Survey split on MAX return to service: December to March

Aug. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: It will take Boeing nearly a year to deliver the stored 737 MAXes if the airplane returns to service in November, according to a new analysis by Bernstein Research.

Boeing 737 MAX jets grounded. Seattle Times photo.

In an Aug. 5 research note, Bernstein reported the results of an investors’ survey and forecast the ramp-up of production next year to rate 57/mo, something Boeing had hoped to achieve last June before the MAX grounding upset all plans.

In the survey, Bernstein reported it expects the MAX return to service in November.

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Boeing faces weak sales, production gap for 777X

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Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Design issues with the giant General Electric Aviation GE9X are causing untimely headaches for the Boeing 777X program, at a time when the 737 MAX is consuming the company.

The MAX grounding and longer-than-expected fixes and Return to Service (RTS) is overshadowing challenges with the 787 skyline, where a production rate of 14/mo is burning through the backlog faster than new orders are coming in.

The 777X is facing skyline challenges as well. Sales have been slow. One major customer in the Middle East is undergoing a financial and fleet restructuring and another publicly said it will reduce 777X orders if it places a new order for 787-10s.

The 777X delivery schedule has slid to the right due to the engine issues and the 777-8 is a niche airplane that may have a greater future as a freighter than it does as a passenger model.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”) this week we cover the difference in system infrastructure the two controls methods call for.

We will use the Boeing 737 as the classical control example and the Airbus A320 as the FBW example.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture, Part 3?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 1, 2019, © Leeham News: We wrap up our study of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR could capture with looking at the difference in available engine technology between the A231XLR and the NMA generation of airliners.

Summary:

  • The generational improvement in fuel efficiency of airliner turbofans has been over 10% in the last decades.
  • We examine if these improvements will still be the case for the NMA generation of aircraft.

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Boeing MAX crisis overshadows other challenges

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July 29, 2019, © Leeham News: The 737 MAX crisis overshadows everything else right now at Boeing.

This includes forward orders, weak customers and production gaps on the 787 line, which right now is the cash flow cow at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing’s production line for the 787 is filled through 2021, but after that, there are big gaps. Source: Leeham Co. Click on image for a crisp view.

Executives only briefly, and obliquely, touched on the 787 during the 2Q2019 earnings call last Wednesday.

This prompted LNA to examine the details of the backlog and production rates. The 787 is current being produced at a rate of 14/mo.

There are clear signs of challenges, both near- and medium-term for the 787.

Summary
  • Weak customers threaten to create deferred deliveries near-term.
  • There will be about 20 A330s and 777s coming off lease each year from 2021-2026 on top of retirements. Airbus and Boeing see these are replacement opportunities.
  • The production back delivery stream falls off the cliff in 2022.

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Pontifications: MAX market share holding steady, so far

By Scott Hamilton

July 29, 2019, Leeham News: Despite threats and fears of cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX following two fatal accidents of virtually brand new -8 MAXes, few order cancellations directly attributable to the crashes have occurred.

So far, there isn’t a discernible shift to Airbus, either, data shows.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire?

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week’s Corner which dealt with Airbus’ issue with an updated A321neo Fly By Wire (FBW) and how it was unrelated to the issue of the Boeing 737 MAX, gives a good segue to a Corner series about the possibilities of FBW versus classical flight controls when it comes to tuning an airliner’s flight characteristics.

The two different control principles present the designer with very different challenges and possibilities.

The Fly-By-Wire Airbus A321XLR. Source: Airbus.

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Analyst shrug off possible 737 production shut down

July 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Aerospace analysts brushed aside Boeing’s warning yesterday that the possibility exists the 737 MAX production line might be shut down in the airplane doesn’t return to service (RTS) in the fourth quarter.

Boeing’s statement, on its 2Q2019 earnings call, created headlines in the press coverage, including on LNA.

But analysts shrugged off the news.

Separately, Southwest Airlines today announced it has removed the MAX from its schedule to January.

Below is a synopsis of reactions in notes issued last night and this morning.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

July 25, 2019, © Leeham News: We continue our discussion from last week of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR would capture.

We started the study by comparing the aircraft with a common yardstick. It brought some revealing insights. Now we continue by looking at the airline routes these aircraft can cover and their economics when covering these routes.

Summary:
  • The NMAs and the A321XLR cover the same routes with small differences in range performance.
  • The major difference is in their passenger capacity, where they are complementary rather than competitors.

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Boeing warns of production reduction, complete shut down of MAX if return to service delayed beyond 4th quarter

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing CEO. Source: Reuters.

July 24, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing’s chief executive officer today warned that if the 737 MAX return to service is delayed much beyond the anticipated fourth quarter RTS, reducing production from the current 42/mo or a complete production shut down could happen.

Either scenario would have huge and disruptive impacts to the supply chain.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg made the remark on the second quarter earnings call.

Last week, Boeing said it hopes for RTS in November. Today, Muilenburg characterized the hoped-for return “early in the fourth quarter.”

But he called the recertification processes and global regulatory reviews “dynamic.” There is no guarantee the RTS will happen on the timeline Boeing hopes.

Updated: Additional comments from the Question and Answer portion of the earnings call.

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