For Boeing: when one door closes, another door opens

There’s a saying that when one door closes on an opportunity, another door opens. This is the case with Boeing’s decision to proceed with a 737 re-engine. We first wrote about this in a previous post. Max-Kinglsey Jones of Airline Business picked up the theme in his recent blog.

There’s no question Boeing’s march down the path to re-engining was driven by Airbus, it was embarrassing and it was messy. Having said that, the re-engine frees resources and money to concentrate on getting the 787-9 right, launching the 787-10 and deciding what to do with the 777-300ER to meet the competition of the re-defined A350-1000.

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Paris Air Show outlook

There are several items looking at the Paris Air Show outlook:

AirInsight had a live discussion Friday with Addison Schonland, Richard Aboulafia and Ernie Arvai hosting it. The transcript is here.

AirInsight also published a lengthy written preview of what to expect from all the major airframe and engine OEMs here.

Here’s a short-take on Airbus at the show.

Odds and ends: More on DC-7B trip

Here are some more photos from our DC-7B trip. All photos by Scott Hamilton.

PBY

This PBY Catalina, a derelict but intact condition, is at the San Juan Airport. Given the loss of a PBY several years ago in a landing accident, could this become a new, restored edition?

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2011 Outlook for Aerospace

Note: this is unusually long, 11 pages when printed.

The new year is here and it is time for our annual look-ahead for the big OEMs.

On a macro level, 2011 should be a good year. Airline passenger and cargo traffic recovery should continue. The global economy also is recovering, but it is almost painfully slow to do so. Still, this is better than some of the alternatives.

Airlines and lessors are likely to continue their order stream that resumed in mid-2010 at the Farnborough Air Show. There could be some key orders that will influence the OEMs and their strategies going forward.

On the military front, we are much more limited in our tracking. We follow the KC-X tanker program because the offerings are based on commercial airliners. We slightly follow the P-8A Poseidon for the same reason, but Boeing pretty much has the monopoly for this type airplane, so there isn’t much to follow.

We do closely follow cybersecurity issues, if for no other reason than it is so important but also because key aerospace companies, including Boeing, have major efforts in this arena.

But by and large, we focus on the OEMs, the emerging competitors and the new engines.

So let’s get to it.

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Expectations for the Zhuhai Air Show: C919 yes, CSeries No

The Zhuhai Air Show in China is Nov. 16-21 and there are a number of expectations for it.

First is the expectation in the West that Bombardier will announce the long-awaited Chinese order for the CSeries from China Development Bank (CDB), which earlier this year pledged more than $3bn in airline financing to Bombardier for the Q400, CRJ and CSeries. The Chinese order had widely been expected at the Farnborough Air Show and when it didn’t appear, Bombardier took a huge PR hit and disappointed aerospace analysts.

In fact, we predicted a full week before the Air Show that no CSeries orders would be announced there. We’re going to go out on a limb and predict there won’t be any announced at the Zhuhai show, either.

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Boeing skeptical of CSeries, C919, MS-21 EIS

We wrote the following article for Commercial Aviation Online, which appeared yesterday. In case anyone wonders, there is no relation between John Hamilton and us.

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The chief engineer of the 737 program is skeptical of the emerging competitors’ airplanes and the announced entry-into-service (EIS) dates, and this has a clear influence on what Boeing will do to enhance, re-engine or replace the 737 in the coming years.

John Hamilton, in a media briefing on the roll-out 26 October of the 737’s Boeing Sky Interior and a refresher course on the technical enhancements that will be in place next year, said Bombardier is facing new technologies it hasn’t worked with before that places in doubt the promised 2013 EIS of the 110-130 seat CS100. This is a potential replacement for the Boeing 737-500 Classic and the 737-600 Next Generation aircraft.

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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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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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WTO Airbus ruling due Tuesday

Update, March 24, 10:15PM Central European Time:

The reaction to the WTO Final Report at the Aircraft Finance Conference is a Big Yawn, even among Americans here in the Geneva, Switz, venue. As one person with close ties to Boeing put it, “Nobody cares.”

At a briefing we attended Tuesday night about the final report, we didn’t hear anything that meaningfully changed our commentary below.

Original Post:

The Final Report on the US complaint about illegal subsidies to Airbus is due tomorrow (March 23), but it will remain confidential until sometime in April before a public version is released for all to see.

Partisans on both sides of the dispute are already lining up in pre-issuing statements and, in the US case, an orchestrated media campaign touting how dastardly Airbus has been.

Yeah, well, whatever.

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CSeries unites Airbus, Boeing

Airbus and Boeing are bitter rivals when it comes to government support for their respective airplane programs but they are united when it comes to the proposed funding for Bombardier’s CSeries, according to this article in The Wall Street Journal.

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