Boeing to Increase Production of 737 MAX Jets

Radhika Bansal

19 Jun 2023

Boeing expects to increase production of its best-selling 737 MAX to 38 jets a month "pretty soon," but the company is likely to see supply chain instability at every rate increase, the head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) said.

Boeing had planned to bolster 737 MAX production from its current 31 jets per month before the end of the year, but that could occur "sooner rather than later," BCA CEO Stan Deal told reporters during a roundtable ahead of the Paris Airshow. However, he warned that the supply chain continues to be a challenge, with new issues constantly being found.

While there was instability as the industry increased production rates before 2019, “this is a little different," Deal said. "COVID had a pretty significant impact on labour, and this industry still depends on labour… to get to its net efficiency."

Boeing has started a supply chain quality review, with participants including CEOs and other C-suite officials, as well as quality and engineering officials from Boeing's tier-one supply chain that creates major aero-structures and sub-assemblies, Deal said.

Boeing Deliveries Up by 43% in May

Boeing delivered 50 jets in May, 13 fewer than European rival Airbus, but a 43% improvement on the same month last year. Deliveries of the cash-generating Boeing 737 MAX increased to 35 jets in May, Boeing said on June 13. The company handed over only 17 MAXs to customers the prior month when Boeing found a bracket installation defect that forced it to fix aircraft before delivery. Boeing also delivered eight widebody 787 Dreamliners, three 767 freighters, three 777 freighters and a 737 that will be modified into a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for South Korea.

The new 787 orders included deals to sell eight -9s to unidentified customers and two -8s to Papua New Guinea’s Air Niugini. Southwest Airlines received the most Boeing jets last month – 11 737 Max – while United Airlines and Ryanair each received six examples. The company also made accounting adjustments in May that added another 59 aircraft to its backlog. Those deals were not new, but Boeing had previously transferred them into an accounting bucket called “ASC-606”, reserved for orders Boeing suspects will not actually close due to factors including customers’ financial health. The May adjustments signify Boeing now views 59 more orders as solid.

Orders & Cancellations

Boeing booked 69 orders in May, including 59 MAXs and 10 Dreamliners. It also reported 11 cancellations, which included four 737 MAXs for Air Niugini, six 777 freighters for Hong Kong International Aviation and one 777-300ER for an unidentified customer. Over the first five months of the year, Boeing delivered 206 aircraft - fewer than rival Airbus, which has delivered 244 over the same period. Airbus is also slightly ahead on net orders, with 144 to Boeing's 127. Boeing closed May with 4,634 jets in its backlog – up 67 units from the end of April – comprising: 3,655 737s, 116 767s, 324 777s and 539 787s.

Boeing Jump-Starts 737 MAX Angle-Of-Attack System Retrofits

Boeing is getting a head start on retrofitting the 737 MAX fleet with an additional angle-of-attack monitoring system by rolling out new aircraft with the needed wiring in place and preparing a service bulletin for operators to use on in-service airframes.

"All the airplanes we are building now are pre-wired," 737 Customer Leader Bob Michael told ShowNews on June 18 at the Paris Air Show. "We actually started to install the wiring on production [aircraft] last summer."

The enhanced angle of attack (eAOA)—required by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as part of agreeing to the 737 MAX's return to service following fatal accidents in 2018 and 2019 and its subsequent grounding—provides a third source of AOA data. It uses five software monitors embedded into existing hardware to track data from the aircraft's two physical AOA sensors, explained Boeing 737 MAX Chief Pilot Justin Carlson. Any abnormalities are detected and flagged, and the malfunctioning AOA sensor is removed. 

"All of that happens automatically," Carlson said. The system also includes new switches that allow pilots to disable nuisance alerts triggered by a malfunctioning AOA. The new monitoring is designed to do this, but the switches serve as a backup, Carlson said.

Boeing has agreed to roll out the entire package of changes on the rest of the 737 MAX fleet within three years once it gets certified on the 737-10. Ideally, the work will be done during scheduled heavy maintenance visits. "There's a fair amount of wiring that has to be added in the flight deck and the [electronic equipment] bay," Michael said.

The company is working on a service bulletin that operators can use to pre-wire their 737 MAXs. It is expected to be released by yearend. Once the 737-10 is certified, a second service bulletin will detail the entire upgrade. Boeing's latest plan includes FAA approval in 2024.

(With Inputs from Reuters and Aviation Week)

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Boeing Anticipates a Double Global Demand for New Aircraft by 2042

Radhika Bansal

19 Jun 2023

Aviation giant Boeing has predicted that there will be a global demand for 42,595 new commercial jets by 2042, valued at USD 8 trillion.  The prediction comes off the back of a resurgence in international traffic and domestic air travel that sees the industry returning to pre-pandemic levels. Rival manufacturer Airbus said it anticipated a need for 40,850 new passenger and cargo planes by 2042, bringing the world fleet to a total of 46,560 aircraft.

Boeing released its 2023 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), the company’s forecast of 20-year demand for commercial airplanes and services, in advance of the Paris Air Show. The CMO found passenger traffic is continuing to outpace global economic growth by 2.6%. The global fleet nearly doubled to 48,600 jets, expanding 3.5% per year and airlines replacing about half of the global fleet with new, more fuel-efficient models. 

“The aviation industry has demonstrated resilience and adaptability after unprecedented disruption, with airlines responding to challenges, simplifying their fleets, improving efficiency and capitalizing on resurgent demand,” said Brad McMullen, Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing. “Looking to the future of air travel, our 2023 CMO reflects a further evolution of passenger traffic tied to the global growth of the middle class, investments in sustainability, continued growth for low-cost carriers and air cargo demand to serve evolving supply chains and express cargo delivery.” 

Other findings in the outlook include:  

Asia-Pacific markets represent more than 40% of global demand with half of that total in China. South Asia’s fleet will expand more than 7% annually, the world’s fastest rate, with India accounting for more than 90% of the region’s passenger traffic. North America and Europe will each account for about 20% of global demand.  Low-cost carriers will operate more than 40% of the single-aisle fleet in 2042, up from 10% 20 years ago. 

After omitting demand for Russia and Central Asia in last year’s CMO due to uncertainty in the region, this year’s forecast covers Russia and Central Asia in the Eurasia region, which comprises about 3% of the global fleet by 2042. 

Commercial Services forecasts a total served market worth USD 3.8 trillion, including digital solutions that increase efficiency and reduce cost; robust demand for parts and supply chain solutions; growing maintenance and modification options; and effective training to enhance safety and support the pilot and technician pipeline. 

Also, in the 20-year forecast period, Boeing anticipates demand for New single-aisle airplanes will account for more than 75% of all new deliveries, up slightly from the 2022 outlook, and totalling more than 32,000 airplanes. Also, New widebody jets will be nearly 20% of deliveries, with more than 7,400 airplanes enabling airlines to open new markets and serve existing routes more efficiently. 

Air cargo will continue to outpace global trade growth, with carriers requiring 2,800 dedicated freighters. This includes more than 900 new widebodies as well as converted narrow-body and widebody models. 

Boeing predicts between 2023 and 2042 there will be 1,810 regional jet new deliveries, 32,420 single aisle, 7,440, widebody and 925 freighter.  Boeing has published the CMO annually since 1961. As the longest-running jet forecast, the CMO is regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the commercial aviation industry.

Boeing Defence prediction

Boeing's defence unit, on the other hand, is expected to see margins resembling those of the first quarter, according to Boeing Defence CEO Ted Colbert. The unit faced negative margins in the first quarter due to a pre-tax charge of USD 245 million related to the KC-46 tanker program. Colbert mentioned ongoing efforts to improve performance at the defence unit, although it will take time to see tangible results. “We’re still assessing where the numbers are going to fall," Colbert told reporters in a briefing ahead of the Paris Airshow.

Boeing's defence unit has been grappling with significant losses due to its fixed-price development programs, including the KC-46, the T-7 training jet, and new Air Force One planes. The delivery of KC-46 tankers has been delayed due to supplier issues, and no reworked tanker has been delivered to the Air Force as yet.

Meanwhile, Airbus is reportedly exploring the development of the X9 helicopter, a potential successor to Airbus Helicopters' H145 light-twin chopper. The X9 project, which has been in the works for some time, is still in the demonstration phase, with plans for a demonstrator currently underway. Airbus is focusing on propulsion and other options for the X9 as it explores the next generation of helicopters. However, any launch decision for the X9 remains in the future, as the upgraded H145 is still in demand.

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IndiGo Could Place a 500 Aircraft Order with Airbus in Paris Air Show

Radhika Bansal

19 Jun 2023

Airbus SE is poised for a grand entrance at the Paris Air Show, where the European planemaker could announce a record 500-aircraft agreement with Indian carrier IndiGo on the first day. The proposed order, which would double the airline’s existing backlog, is for A320neo family aircraft, according to people familiar with the negotiations. IndiGo and Airbus are moving to announce the accord as early as Monday, said the people, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. This family consists of A320Neo, A321Neo and A321 XLR aircraft.

The value of the order, at the list price of these aircraft, will be around $500 billion, but the actual value is expected to be smaller as large orders enjoy heavy discounts. The order will be bigger than Air India's order of 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing placed in March. The report added that Indigo also has a pending delivery of 477 aircraft from the A320 family by 2030. Of the 500 planes in the order, 300 are expected to be A321Neo and A321 XLR aircraft. These planes can operate flights for up to eight hours and will be an important part of the airline's plan to expand in Europe.

IndiGo is also known to be in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing regarding a widebody order for around 25 new aircraft. From Boeing, the 787 Dreamliner is reportedly in the picture, while discussions with Airbus are said to revolve around the Airbus A330. At the recent IATA AGM, the airline's CEO Peter Elbers declined to comment on the rumours.

Airbus is also working to firm up talks with Saudi carrier Flynas Co. for a large narrowbody order that could become another marquee deal of the event alongside IndiGo, other people said, confirming negotiations previously reported by Bloomberg News. Negotiations for both transactions could still drag out and the final number might change, the people cautioned.

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said that the show will demonstrate how the industry is returning “back to the good old times of excitement.” Even before the event, Airbus said it struck deals for 60 A320 family aircraft and 10 A350s from undisclosed customers, setting the pace for what stands to be a few busy days of orders.

Flynas said last year that it wants to raise the volume of its orders to 250 aircraft to become the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East. The company now has a fleet of about 50 aircraft, most of which are Airbus A320s. It also has about 50 orders pending with the European manufacturer.

IndiGo's Expansion

IndiGo already has a backlog of about 500 planes as part of the previous accord, including a 300-plane order in 2019. Reuters reported this month that IndiGo was close to placing a record deal with Airbus. The airline is also working on a separate purchase of widebody aircraft, with both Airbus and Boeing Co. vying for a deal involving about 25 aircraft, other people said. Boeing may have the upper hand to secure that accord with its 787 Dreamliner, though negotiations remain in flux, said one of the people.

A purchase by IndiGo would top a recent agreement by Air India to buy 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing as the country’s former flag carrier rebuilds its operations with a modern fleet under new ownership. India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with Indigo controlling close to 60% of domestic flying.

IndiGo has codeshare agreements with seven airlines, including Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, and KLM. Through its alliance with Turkish Airlines, IndiGo has expanded into Europe, a popular destination among Indian tourists. The budget carrier now flies to 33 European airports. IndiGo has begun international operations in Istanbul with its first wide-body aircraft, a Boeing 777, taken from codeshare partner Turkish Airlines which provides the pilots.

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India & US Set to Collaborate as GE & HAL in Talks to Produce Fighter Jet Engines

Radhika Bansal

19 Jun 2023

India and the United States are set to collaborate on the production of fighter jet engines. Under the arrangement, General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will transfer approximately 80% of the jet engine technology by value. The deal is for the co-production of General Electric's F414 fighter jet engine.

According to a report published by CNBC TV 18 that the highest political authorities in India and the United States have approved a co-production agreement, which will be officially announced during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This deal could be worth several billion dollars, according to whispers. Currently, both sides are negotiating payment mechanisms, machinery procurement, and tech transfer.

US engine technology has not been shared this widely with any other country, according to sources. Sources privy to the deal said that no country had ever received such a level of technology transfer from the US, the UK, or France. According to reports, this is likely to be a multi-billion dollar deal. Both sides are now in final negotiations on payment mechanisms, procurement of machinery and tech transfer modalities.

The following aspects of GE jet engines will be provided to India and HAL - Special coating for erosion and corrosion, Repair technology for the turbine, Compression disc and blades, Coating and machining of single crystal turbine blades, Machining & coating of hot end parts, Complete tech transfer for blisk machining, Machining of powder metallurgy, Polymer matrix composite, Laser drilling for combustion, and Bottle boring of shafts.

The collaboration on jet engine production will begin as soon as the deal between GE and HAL is signed. Technology transfer will likely take place in phases, with 80% of the value added to the engine occurring in India within three years.

GE-HAL Engine Deal

The Biden administration has given permission, for GE to co-produce the engines in India, ahead of PM Modi's visit to the US later this month. The American defence company will be agreeing with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to co-produce jet engines in the South Asian nation. The technology will power India's fighter jet program once the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is operationalised. 

GE and HAL had agreed to manufacture jet engines in 2012, but the deal could not take off as the government wanted higher levels of technology transfer, as per the report. It added that an agreement on higher levels of technology transfer has been agreed upon and no other ally has this kind of an agreement with the US. Modalities of technology transfer, timelines and payment mechanisms are being discussed before the final agreement is inked during the Prime Minister's visit to Washington DC between June 21 and 24, 2023, the report said.

The central government is yet to announce a site for the co-production of GE jet engines in India. However, HAL already has an engine division in Koraput, Odisha and this could be one of the locations under consideration. Sources have also said that 500-600 Indian Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) could benefit from this agreement.

Discussions on possible collaboration on jet engines took place in February during NSA Ajit Doval's meeting with his counterpart Jake Sullivan. While the deal will need the approval of the US Congress, an agreement has been reached at the highest political level. The deal contours were reviewed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary for Defence Lloyd Austin, during the latter's visit to India this week.

(With Inputs from CNBC TV18)

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United Airlines Select Pratt & Whitney’s GTF to Power A321neo and A321XLR

Abhishek Nayar

19 Jun 2023

United Airlines, one of the world's leading airlines, has always been at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements in the aviation industry. With a commitment to providing exceptional service and efficiency, United Airlines continually seeks ways to improve its fleet. The Airbus A321neo and A321XLR are part of Airbus' highly successful A320 family, known for their fuel efficiency, range, and passenger comfort.

United and Pratt & Whitney

United and Pratt & Whitney first worked together more than 90 years ago as part of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, operating Boeing Model 40 aircraft powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine. Today, Pratt & Whitney engines power over 250 United Airlines aircraft, including the Airbus A320ceo series with V2500® engines and the Boeing 777 and 767 with PW4000 engines. "United and Pratt & Whitney share a celebrated history as pioneers of commercial air travel, as well as a commitment to more sustainable aviation as we look forward," stated Rick Deurloo, Pratt & Whitney's President of Commercial Engines. "GTF engines will enable United to get the most out of their A321neo and A321XLR aircraft, delivering industry-leading payload, range, and environmental performance for those aircraft types."

The Pratt & Whitney GTF Engine: An Overview

Selecting the right engine for an aircraft is crucial, as it significantly impacts its performance, fuel efficiency, and environmental footprint. Airlines carefully evaluate various engine options before deciding. For United Airlines, the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine emerged as the preferred choice due to its groundbreaking technology and exceptional capabilities. The Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine is a cutting-edge propulsion system that revolutionizes the way aircraft engines operate. Its innovative design incorporates a reduction gearbox, which allows the engine's fan and compressor to operate at different speeds, optimizing performance and fuel efficiency. The GTF engine delivers substantial benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, and noise reduction.

For the Airbus A320neo family, the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine featuring the Collins Aerospace nacelle and engine accessories offers the greatest fuel efficiency and lowest greenhouse gas emissions. GTF-powered aircraft reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 16% to 20%, NOx emissions by 50%, and noise by 75%.  GTF engines, which have been certified for operation on 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and successfully tested on 100% SAF, are poised to enable additional carbon footprint reductions, assisting the aviation industry in meeting its objective of net zero emissions by 2050. The engine's unique geared fan architecture lays the groundwork for even more efficient and sustainable propulsion technologies in the next few decades, with improvements such as the Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage Engine and beyond.

Advantages of the GTF Engine for United Airlines

United Airlines' decision to select the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for its Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft is driven by several key advantages.

Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Benefits

The GTF engine offers unmatched fuel efficiency, enabling airlines to reduce operating costs and environmental impact. With improved fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions, United Airlines demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly operations.

Enhanced Performance and Reliability

The GTF engine's advanced design provides increased thrust, resulting in improved performance and enhanced operational flexibility for United Airlines. The engine's state-of-the-art technology ensures high reliability, minimizes disruptions, and enhances overall flight efficiency.

Commitment to Passenger Comfort

United Airlines places great emphasis on passenger comfort, and the GTF engine aligns perfectly with this goal. The engine's reduced noise levels contribute to a quieter and more pleasant flying experience for passengers, making their journey with United Airlines even more enjoyable.

Delivery and Implementation Plans

United Airlines eagerly anticipates the delivery of its first GTF-powered Airbus A321neo later this year. The subsequent deliveries of the remaining aircraft will follow, enabling United Airlines to gradually introduce these advanced aircraft into its fleet. Rigorous testing and certification processes will be conducted to ensure a seamless transition and adherence to the highest safety standards.

Impact on United Airlines' Operations and Future Prospects

The introduction of the Pratt & Whitney GTF-powered Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft will have a transformative impact on United Airlines' operations. The enhanced fuel efficiency and performance will allow the airline to expand its route network, offer non-stop flights to new destinations, and optimize its flight schedules to provide greater convenience for passengers. With its commitment to innovation and excellence, United Airlines is well-positioned to leverage the advantages of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine and further expand its fleet in the future. The airline's decision to embrace advanced technology underscores its dedication to delivering unparalleled service and staying at the forefront of the aviation industry.


United Airlines' selection of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for its upcoming Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft represents a significant step forward in aviation technology. The GTF engine's fuel efficiency, enhanced performance, and passenger comfort align perfectly with United Airlines' goals and commitment to sustainability. This partnership between United Airlines and Pratt & Whitney sets the stage for an exciting future of air travel, where innovation and excellence combine to redefine the passenger experience.

With Inputs from Pratt & Whitney