Colleen O Brien, Scott Hamilton, Dave Ross discussed on Seattle's Morning News
Morning News. Dave Ross with Colleen O Brien, and joining us is Scott Hamilton, a journalist who has covered bowling and Airbus and Aerospace for a long time has written a book called Air Wars. And Scott, You became an expert on Airbus and every Boeing employee listening wants to know when Boeing is going to be able to dominate Airbus. Once again because they've fallen behind. What did you learn about Airbus that Boeing needs to know? Well, unfortunately, it's it's more about Boeing's own internal MCA nations rather than what they need to know about. Everybody say they know everybody perfectly well. But Boeing has fallen behind over the last couple of decades. They've relied on derivative airplanes. They've gone. Down. The path of shareholder value is their number one priority. And, quite frankly, to retake the lead over Airbus. Boeing needs to do another Moonshot. And what would that be A What did they try that failed? What it should be, is a brand new airplane that that is really far advanced over Airbus. The Did that in a way with the 7 87. It was an all composite airplane. They had a whole new industrial path to build in the airplane design in the airplane. Unfortunately, they mucked that up in this fallen so far behind Airbus, now up and down the entire product line, except for the 7 87. That Boeing needs another Moonshot to really come back. Well, that was going to be the replacement for the 7 37. But instead they re engineered it. And did the Max Are you saying that they have to abandon the max and start with a blank sheet of paper for for that type of airplane? They couldn't simplistic answer is yes, but they're not going to abandon the Max. For another decade or 15 years. Even There's just too much money put into the max. At this point, the customers have ordered around 4000 of them. So that airplane is going to be around for a long time. But What they need to do in the 2030 decade is have a really advanced her plane to replace the max. And to be a real step change versus the Airbus A 3 20 family. What was the turning point for Boeing that you saw Airbus starting to take over? Was it 10 years ago? 23rd. How far back do we go when Boeing took a turn for the worse? In my view, and there's I think this is a fairly common view among going employees. It was the so called McDonald Douglas takeover of Boeing. Harry Stonecipher proudly said that he wanted a company that focused on profits, not engineering, and he was very Proud of that statement, do you? It can be Googled. It's out there in many locations. And when Boeing was looking at developing the 7 87 or what became the 7, 87, Stonecipher and McDonald really pushed the industrial outsourcing on design and production. That became so problematic witness 7 87. They wanted to do the 7 87 for half the price of the Triple Seven and, of course. It became one of the greatest industrial screw ups of all time. Have they learned from that? Have they brought the engineering back in house? Is there as the culture change to put engineering first again? I think the answer to that is yes And no. They have certainly brought a lot of engineering back in house. But In a move to cut costs, Boeing engaged in a lot of early buyouts, early retirements and just simply lean off. Engineers. And then you have on top of that. The fact that it was just a very aging workforce and you just had normal retirements as well. One of the key reasons that point wanted to do this tried factor with Embry era. Was to access the lower cost production down there in Brazil, as well as The young engineering force at Embry era. Calhoun has, of course, walked away from that joint venture, and there were good reasons for that. But what a boils down to is that Boeing is really got a shortage. Of institutional knowledge and engineering talent now, so in writing this book was it to lay out perhaps that Boeing has coming for Airbus or that Airbus is coming for Boeing. Well. The purpose of writing the book was to provide a history and biography of sorts of John Leahy. Leahy, eight was the one constant for his 33 years at Airbus in the sales department, and he headed sales for 23 years. And that's a record unmatched by anybody. Boeing's certainly has lifers. But they were moved around in other areas of Boeing and Leahy had an unblemished line of continuity and sales, which gave Airbus an advantage in the end. So the purpose of the book was to really take a look at that and how Airbus really overtook Boeing during that 33 year period. Who has the winning formula in this competition? Is it going? Will they win by bringing stuff in house and ramping up the Puget Sound workforce? Is it Airbus with the international consortium or is that the newcomer which understand is China? Which, of course, is a police state? They don't have to worry about strikes. They can pretty much tell their workers when to show up and what to do. China is probably a good generation away from becoming a viable threat. Two Airbus and Boeing their airplane that is the direct competitor to the 3 20 in the 7 37. It's called the C 919. It's 14 years late, or it's actually been in development for 14 years by the time the first airplane is supposed to be delivered at the end of this year. That's just an extraordinary gestation period and the ability of China to ramp up production is going to be very limited. Initially, they hope to get just over 12 a month. Boeing and Airbus, You know, pre pandemic issues. Pretty Max grounding issues. We're looking at 70 a month each for those airplanes, so Airbus and Boeing can can really smother that. So that's that's a good generational way. The problem that Boeing has a which puts them at a disadvantage to Airbus. Is that the entire product line except for the 7, 87 and the Max eight Is arguably inferior to the entire product line of Airbus on the Puget Sound workforce. What's the future of that as long as the Max And the Triple Seven are in production. I think you're going to have A pretty solid Puget sound work for us, but we saw but we moved to 7 87 production. From ever down to exclusively in Charleston, South.