Will Lean 767 Line mean new life for this airplane?

Boeing’s plan to implement a Lean production line for the 767 has significant implications for this aging product.

Boeing tells us that the line will result in a 20% improvement in unit time in construction. This does not correlate into a 20% improvement in production costs, however. Productions costs consist of materials (raw materials, fasteners, finished parts, and assemblies), perishable tooling, support labor, production labor and plant and equipment. Unit time improvements are directly related to reductions in production labor costs and have a proportionate decrease in support labor costs.

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Kicking off the New Year

As is so often the case, we found the following while looking for something else. We thought this would be a good way for readers to kick off the New Year.

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Delta ousts American in JAL global alliance

We have learned for industry sources that Delta Air Lines has won the battle  and that Japan Air Lines will be leaving the oneworld alliance to join SkyTeam, reports Ernie Arvai of the AirInsight team of which Leeham Co. is a member.

This is a significant blow to American Airlines, which now lacks a Japanese partner, and boosts both United (Star Alliance partner with ANA) and Delta (with NW Japanese routes and now JAL) that can be well exploited, given the new open skies agreement between the two countries.

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Albaugh as BCA head will be key to Boeing tanker bid

There has been more foo-faw going on with the KC-X tanker competition in the past week, largely overshadowed by the first flight of the Boeing 787. Supporters of Northrop Grumman met with Pentagon officials to urge that changes be made in the Draft RFP to assure a fair and open competition.

As soon as this became public, supporters of Boeing did the same.

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Southwest loses Frontier bid

Southwest Airlines lost its bid to acquire Frontier Airlines in the bankruptcy auction this week. The bid was a long shot because its competition was Republic Holdings, a DIP lender to Frontier and the largest unsecured creditor. Read more

Lufthansa committed to 747-8, expects more delays

Flight Global has this report about Lufthansa remaining committed to the 747-8I, but that it expects more delays, a knock-on effect from the continuing 787 problems.

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Aerospace Journalist of the Year

Geoffrey Thomas of Air Transport World was the winner of the Aerospace Journalist of the Year both in his category and of all 14 categories. Jon Ostrower of Flight Global and Niall O’Keefe, also of Flight Global, won in their categories–and we won in our category, Regional Airlines stories.

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Eco-Aviation Conference Report

The Air Transport World-Leeham Co. Eco-Aviation Conference last week produced a great deal of news, most notably the test results from Air New Zealand on its biofuel test flight made in cooperation with Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

ANZ announced at the conference that the test flight had a 1.2% better fuel efficiency than Jet-A fuel but a whopping 60%+ reduction in CO2 emissions.

A listing of news articles that came out of the conference may be found on our Eco-Aviation page here.

Nominated for Aerospace Journalist of the Year-2009 Awards

We were notified that we have been nominated for a Journalist of the Year Award for a 2008 piece we did for Aviation and the Environment magazine. The piece, Suddenly it’s very crowded out there, is about the proliferation of regional airliners.

The awards dinner will be Sunday before the Paris Air Show begins. There are 14 categories (our nomination was in Regional Aircraft). The full nomination list may be found here.

Among those nominated are journalists we know well: Jon Ostrower for his Flightblogger (three nominations); Geoff Thomas at Air Transport World; Aimee Turner, then of Flight International (now of Aviation Week); Jason Holland of Aviation and the Environment; Niall O’Keeffe of Airline Business/Flight International (two nominations); Mark Kirby of Airline Business; Guy Norris of Aviation Week (two nominations); and many others we don’t know.

Airbus sees recovery in 2010

Airbus officials see a recovery in the global economy and passenger traffic next year, they said this week at the Airbus Innovation Days in Hamburg.
We were among about 90 journalists to attend the event, formerly known as the Technical Briefing and held in Toulouse.

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There was little new technically to talk about-after all, what else is there to say about the A380, A350 and A400M programs that isn’t well known? (Just a few things, which we’ll get to later.) So the news really came from non-technical items.

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