By Scott Hamilton
Oct. 23, 2019, © Leeham News: Kevin McAllister’s departure yesterday as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes comes as no surprise.
Only the timing—now instead of next year, as was widely surmised—caught people off guard.
Reports conflict whether he resigned, was fired or (as one report put it), it was a “separation;” it really doesn’t matter.
Word was circulating for months, long before the 737 MAX grounding, that his was a fading star.
He was replaced by Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Global Services.
That McAllister is the first high-profile casualty of the MAX grounding and recertification crisis is also not a surprise. That he would be sacrificed had been rumored for weeks. The New York Times openly wrote about this prospect 10 days ago.
But tying McAllister to the MAX crisis is to some degree scapegoating.
As I wrote Oct. 7, the fingers of blame for the crisis point much higher than McAllister.
Oct. 22, 2019: Boeing today recapped its actions to bring the 737 MAX back to certification and service, ahead of its earnings call tomorrow.
The company has taken huge hits since Friday when the information about pilot text messages were revealed by Reuters. The Seattle Times today has a detailed report that makes an independent assessment of the context of the text messages. The story, by Dominic Gates, who’s reporting has been ground-breaking, supports Boeing’s narrative in this case.
Boeing’s press release recapping its actions to fix MAX and return it to service it below. LNA doesn’t publish press releases except in extraordinary circumstances. Given the bashing Boeing has been under–including by LNA–we’re making an exception in this case.
This question was common along the sidelines last week of the Wings Club and two conferences in New York City. (See Pontifications.)
There is, of course, no definitive answer today.
But the plurality of opinion is that the NMA is off the table for the indefinite future.
Other than that, everything is fine.
By Vincent Valery
Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: As Boeing sorts out final requirements with regulators for the 737 MAX return to service, preparations to resume deliveries are in full steam.
The company is hiring scores of temporary workers to return grounded and built but not yet delivered airframes. A note from Alliance Bernstein estimates that Boeing will be able to hand over 25 aircraft per month on top of those that come off the assembly line.
After taking hefty losses and having lost its most robust cash flow source for almost a year, Boeing will want to hand over as many aircraft to airlines as fast as possible.
Do all 737 MAX customers, likewise, want their aircraft back in service as soon as possible?
Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: New York: The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX was expected to be a hot topic of conversation on the sidelines of the Wings Club event here Friday as well as two aviation conferences in town at the same time.
And it was.
How long would the grounding last? What’s the long-term impact on MAX values? How many cancellations might there be?
And then the media frenzy began and the Twittersphere went wild.
Reuters reported that a pilot at Boeing experienced, in 2016—two years before the Lion Air crash—the symptoms of a runaway MCAS in a simulator.
Oct. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Look for Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg to leave in 2020.
At least this is my view.
But some aerospace analysts I spoke with over the weekend are split. Some believe Friday’s action by the Boeing Board of Directors “stripping” (as most media headlines and stories positioned it) the chairman’s title from Muilenburg, while his retaining the president and CEO titles, is the first step in easing him out the door next year. This is my view, too.
Muilenburg also remains on the Board.
Others think handing the non-executive chairman’s title to lead director David Calhoun is actually an effort to save Muilenburg’s job.
Here’s the divergent thinking. None of the analysts wanted to be identified because by investment bank policy, their remarks hadn’t been cleared for quotation and none had yet issued research notes in reaction.
Oct. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing is reconsidering a previous idea to re-engine the 767 with GEnx powerplants, Flight Global reported last week.
The idea was run up the flagpole, so-to-speak, in 2017.
At that time, the 737 MAX was just entering service. There was, of course, no hint of any turbulence on the horizon.
The business case for the New Midmarket Aircraft was difficult even then. So why not look at a 767RE and restarting the 757 line, also up upgrades?
Boeing being Boeing, it looks at everything. It ruled out restarting the 757 line (the challenges would have been pretty daunting).
The 767 got more studious traction, including simply restarting the passenger line and providing a really cheap acquisition. A 767RE, however, was viewed as too complex under the circumstances and it would compete with the 787.
American Airlines and United Airlines were actually interested in the airplane restart.
The New York Times obtained an advance copy. It wrote that the study is “damning” to Boeing and the FAA.
LNA now has the full study. It may be downloaded here: Final_JATR_Submittal_to_FAA_Oct_2019.
October 11, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”) we continue our discussion of pitch stability augmentation systems when we have a mechanical (“fly by steel wire”) pitch control system.