (empty weight) and capabilities, the proven A350-1000 looks like a very good aircraft. It can build on the extensive A350-900 customer base. Only a few hundred sold so far doesn’t say much, we have seen strange years.

    Boeing should be worried. Worried about Singapore, Emirates, Lufthansa, United, Air France, KLM, Air China, Turkish, ANA, Delta, BA, Korean, Air Canada and Cathay, to be more precise.

    It’s a pitty GE doesn’t offer a suitable 80-100 klbs engine. Also for a 787 growth version.

  14. Question for Scott (or if anyone else knows)

    Let’s say, as an OEM, I have a NB aircraft in service. Airlines want an extended version to put in more pax.

    If the only thing that changes, is a plug fore and aft of the wing – with everything else staying the same; what would that cost?

    I know that there are certification hoops that have to be jumped through, X amount of text flights and hours, exit row tests, mountains of documents – but what are we looking at…ballpark figures?

    $100 million? $500 million? A billion?

  15. Of general interest/relevance to the discussion above regarding COMAC:

    CNBC: “Geopolitical tensions with the U.S. could ‘supercharge’ China’s innovation, JPMorgan says”

    ““One of the unintended consequences of this push and shove between the U.S. and China is that it has just underscored this determination in China to become self-sufficient in a whole variety of industries,” Alexander Treves told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Thursday.”

    ““Now, you’ve got genuine tech innovators,” he said. “I think that the geopolitical tension you’re talking about will just actually supercharge that — because China needs to do these things itself, and they will carry on with progress in that area.””


  16. As a pilot I was a bit in the Huh mode on the American Airlines issuance on the MAX. This explains it.

    “We oppose any extension of the exemption and don’t agree with Boeing’s claim that pilots could become confused when moving from an airplane without the modern alert system to one that is equipped with it. Nothing could be further from our flight deck reality,” said Sicher, noting that pilots fly the Boeing 757 and 767, which are “substantially different airplanes, yet operate under a single certificate.”

    What I find is the incredible stupidity in the statement. The 757 and 767 were both developed at the same time with common systems. It does not matter what the disparity in type is (see Airbus) as long as the systems are common, its a matter of dealing with the size.

    In this case its clearly stupidity, the pilots know that, maybe its a admin type who does not fly. Nor does American plan on the -7 and they have no -10 ordered. hmmm

    On the other hand, South West pilots who will fly the -7 oppose the mandate. Those are the people that would know what the confusion would be between what mostly is one but has stuff kludged into it for the other.

    I flew the C15052/172 and the 206. You could get into any one of those and the cockpit layout was identical. Controls and gauges all where you were used to them. It was easy to transition in any direction. Yes the 172 and the 206 were bigger and had heavier handling, but you knew where all the controls were and could focus purely on the physical differences.

    I also flew a Muskateer, Super Cub Cherokee Six . None of which were intuitive and I had an experienced pilot either in the right seat or actually PIC.

    The handling was not an issue though all were different, it was the controls differences that none of my built in Cessna reactions were right for.

    • So, at present:
      The ayes: 10,000 (SW union)
      The nays: 15,000 (AA union).

      One wonders what other unions will weigh in…

      • -> SWA is the main reason that the 737 is still flying and still being made with 30-40 year old technology.

  17. Oops!

    -> NEW: The KC-46’s remote vision system fix faces a 19-month delay, pushing the operational flight release to October 2025 from the expected March 2024.

    It’s a pattern, both civilian side and defense

    Oh well BA would be awarded another big tanker contract!

    • All that delay for something as relatively straightforward as a vision system.

      At this rate, required 777X redesigns will take forever…

  18. “All that delay for something as relatively straightforward as a vision system.”

    Ha! Spoken kinda like someone who has never had to design anything to any sort of requirements.

    The devil is always in the details, very little of which any of us here really know. What we all know about this comes from press reports, which are based on high level distillations of the various issues with the author’s non-expert interpolations/extrapolations thrown in. So, unless you are an expert in the optical ranging sensor/machine vision space, and you know some inside info about the design requirements that no one else here knows, I wouldn’t be so quick to pronounce the RVS to be “relatively straight forward”.

    Just my advice. Take it for what you think it’s worth.

    • Oh well. How about the MRTT? Is it really that incredibly challenging?? Too bad some nations are more interested in “job program” than real capability and some are more willing to turn a blind eye than others.

    • I’ve worked in advanced optics and mechatronics for more than 2 decades…is that enough for you?

      Apart from that, one could also use the competition as a metric: it’s further along, in far less time. That says a lot, don’t you think?

      Then again: I recall that you were defending the design of MCAS 1.0 here on LNA a few months ago — so perhaps your comment says more about your technical prowess than about mine.

      • Bryce.
        A points you missed, or at least I havent seen you make mention of it yet…….
        Within the announcement of the delay in the improved optics needed for the KC46 was the air force saying the airbus mrtt being reconsidered because it works…..

      • Bryce,

        “I’ve worked in advanced optics and mechatronics for more than 2 decades…is that enough for you?”

        It’s not. For all we know, you are just some random person on the internet. You might be lying about your background, or you might be telling the truth. Who knows? But, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and grant that you have the experience you claim. You still don’t know the requirements that the KC-46 RVS had to meet. You implicitly assume that the requirements are the same (or very similar) to those of the MRTT RVS by suggesting the competition as a metric. This is done a lot in this forum by Airbus fans who just want to bash Boeing. If the requirements were essentially the same then why was EADS’s bid for the KC-45 during the KC-X competition $3.5B more than Boeing’s winning KC-46 bid of $31.5B? What did they need all of those development dollars for? The point is that none of us here, including you, know much about those requirements. So, you really can’t pronounce a problem as straight forward unless you actually know what the problem is.

        Another thing Airbus fans often do is ignore or gloss over the development troubles of the MRTT. The KC-30 was supposed to be delivered to the RAAF in 2009. It was 2 years late. Then after delivery it took 4 more years, until 2015, before the KC-30 was functional enough for receiver qualification and could finally be taken off the “Projects of Concern” list.

        “Then again: I recall that you were defending the design of MCAS 1.0 here on LNA a few months ago — so perhaps your comment says more about your technical prowess than about mine.”

        If you’re going to call someone out, you should have your facts straight unless you don’t care about your reputation. What you claim here is demonstrably false. I’ve never defended the MCAS 1.0 design. I’ve defended the 737 design, and MCAS 2.0, but never 1.0. Anyone can go to google and type in [site:leehamnews.com “Mike Bohnet” MCAS] and see for themselves the things I’ve written on the subject. It’s not that hard and doesn’t take that much time. In fact, I use my real name Michael (Mike) Bohnet in this forum. So, unlike you, anyone here can search for my LinkedIn profile to see exactly what my technical background is. Whether or not anyone counts what they find out about me as prowess or not, that’s up to them.

  19. FG: MC-21 test aircraft flies with PD-14 engines after swap from PW1400Gs

    • Here’s a paywall-free link to that story.

      “…the goal is to complete the certification of the PD-14 engine by the end of 2022.”

      “The MC-21-310, intermediate version, will be able to carry between 163 and 211 passengers, depending on the configuration. The UAC is expected to develop the MC-21-400 models, with the largest capacity, and the MC-21-200, the smallest of the three.”

      “Russia aims to put the MC-21 into service in 2024, which has guaranteed orders from major Russian airlines such as Aeroflot, which recently placed an order for 210 aircraft.”


      I suspect that after-sales service of this aircraft will be very different to that of the Sukhoi Superjet: after all, Russia is now far more motivated to do it properly this time, particularly seeing as its own airlines will be relying on the MC-21.

        • I believe suppliers delay is more a scapegoat.

          From AW:

          * The *critical design review (CDR) for the RVS 2.0 overhaul is still ongoing*, as the Air Force and Boeing still need to finalize a way ahead for airworthiness certification of the commercial-off-the-shelf cameras that will be installed. Those issues are due to be resolved by year’s end. Other noncritical actions are being addressed as well, but the closure is not needed to finish the CDR, the service says. As part of the agreement for the cameras, Boeing will pay about $125 million for nonrecurring engineering for wiring and other preparations, while the Air Force will pay to furnish the cameras.

          * “The re-baselined schedule for RVS 2.0 certification is *reflective of estimated timelines for the complete and thorough regulatory review and certification* from both regulators, which are engaged throughout the laboratory and flight test process,” Boeing says. “We support our regulators through the certification process, as much time as that requires. Boeing stands ready to support the U.S. Air Force as it operates the KC-46A around the globe today and to continue evolving it for the future with enhanced technological capabilities such as RVS 2.0.”

          * In addition to the RVS replacement, the service and Boeing need to redesign a telescoping actuator in the refueling boom itself—a deficiency that keeps the KC-46 from being able to refuel light, slow aircraft like the A-10. This redesign is coming at the government’s cost, and a fix is expected to be finalized in 2024.

        • Alleging supply chain issues is a convenient, “go-to” scapegoat for entities trying to mask their own incompetence…

          • Some are good at making aircraft, some are really interested in stock buyback *only*.


            -> “The Government Accountability Office wants the Air Force to do more testing and evaluation of Boeing’s fix for the KC-46 Pegasus tanker’s Remote Vision System before proceeding with it, because the Air Force would be on the financial hook if it doesn’t work out.

            In a new report released Jan. 27, the GAO said that Boeing’s fix for the RVS—one of a number of KC-46 deficiencies still being corrected—involves new technologies that may not yet be mature enough to move forward, posing a risk of cost and schedule growth.

            Boeing has eaten more than $5.4 billion in overruns on the Pegasus. The company took a charge of $406 million on the program in the last quarter of 2021 that pertain to the RVS.”

  20. The MAX 10 is still lacking TIA from FAA.

    How to add some “positive” spin?? 😏

    • -> ITA Airways will debut its new A220s on the Rome-Genoa route on Sunday, 16 Oct. The aircraft will then fly from Rome and Milano Linate to Genoa, Turin, Naples, Geneva, Zurich, and Munich

  21. “Broetje-Automation works with Boeing Germany, consortium in “Shimless Assembly” project”


    “SHILA” (standing for “shimless assembly,”) the project aims to lay a foundation for future aircraft programs and enable significant efficiency gains for a more sustainable, climate-friendly aviation industry. The consortium expects to reduce manufacturing times by up to 75% and manufacturing costs by up to 25% compared to the conventional assembly process.”

    • Safety and reputation before dollars — good lord, could it really be true? 🤔

    • According to AirInsight:
      “Bob Mann from RW Mann & Co.: […]
      I think there’s there’s a strategic plan which is maybe to settle on a slightly smaller MAX9 version.  Which, *given the likely performance limitations on a MAX10*, is probably not the worst choice. You just get less gauge out of it and hence you get slightly higher unit costs. I’m not sure it’s a bad choice, but it’s just going to be slightly different and I think it would be a far more flexible airplane than a MAX10”

  22. Pingback: Government, Aerospace and Defense 2H 2022 Trends – STEM Cuts

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