Pontifications: Boeing 777 production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: When Boeing announced it will reduce 777 production to 5/mo, with actual deliveries of the 777 Classic to 3.5/mo beginning in 2018, the aerospace analyst at Goldman Sachs immediately concluded Boeing will have to reduce the rate to 2-2.5/mo.

Since then, and other analysts (whether publicly or privately) reached a similar conclusion.

On the 4Q/YE2016 earnings call in January and again last week at a Barclays conference, company executives said 90% of the positions in 2018 and 2019 are sold.

Shortly after the Barclays conference ended, one analyst called me to challenge the assertion by Greg Smith, Boeing’s CFO, about 2019. By his assessment, the analyst could only get to 60% in 2019. Did I see anything differently?

59% or 74%, but not 90%

At that point, I hadn’t looked. When I did later, I got to 59% based on firm orders. I could get to 74%, giving Boeing every benefit. But I couldn’t get to 90%.

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Pontifications: Boeing’s long-term message doesn’t resonate

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s long-term messaging that all is well isn’t resonating with a number of industry analysts and observers.

To be sure, today and in the short-term, Boeing’s stock is on a steady upward trajectory.

But aerospace analysts are not buying into the long-term message.

Neither did three speakers at last week’s annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) conference in Lynnwood (WA), including me.


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Pontifications: No rate increase on Boeing 787 predicted

Jan. 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing will decide this year whether to boost 787 production to 14/mo from 12/mo by the end of the decade.

I don’t see how this can happen. Neither do several aerospace analysts.

Book:bill sales were just 0.36 in 2014, 0.53 in 2015 and 0.42 in 2016. The last three years saw a book:bill rate average of just 0.43, or an average of 57 airplanes per year.

Boeing is burning off the backlog, not adding to it. At this rate, Boeing won’t be able to sustain rate 12 beyond 2020, let alone boost the rate in 2019.

Not unless there is a plethora of sales this year. This doesn’t seem likely.

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Pontifications: Airbus, Boeing single-aisle production rates solid

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The global economy is softening and airlines are deferring airplanes, but we don’t see Airbus or Boeing trimming aircraft production for their single-aisle airplanes.

Over-sales and rising fuel prices support today’s A320 and 737 production rates and the increased rates previously announced by Airbus and Boeing.

While oil prices are low compared with the pre-Great Recession levels, Embraer’s John Slattery noted that fuel costs went up more than 48% last year alone. Fuel now costs more than $50/bbl. West Texas Intermediate Crude was selling at $51.08 Thursday, off $1.40. There will be ups and downs, but the trend is up.

Slattery, the president of Embraer Commercial airplanes, believes “fuel efficient fleets will become more critical in the coming years,” he wrote in a Tweet Jan. 7.

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Pontifications: Planes nobody wants

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus and Boeing continue to offer planes that nobody wants.

Well, almost nobody.

The aircraft remain on the published price lists of both companies, for reasons that passeth understanding. Nobody ordered the aircraft for years.

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Pontifications: Boeing’s book:bill shortfall draws market ho-hum

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s falling a little short of a 1:1 book:bill last year was expected and drew a ho-hum from the market.

The stock was up fractionally for the rest of the day after Boeing announced the year-end data at 11 am Eastern time, closing at $159.10.

Airbus announces its full year orders and deliveries Wednesday in a press conference (Boeing only issued a press release).

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Pontifications: Embraer, contrary to others, looks to momentum in 2017

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier look toward 2017 as a bit of a punk year, as detailed in our Look Ahead for subscribers only. Not so by Embraer.

In an exclusive interview, John Slattery, the president of Embraer Commercial, said EMB will gain “momentum” this year. This is at a time where sales at the other three of the Big Four OEMs are expected to slow off an already slow 2016.

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Pontifications: Leeham News’ approach to the news

  • Leeham News and Comment will be on holiday Dec. 24, 2016, through Jan. 2, 2017, barring major breaking news. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 19, 2016, © Leeham Co. Two thousand sixteen is almost over. This will be my last Pontifications of the year.

We approach our job with a little different perspective than the daily newspapers and aviation trades. They have greater resources than we do and have a greater ability to report the news. So LNC tries to bring news with perspective that those outlets don’t.

Analysis, economics, forecasts

We provide analysis of events and of aircraft economics and performance. Not even the trades do the latter. We also make our own forecasts of trends and production rates. Sometimes it takes a few years to be proved right or wrong. So far, we have a good track record of being right.

We’re also not afraid to take on controversy—and be controversial. And we don’t hesitate to call bullshit when we see it.

This gets often us into hot water with the subjects of the controversy.

This is what sets LNC apart.

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Pontifications: A fresh perspective at Boeing Commercial is sorely needed

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 28, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing last week named an outsider, Kevin McAllister, as the chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Aircraft (BCA).

I think this has the potential to be an invigorating move.

McAllister comes to BCA from his position as CEO of GE Aviation Services.

I don’t know McAllister and have no opinion whether he will be good, bad or mediocre. But I do like the idea of bringing an outsider in to run BCA. (My insider favorites were Stan Deal and Beverly Wyse.)

Here’s why.

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Pontifications: A history-making year

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 7, 2016, © Leeham Co.: This is a history-making year.

Yes, there is Brexit.

Sure, there is the first woman candidate of a major political party running for the presidency of the US.

Yep, there is the biggest Doofus ever nominated by a major political party also running for the presidency of the US.

But let’s get to something really important.

The Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series 108 years after the last time they did.

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