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July 19, 2024
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Today’s stories speak to new rumored orders that we will probably see during the Farnborough Air Show and threats of strikes at key suppliers.  Other stories focus on whether China can make the duopoly and oligopoly, unions in dispute with Boeing managers, and United Airlines being forced to take smaller aircraft than it would like and adjust its fleet plan.

Rumored orders for wide-body aircraft from Flyadeal in Saudi Arabia and Qatar Airways will likely play Airbus against Boeing in a battle between the A350 and 787 and 777-9.  With production shortfalls and problems continuing in ramping up at both manufacturers, establishing positions in the future delivery skylines is becoming more and more important.  The question now is whether FOMO, or fear of missing out, will create some new orders that might otherwise have waited.  Will airlines, in fear of late deliveries or having to delay new routes and capacity growth, take actions earlier than previously planned.  

United is shifting to smaller Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft since it cannot get the yet to be certified 737 MAX 10, which has been delayed past the point at which United needs the lift.  Being forced to fly a different aircraft fundamentally changes an airline’s strategy.  The question now is how often Boeing can do this without losing the trust of its airline customers?

Despite rumors of a potential restart of deliveries of older MAX aircraft in inventory to Chinese airlines, that hope is premature as certification of the 25 hour cockpit voice recorder remains an issue with CAAC, China’s aviation regulator.  While both parties are working to resolve the issue and resume delivery of aircraft in inventory at Boeing, that is unlikely to happen as quickly as parties had hoped.

On the labor front, Safran workers in Quebec may walk out.  The company is a key supplier to the Airbus A320 family, A350, and Boeing 787 aircraft, and a prolonged strike could impact those programs.  With a fragile industry supply chain, labor currently has an advantageous position understanding the leverage they can apply to an already difficult situation for the OEMs.

Unions at Boeing’s facility in Everett, which finishes re-work on Boeing 787 aircraft built in the Columbia factory, are complaining that managers are allegedly persecuting technicians to keep quiet about safety problems.  So much for the culture change promised by Boeing to the FAA last week.  This is not the image Boeing needs right now.

Finally, we’ve added a link to the May 2025 transactions for those of you tracking orders and deliveries.

Links to today’s key stories follow:

  • United Air shifts to smaller Boeing planes amid production woes – BNN Bloomberg
  • As Boeing & Airbus struggle, will COMAC thrive or not? – Aviation Source
  • Safran workers who make parts used in Airbus, Boeing jets to begin unlimited strike Tuesday – Globe and Mail
  • Boeing 737 deliveries to China still halted despite restart report – BNN Bloomberg
  • USA: Unions against Boeing managers – AvioNews
  • Qatar Airways is splitting a big plane order between Boeing and Airbus – Quartz
  • Saudi Flyadeal looks at adding Airbus or Boeing wide-body jets – Yahoo
  • May 2025 Transactions – AirInsight
author avatar
Ernest Arvai
President AirInsight Group LLC

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