Heard on the Ramp
We introduce today a new feature, Heard on the Ramp. This column contains news briefs LNA picks up in the market that aren’t expansive enough for stand-alone articles but which are items of interest. Publication will be on an as-needed basis.
By the Leeham News staff
March 10, 2020, © Leeham News: Last year revealed Boeing 777X order problems, with a small customer base and cancellations or deferrals. Perhaps this year will be the Airbus A330neo’s turn.
Out of 337 orders, 156 A330neos are with airlines in trouble or can’t take aircraft (AirAsiaX, Iran Air, HNA), or 46%.
This is without counting the second level of trouble airlines and lessor orders, which may have challenges placing aircraft in today’s unsettled market.
Oct. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: Gary Kelly, the chairman of Southwest Airlines, told CNBC Thursday that next year, the company will review whether to source airplanes from another manufacturer besides Boeing.
This, of course, means Airbus.
The prolonged grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX is the reason. Southwest says the grounding already has cost nearly $500m in lost revenues.
Kelly said the analysis won’t be for “smaller” airplanes, but he didn’t specify to CNBC what this means.
Southwest has 500 Boeing 737-700s seating 143 passengers at 30-31 inch pitch.
The Airbus A220-300 seats 145 at 32 inches in the Air Baltic one-class configuration.
The Embraer E195-E2 seats 146 passengers, but in a 28-inch pitch. At Southwest’s preferred 31-32 inch pitch, the E-Jet seats 132 passengers.
Since the context was the 737-8 MAX, did Kelly mean, not smaller than the -8? This isn’t known.
By Vincent Valery
Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: As Boeing sorts out final requirements with regulators for the 737 MAX return to service, preparations to resume deliveries are in full steam.
The company is hiring scores of temporary workers to return grounded and built but not yet delivered airframes. A note from Alliance Bernstein estimates that Boeing will be able to hand over 25 aircraft per month on top of those that come off the assembly line.
After taking hefty losses and having lost its most robust cash flow source for almost a year, Boeing will want to hand over as many aircraft to airlines as fast as possible.
Do all 737 MAX customers, likewise, want their aircraft back in service as soon as possible?
April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing reduced the production rate on the 737 line in mid-April from 52/mo to 42/mo in response to the grounding of the airplane by regulators worldwide.
The company and others said they didn’t know how long the airplane would be grounded.
But Boeing told suppliers to keep producing parts, components and the fuselage at rate 52.
The announcement was made April 5. At the same time, Boeing gave suppliers the rate ramp-up schedule.
April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: With first quarter financial results beginning to be reported, the impact of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX is beginning to emerge.
The first out was from Boeing itself, followed by a few of the airlines that operated the MAX before it was grounded March 13.
Boeing reported the grounding cost it about $1bn, for just the two weeks the airplane has been on the ground.
Norwegian Air Shuttle, which was using the MAX on new trans-Atlantic services, lost millions of dollars.
American Airlines will take a $350m hit from the groundings.
Southwest Airlines surprised many with a stronger-than-expected first quarter despite having 34 MAXes on the ground and a cost of $200m.
Air Canada extended the removal of its MAX fleet from its schedules another month, to Aug. 1.
April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: If there remains any doubt that Boeing’s prospective New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) won’t be ready for entry into service (EIS) by 2025, it should be dispelled by now.
The Board of Directors is unlikely to approve Authority to Offer (ATO) the NMA for sale as long as the cash flow for the MAX is outgoing and not in-coming.
Although this has its own impact on the NMA timing, it’s not the critical factor.
Last week, it was revealed that the CFM LEAP engine on the MAX (and the Airbus A321neo) has a problem called coking, which led to the contained engine failure of a Southwest Airlines MAX being ferried from Orlando (FL) to Victorville (CA) for the grounding of the Boeing airplane (see here and here). It’s the latest in a long line of engine maker problems with their current generation of powerplants.
This issue is unrelated to the MAX MCAS grounding. It also affects some engines on the A320neo family.
April 15, 2019, © Leeham News: This column will no doubt light up the blog-o-sphere.
There’s been a major debate going on since the crash of Lion Air JT610, the Boeing 737-8 MAX that immediately became a huge controversy.
Boeing immediately blamed the pilots. So did some pilots of some US airlines, who said if the Lion Air crew had just flown the airplane, it wouldn’t have crashed. It was a training issue, some said.
Having got tremendous blow back over Lion Air, Boeing publicly held its tongue when Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed five months later.
Still, Boeing officials quietly still said there was nothing wrong with the airplane.
Some US and Canadian pilots maintained, publicly and privately, that a lack of training and pilot skills in the Third World was responsible.
They’re not entirely wrong.
March 18, 2019, © Leeham News: There’s a saying that history repeats itself.
When it comes to the crisis of the Boeing 737 MAX, I’m reminded of the crisis Lockheed faced in 1959-1960 when the Electra propjet crashed in September and the following March, killing all aboard both airplanes.
The Electra entered service Jan. 12, 1959, with Eastern Airlines. It was considered a pilot’s airplane. Coming off decades of piston engine aircraft and early in the jet age, the Electra was the only airplane that was over-powered, piston or jet. Timing, however, was poor and crashes soon overtook the euphoria.
Jan. 3, 2019, © Leeham News: The incomparable Herb Kelleher died today. He was 87.
Kelleher was a co-founder of Southwest Airlines, which rewrote airline service in the US and which became the forerunner of many, many low cost carriers across the globe.
When I lived in Dallas from 1985-1996, I interviewed Kelleher many times and on occasion would lunch with him “just because.”
What follows are memories about Herb I’ve written as part of my own unpublished memoirs (of a sort) about my lifetime in commercial aviation.
Kelleher’s antics are legendary, as was his smoking and drinking. He was an open flirt with his female flight attendants and they loved him for it. He was an absolutely ruthless competitor, but his clownish approach to life overshadowed it. He could be deadly serious and totally irreverent.
I need not recount his many antics, his dressing like Elvis, his motorcycle riding or similar activities because they have been well covered and are well known.
There is one story in particular to tell. It’s about Malice in Dallas. (See here, one of six parts.)
June 21, 2018, © Leeham News: A new US airline secured delivery positions for 60 Bombardier CS300s for deliveries from 2020, according to its business plan circulating this month.
No application for certification had been filed with the US Department of Transportation as of last week.
The plan was first reported by Airfinance Journal June 11.