2024 will be key year for Boeing in Washington

This is the second in a series of articles examining how labor, Boeing and Washington state could move forward following the COVID pandemic. The first article is here.

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By Bryan Corliss

Analysis

Introduction

Nov. 30, 2020, © Leeham News — You might want to set yourself an Outlook calendar reminder for January 2024.

It’s going to be a pivotal year for Boeing, its home state and its workforce. By then, the company’s recovery from the current Covid-caused crisis should be underway, with the order book refilling.

The countdown should be on for the long-delayed roll-out of the reconceived NMA, at long last giving Boeing a real counter to the Airbus A321. And — barring a surge in 737 MAX orders after its return to service — Boeing could be close to making some tough decisions about the future of the 737 program, thinking hard about whether after 60 years it’s finally time to design and build a clean-sheet replacement.

Also by then, the 787 program will have fully consolidated into Charleston, and the last 747 will have departed the Paine Field flight line, leaving The World’s Largest Building (By Volume) half-empty.

Then, in January 2024, Boeing’s contract with its touch-labor union – IAM District 751 – will expire, after a 10-year extension that was part of the price Machinists paid to ensure the 777X would be assembled in Everett. For the first time since the summer of 2008, the two sides will sit down at a bargaining table with the union having the ability to call for a strike.

What happens between now and January 2024 will pretty much decide the future of Boeing in Washington state. If the players are clear-eyed and rational, we could see a return to the days when high-skilled workers built high-quality planes that created handsome profits for Boeing shareholders and family-wage jobs for Boeing workers.

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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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Is reengining the Boeing 767 a good idea? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 24, 2019, © Leeham News: According to FlightGlobal, Boeing is investigating reengining the 767-400ER with GE GEnx engines to produce a new freighter and perhaps a replacement for the NMA project.

We started an analysis of what this would look like last week where we analyzed the aircraft fundamentals. Now, we continue with the capacities of passenger and cargo variants.Summary:

  • The 767-400ER is one size larger than the largest NMA. It would be a competitor to the Boeing 787-8. This makes the variant doubtful as an NMA replacement.
  • As a cargo variant, it adds less than 20% of cargo volume on top of the present freighter, the 767-300F. Is this attracitve enough to motivate a reengine for a freighter?

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Is re-engining the Boeing 767 a good idea?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 17, 2019, © Leeham News: FlightGlobal writes Boeing is investigating re-engining the 767-400ER with GE GEnx engines to produce a new freighter and perhaps a passenger aircraft as a replacement for the NMA project. Development costs would be lower and it would be easier to get a business plan which closes for the upgraded 767 than for the NMA.

We commented on the idea earlier in the week and here follows a technical analysis of what re-engining the 767 would bring.

Summary:

  • The 767 is 40 years old in its base design. We look at the fundamentals to understand the trades involved in extending its life with new engines.
  • We also compare the 767 technologies with those for the NMA to understand the compromises of an updated 767RE compared with a clean sheet NMA.

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Boeing reports strong 3Q results

Oct. 24, 2018: Boeing reported a stronger than expected third quarter when it announced financial results today.

The press release is here.

The stock was up more than 3% ($10.87) in early morning trading.

Wall Street analysts issued these quick notes ahead of the earnings call:

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Spirit AeroSystems, the world’s largest aerostructures company

A feature report.

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Spirit AeroSystems is the world’s largest aerostructures supplier, with main facilities in Wichita (KS). I visited Wichita early March and was given a guided tour of the factories. It was a tour of contrasts.

In production hall two, the Boeing 737 fuselages are riveted together in much the same way as the Boeing B-29 Stratofortress was produced there during World War II. “Rosie the riveter” is replaced with a robot, but the hall still has a busy charm.

Figure 1. Hall two, the main 737 production area. Source: Spirit AeroSystems.

In another hall, the production is silent. The winding of the Boeing Dreamliner’s forward fuselage from rolls of tape is made with a swooshing sound. There are few people around; the machines rule.  Everything is mega large; tape-layers, tools, autoclaves, the lot. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: USAF Tanker program

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm25 September 2015, ©. Leeham Co: When Scott Hamilton asked me to give my view on his article “Pontifications: Duelling refuelling tankers” I accepted. I was not involved in the project and was only following it casually over the years.

I will also not give my view on what would have been the most suitable tanker for the US Air Force. I simply don’t have the relevant military competence for that, having never operated my fighters with aerial tanking nor been in an aerial tanker aircraft.

Where I have relevant competence is in writing military specifications for important aircraft procurements and the excerpts I have seen from the tanker RFQ on key specification points don’t impress. Let me explain.

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Boeing’s 767 revitalized as a MOM stop gap, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

Aug. 31 2015, ©. Leeham Co: After examining the characteristics of the Boeing 767 to serve the market segment that Boeing is studying for its Middle of the Market (MOM) requirement, the 225 passenger/5000nm sector, we will now finish the series by looking at how the 767 can be made economically more competitive.

We will study the influence of improved aerodynamics like Aviation Partners Boeing’s Split Scimitar Winglet for the 767. We will also look at what engine PIPs can provide and also look at what a re-engine could bring.

Finally we examine at what happens when we add crew costs, underway/landing fees and maintenance costs to form Cash Operating Costs (COC) followed by capital costs to form Direct Operating Costs (DOC).

Summary:

  • Boeing’s 767 has the right cross section for passenger transportation in the 225 passenger/5000nm segment.
  • Its wings and empennage are too large, however. We make them work harder by transporting the 767-300ER fuselage and passengers.
  • We also introduce aerodynamic and engine improvements. Still, the fuel consumption per seat mile is considerably higher than modern alternatives.
  • At a Cash Operating Cost and Direct Operating Cost level, the higher fuel consumption has less influence in today’s fuel prices. The result is that the 767-300ER becomes an interesting alternative as long as the fuel price stays low.

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Pontifications: Boeing takes another charge on tanker program; What’s next?

By Scott Hamiltn

By Scott Hamilton

July 20, 2015, © Leeham Co.: Boeing on Friday took another charges against its USAF aerial refueling tanker program, the KC-46A, this time $536m after taxes ($855m before taxes). This brings the charges to date to more than $800m after taxes ($1.3bn before taxes).

So much for my vacation and skipping Pontifications this week.

The new charge is split between Boeing Commercial Airplanes ($513m pre-tax) and

Boeing Defense, Space & Security ($322m pre-tax). This is because the KC-46A is based on the 767-

Japan’s KC-767. What about “lessons learned?” Photo via Google Images.

200ERF and BCA is principally in charge of the development.

Last week, the USAF–before the Boeing announcement–said it still expects the first production tankers to be delivered on time, in 2017, but Boeing Commercial’s recent track record of developing, producing and delivering airplanes on time and on budget leaves a lot to be desired.

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We’re off to Svalbard (we know: ‘where’s that?’)

One piece of business: AirInsight has a lot of videos from the Paris Air Show, interviews with key people. Go here for the full listing.

And we’re off….

Long-time readers know we like to do unusual things–like our trip to far north Alaska in 2010, photographing polar bears, musk ox, the Northern Lights and driving the 550 mile haul road (well, others did the actual driving) between Fairbanks and the oil fields. Or like our African photo safari trip in 2000. Or or DC-7B excursion. And more recently our DC-3 ride.

We’re at it again. We’re off to Svalbard.

The most common reaction we get is a blank stare, followed by “where’s that?”

The maps show where it is.

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