Notice: All right, Everyone, given the persistent personal stuff in the Comments, we have closed Comments for this posting.
Wikileaks struck again with cables revealing US diplomats and the President support Boeing is sales efforts. The cables made a lot of news headlines, with The Seattle Times pickup of a New York Times piece typical.
Our reaction is, So what?
That diplomats help Boeing and European officials help Airbus is nothing new nor surprising to those of us in aviation. Heads-of-State do it, too. It happened for McDonnell Douglas, with a sale for MD-11s and MD-90s to Saudi Arabia. Happened with Israel and Boeing. Landing slots for Airbus sales? No surprise here, either.
Much ado about nothing, in our view.
Will it ever end?
This is the question about the interminable KC-X tanker competition.
Unofficial word is now that the USAF is to announce its award in February, after slipping from January, December, November, October and August.
US Sen. Carl Levin announced that he will hold a hearing by February. 1 into the snafu by the USAF over sending Boeing and EADS information about the performance of each other’s tanker. Levin, holding the hearing at the request of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Boeing/WA), will try and determine if this is a harmless or fatal error to the procurement process. We have written before that mistakes like this happen and the government has set procedures for handling such errors, but in the highly charged competition, Boeing is taking advantage of the mistake to lay the groundwork for a protest should it lose.
Note: this is unusually long, 11 pages when printed.
The new year is here and it is time for our annual look-ahead for the big OEMs.
On a macro level, 2011 should be a good year. Airline passenger and cargo traffic recovery should continue. The global economy also is recovering, but it is almost painfully slow to do so. Still, this is better than some of the alternatives.
Airlines and lessors are likely to continue their order stream that resumed in mid-2010 at the Farnborough Air Show. There could be some key orders that will influence the OEMs and their strategies going forward.
On the military front, we are much more limited in our tracking. We follow the KC-X tanker program because the offerings are based on commercial airliners. We slightly follow the P-8A Poseidon for the same reason, but Boeing pretty much has the monopoly for this type airplane, so there isn’t much to follow.
We do closely follow cybersecurity issues, if for no other reason than it is so important but also because key aerospace companies, including Boeing, have major efforts in this arena.
But by and large, we focus on the OEMs, the emerging competitors and the new engines.
So let’s get to it.