Launching the NMA could mean new business model for Boeing

By Dan Catchpole

Feb. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Commercial aerospace’s super cycle is alive and well—and looks to keep going through the foreseeable future. Major suppliers and OEMs, and industry analysts at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance annual conference are all optimistic about the industry demand. Analysts noted potential concerns, such as a trade war with China, a catastrophic terrorist attack, or an economic shock. However, even the often bubble-bursting Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst and vice president at the Teal Group, said the party likely will keep rolling on for several years more.

Amid such a sunny forecast, Boeing is weighing whether to overhaul its commercial aerospace business model, said Kevin Michaels, a co-founder of AeroDynamic Advisory.

The company is working to close the business case on a new midmarket airplane (NMA), already dubbed the 797 by industry watchers. The NMA—or, if Boeing does not launch it, then its next single aisle airplane—likely will usher in “the next evolution of the jetliner business model,” Michaels said.

The new model, he said, has four key aspects:

  • Greater vertical integration and in-sourcing work;
  • Targeted, yet aggressive expansion of services;
  • Redefining supplier relationships to capture more aftermarket revenue; and
  • Introducing model-based systems engineering.

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Airbus ends the A380 program

Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced today (Seattle time, Feb. 14 in Toulouse) that it is terminating the A380 program.

The last airplane will roll off the assembly line in 2021, for Emirates Airlines.

Emirates cancelled an order for 39 A380s. In its place, the carrier ordered 30 A350s and 40 A330neos.

The Emirates and Airbus press release is here.

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Automation reduces foreign advantages over US

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Introduction

Nov. 19, 2018, © Leeham News: The move toward increasing automation makes US more competitive than moving work to other countries, an expert in industrial efficiencies said last week at a meeting sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance.

The same is true when it comes to states competing against other states, he said—something that is especially relevant as Washington State girds for expected competition from Southern states, and especially South Carolina, for the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Airplane.

Summary
  • Automation reduces US labor costs.
  • 60% of Boeing’s workforce is eligible for retirement in the next six years.
  • Optimizing the manufacturing value chain based on finite resources.
  • Pressure for speedy decisions is greater than ever.

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Pontifications: Fine balance needed by Boeing in aftermarket services drive

By Scott Hamilton

April 30, 2018, © Leeham News: The Wall Street Journal Friday reported Boeing was poised to purchase a supplier; a deal could be announced as early as today.

The acquisition, if it happens, will be a major step toward increasing the business at Boeing Global Services (BGS).

It will be another step in the vertical integration that recommenced under Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, an outgrowth of too much outsourcing with the 787.

Coincidentally, the day before, Wendi Folkert, director for Supply Chain Propulsion Strategy for The Boeing Co., acknowledged that the growing BGS has to balance against competing with Boeing’s own suppliers.

Folkert made her remarks at the I-90 Aerospace Corridor Conference in Spokane (WA).

Phil Krull of Embraer Executive Jets will present at the Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference in Mobile (AL) in June. Airbus, NASA, Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier, Southeastern state governments and suppliers will also present.Go here for Agenda and Registration information.

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Pontifications: Small suppliers prepare for production transformation

By Scott Hamilton

March 12, 2018 © Leeham Co.: When it comes to preparing for increasing automation, robotics and transforming the way airliners will be built in the future, focus rests primarily on the big OEMs and suppliers.

The small suppliers also must prepare for this transformation.

Tool Gauge of Tacoma (WA) is one such company. I sat down with Jim Lee, manager of sales and marketing, at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last month in Lynnwood (WA) to talk about transformation.

The Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference looks at the Transformation in production and building for the future. It’s June 25-27 in Mobile (AL).

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Professionals see two types for Middle of the Market sector

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Introduction

March 1, 2018, © Leeham Co. Three industry professionals raised the question whether the Middle of the Market sector requires one aircraft type or two.

One raised the prospect Boeing might have to undertake concurrent aircraft development, as it did with the 757 and 767.

Richard Aboulafia, a consultant with The Teal Group, Ron Epstein, aerospace analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Kevin Michaels, president of AeroDynamic Advisory, made their remarks at the annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance last month in Lynnwood (WA).

Summary
  • Low-cost Embraer engineers may play a role in Boeing’s development of the NMA.
  • One consultant sees two distinct NMA aircraft.
  • Boeing’s vertical integration of the supply chain may make sense only with two concurrent of consecutive airplane programs.

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Aerion’s supersonic engine presented

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

February 26, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Aerion Supersonic’s CEO and Executive Chairman, Brian Barents, presented the first pictures of the Aerion AS2 biz jet’s engine at the recent PNAA conference in Seattle.

It’s the first engine adapted for supersonic passenger transport since the Concorde’s Olympus engine was developed in the 1960s.

Figure 1. Aerion’s supersonic AS2 business jet. Source: Aerion.

Based on the released configuration sketch, we put the engine through our GasTurb modelling software. Here’s what we found.

Summary:
  • The Aerion AS2 engine combines the CFM56 core with a new high Specific Thrust low-pressure spool.
  • Through the AS2’s M1.4 cruise speed limit, complex variable engine inlets and outlets can be avoided.

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Pontifications: Transformation is key to increasing production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The likely prospect that Airbus and Boeing will increase single-aisle production rates next decade is outlined in our paywall article today.

The whys and capabilities to do so are outlined in the paywall post. The how is what I’ve been writing about since the first of the year, when LNC looked ahead to its 2018 forecast.

The “how” is the transformation in production that is underway in aerospace.

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Airbus, Boeing likely to push for 70/mo single aisle airplane production rates: analysis

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Introduction

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Production rates for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families are already at record levels, and heading higher.

Airbus plans to hit a production rate of 60/mo next year. Boeing is taking the 737 to rate 57. Boeing is studying rates of 63/mo and even 70/mo. Airbus is sure to match.

How will the airframers achieve these rates?

Information gleaned from the sidelines of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week give a reasonably good picture of how Boeing will get there.

Visibility was less on Airbus, which is unsurprising given the conference was in Boeing’s back yard in Lynnwood (WA).

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Airbus, plagued by “decapitation,” faces tough choices on NMA: consultant

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Introduction

Feb. 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Airbus’ plans to respond to Boeing’s prospective New Midrange Aircraft, aka 797, is a mystery to one of the industry’s leading aviation consultants.

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group notes that Airbus’ research and development investment overtly disappears after 2018, with the introduction into service of the A350-1000 and the A319neo.

Aboulafia spoke at Day 2 of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) conference in Lynnwood (WA).

He’s long compared R&D spending between Airbus and Boeing, often praising the former for its level of investment and criticizing the latter for lagging.

Now, Airbus’ level of spending is a question mark while Boeing’s is a comfortable level compared with revenue, Aboulafia says.

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