Bjorn’s Corner: Time to reassess the safety standards for our airliners

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In the wake of the 737 MAX crashes the standards to which Boeing and the FAA qualified and approved the 737 MAX MCAS function is questioned.

FAA has called the world’s aviation regulators to a meeting on the 23rd of May to discuss how the revised MCAS function will be approved. But it’s time to discuss more than how the updated MCAS shall pass.

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Airbus, Boeing backlogs in US, EU and tariff exposure

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Introduction

April 25, 2019, © Leeham News: With the European Union now listing aircraft among the US products that will be subject to tariffs, in retaliation for the United States plan to levy tariffs on airplanes and other goods, Airbus faces a greater exposure than Boeing in a trade war.

The US proposes tariffs on aircraft, fuselages, wings and other components produced by the four Airbus member states: France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Summary
  • Airbus has more aircraft in backlog to the US than Boeing does to the EU.
  • Delta Air Lines is the biggest Airbus US customer, followed by lessor GECAS.
  • Ireland, with its lessors and discount carrier Ryanair, is Boeing’s biggest customer in the EU.
  • The UK carriers are a distant second to Ireland, but Brexit muddles the picture.

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EU lists goods, including airplanes, subject to tariff in WTO trade war

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: The European Union late last week released its list of US goods, including non-military airplanes (read: Boeing airliners) that will be subject to tariffs if the US proceeds to levy tariffs on $11bn in goods.

The EU upped the ante, valuing its list at up to $20bn.

The EU’s list is here. The US list is here.

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Latest engine problem means NMA EIS slides

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Introduction

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: If there remains any doubt that Boeing’s prospective New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) won’t be ready for entry into service (EIS) by 2025, it should be dispelled by now.

The grounding of the 737 MAX March 13, which is likely to continue well into the summer, will delay any launch of the program—should Boeing proceed.

The Board of Directors is unlikely to approve Authority to Offer (ATO) the NMA for sale as long as the cash flow for the MAX is outgoing and not in-coming.

Although this has its own impact on the NMA timing, it’s not the critical factor.

Last week, it was revealed that the CFM LEAP engine on the MAX (and the Airbus A321neo) has a problem called coking, which led to the contained engine failure of a Southwest Airlines MAX being ferried from Orlando (FL) to Victorville (CA) for the grounding of the Boeing airplane (see here and here). It’s the latest in a long line of engine maker problems with their current generation of powerplants.

This issue is unrelated to the MAX MCAS grounding. It also affects some engines on the A320neo family.

Summary
  • CFM is considered the favorite to power the NMA.
  • All four engine makers remain under stress and recover modes.
  • Rolls-Royce dropped out of NMA competition in December.
  • LNA reported in March 2018 the engines needed to be the focus for the NMA launch. See here and here.

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Pontifications: Collins Aerospace resolved to compete for aftermarket services

By Scott Hamilton

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Moves by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to increase their shares of aftermarket services are viewed by their own suppliers with a mix of trepidation or resolve, depending on who they are.

For Collins Aerospace, it’s resolve.

It’s also about become more efficient with advanced manufacturing of its parts supplied to the aerospace industry. This reduces costs, lead times and takes advantage of Collins’ own engineers and designs for value-added services to its customers.

I spoke with two officials from Collins at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta April 9-11.

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Training is a factor in the MAX crashes

 

By Scott Hamilton

April 15, 2019, © Leeham News: This column will no doubt light up the blog-o-sphere.
There’s been a major debate going on since the crash of Lion Air JT610, the Boeing 737-8 MAX that immediately became a huge controversy.

Boeing immediately blamed the pilots. So did some pilots of some US airlines, who said if the Lion Air crew had just flown the airplane, it wouldn’t have crashed. It was a training issue, some said.

Having got tremendous blow back over Lion Air, Boeing publicly held its tongue when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed five months later.

Still, Boeing officials quietly still said there was nothing wrong with the airplane.
Some US and Canadian pilots maintained, publicly and privately, that a lack of training and pilot skills in the Third World was responsible.

They’re not entirely wrong.

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From the sidelines at MRO America, Day 2; the real reason for 737 production rate cutback

April 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Conversation from the sidelines of the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta on Day 2:

Ramping the 737 production back up

Boeing already has its plans for ramping production of the 737 back up from the current rate reduction of 42 airplane per month.

According to the information here, this is the schedule for ramping back up:
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Airlines show dramatic reductions in cancelations, squawks

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Introduction

April 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airlines are showing dramatic reductions in canceled flights and aircraft maintenance squawks through its Skywise live diagnostics programs, the most recent of which was rolled out in the US with ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air in January.

Skywise Health Monitoring is the latest program in the Skywise suite of services offered by Airbus to carriers around the world. Skywise Health Monitoring (SHM) joins Skywise Reliability Services (SRS) and Skywise Predictive Maintenance (SPM).

Airbus announced Allegiant’s participation yesterday at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta (GA).

Summary

  • Allegiant cites examples pinpointing one problem misreported, identifying a looming part failure before it happened.
  • Delta Air Lines dramatically reduced maintenance cancellations.
  • $850,000 in savings in one example.
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Trump proposes tariffs on Airbus; EU likely to retaliate against Boeing

April 9, 2019, © Leeham News: The European Union is likely to seek stiff tariffs against Boeing and other US exports in retaliation for the Trump Administration’s announcement yesterday it proposes $11bn in tariffs against Airbus and European exports.

The Trump tariffs are proposed in connection with a World Trade Organization appeals finding that Airbus failed to cure illegal subsidies for the A380 and A350.

Last month, the same WTO appeals process found Boeing and the US failed to cure illegal tax breaks to Boeing. Airbus claims at least $15bn in harm from these in lost sales.

Neither the US nor the EU may impose the tariffs in advance of yet another round of WTO proceedings. The disputes already have gone on for 15 years.

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Delta Tech Ops 5-year goal to double revenues

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Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines CEO.

April 9, 2019, © Leeham News: Delta Air Lines has the third largest third-party MRO company in North America and aggressively seeks to grow, in sharp contrast to its competitors.

While American and United airlines have limited their own maintenance, repair and overhaul, let alone seek third party business, Delta Tech Ops is a business unit and profit center. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said today that Tech Ops will achieve $1bn in revenues this year and has a goal of $2bn within five years.

Bastian was the lead-off speaker at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta this week.

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