Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Boeing Doesn't Seem To Be Able To Catch A Break.

If B-737-Max was bad news overall, this piece of news is bad for Boeing tactically and operationally. 
SEATTLE/PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing Co faced additional uncertainty on Wednesday over future production rates for its 787 Dreamliner after Russian carrier Aeroflot formally canceled an order for 22 aircraft valued at about $5.5 billion at list prices. The cancellation, first reported by the Seattle Times and buried in Boeing's monthly order release, is the final step in unwinding an order that had been shrouded in uncertainty ever since the airline said in 2015 it no longer needed the planes. But the lost business theoretically knocks a hole in the production profile for the 787 Dreamliner after the world's largest planemaker increased its build-rate to 14 aircraft per month from 12 at twin U.S. factories. Barring new orders, Boeing faces the growing possibility that it may have to cut production back by 2022, industry sources say, piling on new pressure as the grounding of the smaller 737 MAX stretches into its eighth month.
While I work in commercial aerospace industry, I am, certainly, not an insider in a financial-economic sense. The article, however, gives a hint:
While demand for the narrow body aircraft that dominate most fleets remains strong, demand for larger, long-haul aircraft like the 787 and Airbus A330 and A350 has weakened. Boeing won most of the wide body orders so far this year but neither planemaker is selling as many aircraft as it would like amid trade tensions, concerns over the global economy and the increased ability of smaller narrow bodies to fly long distances.
Ah, that's warmer. Two major factors on Russian side:

1. MC-21, slated for serial production in 2021, including delays with certification of Russian composites which substituted "sanctioned" ones, is fully capable to carry non-stop 160+ passengers from Moscow or St. Petersburg to Krasnoyarsk or Yakutsk easy-peasy. Same goes for any destination in Europe and Middle East, while good ol' B-777s still fly such routes as Moscow-Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and cover all needs no problem. MC-21, obviously, will have also no problem reaching from Vladivostok (or Khabarovsk) most cities of mainland China, and all cities in South Korea not to speak of Japan, which realistically is not even considered that much of an abroad for Russian Far Easterners. 

2. But then there is this important news. Very important news and I wrote about this few years ago, latest in 2018. And here is the news:
В ПАО «Воронежское акционерное самолетостроительное общество» (ПАО «ВАСО») завершилась стапельная сборка первого опытного образца широкофюзеляжного дальнемагистрального пассажирского самолета Ил-96 400М. Предварительные испытания самолёта должны пройти с ноября 2019-го по январь 2020 года. До мая 2020 года пройдут дополнительные сертификационные испытания, которые в июне должны завершиться выдачей дополнения к сертификату типа — одобрения главного изменения конструкции. С 2020 по 2023 г. пять новых самолётов должна принять Государственная транспортная лизинговая компания (ГТЛК). Ожидается, что они будут эксплуатироваться на линиях между Москвой и Владивостоком с Хабаровском.
Translation: JSC Voronezh Plane Building Society (PAO VASO) just finished assembly of the first experimental long-range wide-body IL-96 400M. Preliminary tests should be conducted from November 2019 through January 2020. Additional certification tests are planned through May 2020 and they should result in issuing of the addendum to certificate of the type in June--qualification of the main change in the design. From 2020 thro0ugh 2023 State Transport Leasing Company will receive five new aircraft. They expected to operate on Moscow-Khabarovsk and Moscow-Vladivostok routes. 

This is fast. Now, what would those new IL-96s be in terms of engines? It seems that those will be four engine (PD-18) machines, until PD-35 hits serial production lines roughly by 2025 and will be installed on Chinese-Russian CR-929 and fully redesigned two-engine IL-96. That explains a lot, albeit not all, in terms of this contract between Aeroflot and Boeing. Frankly, these are stunning developments, simply stunning, they also indicate that PD-14 and its up-powered version PD-18 and down-powered PD-10 to substitute French-Russian SAMs on Sukhoi Super Jets, are well in the pipeline for tests and production. Russia, obviously, goes her own way being only the third (!!!) country capable to produce wide-body commercial aircraft and, that is the fact which should have been foreseen by Boeing and Airbus (read: US and EU) when sanctioning Russia's aerospace industry, which went into overdrive instead of collapsing. These new five IL-96s are not going to remove wide-body foreign aircraft from voluminous Russian market, IL-96s which will follow with PD-35 engine will.

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