May 16, 2019, © Leeham News: As a Congressional investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX development ramps up, LNA dipped into its archives to review what the company was telling the public.
The MAX was hastily launched in July 2011, when American Airlines informed Boeing it was about to place a record-setting order for nearly 500 airplanes. Airbus was lined up to snare it all with the A320ceo and neo families unless Boeing could make a credible offer.
Within 48 hours, Jim McNerney, then-CEO of Boeing, made the decision to launch the re-engined design of the 737. This later was branded the MAX.
It was a plane Boeing designed but didn’t want to build.
Once launched, Boeing had to play catch up to Airbus, which had a seven month lead with its neo. The public messaging was long on bashing the A320. There were few technical details presented in public, but the basis for what’s become in focus today after two fatal crashes was there.
May 2, 2019, © Leeham News: There was indication last week Boeing’s decision on whether to approve the New Midmarket Airplane program will slide.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on the company’s first quarter earnings call the focus is returning the grounded 737 MAX to service.
A decision on authorizing the sales force to offer the NMA for sale is ambiguous. For the first time, targeting 2025 for entry into service appears to be acknowledged as iffy.
The statements confirm LNA’s analysis and our reports that the 2025 EIS is unlike.
April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: If there remains any doubt that Boeing’s prospective New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) won’t be ready for entry into service (EIS) by 2025, it should be dispelled by now.
The Board of Directors is unlikely to approve Authority to Offer (ATO) the NMA for sale as long as the cash flow for the MAX is outgoing and not in-coming.
Although this has its own impact on the NMA timing, it’s not the critical factor.
Last week, it was revealed that the CFM LEAP engine on the MAX (and the Airbus A321neo) has a problem called coking, which led to the contained engine failure of a Southwest Airlines MAX being ferried from Orlando (FL) to Victorville (CA) for the grounding of the Boeing airplane (see here and here). It’s the latest in a long line of engine maker problems with their current generation of powerplants.
This issue is unrelated to the MAX MCAS grounding. It also affects some engines on the A320neo family.
April 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Conversation from the sidelines of the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta on Day 2:
Boeing already has its plans for ramping production of the 737 back up from the current rate reduction of 42 airplane per month.
According to the information here, this is the schedule for ramping back up:
April 9, 2019, © Leeham News: Delta Air Lines has the third largest third-party MRO company in North America and aggressively seeks to grow, in sharp contrast to its competitors.
While American and United airlines have limited their own maintenance, repair and overhaul, let alone seek third party business, Delta Tech Ops is a business unit and profit center. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said today that Tech Ops will achieve $1bn in revenues this year and has a goal of $2bn within five years.
Bastian was the lead-off speaker at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta this week.
March 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus’ effort to slash supply costs for A220 production is “an ongoing exercise at this point,” Joe Marcheschi, Airbus’ head of procurement in North America, told LNA in an interview last month.
“There are no specific, let’s say, achievements yet,” he said. “We are working closely with our supply chain.”
It takes time to squeeze cost out of the supply chain, he said. “We only took over July 1. That’s when we got full knowledge of the existing contracts.”
In January, Philippe Balducchi, head of the Airbus-led venture overseeing production, told journalists that the aerospace giant aims to realize “significant double-digit” percentage cost reduction. He indicated that most of the savings likely would come from the supply chain, according to news reports.
“Look, the airplane is absolutely fantastic—it just costs a lot of money,” Marcheschi said. “Now, we have to find a way to reduce the cost.”
March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s late. There have been creeping delays. There’s been design creep. There were unknown unknowns. It’s way over budget.
No, it’s not a new airplane program, though the parallels are quite apparent.
It’s our new house.
After a three year process, including changing builders, going through the city twice, hitting expensive unknowns and facing rising costs, today is finally, finally, moving day.
It’s been a horrible experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
This will sound familiar to Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and, to a lesser extent, GE and CFM. Only Embraer can say it finished on time and on budget.
March 4, 2019, © Leeham News: Another week, another NMA story.
For an airplane that doesn’t exist, the prospective Boeing NMA continues to dominate much of the aerospace news.
Last week’s announcement by Rolls-Royce that it withdrew—in December, as it turns out—from the competition to power the NMA prompted a flurry of stories in aerospace media, including LNA.
Some stories suggested RR’s withdrawal meant Boeing was getting closer to launching the airplane.
Boeing, in January, said Authority to Offer might come this year and program launch had moved from 2019 to 2020.
Two prominent consultants predicted at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last month the odds were 60-40 or 65-35 Boeing would proceed.
Maybe, but I have to tell you that conversations I had last week in the wake of the Rolls announcement are not encouraging.
Feb. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: The announcement today by Rolls-Royce that it has withdrawn from the competition to provide an engine for the Boeing New Midmarket Airplane came as a surprise.
This leaves CFM and Pratt & Whitney as the remaining competitors.
RR’s withdrawal wasn’t the only surprise.
CEO Warren East revealed Boeing had been notified shortly before the end of 2018.
News last week that Airbus finally, at long last, is appears about to launch its Xtra Long Range A321XLR this year is overdue. Doing so will make Boeing’s NMA business case more difficult to close.
The aircraft should have been launch in late 2017, an insider told LNA recently. But the corruption scandals enveloping Airbus disrupted plans and drove executives to indecision. Launching the A321XLR was put on hold.