Boeing’s struggles continued this week on three fronts as the soap opera continues. The news this week for Boeing was mixed. The company asked the State of Washington to rescind certain tax breaks for aviation companies, thereby moving Boeing into compliance with WTO guidelines to attempt to eliminate potential tariffs from the EU prior to the settlement of a WTO case. While the change is cosmetic, at best, it will likely enable Boeing to further delay WTO actions against it, as the organization is terribly slow.
Boeing also discovered foreign objects in the fuel tanks of some of the already completed 737s that are sitting idle and will need to inspect and correct every aircraft that was built. This will be a time consuming and costly exercise and indicates the lack of control Boeing has over its quality process. There have also been whistleblower comments about foreign objects in 787 aircraft in South Carolina, and Qatar Airways will only accept 787s built in the Everett factory.
If it were not for the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, the slow delivery process for the A320neo family would be the headline for the industry. Last month, the company delivered 18 A320neos and only 6 A321neos, with only 31 deliveries in total across all aircraft families. Orders continue to be strong at Airbus, which has fallen behind on deliveries to multiple major airlines.
It now appears that Delta will receive only one A321neo in 2020, versus a planned 16. Deliveries to American, JetBlue, and other international carriers are delayed, as Airbus has been unable to ramp-up production rapidly enough due to complications with assembling their Airbus Cabin Flex (ACF) interiors that have multiple variations. The company is converting the A380 facility in Toulouse to be an A321 assembly line, in an effort to increase capacity in the near term.
Airbus plans to ramp A320neo family production, currently scheduled for 63 per month in 2021, then another 2 in 2022 and another 2 in 2023 to reach 67 per month. The company plans to deliver 880 commercial aircraft in 2020, up 2% over the 863 from last year.
AirInsight is the boutique aerospace media and analysis team and part of AirInsight Group LLC.
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