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.
Update: Aviation Week has this piece that has some good close-ups of artwork.
Boeing held a tele-conference updating the 737 MAX program. Beverly Wyse, VP and GM of the 737 Program are Michael Teal gave the briefing.
Beverly Wyse (BW)
Michael Teal (MT)
BW: 737 MAX has met firm design concept. Honeywell will provide an electronic bleed air system. Flight deck will have large displays from Rockwell Collins. MAX production will have future growth capability.
MT: We have in place a plan to preserve training commonality with large flight deck displays. We engage with regulators for training regulations and feel this will not be an issue.
Development team made significant progress to have aerodynamic design. We removed nose gear door bump from earlier iterations. We can get longer gear within the wheel well. LEAP 1B reached architectural freeze in September, freezing fan size and core size. Final design freeze will be in April 2013.
With the completion of firm concept, the completion of production design can move forward.
BW: It is important we maintain stability in our production plan. The 737 MAX transition allows us to maintain stability with NG rate increases and into the MAX.
BW: Third production line begins in 2015 with construction of first flight test aircraft. Eventually will use the third line for future rate increases beyond the planned 42 a month.
MT: Will only offer radial tires on nose gear, nose gear retracts further into the wheel well.
MT: 13% fuel reduction is a per-seat off the 737NG from today’s most efficient NG (19% better than original 1997 NG.) MAX will continue with the same maintenance cost as today’s NG.
MT: Goal is to have the same field performance as NG.
BW: 737-7 MAX: Many of our customers select a primary model but have substitution rights into other model. We see the -7 as being part of a family of aircraft where airlines can use -7 on thinner routes. It also serves missions in high-hot regions, such as in Tibetan plateau. We see the -7 serving these critical missions. I would no say “no question” that we will build it, but customers have asked about it and it is in our family today.
MT: Flight test plans for -8 will have four test planes. Expect to have two flight test airplanes for the -9 and -7.
BW: Part of the reason for more flight test airplanes is to proceed as fast as possible.
MT: Can’t give you at this time an exact count of the amount of change of MAX vs NG. This is part of the design process between now and the middle of next year.
MT: This airplane is an amended type certification, do not see re-certification.
[Editor: UBS Securities issued a new research note even as the teleconference was proceeding, with this comment:
[Systems changes represent onset of scope creep: This morning BA announced that it had achieved “Firm Concept” on 737 MAX including new bleed air system from HON, new tail cone, new winglets, and surprise move to upgrade 737 NG displays from HON with 787 large format displays from COL. BA’s move to incorporate updated systems beyond the engine represents a departure from its stated strategy of minimal design changes on 737 MAX.
[When MAX was announced, former CEO of BCA Jim Albaugh said he wanted minimal changes. The MAX has, for some time, appeared to be undergoing design creep, hence the questions about commonality and re-certification.]
BW: Right now we are saying 2017 EIS, [Southwest Airlines previously told us 4Q17, Jim Albaugh hoped to advance this schedule); as we move forward we will get more definitive about the schedule.
Update: 8:00am PDT June 27: The Seattle Times has a detailed story, including indications why Albaugh chose to retire.
In shocking news, Boeing announced that Jim Albaugh is stepping down as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and retiring Oct. 1.
Albaugh is just 62. He had been a candidate for CEO of The Boeing Co. when Harry Stonecipher was fired, a job that went to Jim McNerney. McNerney later tapped Albaugh, who was CEO of what was then known as Boeing Integrated Defense Services, to head Boeing Commercial Airplanes when BCA CEO Scott Carson was largely forced out following yet another delay in the 787 program.
Conner was widely assumed to be one of two candidates–Pat Shanahan was the other–to succeed Albaugh, who was assumed to be the CEO of BCA until retirement at age 65–three years from now.
Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, today commented on the delamination issues on the 787 and the effect on deliveries and production going forward. He spoke at a JP Morgan conference. there are several stories that can be found on Google News, but here’s a link to a Reuters piece that neatly sums things up. Here is a link to Aspire Aviation’s synopsis.
Among other things, Albaugh said Boeing should deliver 70-85 787s and 747-8s, roughly evenly split between the two, or about 35-42 of each airplane. Jon Ostrower also Tweeted that the plan is to deliver the last re-worked 787 in 2014. Some may recall that Boeing’s Scott Fancher, at the time the head of the 787 program (now heading up 777), once said it would take “years” to complete the rework on the plethora of 787s lined up at Everett’s Paine Field. Ostrower also Tweeted, quoting Albaugh, as saying the first “clean” 787 will be line #66 (it had been forecast to be #63).
The other key point is about the delamination. While this has gotten a lot of high-profile attention, particularly in the context of the overall 787 program difficulties, independent sources we checked with tell us that while this is another annoying and embarrassing event for Boeing, the fix in relatively simple and the problem not particularly consequential. Boeing, of course, has said as much but skeptics continue to question Boeing’s credibility due to the history of the program often turning out to be worse than Boeing’s statements. Case-in-point is Boeing’s continued insistence that it will meet the goal of producing 10 787s per month by the end of next year and the disbelief expressed by every aerospace analyst and consultant we’ve seen. (Granted, there may be some who accept the goal as doable, but we’ve not seen them.)
Separately, an interesting public dispute between Air India, a 787 customer, and Boeing emerged. Air India says Boeing agreed to pay $500m for delays of 27 787s. Albaugh says that’s news to him. We ask, what precisely did Air India say? The news reports are too ambiguous. Did Air India say cash compensation or that Boeing is paying $500m in compensation, which, of course, could take many forms such as discounts, services, parts, etc? This would make Albaugh’s statement that no check is being written correct. So it goes….
In our previous post, we gave readers a choice of the most momentous event for 2011 for Airbus and Boeing; and who was the most influential person for the year and what would be the predictive momentous event for 2012.
We agree with three of the four readers’ choice but disagree for the momentous vote for Boeing. We think it was the IAM-Boeing contract agreed to nearly a year ahead of the amendable date of September 2012. This agreement extended a new contract for four years and is heralding a new era of cooperation between the union and the company.
Here’s why we think this agreement beats out the 787, the readers’ choice, as Boeing’s most momentous event in 2011.