By Scott Hamilton
Airbus continues to produce the A320, A330 and A350 at lower production rates than the pre-pandemic era. Boeing is at low-rate production for the 737 MAX, after a 20-month grounding. The 777 is down to 2/mo and the 787 goes to 5/mo this month. At least two aerospace analysts on Wall Street think the 787 rate could come down further.
Airbus and Boeing each received a handful of orders so far this year.
But suppliers continue to struggle.
By Scott Hamilton
Jan. 27, 2021, © Leeham News: “I’m sure glad 2020 is in the rear view mirror.”
This was Boeing CEO David Calhoun’s opening statement in his appearance today on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Calhoun appeared on the financial news network following the release of its 2020 full year financial results.
“The one big charge was for the 777X program,” Calhoun said. Boeing took a forward pre-tax charge of $6.5bn for the program. Carter Copeland of Melius Research noted in a video this morning that this probably was related to an adjustment in the accounting block. Calhoun said on CNBC that Boeing adjusted the accounting block, which has not been publicly announced, as part of the charge.
“Based on everything we learned in the 737 MAX recertification effort, we put more time into the 777X effort. It’s going to be a little more costly and take more time to certify,” he said.
Calhoun expects the 777X will be a big money maker in the future.
By Judson Rollins
January 25, 2020, © Leeham News: As passenger travel trickles back to life, one trend that’s already apparent is a long-term diminution of airline yields in most regions.
This is largely driven by a reduction in business travel, some of which is likely to never return.
Regional jets and small single-aisles like the Airbus A220 and Embraer’s E2 family have higher unit cost, or cost per available seat-mile (CASM), than larger aircraft like the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.
Achieving an operating profit with smaller jets requires high unit revenue, or revenue per available seat-mile (RASM). This will be difficult to achieve in a world where business travel is still down 70%-80% this year, even with a vaccine – and may be down 30% or more permanently.
By the Leeham News Team
Jan. 13, 2021, © Leeham News: Today marks the first anniversary of David Calhoun becoming CEO of The Boeing Co.
Calhoun’s first year faced challenges unprecedented in Boeing’s history. There was the 737 MAX crisis. Sales of the 777X were stagnant. The balance sheet was stressed.
And then COVID exploded, all but destroying commercial passenger demand and with it, ability by airlines to take delivery of new airplanes.
Boeing’s balance sheet went further upside down. Production and quality control problems with the 787 emerged.
Finally, Calhoun was afflicted with a case of foot-in-mouth disease. This contrasted with his calm, well-received initial public face during the waning days of then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s stilted public persona.
By Scott Hamilton and Vincent Valery
Jan. 5, 2021, © Leeham News: What’s in store for Airbus and Boeing this year?
Boeing needs a boring year.
Twenty-twenty one is a year of recovery for Boeing. It must dig out from a very deep hole.
Airbus reported that it hit cash break-even in the third quarter. But the company is not out of the woods yet.
Everything depends on something largely out of their control: how quickly the airline industry recovers from the COVID pandemic.
By Judson Rollins
Jan. 4, 2021, © Leeham News: Recent approval of two major vaccine candidates are driving euphoria among aviation investors, employees, and travelers. Many commentators are talking about a “return to normal” later this year.
Alan Greenspan’s famous phrase, “irrational exuberance,” comes to mind. Vaccine approvals provide reason for hope, but not in the near term. Even Singapore’s government, one of the world’s most efficient, says it will need most of 2021 to fully vaccinate its population.
On the other end of the economic spectrum, Duke University’s Global Health Institute says low-income countries may have to wait until 2024 if high-income countries continue to reserve vaccines for their own populations.
Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, which have released efficacy data on their vaccines and are now obtaining approval from various jurisdictions, announced a combined capacity to produce vaccines for up to 3.1bn people by the end of 2021. China’s Sinovac claims it will be able to produce 600m doses, but it is still evaluating the efficacy of its vaccine candidate.
Dec. 22, 2020, © Leeham News: If you get a chance over the next few weeks – in between binge-watching The Queen’s Gambit, putting up the 79 extra feet of Christmas lights you ordered this year and figuring out how to buy surprise Christmas gifts for your spouse when you have a joint Amazon account – you should take 90 minutes to watch this video from our friends at the International Association of Machinists District Lodge 751.
The Machinists on Dec. 8 hosted (on Zoom, of course) a high-level panel discussion about the state of the aerospace industry and Washington state’s role in it, featuring a whole bunch of Brand-Name People Who are Smarter Than Me(c).
They shared their insights for those of us coffee-drinkers who are trying to read the tea leaves to divine what Boeing’s next moves should be as it tries to get back on its feet – and what the implications are for its home state.
The problems for Boeing are obvious, and the solutions are pretty clear – but doing the smart thing would require a major cultural shift from an executive team that’s locked into a 1990s vision of how business gets done.
Dec. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: This is my last Pontification of 2020. I’ll be off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
It’s only fitting to look back at what is the worst year in commercial aviation—ever.
I’ve just completed my 41st year in this industry. I’ve seen two Gulf Wars, SARS, 9/11, the Great Recession and several economic cycles.
Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas exited the commercial airliner business.
I’ve seen three groundings: the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, Boeing 787 and 737 MAX. I’ve been on site of two significant crashes: the American Airlines DC-10 in Chicago and Delta Air Lines’ 727 in Dallas. I flew over a third, a Delta L-1011 in Dallas the day after it happened.
I worked for the first new airline certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board in 40 years, the first Midway. I also went through one bankruptcy and one merger, each part of the deregulation shake-out.
As a reporter, I covered some of the business giants, including Bob Crandall, Herb Kelleher, John Leahy and others.
It’s been a great four decades.
But nothing compares to the global industry disaster of 2020.
December 4, 2020, ©. Leeham News: To dig a level deeper into the challenges of hydrogen airliners, as a next step we design such a plane (on a high level), now that we have covered the basics.
It will make us traverse the fundamental design tradeoffs of such a design. Reflecting on what we discussed in Part 3, “The Application Space for a Hydrogen Airliner,” we focus on the single-aisle short-haul domestic market, Figure 1.
By the Leeham News Team
Nov. 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing hopes the three-year order drought from China may come to an end next month.
The order, according to market intelligence, would be a boost for the slow-selling 777X. It could also mean new orders for the 787. Orders for the latter dropped significantly enough to prompt Boeing’s decision to shutter the Everett 787 production line next year. Production for the 787 will be consolidated in Charleston (SC).
Dec. 14 is when US presidential electors meet to cast their votes for Joe Biden or President Donald Trump, making official the projected winner. Biden won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 in projections by all the major media. With almost all votes counted—and in some cases, recounted—Biden has 51.1% of the vote to Trump’s 47.2%. Biden received 80.1m votes to Trump’s 73.9m. The margin was nearly 6.2m.
China hasn’t ordered a Boeing airplane since 2017. Trump launched a trade war with China that escalated several times. He charged, without evidence, that China interfered with the US presidential election.