September 29, 2023, ©. Leeham News: We are discussing the Detailed design phase of an airliner development program. We have talked about program management methods, development techniques, and tools for Detailed design.
But there is one area that is more important than even the aircraft aerodynamic, structural, and systems design for a new Heart-Of-The-Market aircraft: how to produce it in higher volumes and at lower cost than before.
Now open for all readers.
By Scott Hamilton
Sept. 4, 2023, © Leeham News: As people try to figure out when Boeing is going to launch a new airplane, confusion continues over semantics and doubts continue over willingness.
The semantics revolves around the words “launch” and “introduce.”
Brian West, the CFO of The Boeing Co., appears at an investors conference Sept. 7 hosted by Jefferies, an investment bank. The event will be webcast; a link is available on the Boeing website. Perhaps West can clarify the timeline, but here is what’s happened recently.
David Calhoun, the CEO of The Boeing Co., said during Boeing’s investors’ day event on Nov. 2 last year that Boeing will “introduce” a new airplane by the middle of the next decade. LNA at that time asked corporate communications if by “introduce” Calhoun meant entry-into-service or a program launch. Corp Com replied that Calhoun meant EIS.
Last month, at another investors conference, a lower level Boeing official said Boeing would “launch” its next airplane by the middle of the next decade. If this is what the official meant, “launching” the next airplane by mid-next decade would represent a major shift. LNA figured the official was mixing words and asked Corp Com for clarity. A spokesman replied, go with Calhoun’s November statement. So, for the moment, let’s take this at face value.
Then there are the skeptics.
By Bryan Corliss
Feb. 7, 2023, © Leeham News – Less than a week after Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun stood in the company’s Everett factory and vowed to “maintain this leadership culture forever,” a panel of top aerospace industry analysts blasted Boeing’s corporate culture and criticized Calhoun’s leadership, saying he lacks vision, industry knowledge – even charisma.
“No new aircraft until 2035,” said AeroDynamic Advisory Managing Director Kevin Michaels. “What kind of vision is that?”
Having Calhoun at the helm of Boeing at this juncture is “the worst-case scenario,” said Michaels’ partner at AeroDynamic, Richard Aboulafia. “(Calhoun) is somebody not only not from this industry, but someone who maintains a willful ignorance of it.”
The challenges Boeing faces mending fences with all the groups it has disappointed or alienated in the past 20 years – customers, suppliers, regulators and workers – are immense and it may be more than one person can handle, said Bank of America Managing Director Ron Epstein, who also was on the panel.
“It’s a hard, hard, hard job right now, to be the president of the Boeing Co.,” Epstein said.
By Bjorn Fehrm
Dec. 8, 2022, © Leeham News: In a previous article, we started speculating what an NMA type of aircraft would look like based on a Boeing 767 cross-section. An airliner’s cross-section decides the design of a large number of parts in an airplane.
In essence, a fuselage is a tube with a constant cross-section where the constant parts are repeated framewise to form the fuselage. It’s finished with a tapering forward cockpit and a rear tapering empennage.
We now look at what could have been a passenger version of an NMA that would have used the Boeing 767 cross-section with adaptations. To understand its economic impact, we make a comparison where we take a standard 767-300ER, then modify it to an NMA type fuselage and compare it to the competition in the size class, the A330-200 and -800.
As before, we do this by flying the world’s busiest long-haul route, London Heathrow, to New York JFK.
By Scott Hamilton
Nov. 14, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing’s decision to suspend the launch of any new airplane until the middle of the next decade means innovation of any kind from any company is largely dead for the next decade.
Airbus won’t launch a new airplane either, now that Boeing has stood down, says its former chief strategic officer, Kiran Rao. Rao is now an advisor to airlines and lessors. He had been with Airbus for 25 years in sales and product strategy.
While Boeing’s decision to suspend new airplane development casts a dark cloud over its strategic future, Airbus now is going to rest on its own status quo, Rao said.
By Scott Hamilton
Aug. 1, 2022, © Leeham News: Buried in Boeing’s second quarter results released last week was a sharp jump in research and development spending.
It wasn’t just a small increase at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). Boeing spent more on research and development in the quarter and the half year. Expenses hit $1.33bn for the half-year compared with $996m a year earlier. For the quarter, expenses rose $996m vs $497m. R&D for Commercial Airplanes rose to $693m for the half and $372m for the quarter, compared with $524m and $255m, increases of 32% and 46%, respectively.
Spending is still short of the peak in 2019. But the reduced spending post-grounding of the 737 MAX and the COVID-19 pandemic was reversed in the first six months of this year.
By Vincent Valery
July 21, 2022, © Leeham News: As outlined in the previous article, there are now only 46 orders for twin-aisle aircraft seating 250 or fewer passengers in long-haul cabin configuration (39 Boeing 787-8s and seven Airbus A330-800s). After adjusting for orders at risk, the tally is 28.
However, there are more than 700 older-generation aircraft in service in this segment. The lack of airline and lessor orders points to an inadequate OEM offering. Boeing is not eager to build 787-8s due to the lack of commonality with the other Dreamliner variants. Airbus’ A330-800 has meaningfully worse economics than the -900.
Among the several aircraft concepts Boeing is currently studying, a twin-aisle aircraft with up to 5,000 nautical miles nominal range for this market segment is among them.
LNA analyses in this article the addressable market for small twin-aisle aircraft.
By Scott Hamilton
July 4, 2022, © Leeham News: When Boeing launches its next new commercial airplane program, whatever the design, advanced development, and production are intended to be a key part of the plan.
Officials have been hinting at this approach since the administration of CEO Jim McNerney. His successor, Dennis Muilenburg, opened the veil a bit more. David Calhoun, Muilenburg’s successor, has been more open about the concept.
Last month, Greg Hyslop, the executive vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology and the chief engineer for Boeing, was the most revealing yet. In a briefing in advance of the Farnborough Air Show that begins on July 18, detailed how digital design and advanced production will fit into the Next Boeing Airplane (NBA) plan.
However, Hyslop acknowledged that these advanced design and production processes must transition from low-rate defense projects to high-rate commercial airplanes. This is the “maturity” Boeing CEO said recently is required before the NBA proceeds.
By Bjorn Fehrm
June 9, 2022, © Leeham News: As described in our Monday article, Boeing is preparing for its Next Boeing Airplane (NBA). At the same time, the company is hard at work to ensure this will be no repeat of the 787 and 737 MAX program debacles.
The 2022 Chief Aerospace Safety Officer Report was issued two weeks ago. It gives insight into the work that shall ensure such failures won’t happen again. Here is what the report says about how Boeing is rebuilding its Engineering Excellence.
By Scott Hamilton
Feb. 15, 2022, © Leeham News: There is a belief that when Boeing clears out much of its 737 MAX inventory, resumes delivery of the 787, and reduces a good portion of its debt that it will launch a new airplane program.
Consultant Michel Merluzeau, who does work for Boeing on occasion, predicted last week that the NBA could be launched late next year or early the following year. The airplane would be a 225-240 passenger aircraft (two-class) and a single aisle. This is like the Boeing 757—which largely has exited passenger service—and the upper limits of the A321neo. Merluzeau made his predictions at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference.