April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing got roundly thumped for blaming the pilots in the Lion Air flight 610 crash involving the 737 MAX last October.
It took months before Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg issued a video in which, among other things, he said, “We own it.” He was referring to safety of the MAX.
This was widely interpreted as Boeing stepping up and taking responsibility for at least some of the causes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.
Last Wednesday, he took it all back.
On the first quarter earnings call, Muilenburg denied there was any “technical slip or gap” in designing the now famous MCAS system. He said “actions not taken” contributed to the crash, a thinly veiled reference once again to pilot error. (More on this below.)
April 26, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In the wake of the 737 MAX crashes the standards to which Boeing and the FAA qualified and approved the 737 MAX MCAS function is questioned.
FAA has called the world’s aviation regulators to a meeting on the 23rd of May to discuss how the revised MCAS function will be approved. But it’s time to discuss more than how the updated MCAS shall pass.
April 15, 2019, © Leeham News: This column will no doubt light up the blog-o-sphere.
There’s been a major debate going on since the crash of Lion Air JT610, the Boeing 737-8 MAX that immediately became a huge controversy.
Boeing immediately blamed the pilots. So did some pilots of some US airlines, who said if the Lion Air crew had just flown the airplane, it wouldn’t have crashed. It was a training issue, some said.
Having got tremendous blow back over Lion Air, Boeing publicly held its tongue when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed five months later.
Still, Boeing officials quietly still said there was nothing wrong with the airplane.
Some US and Canadian pilots maintained, publicly and privately, that a lack of training and pilot skills in the Third World was responsible.
They’re not entirely wrong.
April 10, 2019, © Leeham News: China will be the last country to review and approve fixes to the Boeing 737 MAX, according to the talk here on the sidelines of the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta.
Nobody knows, of course, when regulators will lift the MAX grounding orders. But none is looking for fast action.
And China, the first to ground the airplane, will be the last to lift the grounding, sideline talk here indicates.
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.
April 9, 2019 (c) Leeham News: Boeing stock price has been remarkably resilient since the Lion Air crash.
The 737-8 MAX was five months old and the type had been in service only since May 2017.
It took a big hit on Oct. 29, when Lion Air JT610 crashed, closing at $357 per share.
By early January, the stock price not only recovered its losses, it climbed back to $440 by Feb. 25, a record high.
April 8, 2019, © Leeham News: The certification process and cooperation between Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration is under a microscope, subject to international scrutiny, a Congressional hearing, an inspector’s general investigation and another one by the Department of Justice with a Grand Jury.
What is this going to mean for future aircraft programs? And to the MAX?
April 8, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing’s corporate response to the crash of Lion Air JT610 was initially to blame the pilots of the former and defend the airplanes in that accident and the Ethiopian Airlines ET302 crash.
Neither is surprising in this world of instant lawsuits.
These actions are also in Boeing’s corporate culture.
But in a major shift in corporate tone, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg last Thursday issued a video in which he said Boeing “owns” the MAX accidents. This is very un-Boeing. (It will be interesting, however, to see how Boeing’s legal team responds to the lawsuits.)
I’m reminded of the last time the 737 was involved in two mysterious crashes in which Boeing blamed the pilots in one of them. The causes of the two accidents turned out to be placed squarely on the airplane, however.
April 6, 2019 © Leeham News: Boeing’s decision Friday to reduce the production rate on the 737 MAX was a surprise in timing and scope.
This came so quickly and was steep, cutting production from 52 MAXes per month to 42. It comes on the heals that a second software problem was found, delaying submission of the MCAS software upgrade to the FAA for review and approval.
The production rate cut is effective in mid-April. This is lightning speed in this industry, where rate breaks, as changes are called, typically have 12-18 month lead times.
Boeing hasn’t announced what the second software problem is. LNA is told it is the interface between the MCAS upgrade and the Flight Control System, but specifics are lacking.
LNA interprets these combined events as indicative the MAX will be ground well past the Paris Air Show in June.
The impact to Boeing is going to be huge: customer compensation, deferred revenue, lost revenue, potentially canceled orders and potential lost orders in sales campaigns. The hit to the Boeing brand and impacts of multiple investigations won’t become clear for months to come.
April 05, 2019, ©. Leeham News: The preliminary accident report of the ET302 crash was released yesterday. It confirmed what we wrote about earlier in the week, the pilots followed the prescribed procedure to stop MCAS. Yet they didn’t make it.
Part of why we presented Wednesday. Here follows additional analysis after studying the information in the Preliminary Crash Report.