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Boeing has an image problem with GoldCare. If you asked most people in the industry what GoldCare is, they would say it is a comprehensive “nose to tail by the hour” MRO solution for the 787 Dreamliner.  They would also likely opine that the program has not been particularly successful, and among the ISTAT community, cite a presentation several years ago by a former Boeing executive that was publicly challenged as falling short of airline requirements.  Combining those events with GoldCare’s introduction at the time the 787 program had major difficulties, one can see how a brand can become highly misunderstood by the marketplace.

Today, GoldCare is much more comprehensive and successful than the common perception.  The program has expanded beyond the 787 to 737NG, 747-400, 777 and 747-8. It will be offerable for the forthcoming 777X and 737 MAX as well. GoldCare also encompasses much more than simply materials… Continue reading

Commercial aerospace is a long run business. The gestation of new programs takes years.   Of late, add a few more years to the newer and vastly more complex aircraft programs.

In studying the following chart, note how Boeing has started to simplify its commercial business.  It may have a number of airplanes in its sales brochures.  But there are three that matter; 777, 787 and of course 737. Continue reading

UnknownBoeing today confirmed an additional 1% fuel-efficiency improvement for the 737 MAX family of aircraft.  This addition brings the total fuel savings from 13% to 14% over the current generation 737NG models.  The additional 1% derives from improved aerodynamics, particularly associated with reducing drag created by vortices between the engine and wing, as well as continuing improvements to the winglets.

“This recent fuel-efficiency gain will widen the performance gap in the single-aisle market” said Keith Leverkuhn, VP and general manager of the 737 MAX program.  He indicated that the program is on schedule, and that CFM will begin ground testing of the LEAP-1B version of the engine for the MAX next year.  The LEAP 1-A version for the Airbus A320neo family is already in ground testing in Ohio.

An interesting aspect of the 737 MAX is that it will be e-Enabled.  “We are enhancing the capability of the 737 MAX… Continue reading

While the continued grounding of the 787 is not a positive for Boeing, our industry sources indicate that the next few weeks will bring several other developments that are quite positive news for Boeing.

1. A major order from Ryanair

Ryanair and Boeing are nearing agreement on an order for 200 additional 737NG aircraft, which should ensure a smooth production transition between NG and Max without gaps.  This order has been in process for some time, but an announcement deferred as Ryanair was in negotiations to acquire AerLingus.  With that transaction thwarted by regulators, we would expect an announcement very soon as business as usual returns.

2. Launch of the 777-X

Industry sources indicate that Boeing’s Board of Directors is expected to provide approval for the authority to offer the new 777-X aircraft to customers at their next meeting.  That would formalize the development schedule, which would likely result in… Continue reading

Note: Plane Talking has this detailed story also about NEO v MAX.

Boeing has been engaged in a campaign for months with the media, analysts and appraisers (and airlines, of course) that the 737 Next Generation is 8% more economical than today’s Airbus A320 and that the new 737-8 MAX will be 7% more economical than the A320neo. While Airbus has dismissed both claims (and so have airlines we’ve talked to), for the first time Airbus has struck back by revealing its own analysis of NEO vs the MAX family.

AirInsight received a briefing from Airbus at the ISTAT European conference in Barcelona, Spain, September 20. During this briefing, Airbus provided its analysis by sub-type, in detail—something Boeing has so far declined to do for its 737NG and 737MAX.

Boeing, in media briefings prior to the Paris Air Show, confined its direct comparison to the 737-800 and the A320. Following the roll-out of its MAX, Boeing provided some general data to illustrate its assertions that the 737 family is more economical than the Airbuses.

The issues are detailed and complex. Before getting into the Airbus briefing, it’s necessary to provide context and background.

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The battle for aircraft engines in the narrow-body market has increased dramatically with the introduction of the PW1000G geared turbofan, which has emerged as a strong competitor to the CFM International LEAP engine that will replace its existing market share leader, the CFM-56.  The LEAP-X prototype shown below illustrates the new technology composite fan blades that improve engine efficiency.

We’ve written several columns on the PW GTF, which we believe has stronger growth potential than the CFM LEAP based on its architecture, and will likely pull away in performance over the next decade.  But currently, both OEMs are promising significant reductions in fuel cost and noise, and in the case of the GTF, reductions in maintenance costs as well.

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