Some suppliers consider sitting out Boeing’s NMA program

By Dan Catchpole

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News: If Boeing launches its New Midsize Airplane (NMA or 797), it is expected to use the cleansheet program to force new contract terms on suppliers. And that has some suppliers wondering if it is worth participating in the program at all.

Speaking on background, executives from several suppliers told LNC in recent months that they might not bid on NMA work if it means greater price concessions up front, as well as surrendering lucrative aftermarket sales to Boeing.

Bidding will depend, in part, on whether suppliers can pass cost cuts down to their own suppliers,  and if Boeing takes on more risk and development costs to offset lost aftermarket revenue. One exec wondered what it could mean for the company’s engineering capabilities if they have to bid for essentially procurement orders with Boeing holding onto the IP.

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Boeing cash flows generously, KC-46A snarfs up some of it

By Dan Catchpole

 July 25, 2018, © Leeham News: The cash keeps flowing at Boeing. The aerospace giant posted free cash flow of $4.3bn for the second quarter of the year, despite recording $426m in costs related to its delay-ridden KC-46 tanker program.

Despite posting strong earnings, the charge rattled investors, who drove Boeing’s share price down in early trading Wednesday.

Boeing continues to work on closing the business case for its New Midsize Airplane (NMA), a business case unlike any the company has done before, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a conference call with reporters and investment analysts.

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First mover or not, that is the question: A321XLR vs NMA

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Introduction

July 23, 2018, © Leeham News: First mover or not first mover, that is the question.

In a pre-Farnborough Air Show interview with another publication, Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said Airbus had the advantage of being the “first mover” by acquiring majority control of the Bombardier C Series program.

But when it comes to responding to the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Airplane (NMA, or 797), Airbus officials say they are content to wait and watch, willing to let Boeing make the first move.

At the same time, Airbus is proceeding with studies to further extend the range of the A321neo, in the form of the A321XLR. The airplane would have a range of 4,500nm, up from 4,100nm, according to information widely leaked at the air show.

Summary
  • Airbus looks to squeeze Boeing from the bottom of the NMA market with A321neo improvements.
  • Boeing sales chief dismisses A321XLR as a sub-set of a sub-set.
  • But others see the basic A321 design as more flexible than the 737 MAX.
  • Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury

Related stories

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Farnborough: NMA business case appears to weaken, evidence at air show indicates

Analysis

July 18, 2018, © Leeham News, Farnborough: The biggest, longest-running story at this year’s Farnborough Air Show is about an airplane that doesn’t exist: the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA or 797).

And the underlying story that’s emerging from the buzz on the sidelines and interviews with key observers and industry participants is that Boeing’s business case for the airplane appears to be getting weaker, not stronger.

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Southern state coalition bid likely for Boeing NMA assembly site

June 27, 2018, © Leeham News: A coalition of four Southern US states that joined to win the US Air Force tanker contact site location for Mobile (AL) will likely link up again to bid for the assembly line of the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft, officials of three of the states said yesterday.

The Aerospace Alliance includes Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

An official of an economic development commission for Charleston (SC) said Charleston will also likely throw its hat into the ring.

The comments were made at the Leeham Co./Airfinance Journal Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference yesterday in Mobile. The conference continues today.

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Pontifications: Growing aerospace in the US Southeast

By Scott Hamilton

June 24, 2018, © Leeham News: We’re a week away from the partnership between Airbus and the Bombardier C Series program becoming effective.

Beginning tomorrow, Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal hold the Inaugural Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference in Mobile (AL), where Bombardier will be a C Series Final Assembly Line.

The US Southeast will also be a competitor for the site selection of the FAL for the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA) should Boeing decide, probably next year, to proceed with this new airplane.

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IAM may be playing with fire in SC union vote

June 20, 2018, © Leeham News: The International Association of Machinists may be playing with fire.

Puget Sound’s IAM 751 may be burned in the process.

The Charleston Post and Courier reported that the IAM will file a labor grievance over Boeing’s refusal to recognize certification of a “micro-union” while the company appeals the legality of its creation.

“Boeing ignores us at their own peril,” the newspaper quotes a union official.

The union may be pursuing this at its own peril.

At stake is where Boeing will assemble the prospective New Midmarket Aircraft, or NMA (aka 797).

The New Midmarket Aircraft site selection will be discussed at the Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference next week in Mobile (AL). Click here for more information.

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Boeing’s strategy to de-risk design, production

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Introduction

April 2, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s painful experience the with the development, design, production and grounding of the 787—costing billions of dollars in overruns and penalties with a delay of nearly four years—led to a major effort to de-risk future airplane development.

The 787 experience led to a pause that resulted in pursuing derivatives of the 737 MAX and 777X instead of developing new airplanes to replace these aging platforms and leap ahead of Airbus.

Now, poised to launch its first all-new airplane program in 15 years, Boeing continues to de-risk its production.

Summary
  • De-risking production means diversifying supplier base, bringing work in-house.
  • De-risking is changing the fundamental design-production nexus.
  • De-risking is innovating and cutting costs to meet new competition.

The Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference will examine the transformation in production. Click here for more information.

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Boeing’s NMA decision entering final stretch, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 26, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s NMA or 797 is taking final form ahead of a decision to essentially launch the program with an Authority to Offer (ATO), widely believed to be later this year.

In the first article, we looked at the key characteristics of the design. We also looked at the engine situation in a couple of articles.

Now we round up the series with analyzing the potential economics of the aircraft. 

Figure 1. The first sketch of the smaller 797-6X with 224 seats. Source: JonOstrower.com

Summary:

  • The projected 797 would have competitive Cash Operating Costs compared with a modern Single Aisle aircraft like the Airbus A321LR.
  • The challenge is the capital costs. The A320/A321 and Boeing’s 737 MAX models are produced in numbers passing 10,000. An NMA would be successful if produced in 1,000 units. This leads to higher production costs for the numerically smaller series.
  • The focus from Boeing is therefore on lowering Production costs and on finding Services revenue which can help the 797 business case.

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Focus on NMA engines: all OEMs vying for Boeing’s approval

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Introduction

March 22, 2018, © Leeham Co.: As Boeing enters the final stretch whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, aka 797) market focus should shift to the engines more than the airframe and even the market demand.

It all comes down to this: no engines, no plane.

Monday’s post outlined some of the issues to consider.

But there are larger implications as well.

Summary
  • Market sources are tossing about various scenarios about the future GE Aviation and CFM.
  • Rolls-Royce won’t have its Trent 1000 problems fixed until 2021 or 2022, at great cost.
  • Pratt & Whitney won’t have its Geared Turbo Fan final PIP packages for its problems sorted out until around 2021.
  • Resources—both financial and with engineering—are stretched now.
  • Sequencing current engine problems, and in the case, GE’s GE9X, are a factor, in the eyes of some.

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