Boeing’s second quarter of 2020; cutting production as revenue halves due to MAX grounding and COVID-19

July 29, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing presented its results for the second quarter of 2020 today. The company revenue is halved compared with the last second quarter with full 737 MAX production, 2Q2018. The reported loss was $3bn but the real loss, masked by program accounting, is close to double this number.

Boeing will now cut production of the cash cow 787 to less than half the pre-COVID rate, producing six planes per month instead of 14, and the 777/777X rate goes from five presently to two per month next year and stays there for 2022.

The 737 MAX production will stay at a very low level until the present inventory of 450 produced MAX has cleared. Present planning is a slow ramp during 2021, with a rate of 31 per month only reached at the end of 2022.

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Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: Embraer

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Fourth in a series.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

July 8, 2020, © Leeham News: All airliner OEMs have a disastrous 2020, but for Embraer, the year has been even worse. After spending a year and over $200m to carve out the Commercial Aviation division to merge it into Boeing, the Joint Venture Agreement (JV) was stopped by Boeing at the last moment.

The Executive Jets and Defense side were not affected, but now Embraer was organized as two companies instead of one. The company must now re-merge the organizations to save costs in a COVID-19 environment where limiting cash outflow, and lowering costs are necessary for survival. At the same time, it’s arch-rival on the world market, Airbus A220 has gone from strength to strength through basket selling with the popular A320.

How does Embraer come back from the Boeing pass up and regroup in a regional market that is no longer a fight of equals? Embraer competes with Airbus that in 2019 was 11 times larger in airliner deliveries and 29 times in airliner revenue.

Only in the below 100 seat market is it saved from the giant, who doesn’t have a model in the segment. And it seems the below 100 seat competitor, Mitsubishi, might fold its entry.

Summary
  • The botched JV with Boeing came at the worst possible moment for Embraer, just when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped airliner deliveries.
  • The planned JV had held back sales and deliveries, waiting for the JV to complete.
  • In addition, it cost Embraer $200m, pushing it into the red for 2019.
  • Embraer must now find another fix to the Airbus problem while wrestling with a worldwide COVID crisis.
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How much life is left in the Boeing 737 MAX after recertification?

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

June 29, 2020, © Leeham News: As Boeing narrows in on recertification of the 737 MAX, one of the questions that is unanswered, but forward-reaching is, how much life is left in the airplane?

In this context, the question is not about “useful life.” This is the length of time an airplane can economically be in service before passenger carriers retire the aircraft. Then there is the potential as a cargo conversion airplane. The useful life may equal or exceed the useful life as a passenger airplane.

How much life is left in the MAX in this context means how long will it be before Boeing pursues a replacement design—and how long will MAX remain in production?

Summary
  • 737NG program launched in November 1993. EIS: December 1997. Production ended late 2019.
  • 737 MAX program launch, July 2011. EIS: May 2017. Boeing contract with Spirit Aerosystems for fuselages extends to 2033.
  • A321XLR, MAX grounding killed NMA.

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Pontifications: Recertification flights for Boeing 737 MAX appear close

By Scott Hamilton

June 29, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing may be set to begin recertification flights of the 737 MAX as early as today, The Seattle Times reported last week.

Testing will take three days, if all goes well. But Boeing still has a lot of work to do to fully satisfy regulators.

According to The Times, Transport Canada and Europe’s EASA require additional modifications to enhance safety on the MAX. The additional changes may not be required for certification but must be done within a year, the paper reports. The MAX 10 must have the changes before it is certified.

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Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: Boeing

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Second in a series.

By Scott Hamilton and Vincent Valery

Introduction

June 24, 2020, © Leeham News: “Airbus’ widebody strategy is a mess.”

This is what Kostya Zolotusky, then a VP with Boeing Capital Corp., said a few years ago on the sidelines of a major aerospace conference.

Today, it may be going too far to say there is increasing opinion in the industry that Boeing’s product strategy is a mess. But it’s fair to say it’s seriously challenged.

Even setting aside the 737 MAX grounding, Airbus clearly outpaced the MAX with the A320neo family. The A321LR and XLR thrust Airbus into dominance in the single-aisle, 150-220 seat sector.

Airbus fell into a winner with the acquisition of the Bombardier C Series. Boeing’s 737-7 MAX has captured fewer than 100 orders since the program launch in 2011. Demand for the 777X is weak.

Boeing critics, and there are many, see little but doom and gloom ahead. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Boeing faced years of recovery from the MAX grounding.

There’s no doubt Boeing has a deep hole to climb out of, exacerbated by the COVID crisis. The question is, what does Boeing do after the MAX is returned to service and the virus crisis is over?

Summary
  • Airbus is clear leader in single-aisle sector.
  • Boeing’s product strategy for New Midmarket Airplane, Embraer role is over.
  • Former CEO Jim McNerney said, “no more moonshots.” But is this just what Boeing needs to regain its position?

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Pontifications: Deferrals, bankruptcies continue; order recovery far off

By Scott Hamilton

June 22, 2020, © Leeham News: Although more passengers are flowing through airports and airlines are adding back service, airplane order deferrals continue.

Airline bankruptcies do, too.

LEVEL’s short haul operation went into bankruptcy last week. LATAM Argentina ceased operations. Lufthansa said it may seek administration if shareholders don’t agree to the government bailout negotiated by the airline.

New orders dried up. And, so far, there is no telling when there might be some placed.

Boeing announced just a handful of new orders last month. Airbus didn’t announce any orders in May.

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Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: Airbus

First in a series of reports.

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By Scott Hamilton and Vincent Valery

June 17, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus was riding high in February.

The A321XLR was a clear winner. An important order was won from United Airlines, up to then an exclusive Boeing narrowbody customer. American Airlines selected the XLR. An order was expected from Delta Air Lines.

Each order was another that made it impossible for Boeing to launch the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA).

In one of his first actions, Boeing CEO David Calhoun, taking office Jan. 13, put the NMA on indefinite hold, pending a complete review of Boeing’s product strategy.

The Boeing 737 MAX remained grounded by regulators, with no return to service in sight.

The Airbus A321XLR. This 9-hour capable airplane helps fragment routes–and soften demand for widebody aircraft. Source: Airbus.

Things couldn’t be going better for Airbus.

And then in mid-March, the COVID crisis became a global pandemic. Air transportation fell up to 95%. Airlines required government bailouts. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the very existence of Airbus was threatened.

Summary
  • COVID’s impact.
  • A320 family ‘s commanding lead over Boeing.
  • A220 commands low-end of single-aisle sector.
  • A330neo is the weak link.
  • Looking ahead in product strategy.

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Boeing tells Spirit to pause 737 MAX fuselage production

June 11, 2020, © Leeham News: Spirit Aerosystems, maker of the Boeing 737 fuselages, yesterday said it will lay off 900 workers on the MAX line for three weeks.

“Spirit received a letter from Boeing directing Spirit to pause additional work on four 737 MAX shipsets and avoid starting production on 16 737 MAX shipsets to be delivered in 2020, until otherwise directed by Boeing,” the supplier said in a press release.

“Based on the information in the letter, subsequent correspondence from Boeing dated June 9, 2020, and Spirit’s discussions with Boeing regarding 2020 737 MAX production, Spirit believes there will be a reduction to Spirit’s previously disclosed 2020 737 MAX production plan of 125 shipsets,” the company said.

Spirit also is furloughing workers at two locations in Oklahoma.

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HOTR: Boeing still sees MAX 3Q recertification

By the Leeham News staff

June 10, 2020, © Leeham News: Despite COVID slowdowns, Boeing still expects recertification of the 737 MAX in the third quarter, say people familiar with the situation.

Whether this timetable proves out remains to be seen. But this is the schedule Boeing continues to work toward.

The two key regulators are the Federal Aviation Administration and Europe’s EASA. Other regulators are expected to follow their leads.

Concurrent recertification as conventionally thought of—recertification and everyone authorizes a return to service at the same time—isn’t realistic. After EASA recertifies the airplane, the member states’ own regulators must step up and formally do so. This may take a couple of weeks.

China’s CAAC was the first regulator to ground the airplane. It has its own process. There isn’t a reciprocity agreement with the FAA in place. (There are bilaterals, which aren’t the same thing.)

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HOTR: Moving up the 777-8F?

 By the Leeham News Staff

June 4, 2020, © Leeham News: A lawsuit filed by cargo specialist Volga Dnepr against Boeing claims Boeing is running out the clock on the 747-8F.

The report by The Seattle Times makes for interesting reading. Key of HOTR is the reference that Boeing plans to end 747 production within three years. This is longer than LNA believes. Regardless, the three-year timeline fits with information LNA about the 777-8F.

LNA is told Boeing sales floated the possibility of launching the 777-8F around 2023-24. This would bring forward the launch by about two years from plans when the X program was launched in 2013.

Then, the entry into service for the 777-9 was targeted for 2019-2020. This was to be followed by the 777-8 passenger model in two years and then the 8F two years after that.

During the fallout of the MAX grounding, the 777-8 was deferred indefinitely. Now, with COVID upending demand, customers are deferring and talking about canceling 777X orders. Boeing is reducing 777 production from five to three per month. The 777-9 production will go to one per month.

The 777 Classic line is sustained by the 777-200LRF. The 777-8F concept is a couple of frames longer than the -8P but shorter than the 777-9.

Having spent more than $1bn for the advanced Composite Wing Center to build 777X wings and having produced about a dozen 777-9s so far, Boeing needs to boost the X sales prospects.

Bringing forward the -8F is the way to do so.

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