Discussion:
Virgin orders 10 A330s
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JF Mezei
2009-06-22 17:27:22 UTC
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Virgin Atlantic, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has placed
an order for 10 330-200s. 5 Delivered in 2011, 5 in 2012.

Why ? Because it can't wait for the Boeing 787s. Its order for 15 787s
remains.

I suspect Virgin may have gotten some compensation deal from Boeing
whereby Virgin agreed to relinquish early 787 delivery slots (so Boeing
could give them to another airline) in exchange for $$$.

The 330 will be a new aircraft for Virgin.

At first, I thought it strange that Virgin would bother buying 330s for
such a "gap filling" until 787s came in. But Perhaps those 330s are
meant to replace Virgin's 340s once the 787s come in.

It is interesting that the 330 still has so much wind left in its sails
despite being at the end of its career.

I am curious on what type of overlap Airbus plans to have once the 350
has ramped up production. I guess it remains cheaper for Airbus to
continue to spit out 330 hauls for freight and refueling project rather
than to create equivalent 350 based aircrafts and then use a single
assembly plant (which would seem more efficient on the surface).
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JF Mezei
2009-06-23 09:01:25 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei
Virgin Atlantic, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has placed
an order for 10 330-200s. 5 Delivered in 2011, 5 in 2012.
The plot thickens...

This morning, rumours that Virgin is in talks to buy fifty, yes, five
zero Airbus A350 aircraft with deliveries starting 2014. Actually this
is more than a rumour, it was confirmed by a Virgin spokesperson that
they are in negotiations.

IF this does pan out and IF virgin does cancel its 15 787 order, it
would be a good PR win for Airbus and a bad loss for Boeing. Virgin is a
fairly high profile customer.

And it would also mean that those 10 330s would likely just be "on loan"
from airbus so Virgin could get started now instead of having to wait
for the 787 which will be late.

With Boeing slated to get first flight of the 787 real soon now, I
wonder if Boeing will try to use the first flight to smooth out bad news
about production rampup delays or performance problems.


I find it a bit odd that so close to good news finally about to start on
the 787, that Virgin would start to talk about buying 350s (which would
logically implies cancelling its 787 order). Is that just a negotiating
tactic to get some real sweet deal from Boeing ?
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w***@googlemail.com
2009-06-24 11:28:57 UTC
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Post by JF Mezei
I find it a bit odd that so close to good news finally about to start on
the 787, that Virgin would start to talk about buying 350s (which would
logically implies cancelling its 787 order). Is that just a negotiating
tactic to get some real sweet deal from Boeing ?
When do they ( not only Virgin but other 787customers) get to a
point
where they have to either cancel or _really_ commit money?
Do Boeing compensation payments for current delays have any
commiting effect for the recipients to stay with their orders?

and:
Some may know more than others.

My impression is that the recently announced further delays are only
the "condensation" of a widespread feeling about the 787 in the
airline
industry in general.
( and remember our discussion from mid December 2008 ? )

Boeing seems to be lying their way along from waypoint to redefined
waypoint
these days ( and funnily enough people still expect them to
overperform
in a grand way in the future ).

wid
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Miles Bader
2009-06-25 01:32:53 UTC
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Post by w***@googlemail.com
Boeing seems to be lying their way along from waypoint to redefined
waypoint these days.
Do you have any actual proof?

The amount of scrutiny the 787 program is getting seems fairly
unprecedented, and I'm sure Boeing is quite annoyed that they can't just
work out the glitches in private. Clearly they try to manage the way
information is released (in the short term) and retain a modicum of
control over their image, but to accuse them of "lying their way along
from waypoint to redefined waypoint" seems way over the top.

It's clear that they were caught badly by their attempt to use a new
production method, and that they over-estimated the capability of their
industrial partners. But nothing after that seems particularly
surprising -- they've made some mistakes, and had their share of
screwups, but making a new airliner is _hard_, especially if it's
pushing the technological boundaries.
Post by w***@googlemail.com
(and funnily enough people still expect them to overperform in a grand
way in the future).
They took big risks, with the technology and with the production method,
but they also stand to reap great benefits if it works in the end (and
there seems little indication that it won't).

-Miles
--
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that
you do it." Mahatma Gandhi
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JF Mezei
2009-06-25 04:07:28 UTC
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Post by Miles Bader
The amount of scrutiny the 787 program is getting seems fairly
unprecedented, and I'm sure Boeing is quite annoyed that they can't just
work out the glitches in private. Clearly they try to manage the way
information is released (in the short term) and retain a modicum of
control over their image, but to accuse them of "lying their way along
from waypoint to redefined waypoint" seems way over the top.
In this particular case, Boeing admitted to having known for a number of
weeks, but "wanting to do more tests" before making it public. (aka:
don't spill the bad news before the Paris air show).


Go back to the unveiling what turned out to be just a scale model on
july 8th 2007. At that point, Boeing already knew that rivets were of a
bad design and had to be changed, and it blamed the suppliers for a
shortage when in fact, suppliers were told to start to produce new
fasteners of different shapes.

Suppliers would have told Boeing that it would take X amount of time to
ramp up production of the new designs, yet Boeing made it look like it
was the supplier's fault.

Boeing could have relatively quetly delayed the unveiling ceremony in
early 2007, and not told suppliers to rush whatever they had so Boeing
could assemble an empty shell for the july 7th ceremony. It would have
given suppliers time to assemble stuff in the right order and saved
Boeing from having to diassemble aircraft, add a few missing parts and
re-assemble aircraft again (aka: travel work).

From the day Boeing started to brag about it starting to assemble the
firstr 787 and expecially the unveiling ceremony, the countdown timer
and media were started and every delay made big news.

Boeing could have quietly announced a 1 year delay in the program back
then and should have refused delivery of modules that required
diassembly to install missing pieces.

But Boeing was desperate to have unveiling on the 8th day of the 7th
month 2007 at any cost. It is now paying for that big mistake.

I still maintain that Boeing should have scrapped #1 and told suppliers
to build #2 properly so it could be assembled without travel work.


What bugs me about this latest delay is that the structural problem
wasn't discovered earlier. fatique tests have been going on for quite
some time already.

Boeing's credibility has been severy eroded now, and the fact that
Boeing, having known about this problem for weeks, has yet to identify a
solution and a timetable is worrysome. What else is wrong about the
aircraft ?

Looks to me like first delivery might be in 2011 instead of 2010. And
now I am "stuck" with devalued Boeing shared purchased just after the
Paris show, thinking the shares would increase with the first flight.
Boeing knew well ahead of the Paris show that it would be announcing a
delay.
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JF Mezei
2009-06-25 16:29:04 UTC
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Post by w***@googlemail.com
When do they ( not only Virgin but other 787customers) get to a
point
where they have to either cancel or _really_ commit money?
Do Boeing compensation payments for current delays have any
commiting effect for the recipients to stay with their orders?
I think this would be confidential information in the contracts signed
between the airlines and Boeing which would have cancellation clauses,
performance clauses, delay in delivery clauses etc.

As launch customers, I think they have greater freedom to cancel, but I
suspect that freedom is diminished once commercial deliveries begin and
actual aircraft performance is measured. But they may still have clauses
that further delays from that point on would give them the right to cancel.

Note the in a highly coveted aircraft such as the 787, the delivery
slots are probably more valuable than the cancellation costs, so if
Airline A has an early delivery slot, it might be able to "sell" it to
Airline B who wants to buy 787s.
Post by w***@googlemail.com
My impression is that the recently announced further delays are only
the "condensation" of a widespread feeling about the 787 in the
airline industry in general.
I am not sure about that. Until recently, Boeing had positive news with
regards to progress on the 787. It was doing the gauntlet testing, had
powered aircraft #2, and had even begun to start assembling the first
commercial aircraft destied to ANA. (I take it that all 6 test aircraft
have had their fuselage parts attached already ?)

It appeared that Boeing had finally worked through the problems.

Since first flight is generally very benign with no acrobatics, I find
it odd that Boeing would say that having a benign first flight profile
because of the discovered weaknesses would have yielded no useful test data.

The issue may have been more serious with regards to aircraft integrity
than originally thought.


I think Boeing lost a lot of credibility over the last year, and is
probably a bit worse than Airbus' during the A380 delays. Once Airbus
had fessed up that the wiring problems had been caused by incompatible
software in Germany, it seemed that it was then on track to recover and
was more credible with its progress and schedule.

It is possible that Boeing will end up with a spectacular, problem fee
flight testing period and its image will greatly increase during that
time. But until this happens, it stands to lose more credibility,
especially if some flaws are discovered during flight testing which
could cause further delays.
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w***@googlemail.com
2009-06-25 20:43:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by JF Mezei
Post by w***@googlemail.com
My impression is that the recently announced further delays are only
the "condensation" of a widespread feeling about the 787 in the
airline industry in general.
I am not sure about that. Until recently, Boeing had positive news with
regards to progress on the 787. It was doing the gauntlet testing, had
powered aircraft #2, and had even begun to start assembling the first
commercial aircraft destied to ANA.  (I take it that all 6 test aircraft
have had their fuselage parts attached already ?)
It appeared that Boeing had finally worked through the problems.
I have watched this for some time now.

After the press realy went over Airbus with a steamroller I have been
waiting for Boeing to show signs of botching production of their
Technicolor Baby.
Hazing Airbus was preparing the general public for a fruity spray
of brown matter from B787 developement/production.

My assumption is that Boeing already knew in 2005/6 that they would
never be able to stay with their overly ambitious planning waypoints.

The thing I am not certain about is if this is based on taking a
calculated
risk or just plain "US supremacy" based hubris.

My current guess is (naively) calculated risk that (unexpectedly)
escalated into hubris.

What has not diffused into "the public mind" is that there is quite a
difference
between too short cabling and too narrow cableruns ( though quite the
reason
to cringe for Airbus ) on an otherwise performing as planned aircraft
and
a long, long chain of seemingly not even superficially understood
design, production and QA issues.

The B787 was designed differently for the sake of difference and not
for real
improvements though "strategic communications" sucessfully inserted a
different image.

Boeing is not able to produce a working as planned aircraft.
Which jibes quite well with their boast of having an engineer
on the production floor in less than 5 minutes to fix issues.
Unfortunately that is not the way to go if you have widely distributed
design and production sites. ( And Airbus has more than 30 years
expertise in this fiield. You can see the difference. )

The A400M may indicate differently but my understanding is that
A400M delays may well be due cases of industrial sabotage.
( The spanish project leader was close to BushBaby Aznar and
the FADEC is done by a subsidiary of BAE Systems who have
moved their interests under Pudel Blair strongly towards US
defence projects.
)

wid
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w***@googlemail.com
2009-06-25 22:33:13 UTC
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er,
you may find this an interesting read ( long, in depth ):
http://www.lonelyscientist.com/

wid
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w***@googlemail.com
2009-06-26 12:41:39 UTC
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er,
   http://www.lonelyscientist.com/
addendum:

I like "Fred":
http://www.lonelyscientist.com/?page_id=103
( go down, search for Fred who eventually stayed in Japan )

wid
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