Airworthiness Directives: The New York Times has a good piece about ADs that should put many general assignment reporters to shame. The rhubarb over the ADs applied to the Airbus A380 spurred Nicola Clark’s reporting. This is a must-read not only for the general public to actually understand what’s going on in the world of aviation, it’s a must-read for the hysterical headline-writers who seem more interested in page hits than in facts.
787 Surge Line starts in June: Boeing’s 787 Surge Line begins operation in June. This is the line in Everett that is being created as risk mitigation for the new line in Charleston as the workforce there comes up on the learning curve. The two lines are intended to have a capacity of three per month, while Line 1 in Everett has a capacity of seven per month.
The Surge Line is supposed to terminate in May 2014, according to internal Boeing documents obtained by the IAM 751 in the now-defunct NLRB case. But we hope, and believe, the Surge Line could become a long-term line as Boeing considers ways to go beyond the 10/mo production rate goal by the end of 2013. We believe Boeing has to significantly go beyond this rate to catch up from delays that are hitting four years for some customers, as well as to open up slots for demand.
Rolls-Royce and the Trent XWB: Flight Global has a long article about RR’s engine development for the Airbus A350.
Dark Clouds over Asia: Aspire Aviation has a long piece about Asian airlines that are struggling. Asia has been a bright spot for Boeing and Airbus orders. Perhaps the bubble is about to burst.
The dual appeal of the WTO Panel Findings in the European Union’s complaint against illegal subsidies provided Boeing for its commercial airplanes program has been issued, but it remains under wraps until March 12 to allow the parties to review it and request commercial sensitive information be deleted from the public version.
The WTO Panel found Boeing received more than $5bn in illegal subsidies. The key ones are grants from NASA and the Department of Defense, but tax breaks provided by the State of Washington–amounting to $3.2bn over 20 years–also were found to be illegal.
The EU and the US Trade Representative each appealed the Panel findings. The EU wanted to start the clock on the countdown to Boeing compliance as well as seeking reconsideration of complaints rejected by the Panel. The US appealed some of the findings of the Panel that found Boeing received illegal subsidies.
Leaks from both sides are expected in advance of the March 12 public release.
We expect the core of the Panel’s findings–that grants to Boeing are illegal–to be upheld. We also expect that the tax breaks granted by Washington State (as well as Kansas) will also continue to be held as illegal.
Boeing had contended throughout the process that Airbus had received more than $200bn in illegal aid, a figure Boeing claimed includes interest expenses. The WTO found only $18bn in aid was provided Airbus. The original WTO panel found $5bn in illegal aid to Boeing. The Appeals panel could lower or raise the Boeing figure. The Reuters article has some detail on the disputed amounts in the Boeing appeal.