Bjorn’s Corner: 737 MAX ungrounding, ANAC’s and EASA’s decisions

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 27, 2020, ©. Leeham News: After the lifting on the grounding order by the FAA, ANAC (Brazils regulator) followed in the week, and EASA issued its plans for public comment.

What are the differences in the ungrounding conditions, and what are the reasons for any differences?

Figure 1. Circuit Breaker placement for the 737 NG and MAX. Source: Leeham Co. and


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Enhancing the Dreamliner, Part 8: Wrap Up

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By Bjorn Ferhm and Vincent Valery


Nov. 26, 2020, © Leeham News: After analyzing the three members of the Dreamliner family on several routes out of San Francisco to Asian destinations, we conclude the series with a wrap- up of what we learned.

  • A guinea pig for new technologies and processes;
  • After a long slough against problems, a resounding commercial success;
  • Size-wise, ideally-positioned for the post-COVID world;
  • Future enhancements.

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Boeing 737 MAX changes beyond MCAS

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 24, 2020, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we went through the core MCAS changes the FAA demanded from Boeing to lift the grounding of the 737 MAX 8 and 9. As the investigation into the MAX crashes deepened, changes were added beyond the core MCAS related changes.

A single sensor failure, like the Angle of Attack failures for Lion Air JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines ET302, triggered a multitude of failure warnings. These warnings absorbed the crew’s concentration, invalidating FAA certification assumptions on crew reaction times for critical trim failures. As a result, the FAA required additional crew alert and procedure changes for the MAX.

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Updating Airbus and Boeing Orders At Risk

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By Vincent Valery


Nov. 23, 2020, © Leeham News: It’s time to update the analysis on Airbus and Boeing orders at risk for delivery under the “weak customer” doctrine.

Under a US accounting rule known as ASC 606, Boeing must identify the number of orders that are unlikely to be delivered because the customer’s financial condition is weak. Airbus does not do this because there is no ASC 606 rule in Europe.

LNA wrote a few months ago an article that attempted to apply ASC 606 adjustments to Airbus’ order book.

Boeing publishes an estimation by the program of orders subjects to material cancellation risks, or ASC 606. The tally increased from 183 to 782 for the 737 between the end of 2019 and October 2020.

While Boeing has disclosed 1,020 net orders year-to-date canceled or subject to ASC 606 (393 canceled without accounting for ASC 606 adjustments), Airbus lists 308 net new orders. Airbus’ tally does not reflect a European equivalent to ASC 606 adjustments. The European OEM only publishes an overall outstanding value of its order book that accounts for customer risks in its annual report.

Despite last week’s news about progress on developing a COVID-19 vaccine, LNA’s Judson Rollins wrote that the timeline of a return to normalcy remains elusive. The lingering pandemic means that more airlines will run into financial difficulties, resulting in more orders that will be deemed risky.

LNA provides an updated tally of the orders at risk for both Airbus and Boeing, with minor changes to the methodology.

  • Identifying customers at risk;
  • Explaining differences with Boeing’s ASC 606;
  • Applying adjustments to Airbus’ order book;
  • Estimation of adjusted market shares;
  • A digression to tariff exposures.

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Pontifications: Why I’d fly the MAX; lessons learned and still to come

Nov. 23, 2020, © Leeham News: I’m okay with flying on board the Boeing 737 MAX.

Yes, it’s gone through the wringer in the 20 months since it was grounded.

Yes, Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration screwed up royally.

And yes, there’s solid reason to distrust the company and the agency, wondering if they got it right this time.

Which is why for me the tipping point is the involvement of Transport Canada and Europe’s EASA are the reasons to trust getting back on the MAX.

LNA addresses the safety in our new podcast feature, 10 Minutes About. The inaugural podcast, 10 Minutes About the Boeing 737 MAX recertification may be heard here.

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Bjorn’s Corner: 737 MAX ungrounding, the technical background

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 20, 2020, ©. Leeham News: This week’s big news is the lifting of the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX.

I wrote about the changes made to the MAX Wednesday and why I believe it’s safe. Let’s use our Corner space to walk through what I wrote about, but with a more technical angle.

Figure 1. 737 MAX nacelles (right) compared with 737 NG nacelles (left). Source: Boeing and Leeham Co.

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Enhancing the Dreamliner, Part 7: The optimum range for the 787-10

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By Bjorn Fehrm


November 19, 2020, © Leeham News: Last week, we compared the economics of the 787-10 to the 787-9 on the San Francisco to Sydney route.

We could see this 6,500nm route does not suit the 787-10, even though it’s within the aircraft’s range capability. The 787-9 is the better alternative.

We now compare the aircraft on the 4,500nmm San Francisco to Tokyo route, a distance that should suit the 787-10 better.

  • The 787-10 can fly routes of up to 6,500nm, but its payload capability gets compromised.
  • You can fill the cabin to a reasonable load factor but must leave all cargo behind. In a high yield cargo market, this is not a profitable proposition.
  • When the routes are below 5,000nm, the 787-10 works better. Now the large capacity can be utilized both for passengers and cargo. If it can be filled it’s now the lowest cost Dreamliner.

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Boeing responds to FAA recertification of the 737 MAX

  • Coverage of recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX continues with the next post.

Nov. 18, 2020: Boeing issued the following statements in response to the US Federal Aviation Administration recertifying the 737 MAX.

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Breaking News: FAA recertifies 737 MAX–continuing coverage

  • Coverage continues in the next post.

Nov. 18, 2020, (c) Leeham News: The US Federal Aviation Administration today recertified the Boeing 737 MAX, ending a 20-month grounding.

Underlying photo: Source, Boeing.

Recertification of the airplane will follow by Transport Canada and Europe’s EASA, probably this month.

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FAA recertifies Boeing 737 MAX

  • Continuing coverage in next post

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 18, 2020, ©. Leeham News: The FAA has declared the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 safe to fly after a 20 months grounding. On March 10, 2019, the Ethiopian Air ET302 crashed after Boeing’s pitch augmentation software MCAS triggered erroneously and caused the aircraft to crash. This accident followed a similar accident of Lion Air JT610 on October 29, 2018.

Ethiopia grounded the MAX on the day, China the day after, and the FAA on March 13. The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since the FAA grounding.

It has been a gruesome 20 months for Boeing, where it’s gone from denial of guilt to a full acceptance of responsibility and a complete change of attitude. With changes to the MAX verified by FAA, EASA, Transport Canada, and Brazil’s ANAC, it’s now ready to fly again.

We will cover the return to flight of the 737 MAX in several articles, the first dealing with the question: Is the 737 MAX safe to fly?

Below we go through what went wrong and why this chain of events will not happen again on an updated 737 MAX.

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