Odds and Ends: Avoiding risk; Avoid 787 goofs with 777X; Anticipation for the 777X; CSeries expectations
Avoiding Risk: Jetmakers avoid risk by revamping existing models.
Avoid 787 goofs with 777X: This Reuters article reports how challenging the brand damage has become with the 787 issues, and it’s not the first time we’ve heard the link.
Looking forward to 777X: Akbar Al-Baker didn’t say much during the grounding of the 787, but he’s back in the news now. He looks forward to the 777X but couldn’t resist complaining about the GE90 on the current 777. That’s odd: the GE90 has only been in service since the creation of the 777-300ER and is well regarded in the industry. But Al-Baker being Al-Baker–need we say more?
CSeries Expectations: Bombardier says first flight will be next month. Expectations are beginning to increase, according to this article.
Support for UAVs: Innovate Washington, an arm of the State, is promoting sites in Washington as test sites for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). There are 37 states seeking to become test sites for UAVs.
The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance on April 30 issued an endorsement of the plan.
Boeing’s Insitu unit builds UAVs and is headquartered in Washington.
Qatar’s CEO on 787: Akbar Al-Baker, the outspoken CEO of Qatar Airways, was remarkably quiet during the three-month grounding of the Boeing 787. He’s usually a pain in the rear to a number of OEMs with his public criticism. He’s back in the news today. He says Boeing will compensate Qatar for the grounding and adds he thinks the grounding was an over-reaction to Social Media coverage of the JAL and ANA events. He said the evacuation of the ANA 787 was “unnecessary,” according to the news report.
Retry on Boeing apology: Seems we linked a Wall Street Journal article to the posting on Boeing’s apology in Japan for the 787 problems. Let’s try this one again: Here is the story we meant to link.
More on 747F crash: Flight Global’s air safety expert weighs in the the video of the National Air Cargo crash.
NTSB Report Comes Today: The National Transportation Safety Board issues its preliminary report on the Boeing 787 JAL fire today, around 11am ET. Here is the NTSB 787 page that has been updated throughout the process. We’re traveling and may not be able to pick up the report as it comes out, so Readers, please do so and post in Comments; we’ll upgrade to a fresh post when able.
FAA readies OK for 787 plan: The FAA is expected to give Boeing the green light to begin implementing its proposed plans to fix the 787 battery issues. We expect this approval to be Friday or next week. Extensive testing will be required, but the length remains unclear. The NTSB report may or may not have implications.
Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation (the FAA is part of DOT), still has questions. See this Wall Street Journal article via Google News, so it should be readable to all. A key paragraph:
[P]ushback against a quick final decision from Mr. LaHood—who oversees the FAA and must sign off on any package of fixes—and from regulators in Japan threatens to delay the more important resumption of Dreamliner commercial flights for months, according to industry and government officials. (Emphasis added.)
A team of FAA technical experts is urging preliminary approval of Boeing’s plan, and FAA chief Michael Huerta appears likely to agree within a week or so, the officials said. That would establish a framework that could allow Boeing to begin test flights as soon as the third week in March. Results from those flights would have to be analyzed by agency officials and reviewed by Secretary LaHood and his staff before Boeing could seek permission to retrofit aircraft and seek new certification. Routine certification tests for batteries take four or five weeks, according to industry officials.
A350-800 future debated: Qatar Airways’ vociferous CEO, Akbar Al-Baker says Airbus is dropping the A350-800. Airbus says it’s not. (Also here.) Aeroturbopower has this interesting post on the subject.
Bombardier Reveals CSeries today: Bombardier will have its “reveal” of the CSeries today in a ceremony that isn’t quite a roll-out in the party-like fashion usually accompanying a new aircraft type. Rather, invited guests will visit the assembly line to see the completed aircraft. BBD isn’t taking the airplane off the production line so it doesn’t lose production time. The Wall Street Journal has this description via Google News.
In 2011 John Leahy of Airbus was voted the most influential person. Who do you think is the most influential this year? We’ll hide the results until the voting is complete.
Flight Global has this story in which Airbus says it remains committed to the A350-800, a sub-type that is the smallest of the A350 family and which has been the subject of much speculation that Airbus will choose not to proceed with it.
Airbus hasn’t helped matters because it’s been encouraging customers to switch to the larger A350-900. John Leahy, COO-Customers, some time ago told us the larger -900 is more profitable for Airbus and customers could get deliveries sooner.
But, according to customers we talk to, there are other reasons, too. First, according to one customer, is that Airbus is de-risking the program by getting customers to switch to the -900. The program has been delayed nearly two years and customers expect at least one more delay of three to six months to entry into service. Airbus is concentrating resources on the -900, and by switching customers from the -800, Airbus relieves the pressure on these resources.
This customer, which has switched its orders from the -800 to the -900, believes Airbus will build the -800.
Flight Global has this story which echoes what we’ve been told, citing Akbar Al-Baker of Qatar Airways: he switched from the -800 to the -900 because of the delays. But he now believes Airbus should discontinue offering the -800.
Airbus declined comment on the tie between delays and the switches.
Another customer switched its order did so simply because it likes the operating economics and revenue potential of the larger -900 better than the -800.
A key supplier, however, takes a dimmer view. The person we talked with believes Airbus will let the A350-800 go away, but this is his personal opinion and says that his company hasn’t heard anything to suggest this will be the case.
Eliminating the -800 would leave Airbus without a new technology competitor to the Boeing 787-9. Although some, including Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, believe Airbus should proceed with an A330neo. Airbus so far dismisses such suggestions and it has not asked engine makers to consider such a possibility. But one airline fleet planner told us that he believes Airbus will one day proceed with the A330neo with an EIS of around 2020. This means Airbus would not have to ask engine makers to explore the possibility until next year or even 2014. So what is true today may or may not be true “tomorrow.”