LONDON – This week’s issues with the GE9X on the 777X are not helping things on the Boeing front, especially with the delays they have already. Welcome to The Editor’s Corner.
The Editor’s Corner is an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.
In case you have missed the last 33, feel free to browse through them before you continue to read this piece:
- The Editor’s Corner #1: The Industry Isn’t Ready for Summer 2022 Demand
- The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s Offer for Spirit Airlines Will Change The American Airline Dynamic
- The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
- The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge
- The Editor’s Corner #5: Detriment of the Boeing 737 MAX & 787 Is Causing a 777X-Based Aftershock
- The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ Plans For The Future Will Turn Around Negative Times
- The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F Market Is Hotting Up…
- The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary Is Gunning For Another Cheap Boeing Order
- The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine Crisis: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Snap-Up from Aeroflot May Have Something To Do With A Red Carpet…
- The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Lessors Will Not Win The Russia Battle
- The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines Are Slowly Changing Their Mind…
- The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up
- The Editor’s Corner #13 – Video Footage From RedAir Flight 203 Highlights Dangers of Carrying Luggage During an Evacuation
- The Editor’s Corner #14 – The Spirit-Frontier-JetBlue Battle for Merger Will Be Remembered As A Mess
- The Editor’s Corner #15 – Flyr, Norse & Norwegian Have Opportunity to Capitalise on SAS’ Woes
- The Editor’s Corner #16 – The Airbus & Boeing Battle Will Heat Up At Farnborough
- The Editor’s Corner #17 – My Predictions for Farnborough Were Well Off…
- The Editor’s Corner #18 – Why Do Airports & Airlines Fight Over Chaos When Government is to Blame?
- The Editor’s Corner #19 – Manchester Airport Has Resolved Its Chaotic Period – But Improvements Are Needed…
- The Editor’s Corner #20 – Ukraine Crisis: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s Russia Return Was A Mistake From The Get-Go
- The Editor’s Corner #21 – More Than Meets The Eye to The Emirates-United Codeshare
- The Editor’s Corner #22 – Israel Banning Boeing 747s Will Have Massive Impact on Cargo Operators
- The Editor’s Corner #23 – Amid Their Chaos, Qantas Is Taking The Fight to Air New Zealand
- The Editor’s Corner #24 – The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive
- The Editor’s Corner #25 – Downfall of Doncaster Represents The Beginning of the Regional Collapse
- The Editor’s Corner #26 – The A35K/Delta Order Rumour Mill Highlights Strong Momentum for Airbus
- The Editor’s Corner #27 – IndiGo Leasing 777s Reflective of Demand for Indian Travel
- The Editor’s Corner #28 – Airbus A321XLR Can Make Wizz Air A Global Success Story
- The Editor’s Corner #29 – A British Airways-easyJet Merger Would Change The Landscape
- The Editor’s Corner #30 – Boeing Has Conceded Defeat To Airbus In The Narrowbody Market?
- The Editor’s Corner #31 – The Chinese Regional Market Is Hotting Up
- The Editor’s Corner #32 – JFK’s New Terminal 6 Will Come Too Late
- The Editor’s Corner #33 – Finnair’s Strong Brand Will Enable A Significant Bounceback
777X Engine Issues Are Not Helping Things
The Boeing 777X has had quite the week, not at the fault of its own structural integrity, but with its engine supplier, GE Aerospace.
With the GE9X suffering an unspecified issue, this has caused a joint investigation into what went wrong.
This is going to cause Boeing headaches, especially at a point when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is watching them like hawks in the desert.
The GE9X Incident…
Boeing had to temporarily suspend flight testing on the 777X this week due to an unspecified issue on the GE9X engine.
It is understood that the issues came about during a period of testing in which the aircraft was conducting thermal exceedance evaluations.
This isn’t the first time the engine has had issues. Back in February 2018, GE Aerospace had to delay the first flight with the engine due to issues with the high-pressure compressor as well as durability issues.
Such redesigns had to take place, which pushed back the Entry-into-Service of the aircraft type even further.
The 777X expects to be approved by the FAA in the Summer of 2025.
Tim Clark Has Already Had His Say…
According to AviationWeek.com, Emirates President Tim Clark has already had his say on this, which isn’t surprising given the airline will be the launch customer for the type.
He believes that if the problem is serious with the engine, then this will hold up the approval process from the FAA.
And this will be the case if the problem ends up becoming a major problem.
Tim Clark has already been on the fence about whether he will cancel or convert orders, so all eyes are on Boeing to ensure this problem is rectified quickly.
More Headaches for Boeing?
This will no doubt create some more headaches for Boeing, especially on a project that is already causing this through the numerous delays announced already.
For Boeing, the 777X is a project that they will want to get off the ground as soon as they can, especially with Airbus stealing market share every day through the use of their Airbus A350-900 and -1000 and ULR aircraft, respectively.
With Boeing also suffering through the re-certification process of the 787 Dreamliner program as well, this does place a lot of the long-haul market share at a crisis point for the American planemaker.
Now, of course, this isn’t something to provide an easy fix for, as Boeing learned the hard way a few years ago with the 737 MAX, but the priority will be to get these aircraft in the air and delivered before Airbus runs away with things.
Not Needed When FAA Scrutiny Is At An All-Time High
This GE9X issue is the last thing Boeing would want, especially when the FAA is already applying maximum scrutiny onto the planemaker as well.
There is no doubt that the FAA will keep an eye on GE Aerospace and Boeing to see what the results of the investigation will be and how thorough it was.
I personally believe that such delays are going to dampen further Boeing’s efforts to recover, and they already seem to have conceded this.
As mentioned in The Editor’s Corner #30, CEO Dave Calhoun has already conceded this on the short-haul, narrowbody perspective, with him saying:
“We won’t contemplate a new airplane; we won’t even put it on the drawing board until we know we’re capable of doing that”.
“So this is a strategy for us. Capabilities. And then there’ll be a moment in time where we’ll pull the rabbit out of the hat and introduce a new airplane sometime in the middle of next decade.”
“What matters is the capability you bring to that airplane. Is it differentiable enough to put you in the leadership position?”
“I don’t want to fill a gap in a product line; I want to build a product that’s going to differentiate in a way that absolutely substitutes the airplanes that came before it.”
So could this spread over to the long-haul market? That is the question that needs answering from Boeing.
Overall: Boeing Needs GE To Fix Things Sharpishly
It remains clear that Boeing needs GE Aerospace to identify the issues with the GE9X quickly, as well as to solve the issues as well.
What remains the priority is that Boeing cannot have another aircraft go into commercial service that isn’t safe, especially with something as important as propulsion.
It would be a silly mistake for Boeing to make, especially as they have already learned from the hard lessons surrounding the 737 MAX.