AIR.PA - Airbus SE

Paris - Paris Delayed Price. Currency in EUR
+0.54 (+0.40%)
At close: 5:38PM CET
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Previous Close135.86
Bid0.00 x 0
Ask0.00 x 0
Day's Range135.62 - 137.32
52 Week Range77.50 - 137.32
Avg. Volume1,116,140
Market Cap106.051B
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.33
PE Ratio (TTM)28.14
EPS (TTM)4.85
Earnings DateFeb 12, 2020 - Feb 17, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield1.65 (1.21%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-04-15
1y Target Est120.82
  • Reuters

    Airbus-backed tournament unveils first electric racing aircraft

    Several companies, including U.S. ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc , are working on electric-powered flying cars, amid increasing concerns about the environmental impact of fossil-fuel intensive air travel. Last month, Airbus rival Boeing announced a partnership with automaker Volkswagen's sports car brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban environments. Air Race E said the aircraft, called White Lightning and unveiled at the Dubai Air Show, will be manufactured by UK-based Condor Aviation.

  • Airbus Says Zero-Carbon Regional Jet May Arrive as Soon as 2030s

    Airbus Says Zero-Carbon Regional Jet May Arrive as Soon as 2030s

    (Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE could potentially build an emission-free, 100-seat regional aircraft by the early 2030s, as the aviation industry speeds its response to mounting concern over air travel’s carbon footprint, according to the head of the planemaker’s new-product development arm.The European manufacturer is working on multiple methods to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, Sandra Bour Schaeffer, chief executive officer of Airbus ExO Alpha, said in an interview Saturday ahead of the Dubai Airshow.The company is working with partners including engine manufacturers and startups to build more fuel-efficient engines, explore hybrids and alternative fuels, and to improve aerodynamics, Schaeffer said.Airlines and planemakers are under intense scrutiny over the industry’s role in contributing to global warming. But their ability to respond is limited by development cycles lasting a decade or longer and products that can last 50 years. Meanwhile, rising air traffic is adding to pressure on the sector to come up with a response.In June, Toulouse, France-based Airbus, its U.S. rival Boeing Co. and other large players pledged to reduce the industry’s net CO2 emissions by half in 2050 compared with 2005 levels.“Today there is no single solution to meet the commitments in 2050 but there are a number of solutions that if you put together will drive to that path,” Schaeffer said.Approaches are likely to differ depending on the type and size of aircraft, she said.Airlines are already offering what they consider more sustainable aviation fuels consisting of biofuels blended with conventional propellants, though the additives are expensive and their impact on emissions depend on how they’re produced.‘Flight Shame’While smaller regional planes could fly emission-free by the early 2030s, larger long-range jets such as the A350 would need to adopt multiple technologies, Schaeffer said.“Flight shame” -- travelers feeling guilty about their carbon footprint -- is a real phenomenon and the cost of offsetting carbon emissions from flight could surpass current industry estimates by a factor of 10, Citigroup analysts including Mark Manduca wrote in a research note last month.Groups such as Extinction Rebellion and activists like 16-year-old Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg are fueling the flight-shame movement, and in some parts of Europe, people are already shunning planes in favor of more climate-friendly alternatives.The launch of hybrid or electric models, while the biggest advance in the industry for decades, would bring its own challenges, not least convincing airlines to back technology that might initially offer only limited range and capacity.Most current electrification efforts are focused on smaller aircraft. Zunum Aero, backed by Boeing and JetBlue Airways Corp., aims to bring a hybrid-electric commuter model to market by 2022. MagniX Technologies Pty Ltd. is developing a propulsion system for an all-electric plane with a similar date in mind. Israeli startup Eviation is also going fully electric, with a nine-passenger plane that made its debut at the Paris Air Show in June.To contact the reporters on this story: Siddharth Philip in London at;Layan Odeh in Dubai at lodeh3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at, Tara PatelFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Watch for Sparks as Jet Engines Hit Their Limits

    Watch for Sparks as Jet Engines Hit Their Limits

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Earlier this week, my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Chris Bryant examined the ongoing troubles for advanced jet engines used on today’s commercial airliners. These engines now seem to be reaching their technical limits, and as Bryant says, we may be asking too much of the technology.That’s not great news for the companies making those turbines, or for those flying the aircraft. It’s also not the best news for the climate, given the trajectory of emissions from air travel and air freight. Carbon dioxide emissions from commercial aviation made up 2.4% of global emissions in 2018 and, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, have grown 32% in just five years.The geography of those emissions is highly concentrated. Three markets — the U.S., the European Union and China — account for more than half of all emissions; the top 10 emitters contribute more than 70% of the global total.There’s something hopeful, actually, in that geographical distribution. High concentration means that tackling emissions in just three markets can have an outsized impact, and standards set in those large markets are easy for others to follow. There’s another aspect to the distribution of aviation emissions that’s worth examining: emissions by type of aircraft. Bryant writes of problems with engines on both widebody and narrowbody aircraft: the Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc Trent 1000 engines used on the widebody Boeing Co. 787, and United Technologies Corp. subsidiary Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan used on the narrowbody Airbus SE A320neo. While widebody aircraft make up one-third of global emissions, narrowbody and regional passenger plans are almost half. If the turbines used to propel the largest and longest-range of aircraft are approaching technical limits but almost half of emissions are from shorter-range and smaller aircraft, then there’s space to innovate, for emissions’ sake, at the short and small end. And that space looks electric and hybrid. Next month, Vancouver-based Harbour Air will fly its first electric seaplane, a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver prototype retrofitted with a propulsion system from Seattle-based electric aviation company MagniX. It’s a first look at what electric commercial flight could be, and as it draws upon a sophisticated, global and continually improving network of battery makers while the cost of batteries continues to decrease, it has room to grow. “Because of airborne mobility development, this technology is unstoppable, and it’s getting more practical as every day goes by,” says Greg McDougall, Harbour Air’s CEO. “The brainpower and money involved is snowballing, and there’s no doubt we can roll out what we’re doing to other small airlines.” It’s an infectious enthusiasm, but it just might take to the air elsewhere, too. Weekend readingThe Qantas Group plans to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, Formula 1 plans to reach that milestone by 2030. Ferrari says its new Roma coupe is inspired by the postwar Eternal City. It’s a bit of a step up from the Vespas and Topolinos of the film “Roman Holiday.” The European Investment Bank will not consider new financing of unabated fossil fuels, including natural gas, after 2021. Sweden’s Riksbank is selling bonds issued by the Canadian province of Alberta and the Australian states of Queensland and Western Australia due to those areas’ large climate impacts. How Australia’s big businesses saw the climate turning point coming. The world’s biggest gun has helped solve a long-standing space mystery: the risk that orbiting microdebris poses to satellites. Weather-tech startup Understory is selling Hail Safe, an insurance product that protects auto dealers from hailstorm damages. Think tank Macro Polo’s deep dive into the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) supply chain in East Asia. Adidas has abandoned its robot factory experiment. Open-source code will survive the apocalypse in an Arctic cave. Silicon Valley’s Singularity University is cutting staff, and its CEO is stepping down.  Elon Musk’s keep-it-in-the-family deal for SolarCity has become the top threat to Tesla Inc.’s future. The new dot-com bubble is here: It’s called online advertising. Designer Iris van Herpen’s work is inspired by the Large Hadron Collider. A fascinating look at how American brands became indelibly Japanese.  In data journalism, technology still matters less than people. The coming age of generative biology. Get Sparklines delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. And subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Nathaniel Bullard at nbullard@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nathaniel Bullard is a BloombergNEF energy analyst, covering technology and business model innovation and system-wide resource transitions.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Will Boeing Pull Off Another 737 Max Shocker As Grounding Nears End?
    Investor's Business Daily

    Will Boeing Pull Off Another 737 Max Shocker As Grounding Nears End?

    The biannual Dubai Airshow begins Sunday with the Boeing 737 Max still grounded, while rival Airbus looks to clinch a major new order for the A320.

  • Once-Mighty Gulf Airlines Turn to Budget Allies for Growth

    Once-Mighty Gulf Airlines Turn to Budget Allies for Growth

    (Bloomberg) -- From a desert outpost to a sprawling metropolis boasting the world’s biggest long-haul airline, Dubai has long epitomized rapid growth, and its biennial air show has typically mirrored that quest with record-breaking plane orders.But the last two years haven’t been easy on the aviation industry or the global economy, turning the event, which starts Sunday, into a barometer for future demand.Boeing Co.’s 737 Max, a star at the 2017 gathering, is grounded following two fatal accidents. The Airbus SE A380 super-jumbo has been canceled, and the three big regional carriers -- Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways -- are re-evaluating their fleet requirements and route networks after gorging on wide-body orders in the last decade. The appetite to invest more has also been dented by the fallout from lower oil prices and trade tensions roiling global economies.Dubai has become a crossroads for global air travel, a strategy emulated by Abu Dhabi just to the south and nearby Qatar, which is now excluded from the air show because of regional political tensions. But more recently the major airlines have sought closer ties with local budget carriers to supply passengers and rekindle growth, changing the dynamic in a part of the world that long championed the hub concept and put a focus on big aircraft.“The Middle East is in a state of flux,” said John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting in London. “The super-hub model has been a tremendous success in exploiting the Gulf’s geography, but we’re seeing changes in the landscape as competition intensifies from more direct services and the hub carriers look to a future beyond the A380 with smaller equipment and a different approach to obtaining effective feed for their networks.”A cooperation accord between Dubai-based Emirates and sister company FlyDubai has already morphed into a de facto merger, while a recent agreement will see Air Arabia establish a short-haul operation in Abu Dhabi to provide vital traffic to Etihad, which is struggling under the weight of $4.8 billion in losses over three years.The move comes after Etihad abandoned a bid to build a global network from airlines including Air Berlin Plc and Alitalia SpA following a string of failures, prompting the state-owned company to cut routes, shrink operations and slash plane orders worth more than $21 billion.Air Arabia may announce an order for 100 Airbus narrow-bodies with a sticker price of $10 billion, people with knowledge of the matter have said, spurred by existing growth plans together with the Abu Dhabi deal.Emirates, which likes to make a splash at its home expo, has yet to sign off on 70 Airbus wide-body jets worth $21 billion at list prices. But Emirates President Tim Clark has said the deal is on hold amid issues with the planes’ Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc engines, and it’s not clear if a new strategic plan the company is working on will impact fleet requirements. Also at stake is a $15 billion commitment for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners that remains unconfirmed.Initially lukewarm on getting close to its sibling, Emirates has embraced a strategy promoted by the airlines’ state owner, with the pair embracing route rationalization to minimize duplication. Emirates is reconsidering its fleet requirements after Airbus abandoned the A380 jumbo, for which the Dubai carrier is by far the biggest customer. Two years ago at the air show, Emirates came close to ordering more of the model, before putting the deal on ice and later opting for a far smaller number.Emirates’ activity at the show will be closely watched, and the “jury is out” on any additional orders from the airline, Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London on Nov. 15. This year’s show will be Faury’s first as CEO, having taken over from Tom Enders earlier this year.Growth at FlyDubai, the Max’s second-biggest customer has been hampered by the jet’s grounding. The carrier now serves 22 cities from the Emirates terminal at Dubai International Airport, and Clark has said other airlines could shift to the sheikdom’s secondary Al Maktoum hub -- where the air show takes place -- to accommodate further integration.Local conditions continue to add pressure on Gulf carriers to join forces. Mideast demand initially roiled by the impact on economies of plunging oil prices, and that’s been exacerbated by a broader regional slowdown fueled by trade and political tensions.The region is a focus for conflicting geopolitical forces “with real consequences for aviation,” International Air Transport Association CEO Alexandre de Juniac said at an Arab Air Carriers Organization meeting Nov. 5. Mideast airlines will lose $5 per passenger this year, versus an average global profit of $6, the industry group estimates.It’s possible an Air Arabia plane purchase could see Etihad reduce its own wide-body backlog with Airbus, said George Ferguson, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.“This shift is challenging for the aircraft manufacturers,” he said. “They like any order, but they’ll really miss demand for large aircraft even as they add single-aisle deals.”\--With assistance from Guy Johnson and Francine Lacqua.To contact the reporter on this story: Layan Odeh in Dubai at lodeh3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at, Christopher Jasper, Benedikt KammelFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Jet grounding and delays overshadow Dubai Airshow

    Jet grounding and delays overshadow Dubai Airshow

    An eight-month crisis over the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX jets and widespread industrial delays are setting an unpredictable backdrop to next week's Dubai Airshow, with some airlines reviewing fleet plans even as others look for bargains. The biennial civil and military expo is a major showcase for wares from jumbo jets to military drones but faces growing questions over demand and the capability of overstretched suppliers, delegates arriving for the Nov. 17-21 event said. Top of their agenda will be the worldwide grounding of the 737 MAX in the wake of two deadly crashes.

  • PRIMECAP Management's Most Significant 3rd-Quarter Portfolio Changes

    PRIMECAP Management's Most Significant 3rd-Quarter Portfolio Changes

    Firm buys into cybersecurity and oil, sells Airbus Continue reading...

  • GE Gets $4 Billion Jet Engine Order As Aviation Rival Stumbles
    Investor's Business Daily

    GE Gets $4 Billion Jet Engine Order As Aviation Rival Stumbles

    Qatar Airways announced it has ordered Leap-1A engines from a General Electric joint venture to power 50 new Airbus jets.

  • Hong Kong's Cathay defers delivery of four Airbus planes as demand falls

    Hong Kong's Cathay defers delivery of four Airbus planes as demand falls

    In addition to delaying the arrival of three A321neos at regional arm Cathay Dragon and one A320neo at budget carrier HK Express, it said it would retire one Boeing Co 777-300ER and one Cathay Dragon A320 earlier than expected. Months-long anti-government protests paralysed parts of Hong Kong again on Thursday, forcing school closures and blocking highways and other transport links amid a marked escalation of violence.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 3-Hong Kong's Cathay defers delivery of 4 Airbus planes as demand falls

    Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said on Thursday it would defer the delivery of four Airbus SE narrowbodies in 2020 as it cuts capacity to deal with falling demand due to anti-government protests in its home city. In addition to delaying the arrival of three A321neos at regional arm Cathay Dragon and one A320neo at budget carrier HK Express, it said it would retire one Boeing Co 777-300ER and one Cathay Dragon A320 earlier than expected.

  • Airbus A320 Nears Big Order Amid Boeing 737 Max Woes But Its Military Jet Sputters
    Investor's Business Daily

    Airbus A320 Nears Big Order Amid Boeing 737 Max Woes But Its Military Jet Sputters

    Airbus seems poised to win an order for 100 jets from Air Arabia, as Boeing 737 Max groundings persist.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 1-Airbus frontrunner to win big Air Arabia order - sources

    DUBAI/PARIS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Airbus is likely to win an order for at least 100 jets from Air Arabia with an announcement possibly coming as soon as the Dubai Airshow next week, two sources told Reuters. Air Arabia, which has held talks with both Airbus and Boeing and said it would make a decision by January, was expected to select the European planemaker, the two sources said. Airbus declined comment.

  • Airbus frontrunner to win big Air Arabia order: sources

    Airbus frontrunner to win big Air Arabia order: sources

    DUBAI/PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus is likely to win an order for at least 100 jets from Air Arabia with an announcement possibly coming as soon as the Dubai Airshow next week, two sources told Reuters. Air Arabia, which has held talks with both Airbus and Boeing and said it would make a decision by January, was expected to select the European planemaker, the two sources said. Airbus declined comment.

  • German military refuses to take delivery of two Airbus A400M planes

    German military refuses to take delivery of two Airbus A400M planes

    Germany's air force said on Wednesday it had decided not to accept delivery of two Airbus A400M planes, citing recurring technical problems with the military transporters. The air force said the A400M had taken part in nearly 1,700 missions and formed the backbone of its air transport for carrying personnel and material, air-to-air refueling and humanitarian aid missions.

  • Airbus says could stretch A220 airliner, but has no current plan to do so

    Airbus says could stretch A220 airliner, but has no current plan to do so

    Airbus SE's Canadian-designed A220 narrowbody jet has the potential to be stretched to carry more passengers but the company has no current plans to do so, a top executive said on Tuesday. Air France KLM SA , which has a firm order for 60 A220 jets, has expressed interest in a larger variant of the plane. In a presentation to investors, Air France KLM last week posted a slide referring to a larger A220-500 plane.

  • Flying 14 hours or more? Boeing sees longer routes as 'key' for growth

    Flying 14 hours or more? Boeing sees longer routes as 'key' for growth

    Serving airlines that will operate flights lasting 14 hours or longer is a "key consideration" for Boeing Co's global growth strategy over the next 20 years, an executive said on Tuesday. "Globally, if long haul is growing 5% per year, ultra long haul is growing twice that per year," Darren Hulst, a managing director at Boeing, told Reuters in Sao Paulo while discussing market forecasts for the next 20 years. Commercial aviation overall is expected to grow 4.6% per year on average between 2019 and 2038, according to a Boeing market study released in September, representing a slight slowing from the previous pace of about 5%, according to figures compiled by the World Bank.

  • Boeing 737 Max Gets Another Mysterious Order Despite Grounding
    Investor's Business Daily

    Boeing 737 Max Gets Another Mysterious Order Despite Grounding

    Boeing received an order for its troubled 737 Max for the second straight month as the worldwide grounding could be nearing the end. Boeing stock fell.

  • Are Passenger Jet Engines Hitting Their Technical Limits?

    Are Passenger Jet Engines Hitting Their Technical Limits?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The high-pressure turbine blades in a Trent 1000 passenger jet engine have to withstand temperatures far above the melting point of the nickel alloy from which they’re made. It’s a fiendish technical challenge for the engine’s British manufacturer, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc — comparable to trying to stop an ice cube melting inside a kitchen oven on full blast. The solution found by the company’s engineers was to blow cool air through tiny holes in the blades. Unfortunately this clever approach has encountered some unexpected problems.Boeing 787 aircraft operated by British Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Virgin Atlantic and others have been grounded in recent months for inspections and repairs because the Trent 1000 engine blades have been degrading faster than anticipated. It’s the type of problem that’s becoming common in the industry as the demands placed on engines become ever greater.The expense of dealing with these things is rising too. Last week, Rolls-Royce quantified the cost of fixing various Trent 1000 issues at 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion), a cash outflow the debt-laden manufacturer can ill afford.Few inventions have done more to transform our life over the past century than jet engines. They’ve let people travel faster and further, and they’re remarkably safe. Passenger fatalities like the one caused by a turbine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight last year are rare. Developed at enormous expense and using innovative new materials, the most recent “powerplants” (to use engines’ industry name) are comparatively quiet and fuel efficient.Yet these innovations have taken the technology closer to its technical limits and reliability issues have crept in. “By pushing the envelope on thrust and efficiency, things have started to go wrong elsewhere in the system,” says Nick Cunningham at Agency Partners. This is worrying because companies are under pressure to build even more efficient propulsion systems to curb carbon emissions. Rolls-Royce’s problems appear the most serious — some 40 787s powered by its engines are parked — but this is an industry-wide issue. Forced to ground planes and adjust flight schedules, airlines have resorted to leasing replacement aircraft and have told engine manufacturers to pay compensation.In September Tim Clark, the boss of Emirates, said manufacturers are delivering aircraft that don’t do what was promised. “Give us airframes and engines that work from day one. If you can’t do it, don’t produce them,” he said.The laws of science aren’t the only thing testing the engine makers. Airbus SE and Boeing Co. have brought several new passenger jets to market in quick succession and their powerplant suppliers have had to ramp up production rapidly. A lot of new demand is from emerging markets where dusty or polluted air can put additional strain on engines.Airbus production was thrown into chaos last year by engine glitches involving Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan (GTF) for the A320neo, Airbus’s top-selling jet. More recently the launch of Boeing’s 777x wide-body aircraft was pushed to next year after the premature wearing out of a General Electric engine component.It’s one thing for an engine to miss tough production targets, but quite another for engines to fail once they’re in service. “Engine manufacturers have always had teething problems but in four decades I’ve never seen anything like the list of technical issues they’re been having lately,” says John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting. This month India threatened to ground scores of Airbus A230neo jets operated by domestic carrier Indigo unless the Pratt engines were replaced by the end of January. The warning followed several incidents of engines shutting down in-flight.In October Lufthansa AG subsidiary Swiss temporarily grounded its Airbus A220(1) fleet so the Pratt engines could be inspected after a spate of powerplant failures (the debris from one such incident was recovered from a French forest last week). Since then Canadian regulators ordered the same aircraft not to operate at full power above a specified altitude.About 70% of airlines and lessors surveyed by Citi Research said groundings caused by engine issues were a key concern. Some are looking to operate mixed fleets to lessen the risk of one engine type being grounded. While that’s prudent, it’s more expensive than using a single type of equipment.The risk for engine manufacturers is that reliability issues cost them market share. Earlier this year Air New Zealand switched an order for 787 jet engines to GE after problems with its Rolls-Royce kit. Indigo placed a $20 billion order with the GE/Safran engine joint venture rather buy from Pratt (Pratt claimed the decision was price-related).The problems haven’t affected all new technologies. Rolls-Royce’s XWB powerplant for the Airbus A350 has proven reliable so far. The core gearing innovation underpinning Pratt’s GTF also appears to work as planned; a relief because it cost about $10 billion to develop.  There’s more at stake, though, than airline flight schedules and manufacturers’ pride and profitability. As with the car industry, the aerospace sector is gearing up for an epochal effort to curb carbon emissions. Aviation accounts for 2%-3% of greenhouse gas emissions but the sheer volume of plane deliveries in coming years will counteract engine efficiency gains. Aviation’s share could rise to between 10% and 25% by 2050, a Roland Berger study found. Unlike carmakers, the airlines lack viable technological alternatives. Biofuels have potential but fully electric large commercial aircraft are probably decades awayEngine manufacturers are working on still more efficient jet engine designs. Rolls-Royce claims its Ultrafan technology will deliver a 25% improvement in fuel burn compared to the first generation of Trents. Bringing these innovations to market quickly is essential from a planetary perspective but rushing development could prove counterproductive. “My sense is that public opinion in Europe at least is moving quicker than the technology,” says Rob Stallard at Vertical Research Partners.Cunningham is even less optimistic. “Gas turbines are running out of road at just the point where the political impetus is toward greater decarbonization,” he says. “Jet engines are unlikely to get a lot better from here.”(1) The plane was developed by Bombardier Inc and was known as the C-Series before Airbus acquired a majority stake.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Boeing Max Return Has More Layers Than an Onion

    Boeing Max Return Has More Layers Than an Onion

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Boeing Co.’s 737 Max may be inching toward a return, but the crisis is far from over.The airplane maker said Monday that it continues to aim for Federal Aviation Administration certification of updates to the troubled Max in the current quarter, which could allow it to start delivering the jets  in December. It could take several more weeks to finalize pilot-training requirements, which would mean airlines wouldn’t technically be allowed to fly the planes until January at the earliest. And then airlines would need more time on top of that to bring planes out of storage and implement said training. Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc. said last week that they weren’t planning to fly the Max as part of their fleets until early March, nearly a full year after the second of two fatal crashes prompted a worldwide grounding of the plane.This is a shift from Boeing’s forecast of a fourth-quarter return for the Max. While Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg had warned the Max’s return may be “phased” in across geographical jurisdictions amid greater scrutiny from the European Union, it now appears that the FAA’s approval process will have multiple steps as well. In hindsight, there was a subtle wording shift in Boeing's third-quarter earnings materials to "regulatory approval for the Max return to service" in the fourth quarter, versus its language in July, which mentioned an unqualified "return to service."Still, investors viewed the news of December deliveries as a positive, and it has a clear appeal for Boeing. The debate over pilot-training requirements has the potential to get contentious with families of the victims of the two Max crashes and Canada Transport Minister Marc Garneau among those who have advocated for much more rigorous (and expensive) simulator training. And Boeing doesn’t have a lot of time to wait. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that it has two months’ worth of parking space left before it will have to explore other storage options for a glut of undeliverable Max jets. In the worst-case scenario, continuing delays to the Max’s return could force it to reduce or halt production.Why the FAA would be willing to throw Boeing a bone like this is less clear. I will note that in the company’s news release updating investors on the timeline for the Max, Boeing says it’s “possible” the FAA will allow it to start delivering jets in December. Still, this is the most detailed plan yet for the Max’s return to commercial flight and can be taken as a sign that Boeing feels confident there won’t be further snags as it enters the final stages of winning the FAA’s approval for its fixes. That will be a relief after reports last week that regulators found Boeing’s documentation for a proposed software fix lacking and requested that the paperwork be resubmitted.Getting the plane back in the sky may be Boeing’s most pressing task, but it certainly isn’t the end of this story. Even with the potential to deliver Max jets before pilot training is finalized, attempting to deliver 30 to 40 planes per month while holding on to the current 42-a-month production rate could be a “logistical nightmare” in terms of costs and human capital, SunTrust analyst Michael Ciarmoli wrote in a report this week before Boeing’s timeline update. Then there’s the matter of compensation for the airlines. With major executives signaling they aren’t happy with what Boeing has offered so far, the company’s estimate for $5.6 billion in customer concessions, net of insurance, is likely to rise. Airlines may also want to be compensated for the public-relations pushes they are planning to help convince the flying public that the Max is safe to fly. American CEO Doug Parker said last week that the cost of the damage to his airline from the Max grounding “should be borne by the Boeing shareholders because this was their failure, not ours.”All of this is before you get to the lasting consequences of the Max crisis, which could range from tougher regulatory reviews to a reconsideration of the rampant consolidation governments have allowed in the aerospace industry. Also on Monday, the EU stopped the clock on its review of Boeing’s purchase of a majority stake in Embraer SA’s commercial-jet program amid concerns that it will wipe out the only remaining viable competition to Boeing and Airbus SE’s duopoly. It’s hard to fathom similar concern in the U.S., where Boeing is regarded as a national champion and lawmakers are concerned about the risks posed by Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac. Indeed, no lawmaker pressed CEO Muilenburg on antitrust during his two days of testimony before Congress last month. But there is room to push back on Boeing’s consolidation of its supply chain. It’s not healthy for one company to have so much power and the Max crisis should force the U.S. to reckon with that.  To contact the author of this story: Brooke Sutherland at bsutherland7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brooke Sutherland is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and industrial companies. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.