Pontifications: Complacency, arrogance aren’t a Boeing exclusive

By Scott Hamilton

March 21, 2023, © Leeham News: Airbus is resting on its laurels while Boeing struggles to recover from one crisis after another since the March 2019 grounding of the global 737 MAX fleet.

Multiple sources tell me that Airbus, aside from the production problems it has in common with Boeing, is enjoying Boeing’s deep freeze by China. The decision by Boeing CEO David Calhoun to delay the “introduction” of a new airplane until the middle of the next decade took the pressure off Airbus to be ready to move sooner than later.

While Boeing struggles, Airbus has become conservative, complacent and—gasp—even arrogant, a longtime Boeing trait.

What’s happening?

Litany of problems
  • India became an Airbus preserve under retired chief operating officer-commercial, John Leahy, and Airbus’s longtime Indian president, Kiran Rao. Today, Boeing is making big inroads in India, landing a commitment from Air India for 240 aircraft. (Airbus won a simultaneous commitment for 250 aircraft.) Boeing is adding nearly 2,000 engineers in India and announced it will open a 737 P2F conversion facility there. Boeing views India as the next China (in a good way). Its new emphasis is because it is frozen out of China.
  • Quality control issues at the Hamburg, Germany, A321 final assembly line continue to be a problem, customers tell me. This has been a long-running issue that has yet to be resolved.
  • The A220 line in Montreal is plagued by supplier delays and the Mobile line still is in a learning curve.
  • Full production lines leave some customers with little choice but to place orders with Boeing to get earlier slots. Airbus is known within aviation circles to have been in line for more orders from Air India than it received because of the lack of slots.
  • Boeing continues to clean up with new orders of the 787 vs the A350. Both airplanes are roughly equal when it comes to economics on an even-up analysis of direct competitors between the two. So why is Boeing getting more orders? (1) Earlier slots and (2) Boeing offers a choice of engines, the GEnx and the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 vs the A350’s sole-source Rolls Trent XWB. Doubts about the future viability of Rolls and extraordinarily long-running problems with the Trent 1000 give customers pause about ordering an airplane powered by Rolls.
Other issues

That’s not all. Airbus is unwilling to be as aggressive on price as Boeing these days. Boeing needs to win back its market share. It is faced with customer demands for compensation due to delivery delays on the 737, 777X, and 787. One way for Boeing to compensate unhappy customers is to cut prices on its airplanes. Airbus, with full production lines for years to come, has little motive to cut prices when early deliveries aren’t available anyway.

Perhaps more troubling at Airbus, however, are complaints that its product support falls short in some cases. Customer support in the Americas office often refers the airlines and lessors to Toulouse, raising suspicion that Americas is conveniently using Toulouse as a reason to duck hard problems.

In an issue that is sensitive to Boeing critics, Airbus in recent years has become more and more focused on that Boeing boogeyman, shareholder value. Airbus is regularly buying back stock.

Unlike Boeing, which places shareholder value ahead of product development, Airbus still spends much more than Boeing in this arena. But with Boeing “pausing” development of a new airplane, Airbus now is sitting back, critics say. True, Airbus is studying a hydrogen-powered airplane for the next decade and it’s making lots of money with its current A-series product lines. But complacency and arrogance hurt Boeing (and some say it continues to do so). Some believe that Airbus is going down the Boeing path.


448 Comments on “Pontifications: Complacency, arrogance aren’t a Boeing exclusive

  1. Good tine to remember the Airbus doddos
    The A340 was a flop but they doubled down and spent large on an improved version
    The A380 a technical accomplishment but a financial tar pit

    The A318 , such a flop Frontier sent its dozen or so planes to the scrap heap within 6 years, as the engines were worth more than the airframe. It was a double as PW6000 built especially for this plane was a disaster. A318 has an older brother as flop ‘in progress’ with the A319neo.

    The A340 I quite liked as a type , I remember them after takeoff climbing out of my local airport like an old man getting out of a chair, but the customer airlines didnt.

    • If one wants to measure the performance of the two companies, Airbus seems to have done jolly well for a company that’s had some quite big “flops”. How did Boeing not exploit those failings?!

      I like the A340 too; of course, they’re still getting money out that program; the wing led to the A330MRTT (A330 wings were the same, the hard points for the #1 and #4 engine became the place to mount refueling pods. No idea if that’s still the case, but it did make the A330MRTT an easy build to begin with).

      Scott’s picked up on some troubling things – that’s his job. But I think that, if one were to pay attention to Leahy, the important think is to compare the two companies and aim to be the better one (Leahy focused on market share). Scott’s charge sheet is troubling, because he’s been able to draw one up, but it’s a lot shorter than the one Boeing currently has. Airbus do need to be careful though that they don’t give Scott more things to write down on the list.

      Certainly, if there is any disgruntlement in amongst Airbus customers, and Boeing suddenly comes back slick, efficient and worth it, Airbus could get into a lot of trouble. But, Boeing has said it’s not going to do that…

      • Leeham comment section where launching a new plane equates to slick efficient and worth it. Give me a break.

        Boeing has every intention of being efficient and sleek and worth it. Certainly their customers believe so because they keep shoving jet orders down their throat. Particularly on the widebody side.

        Are they there? Of course they are not there but they are working everyday to get there and it will take time. All the stop/start delivery issues you see now, will iron themselves out to become a smooth production line.

        And like I say nobody is immune to issues, clearly as the article states even airbus has some.

        But they will be fine, Boeing too will be fine. They have the benefit of a duopoly.

        And Boeing has it even much worse and the doom and destruction a lot of you predicted here has yet to arrive. So like I always say, I like to give these giants a bit of a break because they’re building very very complex machines, very fast. It’s not easy to run an operation like this

        • “Boeing has every intention of being efficient and sleek and worth it.”

          The intention may be there, but there’s a mountain of debt standing in the way, coupled with continually inadequate earnings. That debt isn’t just going to disappear of its own accord, and it’s consuming $2.5B every year in interest payments. Undercutting the competition on price just perpetuates the debt trap.

          The road to hell is paved with good “intentions”.

          • Everything you’ve said is the only way to get there in the first place. Should they not have taken the debt? The inadequate earnings are a result of the position from the max, the lowered pricing is also as a result of max delays and other subsequent delays due to quality issues mixed in a changed regulatory environment.

            You see them as blockades but they are the requirements to get there in the end

            You mention all these things as though they have a plethora of options? If that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. At the end of the day the overall picture is getting better. Alaska air said they were optimistic about Boeings 737 delivery rate having seen improvements, same thing with Ryanair just like week and they are the most vocal.

            787 is back delivering. I think they’ve already delivered 3 since last week. And the restart wasn’t smooth of course. But the max’s restart wasn’t smooth either. Remember the electrical issues that Boeing had to fix and they had to re ground and halt delivery of some jets for 6 weeks? Exactly nobody is talking about it now. So these are some of the hiccups that will happen.

            That big debt you talk about is what is required to fix those issues like the max and 787 and then in turn use that cash from that inventory to pay down the debt.

            So, you see problems, If you’ve ever run a business you’ll realise this is what they have to do, everybody talks about debt like it’s a bad thing. Every business has debt, it’s how you manage that debt. The emphasis you lay on earnings is fine but ultimately irrelevant because cash is king, it pays down debt and funds reinvestment not accounting entries and they’ve projected a good cash flow level for the coming years, they aim to continue to invest in the current product line up and pay down debt which is why a new product and share buybacks and dividends have no space in the medium term as Boeing has eluded to already.

            But everything you call out, is by product of what it takes to get there NOT a stumbling block.

          • And let’s not forget. You know who else for many years was aggressive on pricing, undercutting competitors on every deal and had inadequate earnings Airbus.

          • @ opus
            “The emphasis you lay on earnings is fine but ultimately irrelevant because cash is king, it pays down debt and funds reinvestment”

            The lack of financial acumen among many commenters here is beyond belief.
            Where is cash supposed to come from if it doesn’t come from earnings?
            Earnings = revenue minus costs: it’s what arises from a company’s operations. If it’s zero or negative, then the show ultimately stops.
            Boeing only generated (artificial) positive cash in Q4 last year because it allowed accounts payable and accrued liabilities to increase: it clearly says so in its regulatory filing — do you want me to quote the page number for you?

            The cumulative earnings value of BA’s entire backlog at the end of Q4 was just $40B-$45B, depending on which calculation method you use. That’s a lot less than BA’s total debts. So, how do you think that the former is somehow going to pay off the latter?

            Airbus may have problems, but unsustainable debt isn’t one of them.

          • I meant earnings as per earnings statements not actual revenue coming through the door. That’s what generates cash OBVIOUSLY. I thought you were referring to poor financial results.

            You say inadequate earnings. It was the same ‘ inadequate earnings’ that resulted in 2 billion in free cash flow this year.

            Well please send and quote to me.

            Is it the same thing they plan to do this year and the next few years?

            At the end of the day the debt is reducing, slowly but surely.

            So far as you generate enough cash to service your debt and keep your company running efficiently then it’s unsustainable. You’re behaving like they are not paying down their debts.

          • @ Opus
            Here you go:
            Page 40 of BA’s regulatory filing, just under the cashflow table:

            “Net cash provided by operating activities was $3.5 billion during 2022, compared with net cash used by operating activities of $3.4 billion during 2021. The $6.9 billion improvement in cash provided by operating activities in 2022 is primarily driven by improved changes in assets and liabilities of $11.1 billion, partially offset by lower non-cash items of $3.4 billion and higher net loss of $0.8 billion. Changes in assets and liabilities for 2022 improved by $11.1 billion compared with 2021 primarily driven by favorable changes in Accrued liabilities ($6.6 billion), Accounts payable ($4.6 billion) and Inventories ($1.5 billion), partially offset by a decrease in Advances and progress billings ($2.4 billion) in 2022”

            See, some people actually read financial reports rather than blindly clinging to PR…

          • So none of that improved cash flow had to do with moving inventory? It was entirely due to creative accounting?

            Again debt in 2020 was 63 billion, it has come down to 57 billion and Boeing plans for it to continue to come down.

            Again all these are byproducts of the investment they have to make to get out of their rot.

            You’re very afraid of debt. It’s a normal phenomenon, the problem comes when you generate enough to pay your debt down and from what I can tell, Boeing seems to be paying down said debt. Unless that too is creative?

          • @Bryce

            Keep up the good work 👍
            You are spot on about the financials. Most of these commenters are like the Boeing executives, blinders on, move along nothing to see here.
            (Wait for it…. Someone will comeback at me, lol)

          • @Opus

            Not for nothing, but;

            This is from the latest 10-Q, pg 90

            Total debt $57,001 $58,102

            Boeing paid down a total of $1.1 billion of debt in ’22. (Wow – at that rate, they’ll have it all paid off in some 50+ years. But I digress…)

            Now this is also off their financials;

            Total liabilities 152,948 153,398

            So follow me if you will;

            They paid off $1.1 billion in debt in 2022, but everything the company owes, only went down by $450 million.

            This means that somewhere else on the b/s, other obligations WENT UP by $650 million, during the year. It got moved around.


            The whole company had $66.6 billion in revenues in 2022, but were only able to decrease the entirety of what they owe, by $450 million.

            The point that Bryce is making, is that the debt they took on, is costing them more than $2.5 billion a year, in interest payments.

            Whether it was a good idea or not, to take on the debt. What they should or shouldn’t have done, is immaterial.

            This is where they are at…

          • I think Bryce and Frank have this exactly right. The only thing I would add is that it is good to remember the limitations of accounting. There are always assets, liabilities and vested interests or equities in an enterprise that are well beyond what can be properly reflected in the financial statements. For example, fully depreciated tangible assets can be liquidated for cash which tends to make the financial performance look better than it really is. Generally, the cost to replace such assets that have accumulated over many decades is quite dramatically higher than any cash that is generated. The same is true of off the books equity interests. While the old maxim that “no good ever came from booking goodwill” is still good advice, the wonton destruction of it in the pursuit of short term cash flows is also a folly.

          • Well @Opus why BA’s C-suite doesn’t go for a raise of equity to reduce debts?? Because their WS masters would fire them?

          • Opus:

            I think you are spot on for where Boeing currently is. Equally what they have to do as that debt load is extraordinarily high.

            So yes they are doing what they have to with the situation they got themselves into.

            The issue and concern is its the same management types and some individuals (including Calhoun) that were there when they were using up all the money on share buy back and stock dividends.

            From the outside they are so desperate for talent that they can only fix one program at a time when they have 3 in the pits (two out or coming out and one still there).

            Frankly they are in the easy part because they just have to do the best they can with what they have.

            The hard part is if they get out of the hole what their behaviour is? If it reverts back to what lead to 3 programs in the pits at the same time, then its gained nothing.

          • @Retired tech fellow

            (Ok – here’s my ante. I’ll see a flop)

            ‘There are always assets, liabilities and vested interests or equities in an enterprise that are well beyond what can be properly reflected in the financial statements.’

            1) Which BA assets are you referring to? Land? Buildings? Goodwill? If you had to place a dollar value on these fully depreciated assets, what would that be?

            2) What liability on the b/s, an obligation that must be paid, are you referring to? Does it not hold, that if an asset that has been depreciated and is worth more then it’s book value – a liability is the inverse?

            3) Equity. Well, if memory recalls, BA recently went to NY to try and sell some $30 billion of equity, wanting between $250 and $300 a share. The money walked….no thanks.

            Just sayin’…

          • @Frank

            Time is of the essence. See Credit Suisse/SIVB …

          • @Frank I tried to keep it simple, but if you really want to go there …

            First, it is critically important to keep your debits separate from your credits, and the way to do that is to always think in terms of what accountants call “T” accounts. It also helps to do this on a whiteboard.

            First, accountants limit themselves to trying to measure things that either have already been monetized (i.e. passed through an arm’s length transaction, or for which standardized methods for estimating exist such that two independent teams of accountants can be expected to come up with similar valuations, and no material difference). So anything in the big three categories of Pacioli’s equation (A = L + E) that fail that test, are excluded from the records. There are always such things in the Assets and Equities section of any publicly traded company, and there are probably some Liability items as well. This is a SUPER CRITICAL concept about accounting. The boundaries of a firm as suggested by the financial statements and those in reality are two very different things.

            OK, on the A side, in most businesses the most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each shift. None of those are on the books. OK, now hold that and draw your “T” accounts for them. Those assets on two legs are the debits, what is the credit? In other words, who owns them? The answer to that can be complicated if contracts at the individual level are involved, but typically that only applies to salaried people with titles. I doubt that Jony Ive at Apple was all that tied up with such a contract. But let’s say he was, you could book some value associated with the contract and credit equities in your T accounts, but most likely you would not. Most of your key engineering talent in a technology company are not on the books in any way.

            OK, let’s go to the equities. Who has an equity stake in the business that cannot be estimated accurately by two independent teams? Well, there’s your employees that we just talked about. Good leadership will both treat them that way and teach them to think that way. If you don’t and operate a greed machine for the sole benefit of the shareholders then the employees will respond in kind in terms of their attitudes and performance.

            OK, now continuing with this, a firm may have special relationships with customers, or suppliers, or the communities in which they operate. Those all have value and they all represent stakeholders.

            Let’s switch to the liabilities. These tend to be legal and can be tied to operational mistakes, product liabilities, and more.

            Now, if you are going to liquidate a company like the GE idiots have been doing to Boeing, what you first do is start downgrading and getting rid of your off-the-books assets. You are right, that the sale of any fully depreciated physical assets that still have a market value can produce some cash, but in a company that deals with technology with very long product life cycles, the first thing you do with downgrade your engineering talent and stop investing in new product development. Those can generate excess cash from operations, even if you are selling current production at huge losses. It goes on.

            But it all starts with getting a firm grasp on the limitations of accounting, then looking for things that are not on the books that can be liquidated.

            I can tell you that while Boeing was never a Bell Labs with Nobel Laureates by the dozen, it did once have some of the very best engineering talent on the planet that was available at any price. If you were to look at a normal distribution curve of engineering talent, Boeing’s mean was way over on the right side of that curve. Now it’s probably just barely at the midpoint or even slightly below. As for managerial talent, it used to be well to the right of the midpoint as well – not as far over as its engineering workforce talent mean, but well to the right of the total American talent pool mean. Now I would argue that it is well to the left of the mean, that that includes Calhoun who clearly doesn’t understand some of the most basic aspects of the business.

          • “….comment section where launching a new plane is equivalent to slick and efficient….”

            What? The point of launching a new plane would be reversing the decades long erosion of market share. When Boeing was taken over by McD in 1997, Boeing market share was about 60%. Recently I’ve read it is 30-40%. The GE Cash-flow management has robbed the traditional R&D budget to pay for stock buybacks. The concern for the future of Boeing commercial is not some sudden massive implosion, it is a slow death from lack of investment in the product line.
            Right now Calhoun is training up his own little cash flow mini-me to take his place when he retires. When Boeing reconsider launching a new airplane in 2030, the new CEO is going to say, now we have great new engine technology. But if we design a new airframe for the new engines it will cost $15 billion and 6 years, while Airbus can re-engine an existing plane for $4 billion and 3 years…..so….not worth launching. Let’s spend that money on stoch buybacks instead.
            The most likely time for Boeing to launch a new airplane program is….never! And that is the real threat to its future, not Airbus.

          • @ Frank and @ RTF

            There are plenty of examples of distressed companies that start to “sell the family silver in order to repair the roof”.
            One could try to sell real estate, for example, or one could try to sell an entire division. For instance, what would BGS fetch if BA were to sell it to another MRO company?

            Philips Electronics kept selling divisions in order to inject some life into the balance sheet. As a result, the company whittled down from an all-rounder that made a huge range of products to a Medical Devices company that’s still struggling…

          • They started selling things when the ink on the merger agreements was still wet. The very first target for non-accounting reductions was a concerted effort to get the best engineers and technical people to leave, which was wildly successful. By the year 2000 significant progress had been made in moving the technical talent mean well to the left of where it had been. This dumbing down of the company’s technical workforce was pretty much complete by 2010. The dumbing down of the managerial workforce happened at an even faster pace. What remains does not have the knowledge or skills requisite to successfully complete a full scale engineering development program.

            “Successful” is defined by meeting three criteria.
            1. The resulting product meets customer expectations on day one of going into service.
            2. It is finished within a couple months of the initial program schedule.
            3. It makes money for the company.

          • @Retired TechFellow

            Going there. 🙂

            Yes, I’m aware of how accounts work. It was kinda Day 1 stuff when I was taking the core courses of my major. Picked up a marketing minor along the way, too (the hot girls were always in marketing and int’l business, geeks were in finance and accounting).

            ‘Most of your key engineering talent in a technology company are not on the books in any way.’

            One can argue that the key talent is reflected in the value in the products they design and produce.

            Another argument is that this talent is reflected in goodwill. For instance (and I’m just throwing out numbers here) let’s say BA would have bought Embraer for the agreed upon price of $5 billion. At the time, the book value was $1 billion – but the young engineering talent was the prize. They would have booked the $4 billion into goodwill and there it sits, as an intangible asset.


            The ever changing face of human capital;

            How would you value it? Take for instance Harry Stonecipher. The CEO is supposed to be the most valuable asset, leading the company. They get paid the most. You book him at a value of $100 million. However Harry sticks his Stonecipher into the payroll “fishing off the company pier” as it was (stealing this from a freind) and gets booted out. You book a $100 million loss on the transaction?

            When they let Harry go, BA was trading at $40.93. When they hired Jim Mc to fill the roll, it was up at $43.48 – it had reached $46.21 a few days before and on the day they hired him, it went to $46.53.

            Was Harry a drag on the company? A credit in the asset pool?

            (HR isn’t just about engineering talent, it’s about everyone in the corp.)


            Although accounting firms like Deloitte will try to sell Human Capital Balance Sheets to customers, how do you value each asset? Is one engineering planner worth more than the next? Who assigns the value? The supervisor who is an a$$hole and hates the guy’s guts because he might be smarter than him?

            I suppose you could create a standalone engineering company that would act as a cost center, assigning expenses along activity based costing to each other division that uses their services. You think Boeing would sell it’s Engineering Division if it needed to gin up cashola?

            You do have engineering companies – SNC Lavalin comes to mind, where the talent is the asset.

            But what a slippery slope, trying to place a value on human capital.


            ‘If you don’t and operate a greed machine for the sole benefit of the shareholders then the employees will respond in kind in terms of their attitudes and performance.’

            You are preaching to the choir, here.

            But who’s to say what is and isn’t properly reflected in the b/s? You obviously place a value on the human component – and I happen to agree.


            But let me leave you with a thought;

            Imagine a world where the Max crashes didn’t happen. No pandemic and no Russia invasion affecting the demand/supply side of things. No huge FAA oversight with a microscope up the you-know-where.

            Boeing continues to usher it’s experienced and highly paid talent towards the door, continues to wind down R&D, subcontracts stuff out to India and Russia design centers.

            On the financial side – buybacks and dividends continue. No added $40 billion debt to the b/s and annual $2.5 billion interest payments.

            Where does the value of Boeing go? Up, down, or stays the same? IMO, it is headed to the moon.

            Now – an experienced hand like yourself might say, “These idiots can’t design a proper mouse trap. The engineering talent pool is way down. The cupboard is bare.”

            It won’t matter until the wall hits, then everyone will clutch their pearls and ask ‘How did this happen?’

            It’s because nobody really looks, or cares, or could even begin to accurately measure how valuable one work force is, over another.

            Labour is a cost pool that is traditionally kept as low as possible. That’s how it’s viewed. Is it right? No. But you’re asking for a paradigm shift, here.


            So, I’m not saying you’re wrong, with your position on the intangible things that make a company great; like good relations with suppliers, investing in the community, well paid and looked after employees and quality leadership.

            What I am asking you, is that BA has over $50 billion in debt. For over 3 years, they haven’t delivered a positive margin and the cash to keep the lights on will eventually run out.

            What would you put up for sale, that the company has, *that someone is willing to pay good money for*, to pay it down?

            (You did mention stuff that is off balance sheet, but at this point in time, what assets, tangible or intangible – could be sold for cold, hard, cash?)

          • @Bryce

            ‘For instance, what would BGS fetch if BA were to sell it to another MRO company?’

            I’m not so sure they could. It would be sticky, at best.

            How much in Services has been traded off, because of everything that has transpired over the past few years, to keep customers happy?

            Those agreements would travel with the entity. Anyone taking BGS on would have to honour them, depressing the value.

            Mind you…

            If I was a savvy head of the Services division, I would insist that any work I take for the shortcomings of other divisions, is compensated and recorded as an inter-company transfer and that my revenue is recorded for the work I do. If BCA has to give away my service to an airline to keep them happy and in line, I’m taking it out of their backside.

            And it would seem that (if BCA has given away maintenance) that Services isn’t paying the price:


            2018……… $17,018………..14.8%
            2019……….$18,468 ……….14.6%
            2020………. $15,543………..2.9%

            Never a negative year.

            Mind you, I am curious about 2020, when margins dipped to 2.9% on sales of $15.5 billion, which was still better than 2017 in terms of revenues, but the margin wasn’t as good.

            Pandemic? Grounding? They still did $15.5 billion. Did Services foot the bill for the Max’s sitting?

            $16,591 is the average revenue of those past 6 years.

            What would it be worth? It generated $2.7 billion in margin in 2022. What buildings/equipment/land come with it? Contracts?

            Choose your valuation method (s)….

          • @Frank It’s a fair question (paraphrasing hopefully not changing the intent of your question): What would I have them put up for sale to raise the cash needed to start acting like a company that can and is competently delivering top quality aerospace products again?

            The question about what is the way back is being asked a lot these days. the last time I answered it, my response was limited to the execution part, not the “where does the money come from to do it” part.

            I think the answer to this is as easy as it is distasteful to the current leadership team: fire the stockholders and go begging for a a GM style bailout. Throw out the existing financials and have a special earnings call type of press conference outside a Federal courthouse. Layout the whole sordid truth about the state of the company, then march inside and file Chapter 11. At the same time, put Duberstein to work gaining support for a monster Federal recapitalization package up at the high end of nine figures.

            The biggest problem with this is that it would be in direct violation of the WTO agreements, but as others in this thread have pointed out, the situation with the Chinese makes those invalid anyway. State sponsorship of aerospace companies is the way the world works at the moment.

            The money of course would be to rekindle Mulally’s 20xx program on the commercial side, and to deliver tankers that conform to the line number 923 specifications (conventional boom operator’s station and the -400 wing).

            Perhaps more urgently on the operations side I would make three urgent changes (I’ve said these before):’

            1. Manage everything with schedule and quality as the top priorities, replacing the current budgeting process with the old MEAC process.
            2. Make watermelon charts (i.e. lying about status on status reports) a firing offense with visible walks off of the property by security, and enforcement by a new internal audit organization to which all status reports would be automatically submitted.
            3. Setup a board level organization to manage systems complexity with a veto over all design work. It needs to be run by an outside expert – maybe someone who has led a red team effort for the launch controls on our Ohio class submarines. This needs to be someone who understands proper segmentation and functional isolation in complex systems, which is clearly lacking in Boeing’s current engineering workforce.

          • @Retired Tech Fellow

            So Ch 11, wipe out the shareholders and let the gov’t bail them out.

            Since BA didn’t take any fed money during the pandemic, I think that’s a non-starter.

            All those options that the c-suite boys hold become worthless, if they do that.

            The only card they hold, are those shares they bought back over the years – plus whatever they are holding that haven’t been issued.

            Wall St will hate it, investors will hate it, c-suite will hate it, everyone will take a haircut. But current mgmt might be able to retain control, if they get people to buy into the ‘we’re doing the best thing for the company’ story.

          • @Frank So technically you are correct when you say that Boeing did not get any money from the Federal government during the pandemic, but only because the Federal Reserve is not a part of the government in the most narrowly defined technical sense. It’s impossible to know exactly how much Boeing got from the Fed. There were a couple of programs, and the full details of them were never disclosed. That said, it was well into ten figures.

            Look, my bias is very simple. I worked for the company for 31 years and thought of it as a privilege. It was a fantastic institution and national asset. Of course, that Boeing no longer exists since what made it what it was, was its people and its culture and that’s is all gone. That said, I do believe it could be rebuilt, but not with the current ethic of either the management team or those who control the proxy votes. But it’s so far gone now, that those folks are really irrelevant, besides not being competent for that task. If the country wants to rebuild it, then that is a political decision that should be made out in the open the way it was for GM, otherwise, Comac will eventually figure out how to achieve their goals and it will no longer matter.

      • A340/A330 : beyond hanging two or four engines it is the same basic airframe.
        2 types for the cost of about 1.3 single type development.
        Good contingency planning.
        customers like LH absolutely wanted a 4holer for long haul.
        Without the 777 from Boeing Airbus would have been hung out to dry for certification of a large ETOPS twin.

        • Yes. The intial A340 models were that. if it wasnt for P&W failure to progress its GTF back then it might have sold very well but the warmed over CFM56 was a poor engine option.
          So Airbus spent up even larger for the 500/600 version with substantial changes to the wing box, lengthened the fuselage and a newer bigger RR engine, those versions sold even less even with more money spent on a HGW 600 version.

          Boeing has learnt the lesson on having the engines which lead the development not the other way around. The technology on very big engines was able to move much faster than the tech of smaller/ medium engines. Otherwise the quads would still rule ( co-rule?) the air.

  2. Hmmm. My favourite important saying is “Develop, or Die”. Airbus shouldn’t automatically be resting on its laurels, just because Boeing has called a time-out.

    I can think of reasons why they might want to pause the push; a world where Boeing has actually collapsed would be a very difficult one for Airbus – imagine the US anti-trust situation if Airbus were truly the last one standing? There is some evidence to suggest that Airlines too don’t want Boeing to collapse, and that this is partly why some of them are buying a few aircraft from Boeing.

    Airbus may also be being careful; a lot of the issues highlighted are related to trying to do an awful lot; no good trying to do too much. They also may not be being that careful, and have just run into the limit without planning it.

    Share buy-back? I’ve no idea how Airbus’s execs are remunerated, but if it’s partly in shares then buy-backs are automatically suspect, so far as I’m concerned. I’ve never seen the need for share buy back; if there’s excess money in the company, increase the dividend per share. That’s what the dividend is for!

    RR – Well, we’ll see. Certainly, Airbus can’t afford for them to fail. It’s still relatively early in the overall lifecycle of current engines for the 787, 350, 330neo; if they sort out the problems and make improvements over the next 5, 10 years, we’ll end up forgetting all about the “early niggles”. The RB211 wasn’t perfect first timeout either. There’s Ultrafan coming along too. That could literally change everything.

    • Did not Douglas start with staff from Fokker US operations in Teterborro airport New Jersey?

      • Douglas was a West Coast mfg and started before WWII with the DC-2 and 3.

          • “In 1923, Anthony Fokker moved to the United States, where in 1927, he established an American branch of his company, the Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, which was renamed the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America. In 1930, this company merged with General Motors Corporation and the company’s name became General Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, which in turn merged with North American Aviation and was divested by GM in 1948.” Wikipedia

            It was ‘Dutch’ Kindleberger who ran NAA in the 30s who moved to California

        • Kinda, and no. The whole business really started at the Los Angeles International Air Meet in 1910. It was there that Donald Douglas and William Boeing met Glenn Martin and got hooked on his vision of moving land transportation of all sorts into the air. Both of them eventually started airplane companies, taking different routes, and both remained friends until Boeing died in 1956.

          One notable early collaboration between their companies was the Douglas World Cruiser, which would later inspire the first version of the swoosh logo. They flew north from Long Beach to Seattle on the first legs of their trip. There, Boeing rebuilt the undercarriages and added pontoons for their water landings and take0offs.

          In another collaboration, Douglas share with Boeing their idea of using an internal truss wing structure in the DC-1 and derivatives, and Boeing used it in the 299 (aka B-17) and 307.

          Later, when the 727 and DC-9 were in development, Boeing discovered that if you didn’t move quickly enough trough the angles of attack going into a climb, you could starve the engines of inlet air and stall the plane. This was immediately shared with Douglas.

          • Thanks for that pointer

            Some good details about that very early airshow here, was said 250,000 tickets sold

            But this amused me
            ‘The Wright brothers did not take part in the event, but were there with their lawyers in an attempt to prevent Paulhan and Curtiss from flying. The Wrights claimed that the ailerons on their aircraft infringed patents. Notwithstanding their allegations, Paulhan and Curtis still made flights.’
            They later won damages for infringing their patents

            the site is now housing and such but a Glen Curtiss Middle school is nearby

    • share buybacks are the sign of a company that has run out of ideas.

      got too much cash in the bank? invest it in (R&D, buying a company, new technology, paying your workers a fair salary)

      • To be fair to airbus. There’s no reason why you can’t do both. You CAN do buybacks AND everything you just mentioned. Which from my understanding they are doing

        • I don’t understand the share buy-back operation. Essentially, the shares have been flat for quite awhile (30-32).

          • A company can only provide shares to its employees if it has shares in reserve to give. It builds up such a reserve by buying batches of shares on the market. That’s what AB and BA are now doing.

            In the past, BA did much larger share buybacks, with the express intention of reducing the number of outstanding shares, thereby manipulating EPS (earnings per share) to appear higher.

            You need to stop looking at the EADSY price (in USD) and, instead, look at the AIR price (in EUR).

          • Not exactly right on the share thing.

            If you have 100 shares and buy back 50, then the 50 are twice as valuable as they were (in theory). AKA, it raises stock price.

            then when your CEO gets canned, he sells his shares at a higher return.

            Of course that assumes you did not sink the company and your share are now worth a whole lot less (Boeing)

            Regardless its stupid and should not be allowed anymore than shares should be allowed to pay in lieu of salary.

          • @TransWorld – so not exactly on the share buyback math, although many would wish that mechanistically halving the outstanding shares would double the value of the remaining ones.

            First, if halves the dividend cost if there is one, but the remaining shares do not get a higher dividend (again, if there is one) just because there are half as many.

            But perhaps more critically, the value of any share of publicly traded stock is independently determined each time they are traded. Each trade starts with an offer to buy so many shares, typically at market, and then an automated process figures out what’s available, and at what price to fill the order. The result is that a buy-back transaction does apply pressure in the upward direction, but typically it is only a few dozens of percentage points of what a mechanistic calculation would suggest, and far below 100%. Now having said that, I know you already knew that, and your example is representative of the desired price pressure that is being applied by a buy-back transaction, so I’m not disagreeing with the point you were making in the least.

          • Interesting, interesting. So I did learn a little something on the subject of share buy-backs. It does ring true that BA would buy back shares to increase the value of the stock for obvious reasons; and that AB was primarily buying back shares to distribute to employees.

            But on all that, I’d presume the devil is in the details. How many shares are being purchased. I’m sure it was announced on more than one occasion, Boeing was using profits to buy back billions of dollars worth of stock.

            But both companies, but mostly BA, should have used the money for development of a new plane. But they did get the common shares up to $400. It is also interesting that sometimes the airlines come to the aerospace (companies) industry and say; Give me a plane like
            the 707, or the 747. Other times, the industry tries to shove down the airlines throats the A380, or the A340. But not to pick on Airbus. The MD-11, the MAX, the 767-400 all never really should have been made. At the time the money would have been better spent on real development.

          • BA got up to $440 on Mar 1, 2019.

            They spent $43 billion on buybacks since 2013 until the Max crashes. They also returned money to shareholders in dividends.

            Airbus spent about 35 MILLION Euro’s in 2022. Not billions. Millions. About the same so far, in 2023….give or take.

            $43 billion over 7 years is about $6 billion a year.

            Versus 35 million Euro’s. Not even 1% of what BA spent.


          • Thanks, Frank, that really puts it into perspective. Hence, we clearly get insight into why these two companies are in different situations today.

            And in hindsight, I should have dumped my meager Boeing holdings at 440…

          • @SamW

            ‘And in hindsight, I should have dumped my meager Boeing holdings at 440…’

            Oh Man, I feel so sorry for you. I hope it wasn’t too much of a haircut. What did you get in at?

          • @ Frank. Between 25 – 40, so I’m not really complaining, at least not about that transaction…

        • The so-called AB share buyback is “for the sole purpose of covering Airbus’ long-term incentive plan in shares. The repurchased shares will be redistributed to the beneficiaries of long-term incentive plans according to the relevant plan rules.”

          It’s almost laughable to compare AB’s “share buyback” with that of the other guy.

          • @Pedro

            Well – to be fair, it’s isn’t completely wasted. Depending on how much they added and when, it’s probably worth in 50-60% range of what was paid for it. Maybe a little better. I’m not going to go through the financials and do the math, but there is some value in them…

        • Let’s face it. It also pumps up the stock for investors. There are other ways to compensate employees appropriately than BUYBACKS of shares. Like yes they’ve dressed it up nicely here but let’s cut the crap. Boeing too has a similar scheme so let’s not even try and do that.

          Sounds like another round of propaganda to me.

          Boeing buybacks = hate employees, only care about Wall Street and earnings

          Airbus buybacks = they love their employees and just want to reward them.

          This is laughable at best.

          Look I’m all for buybacks if you can get the balance right which I think airbus is able to do.

          But for ONCE cut the crap

          • Rather than throwing another one of your uninformed tantrums, you might instead take the time to compare the SIZE of the buyback amounts for the 2 OEMs: in the case of AB, they’re too small to have a significant effect on share price.

          • Who’s throwing a tantrum? That’s how you usually deflect when you’re called out anyway. So nothing you.

            Everybody starts somewhere. Help employees my ass.

          • “Let’s face it. It also pumps up the stock for investors.”

            Have you looked at the volumes when you compare Airbus and Boeing?
            I recently gave links to the statisitics for both.

      • Quote: « share buybacks are the sign of a company that has run out of ideas. »

        Most large companies in the US have been doing the very same thing for years now. It’s not a sign of running out of ideas, it’s a sign of the Fed pumping too much money into the system. Couple that with low interest rates and you have a recipe for disaster because many of them borrow money to buy back shares. So when the interest rates start to go up you see what we are witnessing today: bank runs. And this is most likely only the beginning of an economic cycle that will lead us into a major recession, if not worse.

        • Neither of these comments are right, but monetary policy and how most money is currently created (it isn’t by central banks) is way way beyond the scope of Scott’s forum.

          I think the Starbucks example was the most relevant to this part of the discussion. Sorry, I forget who made that point, but I think it was about two weeks ago.

  3. Check out the UKs submarine building holiday of the late 1990s. Engineers were allowed to retire and drift off into other industries and digital design was supposed to take over when the orders finally came in.
    It was a disaster and they had to go cap in hand to the Americans for help to even get back on the road again.The first boats are flawed according to most accounts as BAE systems had to almost rebuild its skills base from scratch.
    It’s almost worth developing something not particularly successful just to stay in the game and the same thing goes for the engine makers.

    • Quite. Airbus must keep its core/baseload (whatever term is de jour) design teams active and it needs to be in a useful way. Maybe the X Planes stuff (H2 etc) is as much about this as about any deep belief in the actual design work.

      BAE Barrow depends on fear for its business and has no competitor either in what the UK government buys or where it buyes them. Their reputation could be awful (and FWIW it isn’t exactly glowing from wall to wall) and it would still get the business. Ditto re quaity/successful etc.. RR commercial aero in contrast depends on its reputation and commercial benefits, and faces multiple competitors perfectly capable of replacing it entirely, except around inernational politics. Reputation really, really matters for RR.

      • Easy to say but there are competing interests in getting as much out of a product as you can (A320).

        Losses to be made up in the A340 and the A380 not to mention the reputation issues going with RR and those engine issues.

        At one time forms could come out of the Military end but that is no longer true even if some of the composite tech applies, that has been done on current aircraft so the only big jump is out of autoclave.

        You have to try to balance all that and the norm in the US is to lay off and assume you can hire again .

        Or in the US getting pilots out of the military which no longer is the steady stream it was (and those pilots using the GI bill to pay for their conversion training)

        • Whatever losses that were incurred on the A340 program has easily been covered by the profits from its twin A330 program. The A380 is another matter were those losses have been written off by Airbus (they took their charges on their financials) before ending the program.

  4. That’s quite a to-do list for AB!
    I wouldn’t be surprised if low deliveries in Q1 lead to a (small) Q1 loss for the commercial aircraft division; if there is a profit, it will be meager. To avoid that, there’ll have to be a flurry of deliveries in the next 10 days, which isn’t very likely under the present circumstances.

    Some comments on specific points:

    – Engines: It’s not just RR — AB is also suffering from continuing problems with PW engines on its A220 and A320/A321 programs.

    – Share buy backs: The LNA article by Bryan Corliss below this one contains links to regulatory filings by BA and AB. The AB document specifies small share buybacks, and classifies them as being for employee compensation schemes.

    – Pricing: This is the elephant in the room — glad that Scott brought it up. Cutting price is one thing — but over-cutting it is another. There’s been mounting evidence for several months that various marquee sales by BA have been at unsustainable discounts, including at least three that appear to have been “zero margin” sales. What’s the point in this: you win an order, but don’t make any (decent) profit on it — or worse still, you make a loss?
    BCA had 112 deliveries in Q3 last year, and 154 deliveries in Q4 — and, yet, BCA made an operating loss of ca. $600M in both quarters. Thus arises the question: what number of deliveries will be necessary in order to return a profit? With paper-thin margins, the answer is an unattainably large number.

    • Here’s an article from regarding AB’s most recent share buybacks (emphasis added):

      “Airbus SE reports the following share buyback transactions from 13 to 17 March 2023 under Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on market abuse (“EU Market Abuse Regulation”).

      “The transactions are part of a share buyback program that started on 27 February 2023 **for the sole purpose of covering Airbus’ long-term incentive plan in shares **. The repurchased shares will be redistributed to the beneficiaries of long-term incentive plans according to the relevant plan rules. The share buyback program is expected to be completed by 27 March 2023.”


      • It is a trick to increase salaries with reduced tax burden for the individual. If you sell/give options to employees for a fixed price in the future and money supply M3 is high, the price of most stocks rise over the years and a few years later the option buyers/beneficiaries can make a load of money at low EU tax rates.

  5. I guess arrogance is a risk if you are successful. There’s no reason to assume Airbus executives are vaccinated against that.

    In terms of future product development Airbus has some seemingly low risk viable options; A320.5, A322NEO, A220-500, A350NG.

    Ongoing thermoplastics progress, rising defense budgets, a dominant helicopter market share, the A400M without competition, upcoming A320MPA financing, all green lights.

    As Scott states, complacency and arrogance are a real risk. Short term cashing, assuming success will continue without change, hard work and innovation.

    • Airbus has some work to do on the “sloppy design decade” on the NH-90, A400, A380, Tiger. Progress are being made. They are dependent on RR for their widebodies and P&W for their A220’s.

      • claes:

        In the case of the NH-90 and A400 (and the Tiger) its also support and the aircraft mechanics I worked around had nothing good to say about Airbus support (A300/310)

        On the other hand they loved the 777F. I think the MD-11F fell in the same area as Airbus. Boeing gave them great support after MD took over Boeing.

        • Airbus is crawling out of the problems with Tiger, A400 and NH-90 at great cost. The Eurofighter is no export success and the 4 engined A380/A340-500/-600 are buried. Still the A320/A330/A350 makes up for earlier misstakes, a good company have its ups and downs but have enough well performing programs to make up for the bad ones and the tradition to try again to beat the competition and take the pain, cost and delays to do it (A350-1000 vs 777-300ER).

    • All that you suggested costs money. As an Airbus stockholder you are concerned about turning that 7 year backlog into money. Not spending capital on a A220-500 when the A220 family .

      • “You’ve got to spend money to make money”
        Investors know that.

        Of course, you can’t spend money if you’re already drowning in debt…

        • @Bryce

          Past tense, Airbus has spent the money, and have been spending money for a while. The investors are ready for their share.

      • Boeing knows what’s best for AB shareholders, I kid you not! 😳

  6. If Airbus has succumbed to managerialism/corporatism (or pick your own term) whereby senior officers shape the business to benefit their own wealth that would be very bad. Always a risk with stock incentives.

    Maybe there has been a culture change since the governmental ties weakened.

    Or, maybe some of the problems are instead that Airbus haven’t matched employees with positions, or positions with needs, as they moved from aggressive growth and a changing environment to widespread dominance in a relatively stable environment. Quite often will need different people for the different phases but the way of employees sticking with companies moreso in European countries than in the USA could slow/limit Airbus’ ability to make the necessary changes v-a-v Boeing.

    • Though Airbus is a private concern, EU do hold some sway on its decisions. I wonder if the time comes for the next gen NB to built in a far more streamline fashion if Airbus will have the political will to make the economic decision to massively layoff when the time comes.

      • The last time Airbus did big layoffs, it became a huge public drama. I understand nowadays a lot of the staffing is sourced through subcontractors via body leasing. So the layoffs wouldnt occur at Airbus, but with much less publicity and public attention, at the subcontractors.

  7. I covered profesionnally aerospace for 25 years and for myself since age 8 and I can tell without any hesitation that arrogance is Airbus trademark since its inception. I can tell stories on the Airbus employees not only executives autosatisfaction. But I can admit too that Bombardier people are not too far behind. They both think that are the best and not shy to bash their American competitors.
    That’s the Latin way!

      • Toulouse is in southern France and french is a romance language like italian and Spanish. The local lingo in that part of France is Occitan(from Aquitaine).
        Hauteur is a well known french characteristic , from the President down ….who has used the provision in the constitution to pass laws by decree without the legislature around dozen times in last year. History buffs will remember that’s how Weimar Germany worked in it’s final years

        But back to Toulouse and it’s suburb of Blagnac…..Leiden in Netherlands is only nominal office for tax dodge reasons.
        Remember those who bleated about a certain company having the temerity of an office in Chicago

  8. For those who still are clueless about just how bad things are at Boeing, I would suggest doing a deep dive into the histories of International Harvester and John Deere.

    While Boeing’s Deere has yet to show up, there are three or four companies that have the potential.

    • Any insight into how bad things are at airbus? Or is it only Boeing we know or airbus’ doesn’t exist?

      • Airbus isn’t drowning in debt.
        You keep overlooking that key difference.

        • Oh no, because why would they need capital markets? Even if the earth is sinking airbus knows where to go to butter their bread. The propaganda that you want to sell here try on one of your cronies

          • And it’s obvious one or two things are missing and debt is now your new Hail Mary.

            My question to the poster was do they have any insight into airbus’ problems or is it only Boeing that has?

            You came here and started talking about debt.

          • Hail Mary, huh?

            I love a good NFL reference!

            Being a fan of the sport myself, I would have to say that Airbus is driving, with a first down in the red zone – while Boeing is 4th and 20 at it’s own 35 yard line, with no time outs left. 3rd string QB in under center.

            “You are, what your record says you are”
            – The Tuna

          • @ Frank

            Since politics is involved in airplane sales (China) lets mix in some Madness.

            Airbus is dominant Virginia and Boeing is Furman, and the game just started………………………We know how it ends.

          • @Williams

            I’m sorry man, I don’t get the reference. What is this from.


          • Ohhhh…Ok – March Madness.

            Yah, I have drifted away from basketball.

          • @Frank

            Yes March Madness where everyone tore up their brackets sheets on the second day.

      • This reply would have fit with several other comments. Both Boeing and Airbus have struggled with the concept development phase of new product development in the commercial airplane parts of their businesses. This is a particularly difficult job as it combines skills that are not often found in a single person, and to do it well one needs somebody with all of the key skills to perform the leadership role.

        Many talented aerospace engineers are highly motivated to develop things that fly higher, faster, or are bigger, more fuel efficient, and so on. However, they tend to not be all that interested in the economics associated with operating a successful airline, regardless of the sector (general passenger, long haul, discount, freight, etc.).

        The leadership of both companies tends to be even weaker at these things (i.e. recognizing where the opportunities lie and and knowing what to look for). As a result, both companies have occasionally highlighted ideas that make no sense in the market.

        It is equally true that the operators and leasing companies are weak on providing guidance. They often lack awareness of where the technical opportunities can be found or even what they look like. They know their pain points, but that’s quite different from describing solutions that make great products from the point of view of the airframe builders.

        Discussions around the relative risks of various concept development possibilities will typically overplay some risks and ignore the seriousness of others.

        As for the crowd here that continues to babble on as though the primary purpose of any company is to make profits for its investors, well, that’s just pathetic. Those folks should spend some time thinking about the point of life, and human activity – maybe take a philosophy class or two. The Teaching Company has a really good ones in its series called “The Great Courses.”

        • Well you have both Steven Ferencz Udvar–Házy and Sir Tim Clark that can give clear advise on aircraft design and economics. Starting with 12-15% better economics per seat mile on main trunk routes is a good start.

          • Dream on. If seat-mile costs are only measured by costs associated with the plane when it is in the air, a big gain is measured in single digits with the fingers on one hand.

            But then, there are several other areas that drive costs for both operators and leasing companies which are very promising design targets.

          • @RTF, there are lots of opportunities to reduce customer cost of a new fleet. Just look at the manhrs required, it is often 1 manhr per flying hr just in line maintenance. You have massive checks similar to D checks that cost money and standstill time. You have heavy maintenance on engines and components that you think should last the technical life of the aircraft. Just sending a pair of GE90-115B’s thru Overhaul will make a good dent in your wallet. You need fully QEC’d spare engines sitting waiting for an engine failure. So if you get a non corroding, non cracking “carbon” widebody lasting 50 000hrs on wing without “D” checks nor engine changes your cost will drop alot. Of cause you need regular night/weekend services like tyres/brakes/oil/filters/windshield wipers/rugs/seats/compressor washes…

          • @Claes – of course, but that is echoing points I already made. There are lots of opportunities to make things better, but double digit improvements in air vehicle seat mile performance in the air, which is what you suggested, is not one of them. Gate turn around times, hangar queen ratios, (how many planes you have to own to keep some number of them in service), and ease of swapping out interiors, engines, and avionics so a leasing company can quickly find a new customer for a plane coming off of lease are all good areas where big improvements are possible. But let’s drop this. There is no point in saying the same thing dozens of times.

          • @John Peace – we are in agreement. That’s a good thing about this forum. If the time is taken to exchange enough data and perspectives, a common understanding is more than likely to emerge. Of course, I’ve been listening to an audio book on Thomas Jefferson by Jon Mecheaman while I’ve been on the road over the past two days.

        • I would add that the 787 really raised the bar for difficulties with on a development program. I read that financial analysts still discuss when, and if, Boeing will ever earn a net dollar on that program. (Let’s outsource everything and pay for minimal oversight & coordination with suppliers…..we’ll save billions…)
          And the ideological successors of this fiasco still remain in charge.

          • So I have explained this many times here, but I understand that the myth is super powerful. 787 was in reality airplane #1 of the 20xx program. If you do some searching on that, I suspect you will find my website that explains the whole story. Mulally’s goal was to totally replace the entire lineup of Boeing commercial airplanes, and to transform the industry with the goal of what he called the “1 in 10 airplane.” That is, from program kickoff to first flight in ten months and for one billion 1997 dollars.

            The business goal was to be able to take the order if someone wanted to buy a plane with a new package of technologies that was not yet certified. This meant turning the suppliers loose to run ahead of Boeing so that integration would involve systems and components that would become trivially easy to integrate.

            The task assigned to airplane #1 (aka 7E7/787) to embed an army of engineers with the suppliers (at least 200) to work with them to figure out what the new interface standards would look like.

            Stonecipher agreed to launch the program and then refused to fund supplier management. This is when the exodus of talent from the commercial side of the company began in earnest. The defense side talent drain was basically over by that time (roughly 2002).

            Maybe dispelling this myth that Boeing was intending to dump on the suppliers with no engagement is the same as trying explain global warming to to a MAGA nut case, and it just can’t be done. But, I’ll keep trying.

          • “Mulally’s goal was to totally replace the entire lineup of Boeing commercial airplanes, and to transform the industry with the goal of what he called the “1 in 10 airplane.” That is, from program kickoff to first flight in ten months and for one billion 1997 dollars.”

            And that was a pipe dream from day one.
            ( Or in all truth _a gigantic swindle_)
            I’ve yet to see a viable path to reach those design/production metrics.
            As I wrote earlier : Boeing is walloping in Cargo Cultish behaviour.

          • @John

            ‘I read that financial analysts still discuss when, and if, Boeing will ever earn a net dollar on that program. ‘

            Two things on that:

            1) Using program accounting, BA pulled profits from the 787 program, even at it was bleeding cash all over the place. How much profit was pulled during that period – is the question. That money is gone. Spent on buybacks for shares that went to $440 and are now worth $220.

            2) Boeing wrote off $3.5 billion on the program a couple of years ago. They’ve added a couple more billion recently, as ‘abnormal production costs’. By definition, it’s a loss making program.

            If Boeing thought, as some purport here – that BA would sell 2,500 of the jets, over the life of the program, they never would have taken the loss.


            From their financials:

            ‘The 2021 loss also reflects a reach-forward loss on the 787 program of $3,460 million. Abnormal production costs in 2022 were $1,753 million, including $1,240 million related to the 787 program, $325 million related to the 777X program, and $188 million related to the 737 program.’


            The write-off on the 787 program;

            ‘Cumulative abnormal costs recorded through December 31, 2022 totaled $1.7 billion. During the fourth quarter of 2022 we adjusted the total estimate of abnormal production costs up to $2.8 billion with most being incurred by the end of 2023. At December 31, 2021, we were expecting to incur approximately $2 billion of abnormal production costs on a cumulative basis.’

            So another $2.8 billion on top of the $3.5 billion. A $6.4 billion write off.


            Here’s the Boeing estimate on where the 787 program is:

            ‘At December 31, 2022, $9,881 of 787 deferred production costs, unamortized tooling and other non-recurring costs are expected to be recovered from units included in the program accounting quantity that have firm orders, and $4,530 is expected to be recovered from units included in the program accounting quantity that represent expected future orders.’

            So Boeing’s 787 current order book, is expected to cover $9.881 billion of the DPB (the current backlog of 574 jets they have on order), and they expect orders they don’t yet have, to cover the remaining $4.530 billion.

          • @Uwe No, it was very real. But for someone who was on the outside, your perception is understandable – dead wrong, but understandable.

            You might do well to read a little Joseph Campbell or watch the PBS series on his work on “The Power of Myth.”

          • @RTF
            Cargo Cult and Myth intersect here apparently.

            You can’t design and fly a plane on myth or group hypnosis.
            ( OK, maybe in a different timeline like the one for Heinlein’s Glory Road 🙂

          • @UWE I’m quite close to giving up on you. I was on that program and what I am telling you is exactly the way it was. If some outsider who doesn’t know wants to believe something else, then fine.

          • @RetiredTechFellow
            I don’t disagree with what you wrote about the 787 development fiasco, in fact my comment was not meant to be in conflict with what you have written. I summarized the program development as, “let’s outsource everything and then pay for minimal support and oversight of suppliers.” You interpreted this as stating that this was the intention from the beginning. But my intent was to describe what actually happened, not when it happened.
            I understand that Boeing management did increase the degree of outsourcing over previous programs, and did fail to provide reasonable oversight and support to vendors. I did not mean to say that these two actions happened simultaneously, only that they did happen, which I see as a very brief summary of your comments on the issue.

      • If BA is in bad shape, then AB *must* also be in bad shape? Logical?? 😆

  9. First kudos to Scott Hamilton for doing an article like this. This is not news, and I have heard and read the same. This is not John Leahy’s Airbus. Airbus’s shareholders for over decade looked at the returns Boeing shareholders were receiving and wanted the same. There is a reason Airbus had a bribery scandal, Airbus is money hungry too. Now that Airbus is in a position of dominance how does it act? Surprised its not as hungry as the Leahy days? Only the naïve are surprised.

    Here something else Airbus knows and was reported a couple of years ago and that is chunks of the massive A320 family backlog is not all that secure and Airbus knows it. Hence one of the reasons to monetize the backlog by whittling it down fast as reasonably possible.

    Airbus is to be commended for getting to this position of dominance with the right NB product for the right time. But why is anyone surprised that Airbus is taking the foot off the gas pedal?

    • Exactly. This same airbus heckled down customers to take their jets when they couldn’t and they were warned about the relationship precedent they were setting. Whilst Boeing (with no help due to their issues) we’re far more welcoming of customers. Now they’re struggling to get sales for their big jets. Kudos to Scott for raising it.

      In the last few months Boeing has grown its 87 backlog by over 200 frames and I don’t know what backlog Airbus has to flex there because that backlog is very weak, particularly compared to Boeing.

      But I’m not surprised Airbus is infatuated with money. They’re run by human beings. Everybody knows how to advice when there’s no cash but when there’s so much cash pouring in? Things are very different.

    • Sometimes seemingly small items have a huge impact. The taller gear on the A320 family gives it an ability to take advantage of newer engines as they come along, and its stretched versions will not be at risk of tail strikes. The 737 family suffers greatly from a design that was driven by considerations that loomed large in the 1960s and which are now both irrelevant and a serious disadvantage. The plane’s basic structural configuration is hopelessly obsolete at this point, and really has been since the late 1980s.

      • Airbus didnt relay on its taller gear for the longer A321 when first built.

        It had completely new double slotted wing flaps and larger wing area to give a reasonable runway performance. However they are still prone to tail strikes and the landing and takeoff rotation recommended followed strictly. So that part of your comments isnt the case.
        FBW doesnt always prevent this issues

        • My point was really aimed at the insanity of pretending that a 737-10 is a good idea. There were good reasons for configuring the 757 the way it was.

          • Maybe . But what the market wants the market gets , a just over 200 seater 737 Max.
            The market killed the 757, now thats what you call insane. The reality is the smaller twins stole its lunch and their only redeeming feature was the shorter wing span to fit in the most common terminal gates.

            One of our good friends here commented at the max 10 having a slightly different undercarriage and how it was against the commonality ‘rule’
            Dont think he realised that the double slotted flaps rule breaker on the A321 didnt bother the buyers and yet again the rule is broken again by different again flaps design for the A321XLR. You would think for some the ‘A321 has golden wings’ and flies to Nirvana

  10. @ Scott Hamilton
    You’ve mentioned Mobile (US) and Mirabel (Canada) in the article above — and on previous occasions — but have you heard of any issues with the FAL in Tianjin (China)? Or is it too soon to say at this juncture?

    • No data on Tianjin. But it’s based on the Hamburg line, and we know Hamburg has issues.

      • Airbus is heading from 45 to 75 NB in a couple years…No real technology breakthroughs in the 2020’s….so what’s the issue?….just keep harvesting the product lines until Boeing shows its hand on a new aircraft…second mover in this business….e.g. 787 and then A350 is not a bad strategy

  11. Engine issues with the 220/320 are causing a lot of issues with operators, certainly in Africa/India. AB can’t do too much here other than divert tech from to-be-delivered airframes to help.out the in-service (or not in-service) fleet. Pretty shameful really and again makes me wonder what all the years of test and certification really tells the OEMs.



    In reference to pricing, availability, complacency… Well I guess pricing/availability – that’s their decision and those decisions will adapt/ebb/flow depending on what they can and are willing to provide – they may not want to over-sell and under-deliver (and pay penalities); complacency – a good internal shake-up where there is real failures vs. passing the parcel (helped by articles like this one) would be wise. It’s a trainwreck on production everywhere right now… Everyone needs to get their s**t together, but hard to see how for another year or so.
    R&D: would love to see AB move ahead with a re-winged 320/321/322, 220-500, 330neo derivatives for cargo/MRTT, but as I postulated a while back, with Boeing retreating from a new design NSA/MOM, AB has little need to move, and as a traded company, would find it hard to justify to it’s owners; coupled with getting current products out the door one-time, on-quality, and on-specification!!!
    Boeing will do well in sales for a while… AB hasn’t got the slots, and can’t increase them until the whole industry fixes itself.

    • Regarding Airbus and engines. Airbus can add its own reliability/testing demands on to the EASA/FAA engine certification requirements. Imagine if Airbus had missed the PW1100G “rotor bow” and poured out A320neo’s that would be grounded the following months. Now it was a limited damage. Testing engines in test cell and on wing thru a smart scheme should have caught most PW1100G and PW1500G problems before entry into service. CFMI had 18 LEAP test engines and still has problems (of a different scale) Airbus having spare A340’s can have a fleet of them with the new engines installed flying into the Arab/Sahara desert and see the results of hot and sandy operations before 10 000cycles.

  12. Airbus is ahead product wise.
    A350 and B787 are even. With the 87 having acess to GE engines, which is a point.

    A321neo is a winner. A220 and A320 fam win big time.

    But: Airbus has more than enough troubles.
    They are in a boot with RR – and that might hurt, if the B779 comes up with an engine that makes up for the 15t more OWE.
    On top, it limits the further dev. of the A350.

    Airbus has an issue with the A330neo – an orphan with barley any sales.
    This leaves Airbus with a huge gap between it`s A321neo and A359.
    And also the A35K doesn`t sell well – why? To weak engine? Needs a bigger wing?
    Didn`t even talk about military, EFA, ATR, A400m, FCAS, etc.

    Airbus has a lot of homework too and need to cement its´lead in the product portfolio.
    The A220-500 must be launched,
    the A330neo needs a freighter or an replacement and some sales success.
    And the A35k needs an answer to the B777x.

    There`s plenty of things to do for Airbus, and the worst they could is to stop investing in their portfolio.

  13. The HR has not been recruiting correctly in the past five years.
    The quality of staff recently hired is not at the standard it was twenty years ago.

  14. ‘Boeing continues to clean up with new orders of the 787 vs the A350.’

    I really don’t understand this – could someone please explain it to me.

    For example; United were never going to order the A350 to replace their 767’s, then fly them domestically. They have 138 Dreamliners (-9’s) on order. The 787-9 has an MTOW of 562,000 lbs.

    The A-350 900/1000 have MTOW’s of 624k and 697k lbs. Both of those variants fly over 8,000nm. Both carry more pax and fly further than the 787. Different market.

    When Qantas was looking for jets for it’s Project Sunrise, it was the 777 vs the A350.

    How does the A330 and the 777X get left out of the conversation? Do they not exist? Both OEM’s position their aircraft and design them to be slightly different from the other guy.

    But it’s the A330 vs the 787 and the A350 vs the 777.

    The A-350 is going to try to grab the 777 replacement market, as older jets get replaced (along with the A340/747/A380). The 787 is trying to grab the A330Ceo market, as those jets get older.

    Air France has A350’s is operating and incoming to replace their 777’s. Ditto with Asiana. Delta. JAL. A host of others.

    Japan Air Lines uses their 787’s in domestic, as well as int’l. Like United.

    Will we ever see the A350 in regularly schedule short hop flights? Used like that that for years, flying a couple of hours? No. Makes no sense – too much aircraft.

    Sure….there are exceptions to the rule. There always are. But the A350 is Airbus’ biggest and longest aircraft. It’s going up against Boeing’s biggest and longest aircraft.

    • Japan Airlines uses the A350-900 as its domestic WB with 369 seats plus some 787-8 , but most of latter are on long haul

      • A bit of little known trivia about the 787:

        While ANA was the lead customer, the airline we really worked hard to satisfy was TUI. They shift their fleet with the seasons, and summertime medium haul planes become long haul ones in the winter. It’s a very demanding equipment profile. We figured that if TUI could be made happy with it, so would everyone else. Of course, I’m ignoring the program management disaster that set in.

  15. Whatever’s causing the slowdown in narrowbody deliveries seems to be very persistent: Planespotters currently indicates an exact tie in March deliveries for both AB and BA at just 24 frames each.
    Only about 20% of delivered 737s came from inventory — down from the usual percentage of about 35%.
    In relative terms, compared to nominal monthly rates, AB is scoring more poorly than BA.

    On the widebody side, in March, BA has so far managed to get 1 777F and 3 787s out the door (1 from inventory), whereas AB has delivered 2 A330s.

    Embraer doesn’t appear to have delivered any E-series so far in March.

    COMAC hasn’t delivered any ARJs so far this year.

    What’s blocking the pipework?

  16. 787 Engine Correction:

    The Trent 1000 is no longer offered. The Trent 1000 Ten (sometimes simply called the Trent TEN) is the engine offered.

    I do not know if anyone has taken up a TEN on a new order.

    • Was hopeful Rolls would bag a few of those new 787 orders..
      Sadly , outside of Lufthansa ordering 7 more 787’s (presumably with Trent engines),
      Every recent new 787 order went with GE , even Riadh, which Rolls was hoping to bag, stayed with Saudi ,and went with GE..
      Very few undecided customers left ,yet to make their selection..
      Looks like 2 African Carriers have had enough of the PW glitches on their A220 fleet..and pooling together to bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer..
      Is GE/CFM the only major engine OEM experiencing relatively few difficulties at this time,with plenty of orders across the board !!!


      • Look at it from an airliner’s point of view and not a fan. If a certain maker is costing you money by keeping your expensive bird on the ground would you order from them again? Would you order from them after seeing the problems another carrier has with the same engine maker?

        Now sometimes these problems can be overcome with a nice discount, but eventually discounted engines do not make up for operational nightmares.

    • TW
      You were correct on those potential 787 engine selections not going RR’way…
      Looks like China Airlines inked the Genx, along with the 2 Saudi Carriers as well
      Throw in the Air India Order ,United,and Eva Air upping their commitment to Engine with 5 more 787 9 orders..
      At last ,the sole big undecided customer, Emirates… would think would decide shortly on their options..!?

      • For some reason Uniteds more recent 787-10s are listed by a reliable source
        as powered by RR . I dont know if its a data error in the source or other reasons

  17. ‘That’s not all. Airbus is unwilling to be as aggressive on price as Boeing these days. Boeing needs to win back its market share. It is faced with customer demands for compensation due to delivery delays on the 737, 777X, and 787. One way for Boeing to compensate unhappy customers is to cut prices on its airplanes. Airbus, with full production lines for years to come, has little motive to cut prices when early deliveries aren’t available anyway.’

    With respect, I’m not sure what you are trying to say here.

    It’s a bad thing that Airbus’ aircraft are highly valued and can be sold for more? The other guy has to cut prices to move their stock and in a two horse race, that’s a good thing for them? Especially given their financial circumstances?

    I understand the production difficulties to ramp up, complacency and arrogance – but isn’t that what every company in the world strives for? A dominant position in a market, where your products are prized over the competition, thus fetching a premium price?

    Unless you are saying that this has made them lose their edge.

    Yah…I can see that.

    I can also see how the entire OEM business has been thrown into turmoil by the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


    The macro view;

    The aircraft sales game is noted for it’s small, incremental changes in design and efficiency. Move and counter move.

    Who is in the dominant position? Airbus is. They own the lucrative NB market 65/35. The two competing WB products that Boeing has cost them over $10 billion in write offs (and counting) over the past couple of years. Everyone at Airbus can read financials and see the situation at Boeing.

    Who is it incumbent upon to change things, to change their position, in an effort to alter the status quo?

    It’s Boeing’s move.


    Share buybacks

    If I’m reading this correctly;



    And please correct me if I’m wrong;

    Disclosure of Transactions 23 to 25 February 2022
    Disclosure of Transactions 28 February to 03 March 2022

    TOTAL 149,400 111.4439
    TOTAL 176,553 109.7396

    In Euro’s 16,649,136
    In Euro’s 19,374,926
    2022 Total: 36,024,062

    So they spent 36 million Euro’s in 2022, on stock buybacks.


    TOTAL 321,086 118.699254

    38,112,908 Euro’s on buybacks in 2023, so far.

    In summation, they’ve spent $36 million and $38 million (sorry, in Euro’s) on buybacks.

    I understand that there are critics, but given the $43 billion spent from 2013 to 2019 by the other guy…I would ask those critics to have a look at the numbers, do a comparison – then get back to you. If this is where they have to go to find stuff…

    • Knowing Airbus , they will have an off the books company based in say Malta tax haven thats buying back the shares. Thats what they did to hide the bribery deals. To cover up the bigggg losses of the A400M program they almost did a trick where the IP of the program would ‘sold’ to the major countries buying the plane so Airbus could book that as revenue. I suppose they realised that they would be caught out so backed out of that deal.

    • NBC: Broken Boeing airplanes are going to the military thanks to corruption and bad decisions

      • Thats 3 year old news, do you have anything newer that would show todays reality??

    • @ Frank
      Any theories as to why BA is selling at unsustainably low pricing?

      (a) They have to discount sharply in order to move the product?

      (b) They’re trying to swell up the order book so as to pimp-up the share price? Wall Street doesn’t seem to be taking that bait: anyone reading BA’s regulatory filing can see that Cost Of Sales for the past 3 years has been 95% of revenue — meaning, for example, that a $10B order translates into just $500M in earnings.

      (c) They’re asking for a concession from the customer in return for a higher discount, e.g. expedited payment of deposits (so as to artificially pimp up cashflow) or a commitment to retain the services of BGS?

      Any others?

      • @Bryce

        All very valid points.

        In business, it has historically always been cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to run out and try to get new ones.

        Every airline that jumps into the AB side of the ledger is now locked into them for the next…… 20 years?

        Especially when you are talking aircraft, which involves pilot training, maintenance and a whole bevy of items that are unique to each OEM.

        It’s not like being a Volkswagen driver one day – then walking into a Toyota dealership saying “I think I’ll try Japanese, this time around”

        Whatever the reason for a flip, you don’t want it to happen. A big shock to the system.


        So much of what happens on Wall St is about perception and confidence. Indeed, much of how the economy works is based on those thing – take a look what happened when a run on banks begins.

        The BA balance sheet is a mess. They tied up a lot of cash in buybacks and those shares are an asset. Every time share price goes up, so does that asset.

        I fully expect that for Boeing to get a handle on things they will sell some shares to pay down debt. They have to. All of their divisions are intertwined and necessary to the operation as a whole. BCA sells stuff to military. Services derives revenue from commercial sales.

        The only thing they could spin off would be space, but 1) It’s a mess and 2) They get good money from NASA

        Boeing never acquired other companies in different industries to diversify away from aerospace, like GE did, instead focusing on core competencies.

        The decisions that Boeing makes today on pricing will be reflected in their margin for years to come. The proof will be in the pudding.

      • @ Frank
        What you say about “brand loyalty” is certainly important.
        And, yet, certain airlines do (partially) jump ship from time to time: just recently, we’ve had Jet2, Qantas, AF-KLM and Allegiant.

        p.s. Did you see the post below about another charge on the KC-46A, leading to negative margins for Boeing Defense in Q1?

        • Yes I did.

          Ironically, over at the financial website, someone asked Dherin awhile back – what he thought the Defense side of things was worth to BA. He estimated that (I think BA was around the $130 mark) that Defense alone was worth $90 of the share price, IIRC.

          Defense, Space and Services were supposed to be the fall back position for BA to weather the Commercial storm, until they turned things around there.

          Hasn’t quite worked out like that…

          • For astute observers who read between the lines there’s major USAF contracts for a twin engine air superiority fighter under development…which for the very astute also read as Boeing St louis.
            It’s a reversal of the F35 in that the software is coming first and that’s more easily kept secret from adversaries

          • @ DoU
            Oh wow, that’s great — there’s a new program “under development” .
            Do “under development” programs always eventually materialize, or do plans sometimes change?
            Importantly: will any profit be made on that program if it does, eventually, materialize?

          • Good points .
            Ask Airbus about its new JV with Dassault on a new fighter for France and Germany .

            The A400M is still costing Airbus a mint, but its all good as it merely dismisses the money pit as an ‘onerous contract’
            it seems a worthwhile and innovative plane, and they did learn about composite wings from the development before they had the A350.Putting the development into the taxpayers tab!
            pity about the management

          • Yes, Duke.
            But Airbus Commercial isn’t depending on Airbus Defense to keep it afloat — which was Frank’s original point above w.r.t. BA.
            You’re slipping again.

      • “Big discounts” to move those 737 MAX/787 in inventory;
        the MAX 9/10 also require substantial discounts from BA in order to compete with A321neo.
        Conclusion: BA is in a pickle even as it gains order.

        • How come it’s Boeing who has the bigger tranche of actual buyers deposits and advance payments…..$53 bill worth

          That speaks louder than someone who has cornered the market in the cheapo and fly by night airline orders

          • Hint:
            Deposits disappear from the balance sheet once delivery occurs.
            Which OEM has been delivering more in recent years?

          • What a beancounter likes to siddle up to his boss:
            rebates. All those “moved left” prepayments come with further rebates. ON the right side delays come with further compensation.

            If I were a beancounter with a carrer in mind
            I’d know what song to sing to my boss.

          • Hint . Who has the ‘biggest outstanding order book’?

            They are fully booked up for 5 years or more some say.

            Wheres the beef from the forward orders …both in yearly delivery and future quantity they should be head and shoulders above Boeing .

            Should ?
            Thats unless Airbus uses unusual accounting or negligible forward payments or dodgy orders …or all 3

          • Poor Duke seemingly doesn’t understand that only a relatively small deposit is paid for a plane after ordering.
            As the plane nears completion, the sum of the deposits paid on that plane increases.
            So, the company with the most undelivered inventory out in the parking lot has received a huge amount in deposits for that inventory…a far larger amount per frame than for ordered planes whose production hasn’t started yet.
            Now, which company has the most inventory sitting around?

          • How much of the pdp came from the 787 in inventory not able to be delivered to customers without approval from FAA, 767 freighters unable to be delivered due to fuel tank manufacturing issue and the infamous 737 MAX debacle??

    • Thats 90 instead of 100,… oh woes.

      Thats still a huge number of planes compared to its total fleet of 780 , so getting 90% is still a good outcome

    • Brian will dance around the question in true BA fashion.
      He’ll spout some fudge like “just look at our new orders”, and will then be ushered onto the next question.

      • Can BA maintain its FCF/profit guidance with dwindling delivery? Another shoe waiting to drop.

  18. I personally think that this is a great time for Airbus to launch a proper replacement of the A330. Im thinking carbon fiber wings, fuselage, new engines. Similar cross section but ranged for 5500-6000NM. Such a plane would be ready around the 2030 timeframe or so. This plane would shore up what I believe to be a weak spot in the current airbus lineup.

  19. Pedro

    …”It’s almost laughable to compare AB’s “share buyback” with that of the other guy…”

    It is above all laughable not to provide any proof while contradicting the words of LNA…

    • He did provide proof — go back and read it (or, rather, get Google Translator to go back and read it)…

      • couple posts back I provided links to share buy back statistics for Airbus and Boeing _afair in a reply to checklist_ ?

  20. This constraint in new airliners will very rapidly turn into a glut within two years with values of new airliners crashing in a waterfall event like you have never witnessed before.

  21. Airbus might talk to Singapore Airlines on A350-1000s



    I’m under the impression no big airline wants to be overexposed to either Airbus or Boeing. If Boeing would launch an Boeing 7321 NB today, 7-8% better than the A321, (incl. engine choice, AKH option) they’ll sell thousands just because of that dual source preference.

    • Southwest and Ryanair are among the largest airlines in the world, and they seem to be relatively happy to source just from BA (up to recently, at least).

      Similarly, EasyJet and Wizz are among the largest airlines in Europe, and they seem perfectly happy with an Airbus-only fleet.

      Then again, LCCs tend to like using a single type, for cost reasons.

    • @Keesje, problem is to get to that 7-8% costs 10 Billion and easily countered with a A320 rewing. Also the FAA and EASA are about to drop new cockpit rules that all the OEMs are waiting for. Even Airbus has stated it will require a rework of their cockpit system. Which I bet is one of the reasons they are holding off the A220-500 in addition to the A320 family presently making bank.

    • From the linked article:

      No wonder some workers of BA have sweared off flying in a 787
      -> In an earlier shocking production blunder, three of ANA’s Boeing 787s were delivered with engine fire extinguishing controls wired in reverse, meaning if a fire had broken out in the left engine, for example, extinguishing agent would have been fired into the right engine instead, with potentially disastrous consequences

      -> In September 2020, 9V-SCI (SIA’s 9th Boeing 787-10) was identified as one of 8 aircraft worldwide affected by a manufacturing defect in its tail. The aircraft had to be flown to Victorville, California for a three-week repair by Boeing in October 2020, but a further fix was required. The aircraft made the same long journey for a second stint of repairs between late August and early October 2022.

      -> In a May 2021 financial update, SIA said five more brand new Boeing 787-10s would be arriving in the fleet by 31st March 2022. Not a single one has been delivered at the time of writing, nearly a year later.

      -> In a November 2022 fleet update, Singapore Airlines said it would be taking delivery of two Boeing 787-10s by 31st March 2023, with one entering service and the second coming online in the subsequent financial year, starting 1st April 2023.

      -> 9V-SCP is the 1,000th Boeing 787 built, and was originally due for delivery in May 2020.

      • The new Saudi airline has stated that it plans to start using its freshly-ordered 787s in 2025.

        Good luck with that.

      • Mr Pedro, you could have provided the rest of the data your source on SIA 787-10 provided

        “On 1st March 2023, two of SIA’s new Boeing 787-10’s (9V-SCS and -SCQ) each completed their third test flights. 9V-SCP had its fourth flight a week earlier.
        Four new Boeing 787-10s have already been built for Singapore Airlines (some as long as three years ago!), and could be delivered in any order…”
        You’re welcome

        Hows you updates on the Airbus promised deliveries of 180 planes for this quarter that likely well under 100 will be delivered on time.

        • Oh wow! Built, but not delivered.
          Gosh, that’s very useful for SIA.
          Maybe the carrier prefers new frames rather than ones that have been vegetating for 3 years…

      • Didn’t notice the bit in the article above about BA’s price-cutting?
        Price-cutting erodes margins.
        Companies with big debts and continuing charges on existing programs can’t afford eroded margins.

        Funny how stuff is interconnected.

        • The KC-45 central tank is a supplier issue and will land on that companys account.
          But as Boeing is lead contractor its missing that revenue in the current quarter but will claw any costs back in other quarters and maybe into next year
          Its all in the story , but beyond the headlines some only read
          “but we will recover the year,” West said at the Bank of America Global Industrials Conference, adding that the issue would not impact Boeing’s annual cash flow target of $3 billion to $5 billion in 2023.”

          Your’re welcome

          • We’ll see how it goes, since what Boing claims will
            happen and what *actually* happens seldom coincide, once the PR spotlights are off.

            “Your’re” is very good; I might have to nick that one for special occasions.

          • Hey Dukeofurl

            Isnt the KC45 the Airbus contender for the 1st replacement cycle of the KC135.
            As far as I know, there never was a center tank issue with it. The booms may fall off occasionally, but the center tank was never listed as a concern……

          • Who said the supplier is at fault?
            If the supplier was supplied with shoddy specs, then the issue is BA’s fault.

          • Mr Bryce, the supplier has been doing this fuel tank and it’s painting for some time, they changed something and it was Boeing who caught it being out of spec.
            You’re welcome

          • @ DoU
            If the specs don’t say enough about the type of paint used, then the supplier can change paint and still be blameless.
            You’re welcome.

          • Then how did Boeing know there was a production problem to resolve.

            How many years has the 767 has been in production with a centre wing box fuel tank.
            Longer than you have been around , im sure

          • @ DoU
            “Then how did Boeing know there was a production problem to resolve”

            Because someone discovered it *after delivery* of the part in question.
            Perhaps a newly-hired QC person at BA? Or an existing QC person who actually got around to doing his/her job?
            Maybe the USAF discovered it when a fuel filter clogged?
            Maybe the FAA noticed it on a 767F?

            Boeing is taking the charge, and we haven’t heard anything about a sued supplier, so what does that tell you?

          • “The KC-45 central tank is a supplier issue and will land on that companys account.”

            I read BDS is going to take a charge because of the fuel tank issue according to West. Contrary to what you said above.

            Furthermore, BCA failed to catch the issue right away. Quite a number of freighters/tankers delivered to customers have to be fixed.

          • Mr Pedro.
            Boeing is taking a charge because as the CFO said its affects their delivery payments
            He also said the cash flow wont be affected as its on the supplier to cover the cost of rectification.
            Surely you read the reported words of CFO West that you have raised here.

            Perhaps you dont understand CFO language, that must be it.

          • Haha the charge (a P&L item) has little to do with delayed receipts/delivery. Time to have a better understanding how business/finance/accounting works before you babble mindlessly again, my friend. 😂

          • @DoU

            Did you read the report from Reuters? Why don’t you ensure you know what you’re talking??

            -> “Boeing Co. will take additional charges to the KC-46 tanker program due to a supplier quality issue with the center fuel tank, the company’s finance chief said Wednesday.

            Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West did not disclose the precise value of the additional charges, which will be announced as part of the company’s first quarter earnings, but margins at Boeing’s defense business would be negative as a result. […]

            The primer inside the fuel tank must be removed and repainted before Boeing can deliver the aircraft.

            “We know how to fix this,” West said. “But now we have to go implement the fix both on production airplanes and some airplanes that are in the fleet.”

    • More on this story — and on the MAX-10 cert:

      “West also acknowledged a slight schedule slip for Boeing’s 737 MAX 10, which will “likely” be certified and delivered next year. Boeing Commercial Airplanes head Stan Deal had predicted in December that MAX 10 certification could occur in late 2023 or early 2024.”

      “Chief Financial Officer Brian West did not disclose the precise value of the additional charges, which will be announced as part of the company’s first quarter earnings, but margins at Boeing’s defense business would be negative as a result.”


      That’s another quarterly loss shaping up for BA…and, yet, the company continues to indulge itself in the luxury of cutting prices to the hilt…

      • BA stock down 2.24% at time of writing.
        AB stock down 0.25% at the same time.

        Looks like investors didn’t like what West said…

        • At least he also gave some “good” news, i.e. that the MAX-10 will “likely” be certified next year…

          Tim Clark can tell us how to interpret prognoses like that 😏

          • Others noticed that choice of words, as well.
            We’ll see how it goes. 😉

          • The MAX 10s in inventory will stay a bit longer. That’s why BA has such a bloated customers deposit which our poster *boasts* as a strength!! 🤣

  22. Slow progress…but at least it’s progress:
    “Boeing says 27 or 28 MAXs are back flying in China”

    Of particular interest:
    “As a result, and looking at the longer-term picture, West revealed that in the next 20 years, by Boeing’s estimation, over 8,000 airplanes will be needed in the Chinese market.
    “That’s a lot for two legacy airframers to handle,” said West. “So we think there’s a role in there for the competitors to play.”

      • According to BA, the overall market in China is almost *four times* that of India, and don’t forget, by BA’s estimate, the *more valuable WB market in China is almost seven times that of India*. Nonetheless one is eager to lock itself out of this burgeoning market.

    • If I were Brian West I wouldn’t make too much evolutionary statements on China aviation.

      If someone had made predictions in 2008 on the high speed rail network they have place today, arrogant chuckling would have been the result.


      And they are building 6-8 nuclear reactors a year for power. We love to play things down for our own feel-good.


      • I agree completely — though West’s comment does seem to be allowing for some inroads by “competitors” outside of the two big OEMs. In practice, I suspect that China will take more and more of that cake for itself — far more than West is willing to admit.

        The same applies to the derisive remarks made by Richard Aboulafia in the link that I posted above…I think he grossly underestimates China’s abilities.

        • Xi is on a war footing.

          The China market will disappear for Boeing and Airbus by 2027.

          Neither OEM wants to acknowledge the obvious.

        • I remember the 80s when it was Japan that was going to roar past he western economies.
          How did that work out.

          Economies can go forwards and backwards, especially the ones built on real estate booms and inflow of foreign knowhow

          • China, Japan, …

            “Economies can go forwards and backwards, especially the ones built on _real estate booms_ and inflow of _foreign knowhow_”

            He was talking about the US. 🙂

          • Then why does China have to import so much food and natural resources, let alone spending more on computer chip imports than oil.
            Bigger is much much vulnerable than Japan was. I suppose Russia sorts out the energy supply and food issue that just leaves ….well everything else. Building more Russian planes could well be on the cards next

          • @DoU
            “Then why does China have to import so much food and natural resources, let alone spending more on computer chip imports than oil.”

            Have you taken a look at what the USA imports?
            China has a trade surplus — the USA has a trade deficit (almost $1T in 2022).

          • Is the U.S. able to produce any of the most advanced chips?? Doubtful according various commentaries. Not even when TSMC’s plant goes into production. 🤔

            May be Apple can sell things that don’t use many advanced chips that can be made locally by 2027!! Like real 🍎

          • FAB tech is dominated by ASML. A Dutch company.
            The US successfully pressured them to not supply tech front stuff to China.
            China bent down and took a different path but seems to have achieved comparable densities now with their own process.

            The sanctions and embargoes spree is spreading its own poison at the source.

          • Guess who is the worlds biggest importer of Food my friends.

            Your favourite country.

            The US food production could feed almost 2 bill people, as they are only 380 mill of them, I wonder where the rest is going?

            yes , you win a free bag of soya beans

    • Very generous of Boeing’s Mister West! I think China’s
      role in their own domain is going to be sizeable, given
      some time.

  23. Opus
    March 21, 2023
    And let’s not forget. You know who else for many years was aggressive on pricing, undercutting competitors on every deal and had inadequate earnings Airbus.

    IIRC, at the time they were trying to build a business from scratch, not save themselves from their own incompetence.

    • Nope,

      it seems one manufacturer was building more advanced airliners, the other blowing hot air, draining it’s supply chain for success, accusing the new one to be unfair & partying out free cash, moving debts so far out they became invisible.

      And everybody wanted to cash in on awesome outlooks, historical evidence, quietly burning reserves. Until the chickens came home to roost.


      • Yeah but it was a profitable time. You got to know when to sell.

        I’m an optimist, those days will be back. But lets gets back to gist of main article. Don’t think for a second Airbus is not trying to trying to milk this dominant position. Hence the Hamilton’s article.

  24. If China Arms Russia, the U.S. Should Kill China’s Aircraft Industry by Richard Aboulafia, a managing director at AeroDynamic Advisory.

    It seems to be a pattern this week to poke at Boeing’s competitors (Airbus and Comac). Scott with his “attack” on Airbus complacency (thou Airbus is ramping up to 75 a month NB and several upgrade programs) and now Richard A attacking Comac and Chinese commercial aircraft industry.

    Just the talk of shutting down the Chinese national program for developing their own commercial aircraft is not advantageous to Boeing. Must be a slow week in the aerospace consulting business with trying to stir up fear for more business

    • I didn’t see Scott’s article as an “attack” — though everyone is entitled to his own opinion.

      But I did find the Aboulafia link that you posted to be very weird indeed: not only a rather static representation of the technological landscape, but also rather simplistic as regards the effect of sanctions…

    • Have you missed all of the “Boeing sucks” articles on this site? Let me help you, go back to the main page and scroll down.

      • But Boeing *does* suck — that’s why there are so many “Boeing sucks” articles.
        Not just here, but on countless aviation newssites.
        Boeing just keeps tripping over itself, and the world looks on in total amazement.

      • Oh Boeing is “fine”, Boeing is “wonderful”. Repeat this a thousand times won’t change the reality. 🤣

        • No ones saying ‘its fine , its wonderful’ Not the executives, not the commentors and not even ‘little people’ like me

          Whats really strange coming from the anti Boeing diehards and doomsters like your good self is the people most affected are the Boeing stockholders. They are wearing the the results for the decade of mismanagement, but why care as they had the cream while the problems piled up underneath. They are big enough to look after themselves
          How did your blowing bubbles over Boeing and SVB work out ?

          • > How did your blowing bubbles over Boeing and SVB work out ? <

            Huh? Mmm, weird..

            DoU's the best; his only real competition is the Alaskan correspondent.

          • It was his comment for some reason, ask him why it was relevant or even if it was based on reality…..

          • @ DoU
            No, the “blowing bubbles” syntax was in your comment — not Pedro’s.

            On the subject of ” blowing bubbles”, what’s the status on that ABC retraction that you promised us? It’s been almost 10 months now…

          • @Duke of url
            Some of us stockholders got out early. Boeing has been good to us.

            And you are right, NO ONE, NO ONE is saying Boeing is doing “fine”. Boeing got themselves into a hole and have to dig themselves out. This may end in Boeing declaring BK, we do not know.

            But for the love of………..Can we stop with SAME POSTS over and over Boeing’s debt and discounts. Sheesh.

            Let me applaud the early commenters to this thread that stayed on subject. Your posts on both sides of the spectrum are entertaining and educational to read, again, Airbus’s problems are not new and have been around for a while. And because Airbus has problems does not mean its going out of business or will loose its market share dominance. But lets stop being naïve to think that a corporation that was willing to bribe Government officials to win sales will now turn its attention to maximizing profits from its dominant position.

          • @ williams
            From the LNA article above:
            “One way for Boeing to compensate unhappy customers is to cut prices on its airplanes.”

            So, Boeing’s pricing/discounts — and the effect they have on its finances — are perfectly on topic.

    • @Daivd

      You think this would make any Chinese airlines more eager to order from BA or have second thoughts?? 🤔

      • The trade issue is the threat of not supplying western engines….the same ones on Boeing aircraft. So…no engines allowed for the C919 based on US trade restrictions….then no Boeing aircraft

        At the end of the day, Boeing needs the China market and Comac wants western certification for the C919…so everyone should play nice and its a win/win scenario. At best, C919 production rate of 12 a month for next 20 years So why is the US so hell bent to hurt the Chinese commercial aircraft industry (the second largest economy in the world has right to build commercial aircraft)

      • Central buying in China decides what airliners to order and then distribute to the State and provincial controlled carriers.

        China cut off supplies of thermal coal from Australia- they couldnt touch iron ore as it was too important- the traders and importers had to follow central instructions of course. They are back to buying Australian coal even though there was many many options, Indonesia is far and away the biggest exporter of coal in the world.
        Its just political stunts which dont work out for Zhōngguó …those responsible are just purged

  25. @Bryce

    Past tense, Airbus has spent the money, and have been spending money for a while. The investors are ready for their share.

    • There’s this guy I know, who’s got some really great expressions…

  26. It’s quite clear that there are some significant problems at AB — engines, learning curve issues at FALs, supply chain problems, lack of early slots,…

    But, it says a lot that Qatar ran back into Airbus’ arms on Feb 1, and re-instated all its lapsed orders a.s.a.p. thereafter.

    It evidently didn’t like the prospect of being dependent on the other crowd…

    • Everything with Qatar is provisional, even when its about to be delivered if theirs a way to wring advantage they will try

      Im pretty sure Qatar will continue its warfare with Airbus using other methods as they are entitled to. Enjoy the future drama

  27. It’s good to see a lot of discussion of share buybacks here, cause this probably has a bigger impact on the industry and our futures than anything else. If you work in this industry you are in direct competition with the shareholders and management commitment to reward them (and themselves).

    • A lot of companies do stock buybacks. Are Airlines the boogie now too, because they too have done buybacks.

      • williams: I know you are a stickler for honesty-
        so, have you noticed the proportions of stock
        buybacks for Boing v Airbus?

        My impression is that the entity that has engaged in large scale stock buybacks is doing steadily worse by other measures. Who benefits?

      • @William

        Tell me which American airlines has an investment grade debt rating? And why??

  28. The question that still weighs on me is, how is it that this clique of ex-GE financialists has been able to maintain its lock on the company for 20+ years. To review the executive genealogy in the idiom of King James:
    First there was Stonecipher, and he begat McNerny, who begat Muilenberg (technically not GE, but a true believer in cash-flow financialism) , and Muilenberg begat Calhoun.
    So it may be possible that this GE clique won enough seats on the board 25 years ago to be naturally self-sustaining. But instinct tells me that’s unlikely. Just seems like the power of this clique would naturally tend to diminish over time due to entropy. The fact that it has not makes me wonder if major shareholders are not heavily influencing succession at the top of Boeing
    If you have a son or daughter embarking on a career in finance and management, and you kid says to you: “Daddy, someday I wanna be CEO of Boeing”, then your response should be, “that’s great…is GE hiring now”….cause the road to Damascus runs straight through GE.

    • Calhoun was on the board long before Muilenberg even became head of BCA and then CEO. So no begetting there .That was the same board that fired Muilenberg

      I think you will find the ones pulling the strings arent especially from GE , more like Blackrock, Apollo, Carlyle , Blackstone , KKR, Vanguard – even some German/EU private equity groups [Verwunderlich!]

      Check the major shareholding in Boeing

      • I think you will find the ones pulling the strings arent especially from GE , more like Blackrock, Apollo, Carlyle , Blackstone , KKR, Vanguard –

        Yes, I remember someone perceptively pointing this out awhile ago. 🙂

        Who’s “arent”, by the way? Is she sexy?

        • My comment was unnecessarily cryptic:
          if concentrated so-to-say “Private Equity” has veto power over [what should be] societal decisions, what kind of governance do we in fact live under?

          The neologism “Public-Private Partnership™” gives me the creeps- being Fascism by another, slightly friendlier name, I think.

          We’ll see how it goes.

          • @Vincent I totally agree with you on this point. That’s one of the structural flaws in our corporate governance process which came about more by accident than design.

            There’s something wrong with the notion of shareholders who are under water and only protected by the corporate veil from having to pay in more capital, to also be able to vote on corporate governance issues while at the same time the non-shareholder stakeholders have no say at all.

    • Boeing might learn that just hiring finance guys will not save the day, they need a mix of chief engineers and program managers also. The finance/purchasing guys hate when engineering determines that certain parts need extensive qualification by the supplier and its manufacturing processes making it more expensive and time consuming to get the parts. As soon as the supplier change anything like cheaper suppliers/processes it requires a new full round of qualifications and documentations per GE spec’s if the part is classified as such on the electronic DWG.

  29. The discounting bonanza at BA continues:

    “Ryanair’s O’Leary says talks restarted with Boeing for new aircraft order – FT”

    “”We are back talking to them, which I think is an indication there is some movement on pricing . . . I think there is a deal to be done,” the report quoted O’Leary as saying.”


    Ryanair reportedly received 69% discount on its last order. For reference, 65% discount represents nominal breakeven level.

    Without earnings, BA rapidly needs to receive deposits in order to prop up cash…

    • There are tricks to price adjustments for later year deliveries, spare parts, proprietary repairs at its own workshops, financing schemes…. Engine manufacturer normally sells new engines at a loss and make up for it in spare parts price increases on already high spare parts prices or price adjustment formulas on power by the hour agreements. After 25 years of service the OEM normally has made a nice profit.

      • BA is not an engine maker. Traditionally, BA earns up front upon delivery. Different business models. Furthermore, BA right now is drowning in debt, it hardly has the B/S to run the same business of model of an engine maker. Period.

        • I forget the exact percentage distribution, but for commercial airplane orders, Boeing typically requires payments at the time of the order, when the first wing spar is loaded into wing majors, when the fully joined structure moves out of final body join, and then on delivery. Internal sales to the defense side go by the same structure. Customer furnished equipment (CFE) has a committed schedule for arriving at the factory in time for smooth integration into the assembly process. This includes engines. Boeing doesn’t buy that many engines – typically only for flight test planes. I have no idea what the engine contracts look like in terms of their payment schedules, but one would assume that the contracts are written such that risk is shared in some way that appears to be fair at the time the contracts are made.

          • Indicated by single “nicer” quarterly reports
            these payments seem to have been moved to the right for at least a decade.
            ( horray on nice numbers, pause, analysts notice those prepayments drawn forward. Ups! 🙂

    • O’Leary does the big talk , I think he’s climbed down from his high horse, as he cant play Airbus off against Boeing .
      Boeing is not going to pay off debt and grow cash flow by selling at a production loss.
      This would be your most incredulous claim ever…..that’s saying something as there’s been so many

      • “Boeing is not going to pay off debt and grow cash flow by selling at a production loss.”

        And yet, we’ve had 12 quarterly losses in a row, and number 13 is on the way.
        In Q4 last year, BCA had an operating loss of more than $600M, despite respectable a delivery number of 154.
        Why? Inadequate (or even negative) unit margins.

        As regards the future: more paper-thin margins on the way:
        – Ryanair: 69% discount
        – SW: 65% discount
        – United: 60% discount
        – GBA: 60% discount

        Penny only dropping now?

        • Boeing stared down the central purchasing commission of China over the stored 737s and won. Going to India as a possibility was a great play.
          Applies to Airbus as well , who won in a different way with one of the perennial difficult ME customers.
          The glory days for the airlines are over, now it’s largely jump when told by the manufacturers. No customer is too big now not to be told to take a hike

          • Not sure what any of that has to do with the fact that BA has given unsustainable discounts on a huge number of recently sold planes…

          • @Bryce

            Strange. I heard West of BA was tirelessly talking up BA’s potential in China.
            I wonder who knows better, our commentator or West??

      • “Boeing is not going to pay off debt and grow cash flow by selling at a production loss.”

        The operation result of both BCA and BDS proves otherwise. I thought you’re thorough about BA’s financial reports 🤔

        • The quoted sentence is strictly accurate, I think- unfortunately for Boeing.

          There’s always Uncle Sugar.. (see SVB et al; privatized profits but socialized losses is the American Way™).

    • O’Leary likes to get his planes equipped with the optional built-in air stair so he can operate efficiently out of airports that do not have jetways in their terminal buildings. He gets much lower ground costs that way. However this would be a huge sticking point in talks with Boeing. It’s next to impossible (as in super expensive) to retrofit those stairs on a plane that was built without them. That is a strong push toward new production as opposed to burning down existing inventory. So there is almost no way for Boeing to make a buck on this.

  30. Regarding yesterday’s announcement that JAL is purchasing 21 MAX-8s, this article is reporting that the order cost just $1B:


    Let’s do the math:
    The list price of the MAX-8 (from 2022) is $121.6 M, so 21 of them should cost $2.553B.
    Instead they cost just $1B.
    The discount given was therefore 60.8%.

    The *nominal* margin on this sale was therefore just $122M — which is enough to pay 17 day’s worth of loan interest.

    • Alternatively, if one wants to use the Cost of Sales percentage from the past 3 years (95% of revenue) instead of the nominal value used above, then BA’s margin on this order is just $50M — which is enough to pay 7 day’s loan interest.

      Interestingly, BA was already the incumbent NB supplier at JAL — so one can only imagine the even more stellar discounts that would have ensued if this had been a real fight. Makes one wonder if a single penny was earned on the recent Saudi deal…

  31. Bryce

    ..” Makes one wonder if a single penny was earned on the recent Saudi deal…”
    Be careful you have crossed the red line (I can’t even imagine your hundreds of non-objective posts above)… Mix them up with an untruth for supposed wishful thinking as usual is a deception for Readers.. Where are your sources for the Saudi deal?

    • Does your Google Translator not understand the syntax “Makes one wonder”…?

  32. Funny, I thought this comment section was on Airbus’s issues.

    • You made that same comment yesterday.
      Didn’t bother to look at the reply in the meantime?

  33. Further confirmation regarding a much-discussed aspect of the duopoly:
    “Boeing executive defends ‘next decade’ timeline for launching new narrowbody”

    “A top Boeing executive has reiterated that the company will wait until next decade to bring a new single-aisle jetliner to market, saying Boeing needs that much time to mature technologies.”


    Pre-emptive note no @williams;
    This post is not off-topic, because the LNA article above says:
    “But with Boeing “pausing” development of a new airplane, Airbus now is sitting back, critics say.”

    • Yes, I read that same article yesterday, very insightful. Did not post it because……..well…….this thread was about Airbus.

      Pretty sure there will another Boeing article soon to post it in.

      • Alternatively: you didn’t post it because it didn’t fit into your “optimist” narrative w.r.t. Boeing 😉

        • No……I didn’t post it for the very reason I stated. As I stated in an above post Boeing has challenges going forward of its own making. And Boeing may very well end up in bankruptcy court (IMO) to deal with the debt you studiously post about. But that story is for another comment section.

  34. There is a great London Times article about the Ryan Air negotiations. Read it this morning, again very insightful. Has nothing do with Airbus or its problems so I did not post it.

    Sure Mr. Hamilton will do article on RyanAir’s negotiations soon.

    • Did it have anything to do with Boeing’s discounting — which is also a subject of the present article by Mr. Hamilton?

      • Since you are chomping at the bit- Its Financial Times not London Times. My apologies.


        From the middle of the article.

        Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.

        Ryanair is one of Boeing’s biggest and most important airline customers, and O’Leary has regularly criticised the manufacturer over prices and its record in delivering aircraft.

        O’Leary has accepted that the new planes will be more expensive than the “ridiculously low price” he paid for his most recent order, signed in the depths of the coronavirus pandemic when the industry was virtually grounded.

        Ryanair ordered 75 Max 8200 in December 2020, which analysts said would have come at a “screaming” discount, taking its total orders for the single-aisle plane to 210.

        O’Leary has since regularly chided Boeing for delays in the deliveries of these aircraft, but said the company has recently made “real strides” in clearing its backlog.

        • Well done!
          See — facing up to reality isn’t that hard after all, is it?
          You’ve now embellished Mr. Hamilton’s article by providing more evidence of the BA price-cutting to which he referred.

          Syntax like “ridiculously low price” and “screaming discount” are very unpalatable to BA’s damage control narrative, but it’s generally better to just spit it out rather than quietly trying to swallow it 😉

          • You doubt everything O’Leary says?

            I don’t have to believe it. I posted a very nice link here a few weeks ago from an analyst who when through Ryanair’s regulatory filings with a fine tooth comb and was able to determined that it received a 69% discount on its last order (and a 68% discount on the order before that). You can glean such info from looking at expenditure data in a given timeframe.

            Our illustrious commenter @Frank did the same last year for SW, and arrived at a 65% discount for the MAX-7 deal.

            Now I’ll turn the situation around: how often do you test the PR that BA spouts?

          • I take statements from both sides with a grain of salt. Boeing and Ryan wants their agenda front and center for their perspective audiences, investors.

            The discounts you are referring too is O’Leary’s famous yet bad taste quote that he r****d Boeing on the 737-800 deal.

          • The truth and nothing but the truth is:
            Without BA’s magic black box program accounting, BCA would have *lost $6 billion* last year.

          • Sounds like BA is more eager to negotiate now:
            -> ““We are back talking to them, which I think is an indication there is some movement on pricing . . . I think there is a deal to be done,”

  35. Some good news about Airbus from one of its biggest customers.


    American Eyes Multi Uses Of Airbus XLR; Leverages BA Partnership In Transatlantic

    Using the XLR to fly long thin routes to Europe.

    Which is funny for us old timers, that remember when former AA CEO Robert Crandall (Best airline CEO ever except for Herb) did the same back in the 80s with the 767-200.

    Now Airbus has to get the thing certified. Airbus you can thank Boeing for the new skepticism from the FAA and EASA.

    • Because AB is looking ahead to increase A320 production to a *record-breaking* 75 per month;
      because the A220 production will almost triple from that of pre-pandemic.

      @William time to pull your head out?? 🤭

  36. Was posted earlier, but airlines aren’t stupid, they read and more importantly pick up the phone and ask one another about problems with certain aircraft. Would explain why roughly half of the A320 family is for CFMs powerplants.

    This will do wonders for A220 sales campaigns.

    • williams:

      Response to a couple of posts

      I don’t know that the XLR has unusual scrutiny due to Boeing. Its a different approach and as has not been done before, it needs to be scrutinized.

      An on runway crash is one of the more common failures (usually piloting) and it has a lot of relevance.

      Engine choices are often split like that (where available). The V2500 was on something around 3000 A320 series.

      While CFM-56 was uber reliable, the LEAP has not proven to be as good (new engine) and the PWGTF has had its serious issues as well.

      RR had a good take from the 787 until it got so needy on repairs despite the fact it never caught up with GE on SFC.

      Clearly Airlines gave up on the Trent 1000/Ten series as the almost all new TEN had issues still and it did not match GE GenX for SFC. RR could not overcome the core limitations.

      For a 3 shaft to be as good as a two shaft on maint it has to return better SFC to pay for that more expensive overhaul.

      It took a lot of bad to finally get former RR users to reject it and change over to GE. A lot probably due to the familiarity with the RR product and relationship that finally snaped.

  37. To be fair, considering the massive shortage of aerospace engineer in Europe, and particularly in Toulouse, I’m not sure Airbus could launch a new clean-sheet program even if they wanted to. To make matter worst, research institute (such as Onera and DLR) struggle to find the appropriate workforce and universities have trouble finding PhD students.
    So there should massive investments in higher-education to fix the current labor issues. The consolidation of smaller E-VTOL and electric aviation players once funding will dry up may on the other hand provides Airbus and its suppliers premium workforce in the coming years.

    • Aim9X (like the handle):

      That integration is a real issue for Europe due to all the sovereign issues. Not as much in the US though the individual states have their issues and even inimical to democracy.

      The US has 3 big primes, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

      Some so called sub primes would be Primes anywhere else (Raytheon).

      Somewhere there is a balance of size for modern aviation and defense and not too consolidated.

      France and Sweden have taken on the financial support for maintaining a stand alone fighter production (or mostly)

      Right now only LM is building a Gen 5 fighter, with Boeing building the T-7 and NG building the B-21 maintaining some semblance of bidding.

      BAC as does Airbus both supply a underlying support for Aerospace but the aircraft side no longer is supplemented from the Military side, they have become diverse from each other.

      How to keep, grow and sustain it all is a huge complexity and probably never a good balance.

    • BA is outsourcing to Poland, Brazil and …. India.

      Only the C-suite boys/gals will remain.

  38. Heinlein’s The Year of the Jackpot comes to mind, too.
    We seem to be getting there-

    • in a way : yes.
      But we don’t see the fourier forming of a dirac pulse event.

      But here we have environmental changes overlayed with synthetic conflicts
      in scope of the rabid effort of one nation to leverage that
      to keep its model of business ( parasitic )

  39. Bryce
    Pre-emptive note no @williams;
    This post is not off-topic, because the LNA article above says:
    “But with Boeing “pausing” development of a new airplane, Airbus now is sitting back, critics say.”


    Sitting where? 1. That Airbus delivers what they sold before they sat down. The poor sales of an A321XLR with a special fire safety certification is difficult to convince yourself to be “sitting”, juste for a Market niche

    In 2030 I had already explained that Airbus will be in a dilemma because of the poor sales of the A350 vs 787… Replace either the A350 or the A320, when Boeing will attacks and bites at the right time (2030) and in the right place (737MAX replacement)…

    • “.. Boeing bites at the right time ..

      Till then Boeing will have lost its last “teeth”.
      That will then be tried with softly sucking gums.

      Designing needs a well orchestrated competent design team. Airlines are not iphones were you hand off to some Taiwan or Chinese manufacturing provider.
      Airliners are a bit more complex than some driving assistant system with defects that is sold as “Autopilot” 🙂

  40. Pedro

    …”Because AB is looking ahead to increase A320 production to a *record-breaking* 75 per month;
    because the A220 production will almost triple from that of pre-pandemic.

    @William time to pull your head out?? 🤭…”
    It’s especially time to take off your PINK-colored glasses!

    Airbus is currently in delivery trouble, 75 A32Xneo / month won’t happen for a long time, see never, sorry… The A220 production line is a horrible story at the moment, LNA mentions it but your wishful thinking gives you a selective memory and makes you (as usual) as irrelevant

    • Scott wrote about “issues” not about “down in flames”

      You should not project Boeing’s circuitous vagaries onto other more competent manufacturers.

      • Uwe my friend.
        You are of course correct here. Airbus is currently performing much more competently than BA. There is a little known difference between the old Douglas guys and Boeing’s people of the North. At Douglas, the Manufacturing Planners were in the same union as the assembly workers, and were the highest paid classification in the factory. This provided a way for skilled assembly workers with years of hands-on experience to use their talents to plan the assembly of the product. BA split their technical workforce into Profs and Techs with Engineers being Professionals and Manufacturing Planners being Tech workers, no requirement for a degree, and no practical way for skilled assembly workers in the 2 different unions to move decades of experience out of the shop and into the tech workforce. That’s one of those unmentioned reasons that Boeing is struggling. Boeing’s work force is structured to prevent knowledge from transferring from the shop to the Tech workforce. The airplane guys timed out and BAs hiring practices failed to recognise this until it was too late.

  41. Bryce

    …”Airbus isn’t drowning in debt.
    You keep overlooking that key difference…”
    Another Joker card to hide Airbus’ problems? Although has been in debt for years, this “too big to fail” will still be there unfortunately…
    Life is unfair it seems…

  42. Pedro,

    …”If BA is in bad shape, then AB *must* also be in bad shape? Logical?? 😆..”
    And in what state is Airbus? 3 member of the A350 family (900/-1000 and the unsuccessful launch of the Freighter) still does not reach 1,000 orders. +6.000 A32Xneo sold with an inability to deliver.

    Airbus is certainly in bad shape 👎…

    • Wow – if 948 orders for the A350 family is bad, what shape is the 777X program in, with 363 orders?

      • .. not to mention Boeing’s write-offs on the latter program.
        That commenting entity is curiously immune to evidence, though. Strange.

  43. William

    …”Funny, I thought this comment section was on Airbus’s issues…”
    It’s funny for me too.

    This is the reason for the irritation of our two angry friends, Bryce and Pedro….

    • Well, of course it’s “funny” for you because you weren’t able to read the article above — your Google Translator just translated the title for you 😉

  44. Bryce,

    …”As regards the future: more paper-thin margins on the way:
    – Ryanair: 69% discount
    – SW: 65% discount
    – United: 60% discount
    – GBA: 60% discount…”
    Ask for evidence and links / sources from a not objective person…

    • “Ask for evidence and links / sources from a not objective person…”

      Provide evidence and links / sources to a “person” with insufficient English to understand them…

  45. Bryce

    …”BA needs profits now — 25 years from now will be too late…”
    Boeing ONLY needs cash-flow, not in 25 years,
    Now !

    • Oh wow!
      And tell us where this cash flow is (magically) going to come from if the company doesn’t generate profits?

      • @Bryce

        Actually, given the long lead times in production, the ability to ask for larger deposits up front, the long time frame for repayment of debt and the fact that they have some $17 billion in bank…

        BA can kick the can down the road, for quite awhile.

        Eventually…it catches up with you. But like a ponzi scheme, you can use current customer deposits to fund aircraft that you have taken in monies long ago and pay off the interest owed on the debt you carry on the b/s.

        • Well, they *currently* have $17B in the bank.
          $5.1B of that will soon be disappearing on that upcoming debt repayment.
          Another few $B on postponed accounts payable.
          Another $2.5B on this year’s loan interest.

          That’s starting to cut it fine.

          You noticed in the regulatory filing that BA has arranged multiple (new) revolving credit facilities, to act as a buffer?

  46. David Pritchard

    …”Airbus is heading from 45 to 75 NB in a couple years…”
    In 2023, Airbus is heading from 45 to 10 …
    when the rose-colored glasses of some here are removed.
    (It’s not an attack on you)

    • “In February 2023, Airbus delivered 46 jets, including three A220s, 39 A320s (all NEO), two A330s, and two A350s. The official A320 production rate is 45 aircraft per month and has remained at this level since the end of 2021. On average, the company delivered 43 A320s per month in 2022. Current plans call for production to be increased later this year until reaching a monthly rate of 65 by late 2024 (pushed back twice now due to supply chain challenges). Also, Airbus is working with its supply chain to increase A320 production to 75 aircraft per month in 2026 (pushed back from 2025).”

      • Then how come the FY22 EOY statement said they were going for 720 deliveries this year across all types

        How many per month is 720 pa ? Its is of course 60 on average.

        They are well below that for the first 2 months

        Some chops to be talking about *increases* when the current target in unobtainable. Some airlines are going to want compensation for missed delivery months and it will wreck the 1Q23 cash flow

        Theres going to be things flying at HQ come the Mar deliveries total and it wont be planes

        • A hint for the language-challenged, or
          lazy, or merely stupid:

          “cant” and “can’t” have very different meanings.

          “wont” and “won’t” have very different meanings.

          “loose” and “lose” have different meanings.

          A common language can be very useful *if * mutual understanding is a goal.

          • The issue apparent is “deeper”.
            You won’t fix it with a “BBC English for foreigners” lecture

        • You’d have to show that customers are “contractually compensatable” waiting on deliveries.

          I’d assume that most orders in the backlog (and their delivery horizon) were done with 40..50ish production numbers in mind. i.e. increasing production numbers
          allows Airbus to deliver earlier or to comb in some other orders ( new ones or drawn forward ).

        • Dukeofurl

          720 aircraft a year isn’t 60 a month. Its 55.38
          Any good planner will tell you there are 13 months in a year.
          52 weeks / 4= 13 months. This little exercise is exactly why MRP systems count days instead of weeks or months. Line rates are funny things, and when a calendar month has 4.33 weeks in it, that’s why BA has an Mday calendar.

          • @PNWgeek

            We should come up with a name and zodiac sign, for that 13th month.

          • Folklore has it that Airbus only works 11 month a year.
            You can have .. August then 🙂

        • For the memory-challenged, let me remind you:
          how many planes BA/AB delivered in the first two months of 2019? How many planes AB delivery in total for that year?? 🤔

          How many times I have to repeat this to you here???

          • Not sure that it’s a matter of poor memory: in some cases, it’s just pure trolling.
            Certain entities here don’t like the narrative, and they can’t successfully counter it, so they try to impede it instead.

          • Hey, if *that’s* all he’s got, well..


  47. “Mulally’s goal was to totally replace the entire lineup of Boeing commercial airplanes, and to transform the industry with the goal of what he called the “1 in 10 airplane.” That is, from program kickoff to first flight in ten months and for one billion 1997 dollars.”

    Evidence, please..

    As for “giving up” [heh] on a particular commenter because they might not accept a Version of Events without provided evidence, I will remain silent for now.

  48. Uwe

    …”I’d assume that most orders in the backlog (and their delivery horizon) were done with 40..50ish production numbers in mind…”
    It turns out that the resupply chain problem has existed since 2019, before the pandemic… I don’t believe that the rate of 50 was reached when we saw the state of the airlines since 2020…

    • Uwe referred to “orders” not “production”.
      He also explicitly referred to a forward horizon.

      Your Google Translator is letting you down again.

    • No second or third tier supply chain Everything needs to be within the FAL plant itself. Airbus China A320 FAL strategy would work except the wings would need to be shipped into India from EU

      • Airbus expanded capabilities in China with an A320 wing plant.
        India could thus be supplied from China as an alternative.

  49. With a week to go in March, deliveries are currently:
    BA: 36 (incl. 4 WB)
    AB: 32 (incl. 5 WB)

    This gives Q1 totals so far of:
    BA: 102
    AB: 98

    The BA figure is probably too low to avoid another quarterly loss for BCA (112 and 154 deliveries yielded operating losses of $600M in each of Q3 and Q4, respectively).
    The question is whether the AB figure will lead to a small loss or a small profit (BA has higher unit margins than BA, and doesn’t have to pay $620M in interest).

    • “BA has higher unit margins than BA”

      Should, of course, read:

      “AB has higher unit margins than BA”

      • Remember those times when Boeing started to lose market share and the Boeinginista stated that this was irrelevant as B had much higher unit margins than Airbus?

    • For reference:
      In Q1 last year, Airbus delivered 142 aircraft, which generated EBIT of just over EUR 1.065 B.

  50. Am I the only one who’s experiencing (radically) increased activity of Google /Ezoic Ads here on LNA?
    The ads used to be confined to banners along the edges of the page, but I’m now also getting them right in the middle of the page, where they obscure page content and interfere with commenting functionality…

  51. Regarding the Airbus A321 FAL in Tianjin (China):
    “Airbus delivers first China-built A321neo to Juneyao Air”

    ““Since we announced the commissioning of the first A321 aircraft at FAL Tianjin last November, the relevant final assembly activities and tests went smoothly, showcasing the maturity of FAL Tianjin to quickly adapt to new products,” said George Xu, Executive Vice President at Airbus and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airbus China.”

    “Airbus began assembling the first A321neo in the Tianjin FAL in November 2022. At the time, the manufacturer indicated that the aircraft would be delivered “in early 2023”. ”


  52. Selling the family silver?

    Part of Boeing Space is up for sale.
    ULA — United Launch Alliance — is a 50-50 JV between BA and LM.

    “…it’s a real possibility this sale will take the form of Boeing buying Lockheed’s 50% stake in the joint venture. Or Lockheed buying Boeing’s stake. Or somebody else buying both Boeing’s and Lockheed Martin’s interests in ULA!”


    BA doesn’t have the funding to be buying anyting at the moment…so looks like this will be a divestment.

  53. Bryce

    …”Oh wow!
    And tell us where (like magic) this cash flow will come from if the company does not generate profits?…”
    As Calhoun so aptly told investors, 2026 but now they have to start the work…

    Remember this good old rule, you know the one I repeat like a mantra: “2023, better than 2022” etc…

  54. More delays are coming:

    AW: U.S. Navy Delays MQ-25 Program By Another 10 Months

  55. BA’s big customer in India is losing market share

    -> While the total order book of SpiceJet for MAX extended to 205 airplanes with firm orders of 155 aircraft, the fleet size of the airline shrank to 88 in FY22 from 114 in 2019-20. According to flight tracking website flightradar24, the airline currently has 68 aircraft in its fleet, out of which more than 25 have not been in operation for at least seven days, leaving an operational fleet of around 43 planes.

  56. Now Spicejet wants to restructure its *balance sheet* i.e. debts and obligations

  57. Regarding the MAX 7/10 certification:

    -> [BA] wrapped up 737-7 certification flight testing in late 2021. The remaining issues focus on validating pilot-reaction assumptions Boeing has made as part of system safety assessments (SSAs), industry sources with knowledge of the situation told Aviation Week. Boeing has been working on the SSAs for months, in some cases following FAA’s direction to provide more information or revisions.

    “They have to validate their assumptions about pilot responses,” one source with certification experience told Aviation Week, pointing to internal shortcomings as part of Boeing’s issues. “When they were developing the 777 [in the early 1990s], they were the gold standard. You asked for documentation of anything, and they had it for you in a heartbeat. *Everything was organized and well documented. That’s no longer true, and that’s part of why they’re struggling right now*.”


    • -> The 737-10, meanwhile, has not begun flight testing under FAA-granted type inspection authorization. Design changes, including some prompted by the 737 MAX’s grounding and global regulatory review, mean the 737-10’s certification is more complex than the smaller MAX versions.

    • Interestingly, if the MAX-7 cockpit had EICAS instead of the current 1960s alerting system, BA probably wouldn’t need to have to do so much work on those SSAs.
      Short cuts make long delays.

      • It’s not important for the MAX7, it didn’t sell much, although it served as a test bed for MCAS2.0 certification for the MAX-8 and -9. As I already stated last December here, this is just *absurdity* but this time from the FAA…

        No need for EICAS. which would have cost a lot of money and a lot more time. But since you are not objective, you will have wanted Boeing to do it with all the constraints, then come and brandish the extended invoice by proclaiming Boeing’s extended debt in front of the world, You are contradicting yourself…

    • And on the subject of the MAX, another AD relating to factory quality issues:

      “Boeing 737 Max AD Sheds Light on Factory Errors”

      :An FAA airworthiness directive (AD) scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Monday highlights improper torquing of engine anti-ice (EAI) exhaust ducts in Boeing 737 Max jets by factory mechanics. The AD calls for some 737 Max operators to inspect EAIs to determine whether all fasteners remain in place and to check their gap spacing. The directive affects 330 U.S.-registered airplanes.”


      • I heard so many times (from various posters here) BA/BCA/BDS etc is, at the very least, on the *right* track/bouncing back … Oops. 😬

    • Well, this now ups the number of A321 FALs from 3 to 4 — so it should enable a significant increase in total deliveries per month.
      Assuming, of course, that CFM and PW keep up.

      • They are all “A320 family” FALs.

        Beyond the original FALs in Toulouse all are A321 capable designed.
        Qualifying the workforce is probably the major task.

    • David Pritchard

      …”Looks like Airbus is fine!!!!!!!!…”
      Oh fine!!!!!!!
      And you think this is the magic powder that will help Airbus get out of its supply chain problem ?

      75 A32X neo/month won’t happen for a long time, if ever.


      • I suggest thinking about this in terms of China’s stated goals and the poor behavior on the part of the leadership of both AB and Boeing. Here is a not implausible scenario.

        2040 – Comac share of commercial airplanes passes 50%
        2045 – The sole remaining engine maker in the west, (the merged GE and Pratt) announces its consolidation plan. It’s market share is only 45%.
        2050 – the merged remnants of Boeing and EADS announce a consolidation leaving just two FALs (Wichita in the former Spirit facilities, and Toulouse).

        • I’ve had thoughts along similar lines, and mentioned them here. Something bigger going on than the individual pieces, I think-

        • Not sure about that particular scenario, but I have no doubt that China will carve out a nice chunk of the aviation industry for itself.

          I also think that the EC will encourage European engine makers to become more independent. AB has already signaled that it will make its own electric powerplants for LH2 / Fuel cell aircraft.

    • Let’s see…China has its own space station (Tiangong Space Station), they have landed on Moon (China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft) but from a US centric viewpoint, they can’t develop their own commercial aircraft engine?

      Looks like China’s commercial aircraft industry is just doing fine!

      • Precisely.
        Don’t forget their Mars landers, either.
        Or their innovative nuclear power tech.
        Or their stunning high-speed rail network.
        Or their mastery of the 7nm semiconductor node.

        They do difficult things very quickly.

    • ERJ 145 version II. It didn’t work out in Harbin years ago for the ERJ 145 program. In China’s mind, E2 is direct competition to ARJ21

      • Indeed.
        But a JV between COMAC and Embraer would be a whole different story: Embraer gets a big market and lots of cash, and COMAC gets access to advanced tech, experienced engineers, and FALs that manufacture to EASA standards.

  58. David Pritchard

    …”Seems like Airbus is just doing fine!!!!!!!!…”
    Oh fine!!!!!!!
    And you think this is the magic powder that will help Airbus get out of its supply chain problem
    75 A32Xneo/month
    won’t happen for a long time, if ever because it’s just not possible..


    • How many FAL for A320? (see below) How many FAL for 737…one

      Airbus has unique with its 12 final assembly lines at five locations globally, including in Toulouse, France headquarters – which hosts two final assembly lines for the single-aisle A320 Family, along with one each for the widebody A330 and the A350.

      Hamburg, Germany is home to four A320 Family final assembly lines. The most recent one is home to new technologies and processes which were developed in close coordination with employees, applying the principles of Design Thinking.

      A320 Family aircraft are also assembled in Tianjin, China, where deliveries are made to Asian airlines, while Mobile, Alabama, USA handles the build-up of A320 Family and single-aisle A220 aircraft for customers in North America

  59. David Pritchard

    …”How many FAL for A320? (see below) How many FAL for 737…one..”

    One for the 737 ? Lol
    ..A fourth is in the works…

    D. Pritchard

    ..”Airbus has unique..”

    Unique ?
    The A330neo is dying by the Boeing 787 while the A350 is beaten by the 787 in terms of sales.

    Unique ?
    Ok, I don’t want to upset you…

    You can argue that Airbus has multiple assembly lines but if OEMs can’t keep up (hence the supply chain problem). You can still collect FALs, if you can’t deliver well you just can’t…

    • Looks like a certain entity is getting increasingly agitated 😉
      And it’s convoluting tenses yet again.

  60. AB delivered 8 planes since yesterday morning.
    The total for March is now up to 40.
    The total for Q1 is now at 106.

  61. Interesting on Planespotters:
    China’s Okay Airways — an all-Boeing airline — returned a 4.4-year-old MAX-8 (LN 7120) to lessor AerCap on March 15.
    No longer wanted, it would seem.

    • David Pritchard

      What I can see is the potential for 737NG to be replaced.
      Especially the number of 737-900ER, could potentially be MAX-9s and most likely MAX-10s.

      Boeing can rub their hands


    • @ David Pritchard
      Xiamen Airlines — a previously all-Boeing carrier — recently jumped ship and started ordering from AB; it has already received two A321 neos.
      Looking at the Okay Airways fleet, its 10 MAXs are all idle…

  62. Bryce

    ..”Looks like a certain entity is getting increasingly agitated 😉
    And it’s convoluting tenses yet again….”

    What makes it agiteted is that Airbus is very very very far from delivering 75 A32Xneo / month. Please just remove the rose-colored glasses.

  63. Still no new head for the FAA in sight:
    “AP source: Biden’s pick to lead FAA withdraws nomination”

    “President Joe Biden’s choice to run the Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn his nomination, a setback for the administration that comes after Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington failed to gain enough support in the closely divided Senate.

    “Washington’s withdrawal was confirmed Saturday night by a person familiar with the situation who insisted on anonymity to discuss the matter. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “Republicans were united in opposition to Washington, calling him unqualified because of limited aviation experience. Democrats and allied independents still might have pushed the nomination through, but key senators on their side balked at supporting Biden’s pick.”


  64. Interesting:
    Air India has taken delivery of its first A321neo from its Feb. 1 order.
    Three more to come shortly.
    These are frames that were originally destined for Russia.


    Wasn’t Air India also originally supposed to be getting 50 ex-China MAX whitetails?
    Was that aspect of the order subsequently amended because of BA’s newfound “hope” that those frames could, as yet, be delivered to China?
    In that regard, Dave might want to have a look at what Okay Airways did on March 15 (see above).

    • “Wasn’t Air India also originally supposed to be getting 50 ex-China MAX whitetails?”

      Even if.. Boeing has no resources to do that near term.

      Scott told us recently that repurposing stored MAX frames requires reconfiguration with a time penalty of more than 6 month.

      • True.
        The speed with which AB was able to divert NTU frames to Xiamen and AI indicates that this software problem is unique to BA…

        • @Uwe/Bryce
          I believe BA promised “quick” delivery when they were bidding. 😬

          • Some, but not all, software problems are not software problems. I added an appendix to my book on this topic. I called it Excessive Software Dependency Syndrome, and it meets all of the criteria for listing in DSM-5.

            Basically, any frequently repeated human behavior that has the potential to cause harm to either one’s self or others meets the criteria for being called a mental illness. Most such behaviors exist on a spectrum.

            The problem with some software issues is that because software is so much cheaper than hardware, there is a strong tendency on the part of both management and engineers in technology companies to try to overcome serious hardware deficiencies in a system design by ignoring that and instead jumping in to play with the code. We saw this in both the MCAS and the RVS at Boeing. And as with many behavioral disorders, the person exhibiting the problem is highly resistant to any suggestion that they may have a problem with which they need some help or intervention.

  65. It’s a little more complicated than that, and AB is quite similar to Boeing in this regard.

    The final assembly process (i.e. after the plane is fully joined and lowered onto its wheels for the first time) involves three basic activities. One is the completion of the installation of equipment that are baseline to the plane and provided by the air frame manufacturer – usually coming in from suppliers. A second is the installation of buyer furnished equipment (BFE) that is also coming in from suppliers and warehoused on or near the assembly site. The third is the beginning of the systems testing by the flight test and delivery organization to the extent that they can do their thing and not be in the way. This includes powering up the plane for the first time and filling and pressurizing the hydraulic systems for the first time. There are some minor variations in the process, for example, the 787 assembly process has the major fuselage sections arrive at the factory pre-stuffed with baseline equipment.

    OK, so once a plane is done it has a huge amount of BFE on it. A relatively trivial amount of that is software. Reconfiguring the plane for delivery to a different customer can take more or less time depending on how much of the BFE can be sold by the original purchaser to the new customer. Engines can greatly complicate this on models that have engine options because engines are BFE and the engine interfaces are not standardized.

    In the case of the Chinese planes, it is quite dramatically easier to move planes from one carrier to another. Their centralized state purchasing approach significantly increases the commonality from one carrier to another. The main variants are livery and interior colors. If one Chinese carrier is willing to live with another’s interior colors, all it requires is a paint job.

    As an aside, one of the aims of doing partnership deals with a single engine supplier on a particular model is to try and force the other engine manufacturers to redesign their offerings in that size range such that there is a common engine interface for said model. So far, the engine companies have not been willing to do that.

    Final note, it is vastly simpler to paint the movable surfaces before they are installed on a plane, thus repainting in a new livery after assembly takes quite a bit longer than painting one for the original intended customer. It’s a only a couple days more, but that is huge if you have a lot of planes to paint.

    • “In the case of the Chinese planes, it is quite dramatically easier to move planes from one carrier to another”

      But the AB planes in question were moved from Russian customers to Chinese/Indian customers.
      And the BA planes in question would be going from Chinese customers to an Indian customer.

      • Even so, the whole thing will be dependent on the number of differences that the new customer is willing to pay to change in order to have it their way combined with the willingness of the previous customer to sell their BFE. Every deal is different.

        • You are missing the obvious ( IMHO )

          Boeing is sitting on finished long time stored frames that have to be reworked. ( and the SW config wouldn’t even start before some longish idle time.

          Airbus is selling fresh produce that has been reconfigure before assembly ( my assumption.)
          Nothing that has lingered on the fantastic Hamburg Habor view riverfront 🙂

          • No, I totally agree with you on that. I was just trying to help folks understand how some of the key processes work.

            Look, my former employer of 31 years is well into failure mode. You are not going to find me defending much of what they do these days. But, about many things AB is quite similar. The joke we had in the technical fellowship was that Airbus was Boeing’s ugly twin sister.

          • @RTF:
            “The joke we had in the technical fellowship was that Airbus was Boeing’s ugly twin sister.”

            Airbus sits much prettier! 🙂

            Seen “Crimson Rivers” with Jean Reno? ( and a set of conforming twin sisters )

    • “It’s a little more complicated than that, and AB is quite similar to Boeing in this regard.”

      HMm, there used to be a set of 7 yourtube videos around with a rather detailed assembly pass through of an LH A321 from a German TV series “Sendung mit der Maus” up front for kids but they take some effort to draw in adults as well.
      vanished. But
      ( first and second installment direct from the WDR.)

      • The goal is balanced production so there isn’t any queuing in the assembly process. So the lines are in constant evolution. Every time you fix one bottleneck by spreading out that work more evenly, more smaller ones become visible. Perfection is unattainable, but continuous improvement is.

        The most painful bottlenecks tend to be in final assembly, the paint hangars, and flight test. The running joke in flight test is that the factory does little more than send them a bunch of parts roughly in the shape of an airplane.

        In this way, manufacturing is a lot like new product design. Status and quality visibility that are reported quickly and honestly, and a management team that responds by quickly providing help where it is needed are the key to efficiency and cost control Whereas, managing to budgets and burn rates incentivizes people to hide problems. The finance guys, if they are unfamiliar with the industry, are the single biggest enemies of profitability – much more so than any competitors.

        • RTF
          What mosr people miss about both AB and BA is that the factory is not an assembly line. The variability of the product drives so many changes that what is occuring is actually unit production done in a rapid manner. That is a completely different game from the auto industry where each car has a small number of variables preengineered and planned..

          • It really depends on the product. Of course it is an assembly line, but a radically different one from most auto assembly lines. That said, reasonable comparisons exist and there have been auto assembly lines that are nearly identical in their challenges, but on a much smaller scale. The ultra luxury cars of the 1930s are a good example.

        • “In this way, manufacturing is a lot like new product design. ”

          If you do it the tradesman/ unionist way : yes.

          A professional manufacturer will design product and production as a tightly linked project.
          You don’t fiddle around endlessly on the production line with big assembly questions.

    • Urgh!
      are the factual errors intentional or plain incompetence?

      A330-200F 61t vs 70t payload

      A340-200 @6900nmi competes with 777-200 base model @5200nmi.

  66. Bryce

    …”Wasn’t Air India also originally supposed to be getting 50 ex-China MAX whitetails?
    Was that aspect of the order subsequently amended because of BA’s newfound “hope” that those frames could, as yet, be delivered to China?
    In that regard, Dave might want to have a look at what Okay Airways did on March 15 (see above)….”
    You are very ambiguous, we really have trouble understanding your non-objective and convoluted interventions. 1. Airbus delivers an A321neo planned for Russia (only one?) Did you think about how much it was sold off and the low margin that Airbus exercised. But you are there to applaud. 2. PmDon’t you think that in the business world Air India would gladly take Chinese 7373MAX? You sink even deeper into the hole…

    As per usual you’re quite laughable…👍

  67. Stock Price as of March 24, 2023,

    Boeing (NYSE) US$197.53 -0.37 (-0.19%)

    EUR117.40 −2.54 (2.12%)

    (BVMF) R$20.50 0.00 (0.00%)

    (!) But why do investors have such confidence in Boeing despite the failures and the debt?
    In the world of the stock market the rules are set as follows:

    Boeing is the best. Boeing’s debt doesn’t seem to plague Wall Street and its shareholders, but there are those here who have been heralding the end of the world for years…

    But where has their much-promised Armageddon gone?

  68. Try to see if your Google Translator understands the investing term “bottom feeder”…

    • While I agree with this sentiment, in many ways this is more of a problem with current management’s lack of understanding of what the company already has, which is two solutions in this space.

      Solution 1 is the 787, which if built right the first time should actually have higher profit margins at a lower price point. At a premium price point it should be a cash cow. Of course, that is not the case because of a laundry list of items already discussed ad nauseum on this forum.

      Solution 2 is to straighten the line and do final assembly such that planes come out the front door of the Everett factory. That way the -400 wing could be made baseline on all variants of the plane. It is a much more efficient wing that the old one for the -200 and -300 variants, but once installed with them, the plane can’t fit around the corners of the transportation aisle on the back side of the factory.

      Going further with solution 2 would be to offer a rewing of existing planes at a nominal cost. This would give existing operators a way to significantly extend the life of their existing planes while making them much more fuel efficient. It might even make a few of them that have soured on Boeing happy with the company as an equipment provider again – most especially the U.S. Air Force. Of course making that customer happy would also require fixing the tankers now by getting rid of the RVS.

      • Thanks for these insights. It seems like the 787 could be said cash-cow, *if* they ever figure out how to build the thing.. it’s been quite awhile that they’ve been trying, and new
        issues keep coming to light [ahem].

        As for the KC-46,
        that RVS seems carefully designed as a direction to endlessly shovel money; so far, it appears to be Boeing’s money. Appears.
        I guess the AF is in no real need of a functional replacement tanker..

        signed, 767 Fan.

        • One of the first things Stonecipher did after gaining control of the company was to make war on the engineering teams on the defense side in the Seattle area and the former North American Aviation locations in the LA area. Eliminated in this were the teams that had tanker design experience. After the Sears/Druyan scandal, as the program was gradually restarted, 767 tanker engineering was moved to St. Louis, with a mandate for the new team to find a way to cut costs on it. The most expensive part of the tanker modification was cutting into the aft pressure bulkhead and building the boom operator’s station. They came up with the RVS and sold it to the Air Force as a cost cutting solution.

          The current challenges with the RVS that are supposedly going to be fixed in two years deal with daylight situations where there isn’t enough contrast. However, the difficult missions with lights out, refueling our stealth planes at night near hostile air space are not addressed.

          It is my firm conviction that due to human biomechanical issues, that the RVS will never be able to perform this mission profile – period. The challenge is all about how the human body senses motion and how much time it takes for higher level brain functions *(Kahneman’s “system 2”) to override the lower level functions. The task is very similar to that bicycle that is impossible for anyone to ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFzDaBzBlL0
          No airman boom operator is ever going to be able to use the RVS to perform the lights out at night refueling operation, no matter how hard they try, nor how much money is thrown at engineers to play with the system. It simply cannot be done, and for a very simple reason. The boom operator’s station is in a part of the plane (over the center wing box) that moves differently than the boom. But the bigger problem here is a combination of ego, pride, and an unwillingness to admit failure.

          • I do wonder how the Airbus MRTT RVS solves your “impossible” issues?
            ( boom operator station there is afaik just behind the cockpit sitting sideways.)

          • RTF
            767 Tanker Engineering was centered in Everett. The Catia Dwg Repository was segregated into commercial and Mil access. The factory was done to be ITAR compliant as was the staffing. The boom may have been in St Louis, but all the airframe structure, electrical, AARP, Laircom, plumbing, belly tanks, alignment marker lighting and Explosion proof engineering was all done in Everett. St Louis did not have an FAA designee system to certify the 2C. Everett did, and as we all know, the 2C was Everett’s deliverable to the Tanker conversion center. The conversion of the 2C to the KC-46 still happens there because some people think buying a COTS airframe was a good idea…. I’m not sure where you were, but I know where I was, and my experience is not the same as what you are reporting.

          • What I know is what got eliminated in Kent and the DC, and the experience that went with it. As to who did the RVS concept development and initial design work (not the production drawings) a recently retired grade 6 in St. Louis claims he was part of that team. I wasn’t in the room, so I can only report what I have been told and what I know about what happened at Kent and the DC.

            As for claims that AB can refuel one of our stealth planes light out, I just don’t believe it. First, they don’t have access to any of the planes in question. Second, the whole point of the H-stab order for the KC-135 fleet last summer was to cover these needs as a part of a major overhaul of some of them instead of going the so-called bridge tanker route.

            My perception, and it is just that, my perception, is that the Air Force has lost its ability to trust any of its main suppliers. That’s one of the things that Lucas Kunz claims motivated him to get into politics. Of course he was a Marine and not in the Air Force, but he was our lead permanent uniformed rep to the standing NATO council, so in that capacity he would have had some insights into mission readiness issues.

            I stand by my assertion that even if in two years the low contrast imaging problem is solved for daylight refueling, that the challenges associated with lights out will remain and will never be solved by this system – not by the 2.0 version and not by the 9.0 one either. There is a much better chance of making a fully autonomous system for drones work in that time frame, as it removes the human factor.

            In any case, it was profoundly wrong to commit to an FSED program for a technology that was not yet ready. That has cost billions for nothing, and it comes from gross incompetence in engineering leadership.

      • How’s that 777x rewinging going!….12 years project Oh keep the 767 metal wing and keep producing on those 1970’s wing riveters…that bleeding edge

        • I probably shouldn’t respond to a snotty reply that is ill-informed, but here’s hoping that learning is possible.

          While the 787 is designed to be easier to convert to a package freighter with the heavier floor beams standard, it costs too much for that application at the moment, and it has other issues as well.

          The 767 has an attractive price range for its three main customers, and for the customer that requires structural mods for their applications, this is quite a bit easier to do with an aluminum fuse than with a composite one.

          I’ll disregard the more snotty parts of your comment.

  69. Low-Cost Carriers’ business model involves shedding costs onto others (neo-classical economists quaintly and obliviously refer to those costs as “externalities”).

    It’s a shell game.

  70. In order to accelerate delivery, Air India is going to take up three A350-900 with Aeroflot interior.

  71. Check out Lazerpig (can be a bit hit and miss) latest video on YouTube about the non appearance of the T14 Armata tank. He makes the argument that Russias industrial base has suffered more than we thought. Actually certifying, producing and support are the hardest bit,as Mitsubishi found out. Producing airliners without western support may take a really long time.

    • “Producing airliners without western support may take a really long time.”

      Or…it may not.
      We’ll just have to see.

      • Absolutely no chance. Putin preferred to bribe his mates rather than invest in what was a very talented base. There is just too much to try and catch up with and rebuild from scratch.

        • The Chinese have lots of cash and motivation to help him with his aviation industry…

          • If the US and EU did there job right 15 years ag0 (2008) they would have a new WTO Large Aircraft Agreement that would have included China to limit the amount of funding the Chinese government could have supplied the C919 Over 50USD billion later, too late for that

  72. What we already knew/suspected:

    “Airline CEOs Flag Issues With Pratt Engines Ahead of Crucial Summer Travel Season”

    “(Bloomberg) — Turkish Airlines is seeking leased engines and support from Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Pratt & Whitney unit to repair its grounded Airbus SE A320neo aircraft ahead of the peak summer travel season, as more airlines grapple with defects on their powerplants ahead of the busiest travel season”

    “Separately, Air Baltic Corp AS CEO Martin Gauss said that Pratt “could not keep the given promise again” on improved turnaround times, and it was forced to lease additional capacity starting this week in order to operate its schedule. It had previously said that a quarter of its 40 Airbus A220 jets were out of service, which had already forced it to lease jets with crews this summer.

    “Pratt didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *