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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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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Pontifications: NMA, Boeing-Embraer headline Singapore Air Show

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Singapore Air Show last week produced little in the way of new orders from the Big Four airframe OEMs. ATR announced a few deals and Embraer announced a letter of intent for the KC-390 multi-role tanker-transport.

The headline news revolved around the what-ifs: Boeing and the New Midrange Aircraft and Boeing and the link-up with Embraer.

Let’s look at the NMA first.

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Pontifications: Airbus easily leads narrow-body backlog, Boeing ahead in wide-bodies

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 5, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Two thousand seventeen is over and the numbers are in.

Airbus continues to have a commanding lead over Boeing for single-aisle, neo v MAX backlog.

Although Airbus got pounded by Boeing in wide-body orders last year, the backlog tilts only slightly in Boeing’s favor.

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Pontifications: 2018 starts off with a bang

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 29, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This year isn’t even a month old. If the rest of the year continues like January, commercial aviation is in for an exciting year.

The stunning news, of course, was last week’s shocking defeat for The Boeing Co. in its trade complaint over the Bombardier C Series sale to Delta Air Lines.

Nobody I know of thought Boeing would lose. It did, and by a unanimous verdict.

Then there was the order from Emirates Airline for the Airbus A380, saving the airplane from almost certain program termination.

The Boeing 787-10 was certified. The first delivery will be in March.

And Qatar Airways said it will receive the first Airbus A350-1000 next month.

Let’s look at these events.

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Pontifications: Twelve Years of Turbulence at American Airlines

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 22, 2018, © Leeham Co.: American Airlines was the last of the big US legacy carriers to enter bankruptcy, in 2011.

Executives put up a valiant battle to avoid being dragged into Chapter 11, despite having two airplanes hijacked on 9/11. One was flown into the World Trade Center, the other into the Pentagon.

Only two months later, American lost a third airplane in an accident.

Delta, Northwest, US Airways and United airlines all filed for Chapter 11 after 9/11; there were several other airlines to do so. Not all survived.

American did, merging with US Airways as part of the former’s bankruptcy reorganization.

AA’s former general counsel, Gary Kennedy, teamed with the aviation reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Terry Maxon, to tell the story of Twelve Years of Turbulence, The Inside Story of American Airlines’ Battle for Survival.

The book is available now.

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Pontifications: Embraer twice became focus of US trade commission complaints

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 20, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The US aircraft manufacturer claims the foreign company is unfairly subsidized, undercutting pricing in US sales and threatening its future. A trade complaint is filed.

A prominent politician lines up on behalf of its constituent industries, claiming unfair competition. He calls for a trade investigation.

No, it’s not Boeing vs. Airbus.

It’s not even Boeing vs. Bombardier.

The complaints were against Embraer, twice.

Once in 1982 and again in 2010. In both cases, the US International Trade Commission was involved.

The rhetoric is remarkably consistent with the Boeing-Bombardier trade case.

In both Embraer cases, the ITC dismissed the complaints.

Its decision in the Bombardier case will take a preliminary vote next week, absent a schedule change, and a final decision will be issued Feb. 9.

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Pontifications: 2018 is a year of Transformations

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 8, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This is going to be a year of transformations.

This might be viewed with puzzlement by some. After all, only minor-modification models will be entering service this year: the Airbus A350-1000, the Boeing 737-9, the Airbus A319neo and the Boeing 787-10. The first flight of the 737-7 should occur.

Flight testing continues for the Mitsubishi MRJ90, the COMAC C919 and Irkut MC-21.

The proposed deal between Airbus and Bombardier should receive government approvals this year. Talks between Boeing and Embraer may or may not result in a combination of some kind.

The Big Deal, however, resides in Everett (WA).

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