Sept. 24, 2018, © Leeham News: This week we catch up on Odds and Ends.
Boeing has reversed the number of 737s piling up at Renton Airport and Boeing Field and is starting to burn off the “gliders” and other aircraft plagued by traveled work.
Although some aerospace analysts came away from the investors day this month skeptical that Boeing would clear the backlog by year end, barring another hiccup of size, it looks like the company will do so.
Spirit Aerosystems said it had caught up on the delivery of fuselages while Boeing told aerospace analysts at its investors’ day this month that delays were still causing issues.
How does this conflict of information converge?
It’s a matter of sequencing the fuselages back into the system, I’m told.
Sept. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: The surprise resignation last week by Eric Schulz as Chief Commercial Officer for Airbus re-opened the door for the man who should have been named in the first place, Christian Scherer.
Scherer spent the last two years as CEO of ATR, which is 50% owned by Airbus, but his lineage is pure Airbus.
His father, Gunter, was one of the original Airbus pioneers. He was a flight engineer on the early A300B2 test flights when Airbus was formed. Gunter died in May.
Christian joined Airbus in 1984. Since then, he was Head of Contracts, Leasing Markets and Deputy Head of Sales as well as Head of Strategy and Future Programmes. At Airbus Defence and Space, he headed Marketing & Sales. He was named CEO of ATR in October 2016.
Sept. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: While Boeing Commercial Aircraft grapples with more than four dozen unfinished 737s clogging the space at Renton Airport and Boeing Field, Boeing Defense had some good news last week:
The KC-46A received certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the first delivery is due for late October.
Final military certification is still to come and the wing-pod drogues need certifying, but at long last, Boeing can move forward.
Sept. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: There is more evidence the aerospace supply chain is in meltdown—and it’s going to get worse, a manufacturer tells LNC.
The OEM requested anonymity to speak frankly.
As aerospace analysts gather this week in Seattle for their annual investors day at Boeing, based on the research notes I see, there’s little indication they recognize the magnitude of the evolving problems with the supply chain.
Although the focus recently has been on Boeing and analysts will visit Boeing Wednesday, the issues affect all the OEMs.
This was followed by a Bloomberg report that Lufthansa Airlines continues to have shortages from Pratt & Whitney for the GTF engines powering the A320neo.
Since then, I’ve had my own additional conversations with the supply chain. The production ramp ups that already have been announced and those being contemplated are in peril and all manufacturers are being affected.
Aug. 27, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing is giving financial help to India’s Jet Airways, according to a news report.
This doesn’t come as a surprise.
Jet Airways has 225 737 MAXes on order (50 direct, the rest listed via lessors). It’s also in what appears to be dire financial straits.
Media reports indicated the airline was possibly going to be out of business in 60 days and it deferred releasing its financial results “indefinitely.” The government is going to probe the airline, according to a press report.
The Boeing aid is not common but it’s not unknown, either.
Aug. 20, 2018, © Leeham News: A growing shortage of workers is exacerbating pressure on suppliers as they struggle to meet current aircraft production rates, even as Airbus and Boeing want to raise them even more.
Add to this the thousands of retirements facing the OEMs in the next 5-10 years, and you can see the strain facing Airbus, Boeing, the engine makers and the suppliers feeding into them.
It also partly explains the shifting trend toward automation. Setting aside the obvious benefits of automation—quality control, accuracy, boring repetitive work, etc—the supply chain in simply facing a growing shortage of workers for which there is no easy answer.
Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: The bizarre theft of a Horizon Airlines Bombardier Q400 at Sea-Tac Airport Friday night by a 29-year old employee will take some time for investigators to unravel.
The employee, a ramp agent, appeared to have no other motive in mind other than a last joy ride before ending his life.
Aug. 6, 2018 © Leeham News: It happened to Airbus. It sort of happened to Boeing. It was bound to happen in a much bigger way to Boeing, and it has.
Some 40 737s are now sitting around the Renton assembly plant in a major supply-chain meltdown.
This follows the highly publicized, two-year long supplier meltdown at Airbus as Pratt & Whitney and CFM fell down on engine deliveries and technical problems for their GTF and LEAP-1A engines, respectively.
July 30, 2018, © Leeham News: thyssenkrupp, the German supplier, is a mouthful to say.
Even its name is different, using the small “t” rather than a capital “T”.
I won’t even attempt to write how I mangled the name, but I didn’t feel too bad when I later discovered there is a 15 second YouTube video on its pronunciation: two-sen croup (in German) or tiss-in krup [as in pup] (in English).
Regardless, the company is in an expansion mode internationally—including in Africa.
July 23, 2018, © Leeham News, Farnborough: Digital technology, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Thread and Digital Factory technologies continue to gain momentum for aerospace production as companies throughout the supply chain strive to cut costs.
The consulting firm Accenture, in advance of the international air shows in Paris or Farnborough, identifies that it sees as the key stories that will come out of the show.
Accenture was on target for Farnborough.
Indeed, the show was low energy, with fewer orders than many past shows. The largest orders came from that ubiquitous company, Unidentified (though more than 200 airplanes are believed to be destined for China).
Some companies sent smaller delegations or didn’t come at all.
The headline out of United Technologies was about digital. It was just one example of the digital stories at Farnborough this year.