737 Max Updates and Cancellations


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Who cares how Southwest  feels.  They got what they demanded,  they get what they deserve. 

14,000 Words Of "Blame The Pilots" That Whitewash Boeing Of 737 MAX Failure The New York Times Magazine just published a 14,000 words piece about the Boeing 737 MAX accidents. It is headlined:

On a humourous note, maybe Boeing just wants to be more.....'environmentally friendly'???  

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Testimony – Statement of Stephen M. Dickson

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June 17, 2020

Statement of Stephen M. Dickson, Administrator

Excerpt from the statement:

Quote

Moving Forward

Beyond the 737 MAX, the FAA is committed to addressing issues regarding aircraft certification processes and aviation safety generally, not only in the United States, but internationally as well. Over the years, the FAA has exercised a leadership role in the promotion and development of global aviation safety. We have helped raise the bar on safety standards and practices worldwide working with the ICAO and other civil aviation authorities. We have an opportunity to do even more. We are committed to expanding our efforts with other authorities around the world and to fostering safety standards and policies at ICAO to help meet the public’s expectations of the highest possible levels of safety globally, even in areas the FAA does not regulate directly. Without safety as a foundation, we cannot have a vibrant aviation industry in any country, much less between countries. Our international air transportation network is a tightly woven fabric that is dependent on all of us making safety our core value. To that end, at the 40th Session of the ICAO Assembly the U.S. presented a working paper, Pilot Training Improvements to Address Automation Dependency, with several of our international partners. The paper was accepted and in May of this year we were able to get it included in an ICAO proposal on the establishment of a Personnel Training and Licensing Panel which will be considered in July.

In our continuing efforts to raise the bar for aviation safety across the globe, it will be important for the FAA and our international partners to foster improvements in standards and approaches not just for how aircraft are designed and produced, but also how they are maintained and operated. We at the FAA are prepared to take the lead in this new phase of system safety.  As noted in our Action Plan responding to the recommendations of the Special Committee our actions will address specific areas of focus including, safety management systems, system safety, globalization, data, internal coordination between certification and flight standards teams, personnel, delegation, amended type certificates, innovation, and existing recommendations. Our strategy to implement these action items will coalesce around several major themes discussed briefly below.

link to the complete testimony: https://www.faa.gov/news/testimony/news_story.cfm?newsId=25056&omniRss=testimonyAoc&cid=105_Testimony

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Similar to related "behavioural / standards / ethics and most important, morality issues", with which many here and around the global village are concerned, the issues raised are also familiar and the testimony is not "news". Chuck Perrow was a pioneer in the eighties, opening up the discussion about "normal" accidents - well worth reading even now years after his passing.

To me and I believe many, if we pull hard and long enough on the thread, many issues seemingly unrelated would unravel together. That means there is also a common solution, but the fortitude to "abandon all irrationality in favour of curiosity, thought and temperance" has yet to clear the majority's nostrels.

The way forward is not as obscure as we think but it requires 'giving' rather than taking or demanding. The strength is hard to muster, to look the other way with an imperceptable shrug - not of resignation but of the will to respect the larger "fight" and understand that in nature there is no concept such as "winning". Not always, but these days such grace is infrequent, no, it's rare. In my tiny slice of experience, "positional bargaining" never succeeds in the long run nor does yielding to the temptation to instantaneously defend one's 'self' regardless of sources, without discretion as to the subtleties of which most are capable and in which the Venn Diagram can be used to show commonalities, as in, "If we were to confess our deepest fears, insecurities and foibles to one another, we should all enjoy general laughter at the lack of originality".

Sorry for the drift.

Don

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Looks like it might take more time...

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/foreign-regulators-demand-substantial-new-changes-to-boeing-737-max-flight-controls/

Foreign regulators demand substantial new changes to Boeing 737 MAX flight controls

June 24, 2020 at 6:43 pm Updated June 24, 2020 at 7:14 pm
 

Aviation safety regulators in Europe and Canada have demanded design changes to the flight control systems on Boeing’s 737 MAX that go beyond fixing the flawed system that ultimately brought down the aircraft in two fatal crashes.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has told Boeing it must come up with design upgrades to satisfy these concerns.

Yet all three regulators have agreed Boeing will be required to make these additional design changes and retrofit the worldwide fleet only after the MAX returns to service.

The required changes to the flight control systems highlight weaknesses in the 737’s inherited avionics systems. The fixes could add substantial cost to the MAX program and might slow the ramp-up of deliveries Boeing needs to recover its cash flow.

Boeing has already developed a fix for the new MAX flight control system that was the main cause of the two crashes: the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Janet Northcote, head of communications at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), said while MCAS “absolutely needs to be fixed for the plane to be recertified as airworthy … there are other issues in some way related to the sensor problem” that triggered MCAS and these also require correction.

“By themselves, these would not create a safety critical issue,” Northcote said. “It’s when they come together with something critical at the same time that it’s a major issue.”

All three regulators will allow the MAX back into service without the additional fixes in place, officials said in interviews this week.

Boeing has proposed that when the MAX initially starts flying again, it will be enough to make changes to the flight manual and pilot training, so crews are aware of the potential problems and know how to respond. EASA believes this “provides adequate mitigation in the short term.”

“However, further down the road, we think design enhancements are needed,” said Northcote.

Boeing has made some proposals for permanent fixes that the regulators are currently reviewing.

Tight schedule for MAX retrofits

The push by the Europeans marks a new assertiveness by foreign regulators. After two crashes that killed 346 people and the consequent close scrutiny that uncovered new problems with the MAX one after another, they aren’t prepared to just follow the FAA.

EASA has identified three issues that will require substantial redesign. Transport Canada has focused on one.

The FAA declined to comment on its ongoing review of the proposed design changes. However, a person familiar with the FAA’s deliberations said the U.S. agency will require Boeing to come up with a fix for all three of the issues raised.

Two sources familiar with the discussions said regulators want the permanent design changes done on a relatively tight timetable. “We are looking for this to be implemented at the latest by the time of the certification of the 737 MAX 10,” said one. The second source verified this as the target.

The first MAX 10, the final and largest model in the MAX jet family, rolled out last November and its delayed first flight is expected later this year, which would typically imply certification late in 2021.

If the system design changes are required to be on the MAX 10 from the moment it enters service, that might further delay the schedule for the MAX 10.

Once the changes are finalized and approved, they “would then be retrofitted to the MAX in-service fleet as soon as practicable,” Northcote said.

 

She added that EASA, the FAA and Boeing haven’t made a final determination on a schedule for implementing the design changes and that it’s possible the logistical problems posed by COVID-19 could extend it.

Boeing declined to address details of its proposed design changes, but in a statement said the company is “committed to addressing all of the regulators’ questions and meeting all certification and regulatory requirements. “

Angle of Attack sensor problems

EASA’s biggest concern is with Boeing’s proposed solution to the Angle of Attack problem that initiated the two 737 MAX crashes.

In both crashes, MCAS was triggered by a single faulty Angle of Attack signal. Boeing’s redesign of MCAS uses both Angle of Attack sensors on the MAX during any given flight instead of only one. MCAS won’t operate unless both sensors agree.

However, while this fixes MCAS, the Angle of Attack sensors feed into multiple other systems. EASA’s concern is that if the two sensors disagree, the flight control computers have no way of telling which is the correct reading.

The Europeans doubt having two sensors is good enough to make the system sufficiently robust.

Northcote said EASA considers the system used by Airbus, which has three Angle of Attack sensors on the rival A320 jet, a good design. The agency wants Boeing to develop a new system “that in some way matches that, but doesn’t necessarily have to be a third sensor.”

The alternative to a third physical sensor is what’s called a “synthetic” sensor, a system that provides an additional, indirect AOA calculation using a variety of different sensors and inputs.

Boeing’s latest all-new jet, the 787 Dreamliner, for example, has a system called Synthetic Airspeed that takes input from the Angle of Attack sensors and various data points that indicate the plane’s attitude in the air. This system serves to cross-check the signals from the other sensors and enables the flight control computer to identify a false data signal

In the original development of the MAX — as documented in an ethics complaint by Boeing engineer Curtis Ewbank and in controversial emails by Chief Technical Pilot on the MAX, Mark Forkner — Boeing rejected the addition of Synthetic Airspeed to avoid the need for simulator training for MAX pilots.

To add a synthetic system to the MAX now would be costly. All its interactions with existing systems would have to be tested and certified, and Boeing will have to convince regulators the information it produces is as reliable or better than a physical sensor.

According to the person familiar with the FAA’s deliberations — who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the ongoing discussions between the regulators — EASA’s demand for the equivalent of a three-sensor system arises from a fundamentally different design philosophy between Airbus and Boeing.

Airbus jets are all designed so that when a pilot adjusts the controls, that action is sent via the computer to move the airplane’s control surfaces on the wings and tail. This requires multiple layers of redundancy to make sure no glitch in the software produces a faulty signal.

In contrast, on Boeing jets the main control surfaces are directly connected to the pilot controls by cables, giving the pilot a physical tactile connection that offers a sense of what the plane is doing that’s absent on an Airbus jet.

“For Airbus and EASA, three Angle of Attack sensors is just what you do,” said the person. “For Boeing and the FAA, it’s not necessary, because in addition to the two Angle of Attack sensors, you have that physical connection with the aircraft.”

Still, the FAA has told Boeing it must address EASA’s concern.

After the two MAX crashes, Boeing’s longstanding reliance on pilot capabilities as the ultimate assurance of safety has been brought into question, especially in modern cockpits that are largely automated and computer-controlled.

Confusing cockpit warnings

The second issue for which EASA is demanding a design change stems from investigations that have established the pilots on both crash flights were confused by a cacophony of warning alerts going off simultaneously.

On the MAX, multiple warning lights on the instrument panel and computer-generated aural alerts can be triggered by a single bad sensor.

It’s unclear what Boeing will propose to address that, but it has to come up with something to satisfy EASA.

The third issue that needs a design fix is one that has particularly bothered Transport Canada: a “stick shaker” stall warning that cannot be turned off even when clearly erroneous.

This is the alert system on the MAX that makes the control column vibrate forcefully in the hands of the pilot if the plane is pitched too high and is slowing toward a stall — meaning the plane is about to lose lift under the wings and will begin to drop.

In both MAX crash flights, the stick shaker was triggered erroneously by a faulty Angle of Attack signal.

On Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed in March 2019, killing 157 people, the stick shaker vibrated throughout the six-minute flight, indicating the plane was going too slow and close to a stall, while simultaneously a loud clacker was sounding in the cockpit — warning the pilots they were going too fast.

To avoid such severe distraction and confusion, Transport Canada wants Boeing — before the MAX’s return to service — to include in the flight manual instructions for how to pull circuit breakers to stop the stick shaker.

The circuit breakers are in an overhead panel in the 737 cockpit. Transport Canada said it will require Boeing to add “collars” to the stick shaker circuit breakers to distinguish them from others in the vicinity so they can be quickly identified in an emergency.

According to two people with knowledge of the FAA’s view of this, the U.S. agency doesn’t favor pilots having to reach up to pull circuit breakers in an emergency.

“Typically, pulling circuit breakers is not something we’d encourage. Those are supposed to be for maintenance, not for operating the airplane,” said an FAA safety engineer, who spoke without authorization and cannot be identified. “It’s a short-term solution,” he added.

Annie Joannette, a spokesperson for Transport Canada said Boeing is working on an alternative fix.

“Boeing has been discussing the possibility of a post-return-to-service modification that would allow the stick shaker to be deactivated by means other than pulling the circuit breaker,” she said. “If this modification was made available, then the circuit breaker pull procedure in the approved Aircraft Flight Manual would be an interim measure.”

It’s unclear if that interim option for pulling the circuit breakers will be included in all MAX flight manuals or only in those for Canadian pilots.

Seeking regulator harmony

Existing U.S. certification requirements don’t mandate the enhancements EASA and Transport Canada are requiring.

The FAA’s stance in agreeing that Boeing must nevertheless address the three specific issues raised is aimed at achieving harmony among the main aviation regulators, which at earlier points in the discussions over the MAX crashes have been unusually at odds.

Concerned at how the glaring flaws in the original MCAS design slipped through the MAX’s initial certification, the Europeans and Canadians have insisted on conducting their own independent safety assessments of the MAX recertification rather than automatically following the FAA lead.

Yet addressing the issues raised by EASA is not a point of contention.

“There’s no dispute. EASA and the FAA will each require it,” said the person familiar with the FAA’s deliberations. “Boeing has to come up with a path to address the concerns.”

As a result, U.S. sources now expect the Europeans will clear the MAX to fly passengers again within a week or so of the FAA doing so.

The next important milestone on the way to the MAX’s return to service is required certification flights, when pilots for the FAA and other regulators conduct flights to thoroughly test the new upgraded software that fixes MCAS.

Because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19, travelers from European Union countries cannot currently enter the United States, and Northcote said this has so far prevented EASA from scheduling its MAX recertification flights.

However, sources within Boeing and the FAA say the FAA’s recertification test flights, which will take about three days of flying, could begin as early as next Monday.

If that happens, the MAX will be on track to win FAA clearance around mid-September. That would be the signal for pilot training to begin, so U.S. airlines could be flying the MAX again before year end.

The design changes demanded by the foreign regulators will then be Boeing’s next challenge.

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Once it's back flying, every RTO or Go Around or even ill passenger diversion incident on a 737 MAX will be sensationalized or blown out of proportion.  Every incident will be prefaced on every news story by the anchor starting out with "Another incident for the troubled 737 MAX today........".  

The financial outlook for that model is dismal and one more 737 MAX crash anywhere for which the cause is not understood almost immediately or clearly evident will be the end of it and maybe even Boeing as we know it.

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Boeing 737 MAX flight certification tests scheduled to begin Monday: sources

By Eric M. Johnson and David Shepardson Reuters
Posted June 28, 2020 10:45 am
 Updated June 28, 2020 11:00 am

Pilots and test crew members from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Co are slated to begin a three-day certification test campaign for the 737 MAX on Monday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The test is a pivotal moment in Boeing’s worst-ever corporate crisis, long since compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic that has slashed air travel and jet demand.

The grounding of the fast-selling 737 MAX in March 2019 after crashes killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia triggered lawsuits, investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice and cut off a key source of Boeing’s cash.

After a preflight briefing over several hours, the crew will board a 737 MAX 7 outfitted with test equipment at Boeing Field near Seattle, one of the people said.

The crew will run methodically scripted mid-air scenarios such as steep-banking turns, progressing to more extreme maneuvers on a route primarily over Washington state. The plan over at least three days could include touch-and-go landings at the eastern Washington airport in Moses Lake, and a path over the Pacific Ocean coastline, adjusting the flight plan and timing as needed for weather and other factors, one of the people said.

Pilots will also intentionally trigger the reprogrammed stall-prevention software known as MCAS faulted in both crashes, and aerodynamic stall conditions, the people said.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.

The rigors of the test campaign go beyond previous Boeing test flights, completed in a matter of hours on a single day, industry sources say.

The tests are meant to ensure new protections Boeing added to MCAS are robust enough to prevent the scenario pilots encountered before both crashes, when they were unable to counteract MCAS and grappled with “stick shaker” column vibrations and other warnings, one of the people said.

Boeing’s preparation has included hundreds of hours inside a 737 MAX flight simulator at its Longacres facility in Renton, Washington, and hundreds of hours in the air on the same 737 MAX 7 test airplane without FAA officials on board.

At least one of those practice flights included the same testing parameters expected on Monday, one of the people said.

After the flights, FAA officials in Washington and the Seattle-area will analyze reams of digital and paperwork flight test data to assess the jet’s airworthiness.

Likely weeks later, after the data is analyzed and training protocols are firmed up, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, a former F-15 fighter pilot who has promised the 737 MAX will not be approved until he has personally signed off on it, will board the same plane to make his assessments, two of the people said.

If all goes well, the FAA would then need to approve new pilot training procedures, among other reviews, and would not likely approve the plane’s ungrounding until September, the people said.

 

That means the jet is on a path to resume U.S. service before year-end, though the process has been plagued by delays for more than a year.

“Based on how many problems have been uncovered, I would be stunned if the flight tests are ‘one and done,'” said another person with knowledge of the flight plans.

“(The FAA will) make sure they find enough stuff wrong to demonstrate they are putting this jet through its paces. The last thing the FAA or Boeing wants is for the Administrator to do his own flight and say ‘it’s not ready.’ Boeing wants Dickson’s flight to be a coronation.”

 

Regulators in Europe and Canada, while working closely with the FAA, will also conduct their own assessments and have pinpointed concerns that go beyond the FAA. They may require additional changes after the 737 MAX is cleared to return to service.

“This is new territory,” said one industry source with knowledge of prior Boeing tests. “There’s a lot more play between regulators, and certainly a lot more pressure and public attention.”

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I hope for the sake of the industry and all involved who make their living in commercial aviation, that these tests are successful and that the B737M returns to service so the industry can start the long path to stabilization and some description of "recovery".

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EASA wants it’s 3rd AOA indicator on the MAX for recertification (either synthetic or mechanical). The MAX May get signed off in the USA but it may be a lot longer for other jurisdictions.

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31 minutes ago, Don Hudson said:

I hope for the sake of the industry and all involved who make their living in commercial aviation, that these tests are successful and that the B737M returns to service so the industry can start the long path to stabilization and some description of "recovery".

Don: let's hope that the fate of the industry is not dependent upon the success or failure of the MAX.  Fingers crossed.

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FAA Home  News  News & Updates

FAA Updates on Boeing 737 MAX

FAA Updates on Boeing 737 MAX6/29/2020

FAA Statement

The FAA and Boeing are conducting a series of certification flights this week to evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX. The aircraft departed from Boeing Field in Seattle at 9:55 a.m. Pacific Time today for the first round of testing. The flight is expected to take several hours.

The certification flights are expected to take approximately three days. They will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards. The tests are being conducted by test pilots and engineers from the FAA and Boeing.

While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain. The FAA is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.

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Another update

FAA begins re-certification flights on Boeing 737 MAX

June 29, 2020 at 11:26 am Updated June 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm
 
A Boeing 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of the MAX family of single-aisle airplanes, takes off from the Renton Airport on March 16, 2018.  A MAX 7 took off Monday on the first FAA re-certification flight to test Boeing’s proposed upgrade to the MCAS flight control system. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, file) A Boeing 737 MAX 7, the smallest member of the MAX family of single-aisle airplanes, takes off from the Renton Airport on March 16, 2018. A MAX 7 took off Monday on the first FAA re-certification flight to test Boeing’s proposed upgrade to the MCAS flight control system. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times, file)
 
Dominic Gates 
By 
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

A few minutes before 10 a.m. Monday, a Boeing 737 MAX took off from Boeing Field with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot at the controls, the start of three days of re-certification test flights that mark a major step toward returning the aircraft to passenger service.

Though substantial additional work to gain FAA approval remains once these flights are completed, clearance for the MAX to return to service in the U.S. — assuming no further unexpected holdups — could come around mid-September.

The plane flew east and landed one hour and 20 minutes later at Moses Lake. It is due to return to Boeing Field early in the afternoon.

The test flights over the next three days will evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the MAX.

This is the software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that activated erroneously on two flights that crashed, killing 346 people. Since the second accident in March 2019, the jet has been grounded worldwide.

Under intense scrutiny by both the FAA and foreign regulators, Boeing has over the past year made multiple changes to its plans for updating the airplane’s systems. The start of these re-certification flights indicates that Boeing has finalized its changes and turned them in to the FAA.

In a letter to Congress this weekend, the FAA said that “over the past several weeks” it has been reviewing Boeing’s system safety assessment and has now completed that review.

The test flights will enable the FAA to evaluate the finalized upgrade to MCAS as its pilots perform a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards.

Aboard the jet are test pilots and engineers from the FAA and Boeing.

Once these series of flights are completed this week, the FAA will have to spend weeks going over the generated data to ensure the aircraft performs as expected.

“While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain,” the FAA said in a statement, adding that it is “following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work.”

“We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” the statement concluded. Sometime after the FAA test pilots have done their job and the data from their flights has been reviewed, FAA chief Stephen Dickson, a former captain at Delta, has said he will fly the aircraft himself before he signs off on the approval for the MAX to resume passenger service again.

However, in parallel to the work of reviewing the flight test data, the FAA must also complete a review of the changes to the flight manual proposed by Boeing and the minimum training that will be required before any pilot can fly the jet.

This work is done by the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and will also be assessed by international aviation regulators from Europe, Canada and Brazil.

 

Together, they will form a panel of line pilots from around the world — the Joint Operations Evaluation Board — who will go through the flight simulator training to ensure it’s effective.

The FSB will then issue a draft report open for public comment before issuing a final report mandating what all airlines must provide in terms of flight manuals and pilot training.

Boeing’s final documentation on its fix for MCAS and other system changes will also be assessed separately by an independent panel, the Technical Advisory Board (TAB), which includes experts from nine civil aviation authorities worldwide as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the FAA.

 

The TAB must issue a final report prior to the FAA decision on clearing the MAX to fly.

FAA clearance will give U.S. airlines approval to fly the jet. Foreign regulators will have to separately clear the MAX to fly in their jurisdictions.

It is expected that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Transport Canada will give their approval soon after the FAA.

Those agencies have demanded additional, less urgent changes to the MAX flight controls that Boeing will have to implement — although these changes will be required only after the jet is back in service.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @dominicgates.

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.

Shouldn't they wait until the aircraft have received the modifications?

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19 minutes ago, Fido said:

Shouldn't they wait until the aircraft have received the modifications?

According to what I have read, they are prepared to allow those to happen after the aircraft is back in service.  Not abnormal as this has been the case in the past when deficiencies have been found in commercial aircraft. 

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Norwegian Air cancels 97 Boeing planes, claims compensation

PUBLISHED MON, JUN 29 20206:20 PM EDT
Reuters
 
 
 
 
KEY POINTS
  • Norwegian Air has canceled orders for 97 Boeing aircraft and will claim compensation from the U.S. plane-maker for the groundings of the 737 Max and 787 engine troubles that hit its bottom line, the Oslo-based carrier said on Monday.
  • Norwegian’s cancellation included 92 of the 737 Max, five 787 Dreamliners and so-called GoldCare service agreements related to both aircraft types.
 

Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 aircraft with registration LN-DYE as seen with passengers boarding on the airplane for departure at Ålesund Airport, Vigra AES ENAL in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway.

Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 aircraft with registration LN-DYE as seen with passengers boarding on the airplane for departure at Ålesund Airport, Vigra AES ENAL in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway.
Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto via Getty Images

Norwegian Air has canceled orders for 97 Boeing aircraft and will claim compensation from the U.S. plane-maker for the groundings of the 737 Max and 787 engine troubles that hit its bottom line, the Oslo-based carrier said on Monday.

Norwegian’s cancellation included 92 of the 737 Max, five 787 Dreamliners and so-called GoldCare service agreements related to both aircraft types.

 

“Norwegian has in addition filed a legal claim seeking the return of pre-delivery payments related to the aircraft and compensation for the company’s losses related to the grounding of the 737-Max and engine issues on the 787,” it said.

 

The European budget carrier, which revolutionized transatlantic travel by offering cheap fares, was struggling before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the airline industry to its knees.

One of the reasons was the grounding of the 737 Max plane in March 2019 following the second of two fatal crashes that together killed 346 people. Norwegian had 18 Max passenger jets in its 163-aircraft fleet at the time.

Originally a small regional airline in Scandinavia, Norwegian made its breakthrough on the global stage with a multi-year order in 2012 for up to 372 aircraft, of which 222 were from Boeing and 150 from Airbus.

The news comes just as Boeing on Monday began a crucial set of certification flight testing of the Max as the aircraft maker hopes to overcome its greatest crisis.

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U.S. regulator, Boeing complete 737 MAX certification test flights

PUBLISHED WED, JUL 1 20208:40 PM EDT
Reuters
 
 
 
 
KEY POINTS
  • The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing have completed certification test flights on the 737 MAX, a key milestone toward the plane’s return to service, the U.S. regulator said on Wednesday.
  • The MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people.
  • The FAA said it must still evaluate data from the three days of testing and has other tasks to complete.
 

A Boeing 737 MAX airplane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020.

A Boeing 737 MAX airplane lands after a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 29, 2020.
Karen Ducey | Reuters

The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing have completed certification test flights on the 737 MAX, a key milestone toward the plane’s return to service, the U.S. regulator said on Wednesday.

The MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people.

 

The FAA said it must still evaluate data from the three days of testing and has other tasks to complete.

 

“The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work,” the FAA said. “We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”

Boeing declined to comment, saying it would defer to the FAA statement.

106596127-lebeauboeing.jpg?v=1593438980&w=750&h=422
 
 
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Boeing shares move higher on news of 737 Max recertification flights
 

The tests of Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the aircraft are a pivotal moment in the company’s worst-ever corporate crisis. The FAA must complete the data review, approve new pilot training procedures, among other steps, and is unlikely to approve the plane’s ungrounding until mid-September, Reuters reported this week.

If that happens, the jet is on a path to resume U.S. service before year-end, in a process plagued by delays.

 

The crisis has cost Boeing more than $18 billion, slashed production and hobbled its supply chain, with criminal and congressional investigations still ongoing. In December, Boeing fired Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg after scrutiny into the jet’s design and development tarnished its reputation with airlines and regulators.

A Transportation Department inspector general report first reported by Reuters on Tuesday faulted Boeing for not disclosing information to the FAA about a key safety system known as MCAS tied to both fatal crashes.

Boeing agreed to add significant safeguards to MCAS, make other software updates and move wiring bundles that the FAA said posed a safety hazard.

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https://apkmetro.com/next-boeing-737-max-government-test-flight-scheduled-for-coming-days/

The following problem for bringing Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX jets again into service is slated to play out as early as this week, with one other authorities check flight assessing the security of software program fixes.

Known as an operational readiness overview, it’s amongst a sequence of check flights anticipated over the subsequent a number of weeks that includes federal pilots together with airline crews from all over the world, all meant to vet modifications to the fleet’s flight-control system, in line with individuals accustomed to the small print.

Among the many objectives of the upcoming airborne checks and ground-simulator classes is to find out how effectively common airline pilots globally might be in a position to handle emergencies utilizing the revised software program. The approaching check is a beforehand scheduled follow-up to 3 days of formal certification flight assessments carried out by Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration pilots final week.

If all goes effectively, the FAA order that grounded the planes in March of 2019 is predicted to be lifted in September. As soon as pilot-training mandates are finalized and upkeep necessities are accomplished, authorities and trade officers accustomed to the method envision the MAX fleet being approved to hold passengers across the finish of the 12 months.

Timelines for returning the MAX fleet to the air, although, have repeatedly slipped over many months, resulting in widespread predictions that further delays are attainable.

 

Most lately, arranging the logistics and contributors for among the anticipated worldwide check flights has turned out to be extra controversial and time-consuming than initially thought, the officers mentioned. That’s partly as a result of journey restrictions attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, but additionally displays variations amongst nationwide aviation regulators about which pilots ought to take part in sure check flights.

The FAA and Canada’s air-safety regulator proceed to debate the make-up of particular flight crews, with one official briefed on the matter saying the conflicting views have prompted disagreements and friction between the U.S. facet and Transport Canada. Pilots from Brazil and Europe are also anticipated to take part in among the check flights.

Transport Canada didn’t have any quick remark. Boeing declined to touch upon the standing of future flight assessments or any FAA-Canadian discussions, with a spokesman saying, “We proceed to work diligently on safely returning the MAX to service.”

After final week’s flights, the FAA known as them an necessary milestone however reiterated the company is “following a deliberate course of and can take the time it must totally overview Boeing’s work.”

Along with extra check flying, the FAA has mentioned it could take into account suggestions from consultants from different federal businesses earlier than giving the inexperienced gentle to the MAX. FAA chief Steve Dickson and his deputy, Daniel Elwell—each former U.S. Air Power and business pilots—are additionally anticipated to personally check out the software program fixes throughout their very own check flights

Individually, Democratic leaders of the Home Transportation Committee are placing the ending touches on a invoice looking for to revamp the certification course of for brand spanking new plane designs, significantly the best way some firm personnel are designated to hold out oversight duties on behalf of the FAA.

The laws taking form, in line with an individual briefed on the invoice, would require a few of these so-called designees to be paid by the FAA for the time they spend engaged on the company’s behalf.

At the moment these designees are paid completely by their firms, elevating questions on loyalty and features of authority.

The Transportation Division’s inside watchdog launched a report final week highlighting a breakdown in communication between such dual-hatted firm officers and FAA consultants overseeing preliminary improvement and security approval of the MAX.

Two 737 MAX planes went into fatal nosedives lower than 5 months aside, as the identical automated flight-control characteristic known as MCAS misfired and overpowered efforts by pilots to keep away from crashes. The accidents took 346 lives, put the MAX fleet on the bottom and prompted a monetary and reputational disaster for the Chicago airplane maker.

For the reason that crashes, a string of out of doors reviews even have criticized the FAA and Boeing for failing, in the course of the preliminary certification course of, to adequately take into account how rapidly common business pilots would react to an MCAS misfire and ensuing emergency. Historically, Boeing and worldwide air-safety regulators relied on enter from check pilots or different extremely skilled firm pilots to set the benchmark for a way these common pilots had been anticipated to reply. Particularly, trade tips anticipated that pilots would start responding to such emergencies inside 4 seconds.

Prompted by a string of out of doors reviews, each the FAA and Boeing have mentioned publicly that they jettisoned that decades-old design assumption.

Via: WSJ
 
 
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Boeing’s 737 Max is being readied for a comeback. What travelers need to know

Boeing completed test flights of its troubled 737 Max airplane to demonstrate that it can fly safely with new flight control software. The Max was grounded in March 2019 after a pair of fatal crashes — in Indonesia and Ethiopia — that killed 346 people.

New York Times|
 

This past week, Boeing completed test flights of its troubled 737 Max airplane to demonstrate that it can fly safely with new flight control software. The Max was grounded in March 2019 after a pair of fatal crashes — in Indonesia and Ethiopia — that killed 346 people.

Even as the company began testing the planes for recertification, a federal inspector general’s report said that Boeing had kept information from federal regulators about the flawed computer system that brought down the t ..

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Reuters
Boeing settles nearly all Lion Air 737 MAX crash claims: filing
By Eric M. Johnson  1 day ago
Reuters logo

Boeing settles nearly all Lion Air 737 MAX crash claims: filing
By Eric M. Johnson


SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co has reached settlement agreements in more than 90% of the wrongful death claims filed in federal court after the 2018 crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX in Indonesia that killed all 189 people on board, a court filing on Tuesday said.


The fatal crash, followed within five months by another 737 MAX jetliner in Ethiopia, led to the worldwide grounding of the best-selling model and a corporate crisis that has included hundreds of lawsuits alleging the jet was unsafe and separate probes by the Justice Department and U.S. lawmakers.

Boeing has been racing to clear a number of remaining hurdles to win U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly the MAX again commercially, potentially later this year.

In a filing in federal court in Chicago, Boeing said claims relating to 171 of the 189 people on board the crashed jet have been fully or partially settled. That includes 140 of the 150 claims filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The company did not disclose how much it paid victims' families or estates. In 2019, Reuters reported that some Lion Air cases had been settled for at least $1.2 million per claim.

A Boeing spokesman said the company remains committed to resolving the remaining cases.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all those onboard Lion Air Flight 610," the spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said by email.

"We are pleased to have made significant progress in recent months in resolving cases brought by the victims' families on terms that we believe fairly compensate them."

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Richard Pullin)

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AIRLINES

American Airlines tells Boeing: No financing, no 737 Max deliveries

PUBLISHED FRI, JUL 10 202012:08 PM EDTUPDATED 2 HOURS AGO
 
KEY POINTS
  • American Airlines told Boeing it will not take delivery of 17 Boeing 737 Max airplanes unless the carrier can secure financing to pay for the aircraft, people familiar with the discussions told CNBC.
  • The situation means Boeing Capital, which is Boeing’s financing division, will have to find a way to arrange financing for those planes.
  • Boeing Capital could buy the planes and lease them to American, or third-party aircraft leasing companies could finance the planes in question.
 

American Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes sit parked outside of a maintenance hangar at Tulsa International Airport (TUL) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, May 14, 2019.

A file photo of American Airlines Boeing 737 Max planes.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American Airlines executives have told Boeing they will not take delivery of 17 737 Max airplanes unless the carrier can secure financing to pay for the aircraft, people familiar with the discussions told CNBC.

The 17 Max planes are already built, but will not be delivered until the Federal Aviation Administration recertifies the aircraft and removes a grounding order, which is expected to happen later this summer or by early fall.

 

When the FAA grounded the Max in March 2019, it meant Boeing was not allowed to deliver the 17 Max planes it had built for American. During the 15 months since the grounding, the financing for some of the 737 Max planes expired, leaving them unfunded.

The situation means Boeing Capital, which is Boeing’s financing division, will have to find a way to arrange financing for those planes. This could involve Boeing Capital buying the planes and leasing them to American.

Another possible scenario could involve third-party aircraft leasing companies financing the planes in question.

While Boeing will not comment specifically on its discussions with American, or on any other order, the company told CNBC: “Our focus continues to be on working with global regulators on the rigorous process they have put in place to safely return the 737 MAX to commercial service. We are not going to comment on discussions with our customers. It is an unprecedented time for our industry as operators confront a steep drop in traffic. We continue to work closely with our customers to support their operations, while balancing supply and demand with the realities of the market.”

American has already taken delivery of 24 Max planes, and has another 76 ordered with Boeing. The Wall Street Journal previously reported American executives have threatened to cancel some of its Max orders.

 

Those familiar with the talks told CNBC that the possible cancellation of deliveries only involves the 17 Max planes scheduled to be turned over to American this year. Orders for its remaining 59 Max planes have not changed and the airline has no plans to cancel them.

Earlier this summer, as American was burning through more than $50 million a day, CFO Derek Kerr said his airline would not take delivery of new airplanes unless the aircraft were financed with terms similar to those the airline enjoyed before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 737 Max, Boeing’s bestseller, has been grounded worldwide in the wake of two crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing has since made changes to a flight-control system in an effort to get the aircraft recertified and flying again.

— CNBC’s Meghan Reeder contributed to this article.

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  • 2 weeks later...

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/23/key-boeing-supplier-braces-for-significantly-fewer-737-max-deliveries-through-2022.html
Key Boeing supplier braces for significantly fewer 737 Max deliveries through 2022
PUBLISHED THU, JUL 23 20208:51 AM EDTUPDATED 38 MIN AGO
Leslie Josephs
@LESLIEJOSEPHS
KEY POINTS
Spirit Aerosystems spoke with lenders about loosening some of its debt terms, a source tells CNBC.
The company makes fuselages for the 737 Max and told lenders that delivery estimates have dropped.
Regulators haven’t recertified the planes, which have been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes.
Key Boeing supplier Spirit Aerosystems told lenders this week that the aircraft manufacturer expects sharply lower deliveries of 737 Max planes in the coming years than previously expected, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Boeing’s bestselling aircraft has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. The planes’ recertification has been hit by repeated delays and now faces a devastated aircraft market as airlines rethink their fleets while the coronavirus pandemic saps travel demand and their financial losses pile up. The Federal Aviation Administration is moving ahead with its tasks to approve the planes for flight again, but the planes aren’t expected to be cleared to fly before the fall.

Spirit, which makes fuselages for the 737 Max, was talking to lenders to loosen terms of some of its debt, according to the person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Spirit shared a forecast with lenders that showed Boeing 737 deliveries this year of around 70 compared with a previous forecast of a little more than 200, while next year’s deliveries of the narrow-body plane would likely come in at less than half an earlier forecast of 400 planes, according to a Spirit presentation slide that was viewed by CNBC. In 2022, Boeing’s 737 deliveries were projected at fewer than 400 planes, a decline from a previous forecast of almost 500.

Those estimates are also lower than what some analysts are expecting. Jefferies, for example, estimated deliveries of the 737 at 370 in 2021 and 480 in 2022, according to a July 14 report. Deliveries are crucial to aircraft manufacturers and their suppliers because it’s when customers pay the bulk of the planes’ price.

Spirit declined to comment on the talks, saying in a statement to CNBC that it “does not detail conversations that we have on an ongoing basis with our financial institutions or customers.”

Spirit shares were off 1.2% and Boeing was down around 0.7% in Thursday morning trading, while the S&P 500 was down 0.1%.

Boeing makes two different 737 models, the older NG and the top-selling Max. Spirit did not differentiate between models in the forecast it provided to lenders, but the 737 Max is Boeing’s newest and most popular model of the plane, which has been flying since the 1960s. Boeing has a backlog of around 4,000 of the 737 Max planes.

Wichita, Kansas-based Spirit last week said it would extend furloughs for some of its workers for up to 60 days “for those employees currently on temporary layoff due to their working on or supporting the 737 program.”

Boeing spokesman Bradley Akubuiro declined to comment on the delivery forecast. He said the company values its suppliers and is working closely with them “to ensure we all emerge from this situation strong, healthy and prepared for the future. We are being extremely transparent and having frequent conversations with our suppliers.

“In addition to working with our suppliers on issues related to financial health, we are using this downturn to re-focus our energy on safety, quality and a stable production system for the future, both within Boeing and our extended supply chain,” he added.

Boeing is set to report second-quarter results on July 29. Spirit is scheduled to release results on Aug. 4.

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Boeing will cut production and jobs further, and may build 787 only in South Carolina

July 29, 2020 at 6:55 am Updated July 29, 2020 at 8:37 am

Boeing said Wednesday that, due to the collapse in demand for airliners from the COVID-19 pandemic, it will cut widebody jet production rates in Everett and will study the feasibility of closing the 787 Dreamliner assembly line there to consolidate that work in South Carolina.

As the company announced a $2.4 billion loss for the quarter ending in June, Boeing said these moves will force further job losses beyond those previously announced, without specifying how deep the cuts will go.

In April, after the pandemic first locked down air travel, Boeing said it would cut “more than 15%” of jobs at its commercial jet business, principally in its Seattle-area operations, amounting to a 10% cut companywide in a combination of voluntary buyouts and layoffs.

Layoffs already announced will cut 10,500 jobs in Washington state. Wednesday’s announcement means further cuts are likely to be concentrated in Everett.

That’s because air travel demand is particularly low on long-haul international routes flown by the big widebody jets built in Everett, and this sector of the market will likely take much longer to return than domestic air travel.

In a message to employees, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said customers “are delaying jet purchases, slowing deliveries, deferring elective maintenance, retiring older aircraft and reducing spend — all of which affects our business.”

He said Boeing will cut production of its large 777 and new 777X jets to just two jets per month in 2021, one less than previously announced.

He said Boeing will finally end production of its most famous jet, the 747 jumbo, in 2022. In the past month, the pandemic has forced airlines around the world to retire that aircraft early.

And most critically, Boeing will cut 787 Dreamliner production from 10 jets per month now to just six per month next year. Boeing had previously said it would go down to seven per month in 2022.

At that slow rate, Calhoun told employees, Boeing will now study “the feasibility of consolidating production in one location.” That one location can only be South Carolina.

The 787 is built on separate assembly lines in Everett and in North Charleston, S.C. However, the largest model, the 787-10, can only be built in the South Carolina plant, because its fuselage section is too large to fit into the Dreamlifter cargo transport plane that ferries parts to Everett.

So if there is to be just one site for 787 production, Everett will lose out.

The 787 is the Boeing widebody jet most likely to be in demand when international air travel does return. The prospect of losing it, combined with meager 747 and 777 rates, raises the specter of the largest building in the world by volume left largely empty of production. The plant currently employs more than 30,000 workers.

The 787 was launched in 2003 after Washington state provided massive tax breaks to convince Boeing to build it here. The state now faces the prospect of losing that work.

However, if Boeing does consolidate the work in South Carolina, there’ll be no impact on the company’s tax liability in Washington state because those tax incentives are already gone. In March, at Boeing’s request, the state legislature ended the aerospace tax breaks to comply with World Trade Organization rules barring subsidies.

Boeing’s Renton plant where it assembles the 737 MAX will not escape the impact of the pandemic slowdown. Calhoun said once the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clears that jet to return to service in the U.S., expected sometime this fall, Boeing will ramp up production more slowly than previously planned.

The target now is to build 31 MAXs per month by early 2022. Earlier, Boeing had hoped to reach that rate next year.

The $2.4 billion loss in the quarter included more than $1.3 billion in write-downs for production slowdowns, severance payments and temporary closures because of virus outbreaks in Boeing factories. It compared with a loss of $2.94 billion in the same quarter last year, when Boeing took a $5.6 billion charge to cover compensation it owes airlines for the grounding of their MAX jets.

The company reported a loss per share of $4.20. The average forecast of 20 analysts in a FactSet survey was a loss of $2.57 per share.

Revenue fell to $11.81 billion, down from $15.75 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected $12.95 billion, according to FactSet.

In a note to investors, Rob Stallard, an analyst with Vertical Research, said all aspects of Boeing’s financial results were worse than expected.

“We would like to think that this is as bad as it gets for Boeing, but the … rate cuts that have been announced today put further downward pressure on expectations for the out year cashflows,” he wrote. “We continue to think that the plethora of downside risks are not fully reflected in Boeing’s current share price.”

After the market opened, Boeing shares fell about 2.5% in early trading.

Information on the financial results from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @dominicgates.
 
(I would read the "Comments" section as well)
Edited by Don Hudson
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Opinion: A Five-Part Strategy For Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun

Kevin Michaels July 16, 2020
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun
Credit: Boeing
What a difference a year makes. In March 2019, Boeing was on top of the world, boasting an eight-year order backlog and a market capitalization of $240 billion. Today, it is at a structural disadvantage versus Airbus, with its share price diminished as it grapples with the worst crisis of the jetliner era. Some observers are beginning to doubt that it can hold up its end of the airliner production duopoly.

CEO Dave Calhoun is just 21 months from his mandated retirement age, and his honeymoon as a new leader is running out. Will he be a transitional leader, or take risks to reposition the company for long-term success? I believe he can be a transformational leader by pursuing a bold five-part strategy.

(1) Launch a moonshot. Boeing’s product positioning issues are well-known and need to be addressed sooner rather than later despite the COVID-19 crisis. The company’s top priority is, of course, recertification of the 737 MAX. Shortly thereafter, it must launch a white-sheet program to address its competitiveness issue versus the Airbus A321neo. This will boost the morale of Boeing stakeholders—employees, customers, and suppliers—and signal that it wants to move past the 737 MAX disaster, regain industry leadership and invest in promising new digital design and production technologies.

(2) Recalibrate the vertical integration strategy. Boeing went too far in outsourcing on the 787, and now it looks like it is taking on too much insourcing. Some vertical integration initiatives do make sense, including interiors, composite wings and avionics, but several others are marginal. Can Boeing, for example, really create lasting customer value in auxiliary power units through its joint venture with Safran? The timing of this move is ironic given the fact that this could be the last generation of jetliners using APUs. It is on a path to convert variable costs into fixed costs, which does not bode well in a prolonged industry downturn.

Airbus acknowledged this reality by recently abandoning its vertical integration initiative on nacelles for the A320neo and awarding the package to Collins Aerospace. Funds used for misguided vertical integration moves would be better deployed pursuing the next commercial moonshot or, on the military side, a sixth-generation fighter.

(3) Kill the Partnering for Success (PFS) program, one of the company’s biggest mistakes of the last decade. PFS is not only a silly name, it puts its suppliers—responsible for 65-70% of its cost structure—in the untenable position of earning inadequate profit margins, which reduces their ability to invest in the future. This does not mean that Boeing abandons its pressure on suppliers to improve productivity, delivery and quality; nor does it mean that it should not seek to grow aftermarket royalties.

By ending PFS, Boeing could change its supplier payment terms from 90 days to 60 days to inject needed working capital and improve supplier viability in the COVID-19 crisis. It could also revise its draconian termination for convenience clauses and intellectual property ownership demands. Nothing would do more to restore supplier confidence than Boeing burying PFS. The timing is perfect.

(4) Jettison the unrealistic goal of $50 billion in services revenue. It is an arbitrary target, and there is not enough maintenance, repair and overhaul white space for the goal to be tenable, given Boeing’s current services revenue of $18.4 billion. It contributes to supplier mistrust and distracts from the core mission of developing, producing and supporting great aircraft.

Boeing should still pursue services growth, but in a measured manner and in areas where it creates genuine customer value—including parts distribution, training, digital services, military sustainment and modifications. Otherwise, it is destined to make major mistakes—including bad acquisitions or launching unprofitable services—in the pursuit of a quixotic goal.

(5) Continue to restructure the board of directors. Most of the current board members approved decisions that led to Boeing’s decline and pursuit of financial engineering in lieu of long-term competitiveness. The 737 MAX crisis demonstrates that the board was heavy on political influence and light on technical expertise.

Boeing has begun to address some of these shortcomings with the appointment of three new directors since 2019. It would do well to continue the housecleaning to create a credible counterbalance to the CEO and the wisdom to guide it back to jetliner parity. 

This five-part strategy will likely receive blowback from Wall Street. But that is precisely the point. For far too long, Boeing took its eye off the ball to chase share-price inflation. Dave Calhoun has a golden opportunity to reboot and revitalize Boeing in his remaining 21 months and create a legacy as one of its most consequential leaders.

michaels_kevin_sized.jpg?itok=LzOL0u-X
Kevin Michaels

Contributing columnist Kevin Michaels is managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

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Talking to some leasing people this week they think sustaining production of the 737 MAX through the downturn is going to be difficult to impossible and the MAX could come to have a very short production life.

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