787 Rate Hike: Boeing CEO Jim McNerney acknowledged the company is considering a production rate hike for the 787. Readers here know we’ve been saying for months this is necessary for the 787-10 and to open up delivery slots for customers for the other sub-types.
A350 fly-by at PAS? Will the Airbus A350 make an appearance at the Paris Air Show after all? Is the Pope Catholic? Speculation is rampant that it will happen.
Embraer wins order for E-Jet: Embraer picked up an order for 40 E-175s from SkyWest Airlines, for operation on behalf of United Airlines.
United Airlines is the latest carrier to return the Boeing 787 to service today, on a route from Houston to Chicago. UAL CEO Jeff Smisek is joined by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on the flight.
Meantime, the Wall Street Journal rained on the parade a bit with an article detailing other issues facing the 787. (Via Google News, but subscription may be required.)
Japan Air Lines, ANA and LAN expect to have the airplane back in service in June, according to reports.
Deliveries of new 787s resumed this month. All this will soon return momentum to Boeing, with formal launch of the 787-10 now anticipated by observes to likely come at the Paris Air Show. Launch will come with orders–widely believed to be from British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Air Lease Corp, and possibly others. If this happens, these will go a long way to restoring the brand damage caused by the ground of nearly 3 1/2 months.
Implications include a boost in the production rate of the 787 to as much as 14 a month. Although this may or may not be announced concurrent with the 787-10 launch, the boost is, in our view, a must. While Boeing expects some 787-9 customers to swap to the 10, reality demands that production increase beyond the 10/mo that will be achieved by the end of this year.
Boeing needs new capacity for the 10 and to open slots for customers who want the 8 and the 9. The line is essentially sold out to 2019-2020 as it is.
EIS for the 10 is planned for 2018, giving the supply chain plenty of time to ramp up.
Fourteen a month–seven in Everett and seven in Charleston–is an unprecedented rate for a wide-body airplane. Airbus is producing the A330 at 10-11 a month and plans to push out the A350 at 10/mo, though at one time there had been talk of a target of 13. The company is already considering a second production line to accommodate demand for the A350-1000. Like the 787, the A350 is essentially sold out to 2019/2020.
About those change fees: Last week we reported from the US Airways Media Day and among the topics was that of change fees. US Airways matched United Airlines to charge $200 if you change your ticket. Here’s an article about how to deal with these fees.
Here’s another article about change fees, and how they’ve soared in recent times. If you think fees in the US are bad, look at the table and note in particular Ryanair’s fees–this carrier is notorious for charge for everything, and at steep prices, something subject to this funny video:
Why are fees becoming so prevalent? Because this is where airlines are largely making their profits. US Airways said last week it expects to earn $600m from fees this year. This is more than its entire profit from 2012. This means airline operations lose money and profits come from the fees.
Also on US Airways: we also reported last week about some outstanding labor issues between the IAM at US Air and the TWU and American Airlines. An agreement over the weekend was reached about merging these two workforces under one union banner, according to Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News.
Ex-Members Rap FAA, NTSB: We bet they won’t be invited to a reunion. James Hall and John Goglia, former members of the National Transportation Safety Board, had harsh words to say about the FAA, Boeing and the NTSB over the certification of the Boeing 787 and the subsequent fix. Hall said the FAA needed to recertify the airplane, not just the battery.
Ethiopian Airlines resumed service with the 787 over the weekend, while Japan’s ANA engaged in a proving flight. This Wall Street Journal article (via Google News, so everyone should be able to read it) references additional measures required by Japan.
There’s a lot of news happening today and tomorrow.
NTSB Hearing: The NTSB hearing on the Japan Air Lines Boeing 787 battery fire is today and tomorrow. This can be followed live (and later archived) here.
Boeing Earnings Call: This is Wednesday, April 24. This can be followed here. Expect a fair amount of discussion about the impact of the 787 battery issues on earnings. Ordinarily we’d have our usual live running coverage but instead we will be at the…
US Airways Media Day: This airline has an annual media day and it was scheduled for today a long time ago. We’ve been a regular at this, and due to the pending American Airlines merger, apparently there is going to be big press demand: they had to move the venue from headquarters to a hotel location in Scottsdale. We’ll have several updates throughout the day.
787 Update: LOT Polish Airlines expects to return its two 787s to service in June; Ethiopian this month; the Japanese airlines could return the airplane to service this month but ANA plans up to 200 test flights first, so this will slip to May and perhaps June. It’s unclear when Japan Air Lines plans a return-to-service (RTS). Qatar Airways wants to RTS this month. United Air Lines appears planning next month.
We were on a United Airlines flight recently–a Boeing 737-900ER, so it was legacy Continental Airlines. It was equipped with the Boeing Sky Interior, and this was the first time we’d seen the interior outside of a mock-up. It was as nice as we’ve often said.
On board was a mother and her lap-child (which is a bad idea, but that’s another topic). We are always fascinated to watch a newborn-to-about-two years old discover the world. This little tyke was taking in the Sky Interior and the blue mood lighting and thought it was pretty cool. So did we.
The Captain, as one often does, announced we would be descending shortly and we would be arriving at the C Concourse, “C as in Continental.” It was obvious which legacy airline making up today’s United he was from.
On approach to O’Hare, we wound up doing a full go-around. By this we mean engine throttles way up, nose attitude way up and a sharp left hand turn. First time in all the decades of flying we’ve had one of these. Speaks well of air safety. All the pilot said was he was directed to do so by the controller because there was an airplane in front of us.
On the next leg, we were on a Bombardier CRJ-200, or what we call a Tinker Toy airplane. Before push back, the pilot asked for two volunteers to move from the front to the back for weight-and-balance. Seems the airplane is designed for a full load and 2,500 lbs of cargo and we only had 1,500 lbs, so two people needed to move to the back to offset the thousand pounds. Several comments to those two passengers about their weight as they moved down the aisle.