Boeing’s projection for more than 35,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years suggests a doubling of the size of today’s airliner fleet and a continuing trend in which airline traffic increases outpace economic growth.
Economy of the United States
To automobile mass-producers, automation in the aerospace manufacturing probably looks fundamentally immature. However, Boeing’s efforts in introducing robotics into 777 production at its widebody plant in Everett, Washington, have translated into some considerable efficiency gains following the company’s transition some eight years ago to a moving, U-shaped assembly line and simultaneous implementation of lean production processes.
Boeing has left little doubt that it harbors bigger plans for its new plant in Charleston, South Carolina, where by the end of this year it expects to deliver three Dreamliners a month.
The U.S. state of Georgia’s governor Nathan Deal is leading a business mission to the Paris Air Show–the state’s first ever participation–from June 16-19. Industry giants such as Boeing, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman operate in Georgia (Hall 3 AB 97), one of the top five states for aerospace employment. The state recently published a report on the economic impact of Georgia’s aerospace industry with the Georgia Department of Economic Development responsible for planning and mobilizing state resources to attract new investment.
Boeing’s projection for more than 35,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years suggests a doubling of the size of today’s airliner fleet and a continuing trend in which increases in airline traffic outpace economic growth. The outlook appears to reflect a growing confidence in the fidelity of the positive market indicators the company cited in its 2012 forecast, prompting the company to increase its projection for total airplanes by more than 1,000 units and value by some 7 percent.
The U.S. government spends more on its military each year than any other nation by far, but it will be a restrained Department of Defense (DOD) that presents itself at this year’s Paris Air Show. That’s because a previously obscure fiscal mechanism known as “sequestration” requires the DOD to cut $41 billion, or roughly 8 percent of its $527 billion base budget, by September 30, the end of the fiscal year on the government’s calendar.
Eclipse Aerospace announced late last week that it received FAA approval to double the life limit on existing Eclipse 500s and new-build Eclipse 550s to 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles. Cary Winter, senior vice president of engineering for the Albuquerque, N.M.-based company, said the extension “validated the strength and superiority of” the friction stir welding process used to assemble the aircraft’s fuselage and wings.
Automation in the aerospace industry remains fundamentally immature, and Boeing’s efforts in introducing robotics into 777 production might look like baby steps to the world’s automobile makers. But at Boeing’s widebody plant in Everett, Washington, those steps have translated into some considerable efficiency gains following the company’s transition some eight years ago to a moving, U-shaped assembly line and simultaneous implementation of so-called lean production processes.
Officials for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters charged Republic Airlines management last month with violating training rules and the recommendations of its FAA check airmen by firing the president of the carrier’s local Teamsters chapter, Craig Moffatt. In retaliation, the Teamsters pulled union volunteers involved in joint safety programs, crew scheduling, training and other functions for all three of Republic Airways’ regional subsidiaries–Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.
Boeing sent yet another signal last week that its use of cheaper labor markets in the southeastern U.S. would only accelerate when it announced plans to open a new propulsion engineering center in Charleston, South Carolina, to support the 737 Max. The move comes as part of a wider plan encompassing the establishment of new centers for engineering design and out-of-production airplane support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington State and Southern California.