Pontifications: An in-depth assessment that people matter at Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

May 21, 2018, © Leeham News: In February, consultant Richard Aboulafia colorfully said Airbus was plagued by “decapitation” of its executive ranks as retirements and resignations came one after another after another.

In April, LNC raised the prospect of déjà vu all over again, discussing the Airbus departures and product turmoil beginning in 2016, recalling another one 2006 and comparing it with Boeing’s era of upheaval from 2007.

Last week, industry leader Steve Udvar-Hazy remarked at the 38th annual Airfinance Journal conference in Miami that “Airbus has its hands full with senior management leaving. Airbus has got to refocus to maintain market share.”

One day later, Carter Copeland of the Melius Research firm published a note devoted to the upheaval at Airbus.

I found the note to be of particular interest.

With Copeland’s permission, the entire note is reprinted below.

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Pontifications: Engine problems are getting worse

By Scott Hamilton

May 14, 2018, © Leeham News: The engine problems are getting worse.

These have moved beyond the technical issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, GE Aviation GEnx, Pratt & Whitney GTF and CFM56.

The problems are trickling down to the maintenance, repair and overhaul shops.

LNC previously touched on the back-up in MRO shops due to the RR Trent 1000 problems, affecting even Trent 700 (Airbus A330) MRO scheduling. We’ve also reported the knock-on effect of the GTF MRO on other engine shop visits.

The mandated-inspections of CFM56 fan blades in the wake of the Southwest Airlines accident last month inundated MRO shops with unexpected visits.

Now, a European appraisal company forecasts that the “bow wave” of CFM56 shop visits will create a crisis for spare engines and parts.

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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: Uncontained engine failures are rare but not unknown

By Scott Hamilton

April 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Last week’s engine malfunction on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was another in a rare, but not unknown, uncontained engine anomaly in recent years.

All recent similar failures didn’t cause a loss of life or serious injuries if the passengers were evacuated. Unfortunately, this accident caused one fatality and seven injuries.

Let’s put the context to this issue.

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Pontifications: Shooting yourself in your feet

By Scott Hamilton

April 16, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus’ new top sales chief, Eric Schulz, was candid about losing American and Hawaiian airlines wide-body orders, according to a report from Flightglobal from the Airbus annual meeting.

In reference to Hawaiian’s switch of an A330-800 order to the 787-9, he admits: “Maybe we did not see the danger coming…we may have made the conclusion a bit too early that the best solution was to stick with us – which I think it was,” Flightglobal wrote.

American’s loss, Schulz told Flightglobal, was for a different reason: American was “already very heavily engaged” with the 787, adding: “I knew exactly where our competitors had to go in terms of pricing. I’m certain American did a good deal.”

I thought American and Hawaiian were predictable outcomes. But Airbus’ problem went beyond not seeing the “danger.”

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Pontifications: Limited operations raise doubts over Paine Field airline service

By Scott Hamilton

April 9, 2018, © Leeham News: This fall, the Seattle area will get a second passenger airport: three airlines will begin service at Paine Field, in Everett, which is also home to Boeing’s massive wide-body production plant.

Alaska, Southwest and United airlines will offer 24 fights out of two gates that are under construction.

It’s the first passenger service from Paine Field.

It’s not hardly enough.

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Pontifications: The Airbus-Boeing chess game

By Scott Hamilton

April 2, 2018, © Leeham News.: While Boeing edges toward a decision whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft, the NMA or 797 as it’s known, Airbus ponders how to respond—either pre-emptively or after Boeing’s move.

Responding with an A321neo Plus is widely known, but it’s also logical the Airbus would look at enhancements for the A320neo. Less likely but probably studied are also enhancements to the A319neo. Studies, after all, pre-date the agreement last fall with Bombardier to acquire 50.01% of the C Series program and Airbus clearly understood that the present A319neo is as unattractive as was the original design of the Boeing 737-7.

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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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Pontifications: Measured comments and “useful” information

By Scott Hamilton

March 5, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Nothing is as frustrating to a journalist as interview a great subject who doesn’t offer up anything especially useful.

I had a brief sideline interview with one such person at the US Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit 2018 last Thursday in Washington (DC). Great guy. Not much information.

Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines, wasn’t going to be drawn into a discussion of two hot topics facing his carrier. Tilden had just come off an airline CEO panel, where he in his typical Boy Scout charm and enthusiasm opined about the state of the industry, praised the progress of the integration of Virgin America into Alaska and commented on a host of issues. But two topics didn’t come up.

I asked him about the competition vs Delta Air Lines in Seattle, where the two airlines are locked into a major market share battle. I also asked him about the fleet planning now that Alaska operates the Airbus A319, A320 and A321neo inherited from the acquisition of Virgin America. Alaska hitherto has been an all-Boeing 737 operator and recent, Ray Conner, former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and a good friend of Tilden, joined the Alaska board of directors.

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Pontifications: OEMs hike list prices

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 26, 2018, © Leeham Co.:  I’m tardy in getting around to this topic, which I do annually, because of an unusually heavy travel schedule this year.

The airframe manufacturers in January adjusted their list prices for airplanes. The prices generally went up 2%-4%, but turboprop maker ATR didn’t adjust this year.

The SADC 2018 conference includes speakers from Airbus, Bombardier, Oliver Wyman, NASA, four states in the Southeast and more. Click here for information and to register.

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