There appears to be a lot of focus on delays in delivering the next Boeing 787s to United Airlines–which has received one–but neither Boeing or United is saying what’s behind the delays. (Update, Dec. 1: one of the three was delivered yesterday.)
According to the Ascend data base, line numbers 45, 50 and 52 are supposed to be delivered this year and 55 and 77 are supposed to be delivered in January. All are with GEnx engines.
Here are some possible reasons for the delay:
- Rework is the obvious one. The first “clean” airplane to come off the Boeing assembly line in Everett was around line #66. The lower the line number, the more rework. UAL’s line numbers are higher, but rework is still necessary.
- GEnx engines. The failures on the 787 and 747-8 GEnx engines were unrelated and, as these things go, not especially severe, but fixing them is, we are told, complex for engines already assembled. Qatar refused delivery of its first 787 because of the GEnx issue. Contractually delivery has been accepted but the airline also wanted additional IFE (inflight entertainment equipment) installed and physically hasn’t accepted delivery. So…
- IFE upgrades: These UAL 787s were ordered by Continental Airlines prior to the merger and it’s been reported in the press that the delays in Boeing’s delivery left UA/CO will older, less sophisticated Buyer Furnished Equipment (the IFE). Maybe UAL wants more current IFE?
We were asked by media if this is another blow to the 787 program. We don’t think so. At this point, we haven’t heard of anything about the reason for the delay and pretty well shrugged it off anyway.
Meanwhile, Airbus is in talks with at least some of its A380 customers seeking compensation for the operational interruptions resulting from required inspections related to wing rub brace cracking. Compensation could amount to millions of Euros per customer.
The same writer prepared this piece on transport aircraft, including the Boeing C17, Lockheed C130 and Alenia C27J (purchased and subsequently rejected by the US DOD).
MAX BBJs: Boeing is offering 737-8/9 MAX BBJs but not, as yet, a 7 MAX BBJ. Boeing says it is still studying a 7 MAX BBJ. there have so far been no orders for the 7 MAX.
Airbus ACJ A318: Airbus says it’s offering an enhanced A318 Airbus Corporate Jet. Improvements are mainly to the interior, though the press release says, “These include Sharklets on the wingtips, which make the aircraft look nicer….” The Boeing and Airbus announcements were at the NBAA trade show.
Oops by Cantwell: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is running for reelection. One of her TV ads is called The Hub, in which she promotes Washington State as the Hub for aerospace and her work in Congress on behalf of Boeing.
Only there was a big Oops in the first version: it opened with stock footage of US Airways Airbus A320s. Not only were these not Boeing airplanes, US Airways hasn’t ordered a Boeing since Steve Wolf was CEO–nor has America West, now combined with US Airways, ordered a Boeing aircraft since the 757.
The ad ran for some time on KING 5 (NBC-Seattle) until it was scrubbed and replaced with opening stock footage of a Boeing 767.
All YouTube videos containing the Airbuses have been “removed by the user.” Here is the revised ad.
Someone in Cantwell’s campaign really muffed this one.
Positive SPEEA talks: Last Friday, Boeing and SPEEA each released statements indicating negotiations have taken a positive turn. The Seattle Times sums it up here.
Boeing outsourcing: In an election where outsourcing is a major political campaign issue, The Seattle Times reports Boeing wants to outsource more work to Mexico. Here is Boeing’s letter, via The Times.
MAX v NEO: Here is an excellent set of tables updating the orders between the 737 MAX and the A320 NEO. According to the analysis, Airbus right now has a 63% market share for the airframe. On the NEO, where two engines are offered, CFM has a 41% share vs PW’s 39% share with the remainder undecided.
Odds and Ends: Airbus–60% of single aisle market; 777X customer meeting and EIS; advancing A350-1000
Airbus Market Share: Airbus figures it will keep around a 60% market share for single-aisles, according to this Reuters story. Boeing is going to beat Airbus handily for sales this year with the conversion of hundreds of MAX commitments to firm orders, but Airbus’ runaway success with the NEO program is a tough hill to climb for Boeing. A more telling market share story will likely come next year, after the orgy of sales is over for both companies and market stability returns.
777X Customer Meeting and EIS: With all the talk about what Boeing is planning with the 777X, there is a customer meeting in Seattle next week (a routine event) to talk about the aircraft, several who are planning to attend tell us. The 777X came up during the Boeing earnings call yesterday and Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said this about EIS: “Well, we are looking at the end of the decade [or] the beginning of the next decade…. [Emphasis added.] Our customers would like it sooner…. We have a robust dialogue going out with our customers right now to make sure we get it right.”
Note the comment about the beginning of “next decade.” Up until now, Boeing has been saying consistently that EIS would be the “end of this decade.” We’ve been hearing from our sources that EIS might slip to the beginning of the next decade, but as far as we can tell, this is the first public acknowledgement.
Airbus this week said it might advance EIS of the A350-1000 from 2017. If Airbus could achieve this, and if Boeing were to slip EIS of the 777X from 2019 to early next decade, Airbus could have an advantage with the 1000. Even if Boeing stuck with 2019, an advance by Airbus would give it a two or more year advantage (similar timing of the NEO vs MAX).
The sport game continues.