Boeing’s tactical option for MOM sector

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Introduction

Aug. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s not a done deal yet—the business for the so-called Boeing 797 remains a challenge. But the consensus is that Boeing will launch the program next year, for an entry-into-service around 2025.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

Yet there are airlines that say they don’t want to wait that long for a new airplane.

What are their choices?

  • Acquire the Airbus A330-200. It’s available now. Fuel is cheap and is expected to remain so well into the next decade.
  • Acquire the A330-800. It’s fairly cheap. It’s about 10% less expensive to operate on a per-trip basis than the A330-200. The new engines will serve as a hedge against rising fuel prices for an indefinite future.
  • Acquire the Boeing 787-8.
  • Airbus ponders an A321neo+.
  • There’s another option that is not readily apparent.

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Business case for NMA remains uncertain

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Introduction

July 17, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We’re half way through 2017. Boeing reported orders through July 11, a week ago. Airbus won’t update its July orders until the end of the month.

Through July 11, Boeing reported 116 net wide-body orders: 15 for the 767, 33 for the 777 and 75 for the 787. Net cancellations of -7 for the 747 are included in the net 116 figure.

The 15 767s were not commercial models, however, but 767-2C tankers for the USAF.

Over at Airbus, none of China’s 40 commitments announced July 5 for 40 A350s are in the June summary, and won’t be in the Orders tally until the commitments turn into firm orders. Through June, airbus had net 26 widebody orders: three A330-200s and 29 A350-900. There were cancellations of four A330-800s and two A380s.

If the 40 China A350s were included, this would bring Airbus to 66 widebody orders, still well short of Boeing’s YTD figure.

Summary
  • Airbus product gap widens as A330-200/800 stalls.
  • Boeing 787 strength comes from 787-9; 787-8 remains minor player.
  • Middle of the Market business case still unproved.

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Look for more KC-46A tanker orders soon

Feb. 8, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing last month received a $2.1bn order for 15 more KC-46A tankers from the US Air Force, bringing the total so far to 34.

Look for more orders in the coming months.

Boeing has Letters of Intent for 152 more with delivery dates beginning in 2018, according to the Ascend data base.

Extending the line

The aerial refueling tankers are based on the 767-200ER, which is no longer offered by Boeing in a passenger version.

Boeing expects 400 sales of the tanker over the life of the program. Using the current LOIs as a base, the USAF commitment extends to 2028. At the current production schedule planned, the 767 line could be active until 2042.

But the USAF isn’t the only customer for the 767.

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Boeing receives first contracts for KC-46A production

Aug. 18, 2016: Boeing received the first two contracts for production of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker, the company announced.

From the press release:

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Boeing KC-46A cleared for production

Click on image to enlarge. Image via Google.

Aug. 14, 2016: The Pentagon cleared Boeing’s KC-46A aerial refueling tanker for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) after the aircraft completed Milestone C refueling tests.

All that remains now is for the US Air Force and Boeing to execute the contracts.

This is welcome news for Boeing and the USAF.

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State officials need to act now, ahead of lean times coming at Boeing Everett

August 4, 2016 (c) Leeham Co.: With the news that Boeing may terminate the 747-8 program, effective around 2019 when the current backlog expires, the obvious

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) is running for reelection. He needs to think about the coming lean times at the Boeing Everett plant in less than three years. So does his challenger and all the incumbents and candidates for Legislature. USA today photo via Google images.

question arises: what happens to the assembly line space now occupied by the massive airplane?

Given that the State of Washington elected and appointed officials generally view Boeing in a reactive rather than a proactive mode, an open letter to them seems appropriate.

It’s imperative that Washington officials begin planning now for some lean times ahead for the Everett plant. Waiting until 2019 is too little, too late.

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Pontifications: Boeing softens 747-8F recovery

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

July 25, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing July 21 announced it is taking an after tax charge of more than $800m against the 747-8 program. It also canceled plans to increase production of the 747-8F from the current 0.5/mo to 1/mo in 2019 on the long-held belief demand for the 8F would recover as 747-400Fs age.

In an email to LNC, a Boeing Commercial Airplanes spokesman wrote, “We have consistently said that while there is a cargo market recovery – it is not as robust as we had expected. Our new long term forecast projects cargo traffic to grow at 4.2% per year over the next two decades. But in the short term, the cargo market continues to struggle.

“The 747-8 is closely tied to the cargo market. There is an opportunity starting around 2019 when many 747-400 Freighters will be retired. Some of that replacement could go to the 747-8F, some to 777F, but some of those airplanes won’t be replaced at all. The decision we announced reduces future risk for the program and the company– and allows us to see how that replacement cycle plays out.”

With that, years of forecasts of a solid recovery for the 747-8F that ran counter to many outside Boeing was softened considerably.

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Boeing announces $2bn in new charges

Boeing LogoJuly 21, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing today announced $1.66bn in new after tax charges to its 787 and 747-8 commercial programs and a $393m after tax charge for its KC-46A USAF tanker program.

“On a pretax basis at the segment level, Boeing Commercial Airplanes will now record an earnings impact totaling $2.78 billion and the Boeing Military Aircraft segment of Boeing Defense, Space & Security will report an earnings impact of $219 million,” Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing also announced that a planned production rate increase for the 747-8 from 0.5/mo to 1/mo in 2019 has been cancelled.

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Boeing KC-46A completes Milestone C

Boeing Flight Test & Evaluation - Boeing Field - KC-46, VH002, EMD 4, Test 003-05, KC-46 fuel offload to C-17, Milestone C

Boeing KC-46A refueling Boeing C-17. Photo via Boeing. Click on image to enlarge.

July 20, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing and the USAF last week announced that the KC-46A tanker successfully completed Milestone C in the refueling flight testing program.

The KC-46A completed refueling of five aircraft, a requirement under Milestone C: the F16, F18, AV8B Harrier, A10 Warthog and the C17. Additionally, the KC-46A itself was refueled from a Boeing KC-10.

The C17 previously proved to be a problem when aerodynamics for the refueling boom revealed more stress than was permissible.

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Boeing launches PFS 2.0

Update, 0815 PDT July 7: Boeing Corporate Headquarters responded to our questions. The transcript has been added to the article below.

Boeing LogoJuly 7, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s controversial Partnering for Success (PFS) drew ire from its suppliers and scorn from observers for its heavy-handed, threatening cost-cutting demands: shave your costs to Boeing 15%-25% or be put on our own no-fly list of companies that we won’t do business with.

Boeing wasn’t shy about who it targeted, or punished. Even supply-chain giant United Technologies was placed on Boeing’s no-fly list when it balked at the onerous demand.

Now Boeing is moving forward with PFS 2.0, a second round of demands.

Summary
  • PFS 1.0 focused on price.
  • PFS 2.0 focuses on terms and conditions.
  • Boeing wants to stretch accounts payables; some suppliers balking.
  • Suppliers get credit for investing in technology.
  • Threats cease in PFS 2.0.

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