Bjorn’s Corner: Time to reassess the safety standards for our airliners

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In the wake of the 737 MAX crashes the standards to which Boeing and the FAA qualified and approved the 737 MAX MCAS function is questioned.

FAA has called the world’s aviation regulators to a meeting on the 23rd of May to discuss how the revised MCAS function will be approved. But it’s time to discuss more than how the updated MCAS shall pass.

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Airbus, Boeing backlogs in US, EU and tariff exposure

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April 25, 2019, © Leeham News: With the European Union now listing aircraft among the US products that will be subject to tariffs, in retaliation for the United States plan to levy tariffs on airplanes and other goods, Airbus faces a greater exposure than Boeing in a trade war.

The US proposes tariffs on aircraft, fuselages, wings and other components produced by the four Airbus member states: France, Germany, Spain and the UK.

  • Airbus has more aircraft in backlog to the US than Boeing does to the EU.
  • Delta Air Lines is the biggest Airbus US customer, followed by lessor GECAS.
  • Ireland, with its lessors and discount carrier Ryanair, is Boeing’s biggest customer in the EU.
  • The UK carriers are a distant second to Ireland, but Brexit muddles the picture.

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Initial analyst reaction to Boeing 1Q earnings

April 24, 2019: Initial analyst reaction to Boeing’s 1Q2019 earnings, which were impacted by the grounding of the 737 MAX two weeks before the engine of the quarter, was positive.

Pre-market trading was initially up more than $6; at this writing an hour later, this eased, coming off slight to being up just under $6.

Here is the initial reaction from analysts:

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Boeing 1Q earnings down on MAX grounding; full impact to come

April 24, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing took a $1bn revenue hit in the first quarter ended March 31, following the grounding of the 737 MAX on March 13.

Earnings from operations reported today were off $525m; net earnings were down $328m.

The press release is here.

The stock market took the news in stride; pre-market trading saw Boeing stock rise more than $6 (1.66%) an hour before opening.

The MAX was grounding March 13, affecting only two weeks of the first quarter. The full impact is to come. As a result, Boeing suspended guidance for the year and will reissue it at a later date.

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Mitsubishi adding two MRJ90s to flight test fleet

By Bryan Corliss

April 24, 2019, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi is close to completing two additional MRJ90s that should join the company’s flight test fleet this summer.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. President Hisakazu Mizutani also reported last week that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has granted the program a letter of authorization, which is a milestone toward getting a final type certificate allowing the plane to enter service.

Mizutani spoke in Nagoya, Japan, on April 16, delivering Mitsubishi’s regular quarterly update on the program’s progress.


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Electric aircraft builder announces new engine option

By Bryan Corliss

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News:  Electric aircraft motor builder MagniX will celebrate Earth Day today by announcing it has been chosen as one of two powerplants for Eviation Aircraft’s proposed nine-seater Alice passenger plane.

“We have been successfully testing the MagniX system with our Alice aircraft propeller for quite some time now with great results,” Eviation Chief Executive Omer Bar-Yohay said in a statement.

The MagniX motor has more than 1,500 hours on a test stand, according to Roei Ganzarski, who is CEO of the suburban Seattle engine-builder.

The Alice is a clean-sheet electric aircraft design developed by Eviation, an Israeli company that has established a testing/production facility in Prescott, AZ. Eviation has announced plans to fly the Alice at Le Bourget this summer.

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EU lists goods, including airplanes, subject to tariff in WTO trade war

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: The European Union late last week released its list of US goods, including non-military airplanes (read: Boeing airliners) that will be subject to tariffs if the US proceeds to levy tariffs on $11bn in goods.

The EU upped the ante, valuing its list at up to $20bn.

The EU’s list is here. The US list is here.

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Latest engine problem means NMA EIS slides

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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 grounding of the 737 MAX March 13, which is likely to continue well into the summer, will delay any launch of the program—should Boeing proceed.

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.

  • CFM is considered the favorite to power the NMA.
  • All four engine makers remain under stress and recover modes.
  • Rolls-Royce dropped out of NMA competition in December.
  • LNA reported in March 2018 the engines needed to be the focus for the NMA launch. See here and here.

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Pontifications: Collins Aerospace resolved to compete for aftermarket services

By Scott Hamilton

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Moves by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to increase their shares of aftermarket services are viewed by their own suppliers with a mix of trepidation or resolve, depending on who they are.

For Collins Aerospace, it’s resolve.

It’s also about become more efficient with advanced manufacturing of its parts supplied to the aerospace industry. This reduces costs, lead times and takes advantage of Collins’ own engineers and designs for value-added services to its customers.

I spoke with two officials from Collins at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Atlanta April 9-11.

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Bjorn’s Corner: MCAS fix on the way

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 19, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg yesterday flew with the final version of the updated MCAS software on a 737 MAX. It will now enter certification flights, having completed 120 Boeing test flights.

Here my perspective on MCAS and the overall Boeing 737 safety record.

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