Posts Tagged ‘Dreamliner delays’

Dreamliner delayed again and Qantas dramatics continue – now with B747 engines

January 19, 2011

Boeing has delayed the Dreamliner again — for the seventh time!

The Telegraph reports:

Boeing told investors on Tuesday that the 787 will now be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of the year, rather than the first, after a fire on one of the test planes in November. All test flights were suspended for six weeks after the fire.

The 787, which seats 210 to 250 passengers and has a list price of $202m, promises to be the company’s greenest and most efficient airliner yet and uses advanced composite materials to achieve these savings. However, technical problems have pushed the aircraft behind schedule and it is now into its third year of delays. Boeing is under pressure to deliver the 787, which has become the company’s fastest-selling airliner.

Shinichiro Ito, the president of All Nippon, said last week the airline is having a “hard time” dealing with the delay. Boeing has secured 847 orders for the 787, which took its maiden flight in December 2009. Boeing insisted the latest setback will not have a “material impact” on its results, something investors appeared to agree with.

Meanwhile Qantas experiences further problems with its Rolls Royce engines . AFP reports on two Boeing 747 Qantas flights with engine problems:

A Qantas passenger jet bound for New York made an unscheduled stop in Fiji after it developed a problem with one of its engines, the Australian airline said Wednesday.

Qantas said flight QF107, a Boeing 747, carrying 375 passengers from Sydney to New York via Los Angeles, touched down in Nadi on Tuesday for repairs to a fuel valve supplying one of its engines…..

…… The hitch comes just days after another Qantas Boeing 747, QF11 to Los Angeles, experienced a contained engine failure on the runway of Sydney airport due to a turbine blade defect.

Media reports on that incident said that passengers heard “a loud bang” and saw black smoke pour from the affected engine, with the captain reportedly telling those on board that the engine had “cooked itself” over the plane’s intercom.

The “contained”  engine failure is the more serious issue. The Boeing 747 long-reach aircraft flown by Qantas uses  Rolls-Royce RB211-524G-T engines. The “T” at the end signifies that it includes some of the Trent modifications. The Trent 900 engines are used on the Airbus A380s while the Trent 1000 is  planned for the Boeing Dreamliner.

A Trent 1000 experienced an uncontained failure on the test-bed last year while the Trent 900 has had an uncontained failure and a number of other difficulties on the A380.

Related:

https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/rolls-royce-trent-1000-fix-is-defined/

https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/in-flight-failure-of-rb-211-524-engine/

https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/qantas-a-380-suffers-in-flight-rr-trent-900-engine-failure/

https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/trent-900-vs-gp7200-competitive-pressures-getting-too-hot/

https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/further-boeing-dreamliner-delays-and-rolls-royce-shares-feeling-the-heat/

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Airbus vs. Boeing: or a tale of the marketing of delays and engine problems

November 26, 2010

For large, complex, expensive, high-technology products (airplanes, turbines, power plants or ships for example) it is usually not worth indulging in too much negative marketing based on a competitor’s technical difficulties. Early technical difficulties and “teething” problems are common and when a competitor has difficulties it usually leads to some feeling of satisfaction but it is tempered by the knowledge that one could easily suffer similar difficulties. So when GE experiences some problem with its gas turbines or Areva has delays in its nuclear plants there will never be an overt, negative marketing campaign by Siemens against GE or by Westinghouse against Areva.

File:Airbus A380.jpg

A380: image wikipedia

And this is the current situation between the Airbus A380 and Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The A380 had its share of delays and was over 2 years late in coming into service. Right now the troubles that Rolls Royce are having with their Trent 900 engines is not helping the A380 image. (There are only two engines available for the A380 but it is noteworthy that the General Electric / Pratt & Whitney Alliance which manufacture the GP7200 engine which competes with the Trent 900 are not indulging in any overt negative marketing). The “Rolls Royce effect” for Airbus is currently negative because of the Trent 900 issues but it is indirectly mitigated by the reports of delays in developing the Trent 1000 which is one of the engines for Boeing’s 787.

File:Boeing 787first flight.jpg

B787 First flight: image Wikipedia

As Airbus fights to get airlines to accept the A380 their “best friend” strangely is the delays to the B787 Dreamliner program. The Dreamliner has been further delayed by an electrical system fault which caused a fire on a test flight in early November. For an airline the decision of choosing between Boeing and Airbus has become not one of comparing the advantages each has to offer but instead one of judging the risk exposure that a choice may bring. It becomes a comparison of potential “downsides” and risk mitigation possibilities rather than selecting between potential “upsides”.

For Airbus and Boeing, their sales processes now have to emphasise the risk mitigation available with their products rather than promoting all the advantages their products have to offer. This is unusual for a “sales process” but nothing new in the history of marketing of technologically new products. But it is not so easy for corporations, their salesmen and for sales processes to shift from promoting advantages to the much more difficult task of showing that the risks (whether of delay or of technical difficulties) they pose are less than that of the competitor. Even in terms of financing, the usual offers of financing and leasing packages for the customer must now additionally address the mitigation of financial and consequential exposures in the event that a risk materialises. When a single A380 costs around $320 million, a Boeing 747-400 about $250 million and a Dreamliner has a price tag of $150 -200 million, then downtime and delays have enormous financial consequences for the customer. Marketing strategy for new products in the face of heightened risk perceptions is quite different to the marketing of “tried and tested” products. But this is a fascinating marketing challenge!

The latest reports of delays to the Dreamliner has led to harsh words about Boeing from a potential customer. CityAM reports:

QATAR Airways has threatened to hand extra business to European aircraft giant Airbus after attacking Boeing over problems with its new 787 Dreamliner. Chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline was considering increasing its order for five Airbus A380 super-jumbo planes and might order a re-engined version of the A320 single-aisle jetliner. He did not say how many more A380s it might order.

Qatar has expanded its fleet from four to 94 aircraft in 13 years and has orders for 200 more from Airbus and its US rival Boeing worth $40bn, including 30 Dreamliners. Al Baker said Boeing had “failed” in developing its 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to suffer further delays following a fire on a test flight.

Boeing’s development of the carbon-composite 787 is running around three years late and brokers expect a further delay as it addresses the cause of a fire which led to the test flight being grounded two weeks ago.

But I would expect that there is a strong element of price negotiation in Qatar Airways’ statement!

Now Boeing 787 Dreamliner delayed by fire on test flight

November 11, 2010
2nd Boeing 787 First Flight

First flight of Boeing 787 No.2: Image via Wikipedia

An electrical fire could have a myriad of causes and does not necessarily have any fundamental design implications, but the Dreamliner does not need further delays even for fairly trivial faults.

The Press Association reports:

Boeing has grounded its test fleet of new 787 passenger jets while it investigates an electrical fire that forced one of the planes to make an emergency landing. On Tuesday, a 787 on a six-hour test flight had to make an emergency landing in Texas after the crew reported smoke in the rear of the plane.

Boeing said it would take several days to analyse flight data and stopped flights for all of its 787 test planes “until we better understand the cause of the incident”. Spokeswoman Loretta Gunter said it is not yet clear how long it will be until test flights resumed. “We don’t have a schedule in mind right now,” she said.

The company plans ground tests on the planes while they are not flying.

Ms Gunter said the fire started in a power control panel in a rear electronics bay on the test plane. Boeing is inspecting the power panel and the area around it to see if other repairs are needed. The fire cut the plane’s electrical power. Boeing said back-up systems including a ram air turbine – essentially a wind-powered generator – functioned as expected.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Tuesday’s incident and the National Transportation Safety Board is monitoring the situation but has not sent investigators to the scene.

It is the latest setback for a plane that is already about three years behind schedule. Boeing had hoped to deliver the first 787, which it calls the Dreamliner, to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the first quarter of next year.

“We are committed to finding the cause quickly but will not rush the technical team in its efforts,” the company said.


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