UBS has this easy-to-read Table of the orders and commitments announced on Day 1 of the Paris Air Show:
The big news, of course, is the launch of the Embraer E-175/190/195 “E2″ (second generation). The press release is here.
Airbus scored an unexpected order for the A380: 20 from specialty lessor Doric Leasing, which has financed a number of A380s. We think this is an odd deal, and it must be one that already has some A380 customers lined up.
Tomorrow is expected to be the day Boeing launches the 787-10, so it should be Boeing’s day. We also believe tomorrow will be the day Airbus does a fly by of the A350 XWB. A little tit-for-tat, perhaps.
Boeing may not be designing new airplanes to replace the 737 NG or the 777 family, but the head of Airplane Development says Boeing employees will be busy just the same.
“We’re going to be in a constant state of development for the next 10 years,” says Scott Fancher, VP and GM. “We can very seamlessly move talent, move experience, move lessons learned from one development from one project to the next to maximize talent.”
The 787-9 entered assembly at the giant Everett plant last month. The 787-10 has been in design for the past several years; launch is expected Tuesday at the Paris Air Show.
Photo by Scott Hamilton
The 777X, in two models, is expected to be launched at the Dubai Air Show with a massive order from Emirates Airlines. The 737 MAX is moving forward, with assembly of the test airplanes to begin in 2015.
“The EIS for those airplanes extends early into the next decade,” Fancher said of the 777X.
The KC-46A, based on the 767 platform, is in pre-production design. The 737 NG, 747-8 and 777 continue to get Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs).
Airplane Development, a new department within Boeing Commercial Airplanes under Fancher, was created to put key talent under one roof, so-to-speak, as one way to avoid the problems of past programs.
“This becomes a one-stop shop,” Fancher told an international assembly of media during the briefings in advance of the Paris Air Show.
Fancher also said new airplane development needs to work with suppliers in a closely coordinated manner that provides for profitability for both. This seemed to fly in the face of recent statements by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, who said suppliers need to cut costs.
We subsequently asked Fancher about the apparent inconsistency.
“Profitability and competitive pricing are not mutually exclusive,” Fancher said. “We want our suppliers to be healthy and profitable, which they can be while also cutting their costs to be more competitive.”
Fancher said that as a result of lessons learned from the 787 program, Boeing has and will bring more design work back in-house, but suppliers may build to the Boeing design. The 787 handed a great deal of design-and-build work to suppliers, which caused problems, delays and cost overruns.
Airbus will “win” the air show: We did this preview for CNN International.
Jim McNerney Interview: Aviation Week has this long one.
Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times will be blogging from the Paris Air Show. You can follow him here. He has several reports worth reading.
Meantime, he reports that the Boeing 787-10 may be built in South Carolina, not Boeing’s main plant at Everett.
NYC Aviation has an interesting pilot perspective on flying the Boeing 747-400F and the 747-8F.
United Airlines and Aviation Partners Boeing launched a new winglet, the Scimitar. It looks similar to the feathered winglet Boeing designed for the 737 MAX, but closer inspection shows distinct differences.
Boeing defends 777X aluminum fuselage, reads the headline from Bloomberg News, reporting from the Paris Air Show.
During the pre-Paris Air Show media briefings by Boeing, we asked Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of aircraft development, why Boeing didn’t go with an all-new fuselage. His answer:
“Our job is to harvest the investments in technology we’ve made over the last 10 years and translate those into value for our customers and value for Boeing,” said. The 787 required a new fuselage cross section compared with the 767, so Boeing had to go with all new tooling anyway and the composite fuselage was the result. The 777 fuselage cross-section remains unchanged, so the decision was made to harvest the hard-won 787 technology but retain a metal fuselage.
Undecided is whether the fuselage will be traditional metal alloys or new alloys.
The same is true in deciding to re-engine the 737 rather than proceeding with a new design.
“It’s really about harvesting those technology investments [from the 787], Fancher said. “The time it would take to do a new small airplane in the single aisle market vs the time it would take to bring to market that is very competitive against our adversary, it’s a very cost-effective decision to do a derivative.
“On the wide body side of the equation, we made big investments and pushed technology forward on the 787. We’ve made huge investments in technology. It was a long, hard road. But the investments paid off. We need to continue to harvest those investments and apply them going forward in the most cost effective way we can. Going forward, offering derivative airplanes that are able to offer 20% more fuel efficiency to the market place by harvesting the technology investments we’ve made today, that sounds like a great business plan to me and that’s why we’re doing derivatives. It’s about value to the market place in the most cost effective way.”
Elizabeth Lund, VP and GM of the 777 program, and Jason Clark, director of manufacturing, explained that continuing to upgrade the current 777 is key for an airplane that is the “flagship” for many airlines.
“The Triple 7 is a huge part of the Boeing franchise. We are deeply committed to it,” Lund said. “The 777 has a departure reliability of 99.4%, the highest of any twin-aisle aircraft today. There are many more investments you can’t see. You can’t see the things that have been done. In the last couple of years we’ve added international connectivity to the airplane. We’ve added the antennas and capabilities so the flying public can stay connected over the oceans all the time and not just over land.
“We’ve improved our navigation links, which allows real-time changes to be uploaded to the airplane to change flight plans through the system instead of verbal conversations as it has been done through the years.”
Lund said the 777-300ER is qualified to operate with 330 minute ETOPS. Only one airline, Air New Zealand, is flying 330 minute ETOPS.
Continuous improvements have reduced the empty weight of the airplane today by 1,000 pounds compared with three years ago.
“We’ve reduced our maintenance costs. We’ve offered a full sweep of service and maintenance capabilities, including things like airplane health monitoring on the airplane as well,” Lund said. “We invest for three primary reasons. One is to reduce the cost of the airplane. Two is to meet the needs of our customers. We spend a lot of time with our customers understanding the market, doing technology development so that we understand the future market needs. The third area is to do some investment where it makes sense is that if there are technologies or applications that we can implement early to prove out for the Triple 7X as we continue to move into that.”
Clark said Lean manufacturing has improved efficiencies and reduced costs.
“Going to moving line and Lean reduced parts shortages by 57% on 777 line. Our quality continues to improve year end and year out. It gets down to improved productivity,” he said. “If we are going to have the rate flexibility that the market demands of us, we were going to have to look at the production system differently.”
Competitive advantage is no longer just about the platform, Clark said. It’s about the entire supply chain and production system.
“Lean is the basis of our production methods. When you look at some of the investments we are starting to make it’s about taking it to the next level. This isn’t a conversation for doing it for automation or technology just for technology’s sake. It’s really about the right balance. It’s also about the ability to allow the customer to differentiate the product. We are looking at elements that allow us to provide the differentiation.”
In a week dominated by Paris Air Show news, we have a couple of unrelated items.
We saw this car in a parking lot and couldn’t resist taking a picture. Note the writing on the windshield and how it would be legible in your review mirror as the car comes up behind you.
And then back to aviation, we took a ride in the ex-Pan Am DC-3 over the weekend. It’s owned by the Historic Flight Foundation in Everett (WA).
Photo by Scott Hamilton
Photo by Scott Hamilton
“One Boeing” is the strategy that blends all the company enterprises–Boeing Commercial, Boeing Defense, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services and other business units into a single set of resources rather than operating as solo businesses.
The P-8A Poseidon program is just such a blend. Using the commercial 737-800 as the platform with the 737-900ER wing, Commercial and Defense integrate the technologies of the two units and assemble the P-8A in what is actually the third 737 production line.
The US Navy has plans to acquire 117 P-8As to replacing the Eisenhower-era Lockheed P-3 Orion. The P-3 and the P-8 has a primary mission of anti-submarine patrol but the airplanes are increasingly being used for maritime patrol in a variety of countries for fisheries, immigration and more recently anti-piracy surveillance.
India ordered eight. Boeing sees a potential market for more than 150 more with countries now flying the P-3.
The Poseidon’s One Boeing approach was copied for the re-bid of the USAF KC-X tanker competition. The original platform, the KC-767 International program, was largely a Boeing Defense effort. The KC-767I, which involved taking a commercial 767-200ER and converting it to a cargo aircraft at Italy’s Alenia and finishing it out at Boeing Wichita, was a disastrous effort. Boeing pulled the work back from Alenia and design and flutter issues caused the program to be several years late to customers Italy and Japan. Only eight were built.
In the re-bid against EADS, BCA and BDS joined forces in an effort patterned after the Poseidon project. Boeing won with a bid that was 10% below EADS. So far, the USAF reports the project is going according to plan.
Boeing is now talking with customers to sell the KC-46A tanker outside the US, which was always part of the plan, according to this Bloomberg article. The platform, called the 767-2C, is about six feet longer than the 767-200ER but shorter than the 767-300ER. Air Force officials were quoted in trade press that commercial cargo versions could be offered, but nothing has been said about this prospect since.
However, we understand that Boeing is nearing a commercial order from FedEx for the -2C that will enable Boeing to boost production of the 767 lines to as much as 2.5 aircraft per month by October 2016.