Boeings woes are running far and wide at present, indicative of a wider malaise at one of the worlds largest aircraft manufacturers.
Here’s just a brief list of Boeing’s biggest issues….
737MAX – it’s unlikely to be fully back in service until March/April according to some reports from airlines though most are scrambling to be first on the list to get airborne as losses mount. never mind compensation, FAA and Congressional investigations, court cases and compensation claims. The saga has identified serious operational, design and planning flaws that are all down to how and why the organisation is being managed.
777-X – The programme is now close to being a year behind schedule, pressurisation issues have raised their heads but the biggest problem is the GE engine still not being close to a first flight.
787-9/10 – Charleston continues to be a problem. Quality is so poor that Qatar has refused to accept another aircraft built from the plant and other airlines have expressed their considerable disquiet, albeit privately, over reliability and quality.
AirForce One – the replacement budget is all over the place. The 748i air frames are already built having been set for TransAero before its demise, but the spec is undecided, and the whole thing tied up with Boeing’s CEO promising Trump cost savings that almost certainly won’t be delivered. The world holds its breath at what tasteless livery Trump has planned. Not that he’ll ever get to fly in it, even if he is re-elected.
KC-46 – The 767 based USAF tanker just keeps hitting issues. The Air Force is said to be incensed that repeated quality issues, ranging from tools left in tank spaces bashing about in flight, to dangerous metal flakes in wiring looms, non working parts etc, just don’t seem to go away despite endless promises to the contrary.
The AWACS refurbishment programme is now three years behind schedule because of “Boeing’s failure” to deliver components and its loss of control over the Kansas based software suppliers whose security and practices were so poor they were de-certified for Air Force contracts.
Boeing withdrew from the new ICBM development contract because it thought it couldn’t manage it alone having no solid rocket motor manufacturer, only to beg to be included with Northrop-Grumman in a joint development – which the later rejected saying it could cope alone, as it owns the only company that builds them. Boeing over-played its hand, upsetting everyone involved, thinking its departure would delay the programme and force the Air Force to bring it on board with better terms.
The need to replace the 50 year old Minuteman-III’S is so great (and worth $63 billion) that sympathy for Boeing was non-existent and it seems to have simply lost any chance of participating.
You can run through Boeing’s defence contracts with a fine tooth comb to find that almost everywhere you look things are not always as well managed, on time, cost or otherwise, as they should be.
And that’s Boeing right now. It’s been lead down a profit-first path by its leadership that has undermined its entire structure from civil to defence. This is a company that has lost its way, and for the sake of the Western World, especially the USA, it needs to get itself together and address the problems its created for itself. It has many dedicated and worthy staff, but there are just as many who are badly managed, and uninvested. Not a way to run things.