Boeing’s 737 ramp up shows confidence in economy, ‘skyline’ and the unions

The announcement last week that Boeing once again is planning to ramp up production of its venerable 737 line show confidence on a number of levels:

  • The global economy continues to recover;
  • The strength of the backlog, aka “skyline,’ is strong;
  • The efficiency of the Lean production line only gets better; and
  • The confidence in the labor unions (notably IAM 751) appears to be gaining strength compared with the depths of anger following the 2008 57-day strike and the October 2009 decision to put the second assembly line for the 787 in Charleston (SC).

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737 production rate hike, PW’s GTF, Airbus’ A320 NEO

We talk about the prospect of a production rate hike at AirInsight this morning.

  • Here’s a story from Flight Global taking a detailed, focused look at the Pratt & Whitney P1000G Geared Turbo Fan, which will power the Bombardier CSeries, Irkut MC-21 and Mitsubishi MRJ; and will likely be chosen by Airbus to power the A320 family New Engine Option.
  • Speaking of the A320 NEO, look for an announcement on September 30 or shortly thereafter giving the green light for this program.
  • Embraer is also considering whether to reengine its E-Jet series with the GTF.
  • Flight International has  this detailed report on the Bombardier CSeries to be the first airplane to have telemetry for the black box flight data recorder.

AirInsight on 787, 747-8 delays; A321 NEO

AirInsight has several commentaries about the news last week of new delays in the Boeing 787 and 747-8 programs; and a discussion about the prospective A321 New Engine Option. The main site is here.

PW’s GTF, Boeing’s culture, China’s C919 and ARJ21, CSeries

Jon Ostrower of FlightGlobal has this piece about the “bolt-on” of Pratt & Whitney’s P1524G PurePower Geared Turbo Fan. The PurePower, also known as the Geared Turbo Fan, is the engine designed for Bombardier’s CSeries, with larger versions anticipated for development to re-engine the Airbus A320 family and potentially for application to the replacement airplane for the Boeing 737.

PW’s PurePower website is here.

Airbus said at the Farnborough Air Show that it has made the business case to re-engine the family, and it will conclude the study by the end of September whether engineering resources will be freed up to proceed with the project. We believe Airbus will green-light the program, with an announcement at the end of next month or in October.

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Boeing considers 40/mo for 737 rate; Airbus ups A320 to 40

Update, July 30: Airbus announced today it will increase the production rate on its A320 family to 40 per month.

Original Post:

Boeing is considering going to a production rate of 40 737s per month, with a decision to come in September.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh gave us this number during our interview with him at the Farnborough Air Show.

The company is working with its supply chain to determine if and when this can be achieved.

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Farnborough/Thursday

For all practical purposes for commercial aviation geeks, the air show is over. Even John Leahy left.

There was one significant order today, from Virgin America for 40+20 Airbus A320s with options to convert to A321 and to use sharklets.

Boeing announced a minor order swap involving three airplanes. Bombardier didn’t announce any CSeries orders, but then, we knew by July 12 this was unlikely.

Below are the orders through Day 4, minus a couple of minor ones due after we left the field to wrap up our reporting before going home. Over the course of the next week or so, we’ll pick write some additional stuff.

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Farnborough/Wednesday

Note: We have updated the Tuesday posting at the end of that column.

Update, 8:00 PM BST: Day 3 orders are now included toward the end of this post.

Another day, another set of aircraft orders are expected. From the buzz, it sounds like this could a Boeing day.

But the speculation continues hot-and-heavy about the failure of Bombardier to announce an order from Qatar. As many news stories report, Qatar’s Abkar Al Baker said there is an issue with Pratt & Whitney yet to be resolved and, from our discussions, we know there is and have a general idea what it’s about.

Alas, we were told off the record (damn!) and cannot share it here.

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Farnborough/Tuesday

Updated, Wednesday 05:00 BST

We’ve updated this posting after all the text with orders completed through Day 2,

Original Post:

Tuesday will be another day where orders are expected to be announced. See our Monday posting, updated at 4pm for this information.

Pratt & Whitney

We will be attending a breakfast hosted by Pratt & Whitney; perhaps we can get some information about the issues Qatar reports in connection with its potential CSeries order. Or perhaps not. OEMs are loath to talk about customers. But we shall see.

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Farnborough/Monday

Updates throughout the post, 415PM BST.

Here is a look ahead for Monday at the Farnborough Air Show and what might be expected for news and orders in the coming week. We’ll update this post at the end of the day.

Airbus

John Leahy on Saturday predicted at least 130 orders will be announced this week. Boeing thinks that if Leahy is predicting 130, he’s got a lot more up his sleeve. Leahy also predicted orders from leasing companies, signaling improving economies. See individual companies below.

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Farnborough/Sunday-EADS

We’re at the Farnborough Air Show and on Saturday attended the day-long EADS media briefings. We filed reports exclusively for KIRO TV (CBS) in Seattle. These stories are:

  • Airbus predicts 130+ orders at the air show;
  • Leahy says Airbus has to get current programs right before proceding with decision whether to re-engine the A320 family; decision due in 4th quarter;
  • Boeing Defense facing growing competition from EADS;
  • EADS sees “fair and open” competition for KC-X;
  • EADS chief raps “unfair” WTO.

These stories are below the jump.

Separately, word leaked from Farnborough that Boeing will get an order fo 20 777s, but this is a swap from the failing DAE Capital of Dubai. Here is this story.

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