By Scott Hamilton
May 5, 2022, © Leeham News: Spirit AeroSystems has had a tough couple of years. It’s not only had COVID to contend with, but its customer that provides more revenue than any other—Boeing—had a major impact on Spirit’s revenues and profits.
Boeing’s 737 MAX crisis, suspension of deliveries for the 787 and extended delays in the 777X programs all hurt Spirit. The Tier 1 supplier makes the fuselages for the 737s. It makes the nose sections for the 787 and 777. Spirit’s 737 production rate is now 31/mo. Deliveries for the 787 are expected to resume in the second half. Boeing said it will gradually increase production from the current rate of about 0.5 per month to 5/mo (though the timeline remains murky). Production of the 777X is suspended through 2023 while that for the 777-200LRF probably will hover around 2/mo for the indefinite future.
In its 1Q22 earnings release on May 4, Spirit appears on its way toward solid recovery. The company beat street expectations on strong Airbus deliveries, for which it’s also a supplier. Spirit’s own operational improvements and below-the-line improvements contributed to the better than expected results. And free cash flow was stronger than expected. The earnings detail is here.
July 12, 2021, © Leeham News: With Washington State and the US open for business following nearly 18 months of COVID-pandemic shut-down, there is a lot of optimism in commercial aviation.
In the US, airline passenger traffic headcounts are matching or exceeding pre-pandemic TSA screening numbers. Airlines are placing orders with Airbus, Boeing and even Embraer in slowly increasing frequency.
The supply chain to these three OEMs looks forward to a return to previous production rates.
It’s great to see and even feel this optimism. But the recovery will nevertheless be a slow if steady incline.
By the Leeham News Team
Nov. 5, 2020, © Leeham News: Research and Development spending by the Airbus and Boeing commercial units declined year-over-year.
Boeing’s spending typically lags Airbus. Richard Aboulafia, a consultant with Teal Group, for years criticized Boeing over its smaller spending, favoring instead shareholder value. Airbus overtook Boeing is innovative single-aisle airplane development years ago. Boeing’s choice of creating a 777 derivative instead of a new design to compete with the A350-1000 proved to be a weak move. There are only a handful of customers and the skyline is weak.
Second in a series.
By Scott Hamilton and Vincent Valery
June 24, 2020, © Leeham News: “Airbus’ widebody strategy is a mess.”
Today, it may be going too far to say there is increasing opinion in the industry that Boeing’s product strategy is a mess. But it’s fair to say it’s seriously challenged.
Even setting aside the 737 MAX grounding, Airbus clearly outpaced the MAX with the A320neo family. The A321LR and XLR thrust Airbus into dominance in the single-aisle, 150-220 seat sector.
Airbus fell into a winner with the acquisition of the Bombardier C Series. Boeing’s 737-7 MAX has captured fewer than 100 orders since the program launch in 2011. Demand for the 777X is weak.
Boeing critics, and there are many, see little but doom and gloom ahead. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Boeing faced years of recovery from the MAX grounding.
There’s no doubt Boeing has a deep hole to climb out of, exacerbated by the COVID crisis. The question is, what does Boeing do after the MAX is returned to service and the virus crisis is over?
June 11, 2020, © Leeham News: Spirit Aerosystems, maker of the Boeing 737 fuselages, yesterday said it will lay off 900 workers on the MAX line for three weeks.
“Spirit received a letter from Boeing directing Spirit to pause additional work on four 737 MAX shipsets and avoid starting production on 16 737 MAX shipsets to be delivered in 2020, until otherwise directed by Boeing,” the supplier said in a press release.
“Based on the information in the letter, subsequent correspondence from Boeing dated June 9, 2020, and Spirit’s discussions with Boeing regarding 2020 737 MAX production, Spirit believes there will be a reduction to Spirit’s previously disclosed 2020 737 MAX production plan of 125 shipsets,” the company said.
Spirit also is furloughing workers at two locations in Oklahoma.
By Scott Hamilton
May 11, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing killed development of its alphabet soup of airplane concepts for now.
“For now” is a relative term. When Boeing will be ready to show concepts to customers as a prelude to a program launch depends on how quickly the industry recovers from the COVID crisis.
But research and development of a streamlined production system, once key to new airplane projects, continues.
CEO David Calhoun said on the 1Q2020 earnings call that the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) is essentially dead. He said in the following media call that the “differentiators” for the next new airplane from Boeing or Airbus will be manufacturing and engineering.
By Scott Hamilton
May 6, 2020, © Leeham News: Spirit Aerosystems, a major supplier to Boeing and Airbus, reported a net loss of $163m for the first quarter.
With a majority of revenues coming from Boeing, the grounding of the 737 MAX continued to hit Spirit hard. The COVID-19 crisis further impacts the company.
Spirit will deliver 125 737 fuselages to Boeing this year, down from 216 previously agreed, reflecting the COVID crisis. This includes 18 delivered in January before production was suspended.
Spirit did not reveal how many of 116 produced and stored in parking lots will be among the 125.
On the earnings call, Spirit said the the storage will grow somewhat, peaking in July-August. It will get back down to the 120s by year end. The inventory will decline in 2021 and “burn down” in the next two years.
April 20, 2020, © Leeham News: Japan has long been known as an engineering powerhouse, and Japanese manufacturing titans like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Aerospace have been a key part of Boeing and Airbus supply chains for the last two decades.
Japan’s government wants to expand the country’s influence by signing agreements with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to secure improved cooperation with downstream suppliers. Aircraft and engine OEMs and key tier-one suppliers already have manufacturing operations in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India.
The first of these agreements is expected to be signed with Malaysia, which declared its ambition to become the biggest aerospace producers in Southeast Asia by 2030.
On the sidelines of February’s Singapore Air Show, LNA met with representatives of Japan’s Ministry of Trade, Economy, and Industry (METI) to discuss the proposed agreement with Malaysia. This article has been withheld until now due to the myriad aerospace issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
By Bryan Corliss
Feb. 25, 2020 © Leeham News — Unionized engineers and technical workers at Boeing begin voting this week on unexpected new contract proposals from the company that address two major areas of worker complaints LNA reported on last month: annual raises and paid family leave.
The proposals, which would extend the current contract by four years, came after SPEEA (the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) threatened to take Boeing to court over what it claimed were deliberate attempts by company management to hold down raises that engineers and tech were entitled to under the current contract.
Those threats led to talks between SPEEA’s executive board and Boeing managers, resulting in the proposed contract extensions.
SPEEA’s seven-member executive board negotiated the extensions and is urging a “yes” vote. However, the union’s larger Bargaining Unit Councils (one each for both the engineers and techs, with a combined total of close to 100 representatives) did not go along with the endorsements.
There are two separate but related offers, one for engineers and one for technical workers. Voting is by mail. Ballots will be counted on March 9. About 18,000 Boeing workers are involved, most in Washington, but also in California, Oregon and Utah.
By Scott Hamilton
Feb. 14, 2020, © Leeham News: It will take Boeing years to deliver new production airplanes scheduled for delivery in 2020-2023 because the restart of the 737 MAX production will fall far short of delivery commitments.
There are an estimated 2,682 deliveries scheduled in this timeframe. Boeing’s production restart and ramp up provides delivery positions for an estimated 1,827 aircraft. This leaves an estimated 855 aircraft that will have to be rescheduled into the future, from 2023.
These will compete with Boeing sales for new order delivery slots. For example, the MOU for 200 MAXes from IAG, the parent of British Airways and other carriers, has delivery slots in these periods.
An analysis by LNA indicates it will take at least until 2026 to deliver these 855 airplane if no other orders are slotted in through 2025.