How badly damaged is the Boeing Brand?!

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Lots of what I would consider related questions on this, but wondering just how badly damaged is Boeings brand at the moment? They have a fantastic product in the 777, but elsewhere they appear to have a fuw lacklustre products in the 747-8i, and you could argue, the new 737Max (which is as at pretty solid 40% of A320NEO sales), where even pro Boeing suporters would come out and say they were forced into producing it instead of their prefered new small aeroplane.

The real damage appears to have been done by the 787, which was significantly late, then the whole debarcle over the batteries, which I don't want to go into the details, but needless to say, many customers are not happy with the way it has been dealt with, even with some questions over the 'fix'. Wondering how many customers are being driven to the A350, and more importantly away from the rest of Boeings range.

The big questions surrounds the damage this is doing to the brand, with many customers departing to the A320 series (which could have longer term loyalty issues), and even supposedly loyal customers such as JAL and British Airways looking to Airbus for their Widebody fleets (the later after trying the A320 series).

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The way I look at it is the whole US aviation business is lacking innovation, I will explain that later..
The Dreamliner was so far behind its launch date it appears as if its been pressured to bring it to market when it's clearly not ready, and that has a knock on effect to their credibility.
The rest brings me back to innovation, they have simply sat on their ar*es and continued to spew out old designs regurgitated to a modern market, 737 XYZ model, 767 XYZ model, 747 XYZ model etc etc etc....
You can only sit on your past products for so long until you are simply out flanked by the Market place with the likes of Airbus and Embrarer who continue to launch new models.
A good example of this reflects in the Helicopter market, Bell etc are still spewing out Jet Rangers, Hughes the 500, all updates but very little new, hence they lost out in the home military market to the Lakota, true it had problems, but part of that was down to the US military not realising Air Conditioning was essential for the instrumentation etc, and it goes on from coast guards etc, there is the advantage in pedigree, but fuel costs, efficiency, design etc some point has to come into it, or we would all be still flying Spitfires.

Profile picture for user nJayM

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I believe they'll survive to re gain market share once the dross is sorted

I believe they'll survive to re gain market share once the dross is sorted.

Crazy sub contractor chains.;)

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I don't think we'll truly know until at least the 777-8X/9X are here. Or, when true a replacement comes for the 737/NG/MAX/X/Next/Whatever.

I think Airbus and Boeing have to be worried about the pressure coming up from the bottom - Bombardier and Embraer. Both have now got a strong hold in airline operations, and a growing global support network. Making it an easier proposition to expand into traditional Airbus/Boeing cash-cows (A320/B737).

Who knows if the lackluster sales of the A319NEO/B737-7MAX are down to the greater efficiency of the bigger models. Or, the option of the more optimized Bombardier C Series.

Not to mention, the threat from Russia and China.

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Bombadier and Embraer are definitely in the frame but the ...

Bombadier and Embraer are definitely in the frame but have some catching up in orders obviously and size/capacity.

The Western World may still be a little slow to take on the Russian and Chinese products (I may be proved wrong on this last aspect and time will tell)

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So far there is no evidence that there has been any damage to the Boeing Brand.
They've actually secured quite a few orders in the intervening time with the 787 mess. Including orders for the 787.

The way I look at it is the whole US aviation business is lacking innovation, .....

Then I guess the 777 and 787 were/are just collective figments of our imagination?
Same for the F18, F22, Osprey, etc?

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So far there is no evidence that there has been any damage to the Boeing Brand.

Any damage that has been done won't show in the short term. Even looking into the future, it'll be very hard to quantify the damage. Unless, of course, there is a dramatic shift in orders in the future.

It is going to be essential for Boeing to bring the 737MAX and 777X to the market without fault.

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The only thing the airlines are interested in is efficiency. If an aeroplane gets from a to b with good fuel savings against a competitor's aircraft then it will be successful. The Boeing designs are old but reliable. If Airbus has futher issues with their wing bonding on the A380 that may be a major factor in Boeing getting orders. New technology like bonded wings can be a dangerous thing to build a brand on if things go wrong. Remember the Comet. What seemed like a one-off crash turned into a product recall and the loss of the market.

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Surely you have just contradicted yourself:

The only thing the airlines are interested in is efficiency. ... If Airbus has futher issues with their wing bonding on the A380 that may be a major factor in Boeing getting orders.

If a company is adversely affected by a product not arriving on time, or disrupting its' schedule, giving it a PR headache, costing it money, then it will affect the brands viability, and an airline will think twice about buying from them in the future.

Compare how Airbus has played the wing rib issue with Boeing, the airlines are not 100% happy by any means, but the communications kept them on board.

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New technology like bonded wings can be a dangerous thing to build a brand on if things go wrong. Remember the Comet. What seemed like a one-off crash turned into a product recall and the loss of the market.

The BAe 146 is a bonded wing I seem to remember.
We lost the market lead not just over that but a whole host of others, such as the Governments insistence we shared the design data from the likes of the Trident with Boeing in a one sided cross cooperation idea that in one swoop allowed them to solve the design issues they were having with the centre intake of the 727, it's not by accident it looks similar, we handed the industry to them on a plate.

Then I guess the 777 and 787 were/are just collective figments of our imagination?

Two products, out of a range that is showing its age, I will discount Military as this isn't about those.

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I suspect that the 787 debacle will have an impact over the longer term, particularly if it is not resolved soon.

If Airbus can get the A350 to market on time and into service without any serious snags, then airlines are bound to look at it in favour of Boeing, all other things being equal.

That said, I much hope the 787 is back in the air soon. Having one company dip in the virtual duopoly that is the commercial airliner market can't really be a good thing for anyone.

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Let us not forget that Boeing trumped Airbus in orders and deliveries last year (although I expect Airbus to regain the former title again in 2013).

To say Boeing is lacking innovation I believe is unfair; the 787 is a hub for innovation surely (particularly with regard to the composites).

And whilst Boeing may keep it's models rolling off the production line longer than most (eg 737, 747 etc), they do invest more in the initial design and produce a superior initial product.

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And whilst Boeing may keep it's models rolling off the production line longer than most (eg 737, 747 etc), they do invest more in the initial design and produce a superior initial product.

Is that an opinion, or based on fact? :eek:

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I'm actually a big Airbus fan-boy, but the figures speak for themselves; estimated 787 development costs are estimated at $32B, A350 at $16B.

(I do appreciate these are only estimates and no-one but the men in suits really know, but it does show a disparity).

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Does the $32 billion also include compensation paid to airlines? Not to mention opening a new factory, buying out a subsidiary and wing root redesign. This figure is going to rise further after the battery problems.

It still doesn't support your opinion. The Boeing 787 was initially slated to cost $6 billion. The A350 was originally to cost $3 billion ( which wasn't a clean sheet design), but ballooned to over $15 billion after the initial warmed-over A330 didn't appeal to airlines.

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To be honest, I don't really see how the current problems with the 787 really hurt the overall image of the company. Though clearly the image of the 787 program will be affected.

Bare in mind that Boeing sells to airlines and governments. When they decide on a new fleet of aircraft, they do so on cold hard numbers. Usually the decision is also made by commitee, so one's individual emotions do not really influence the decision unlike when you or me buy for instance a car. So as long as safety, purchase price, operating costs and despatch reliability are fine Boeing will continue to sell. That most of Boeing's current catalogue are models that have been around a while does not matter much. They have been updated to keep them in line with current needs.

So yes, some of the Boeings are not at the bleeding edge. But sometimes an airline does not even want that. For instance, to maintain commonality with their '300 and '500 series Southwest asked for a 737NG cockpit as close to the classics as possible. They got what they wanted. Because Southwest was (and still is) one of the first and largest customers for the 737, the rest of the customers got the same package. Only later were more advanced features such as head-up displays added, and even then only as a option!

That's why for instance any Fokker F100 can land in near zero visibility while most (no?) 737NGs can not do that (maybe the latest NG's can, don't know for sure). Does that make the F100 a better plane... well, from an engineering point of view it probably is. Meanwhile Fokker has been bankrupt for 10 years while Boeing is fast approaching the 8000th B737. So again, it's all about the money.

That's not to say that the current mess with the 787 won't leave scars. The immediate scars are quite obvious: penalty payments for delayed planes, maybe some cancelled orders, maybe a few airlines that go to Airbus and the stock price that ain't that good either.

Longer terms it might become harder to get airlines on board as launch customers. There will always be launch customers, cause the sweeteners that are thrown in are usually very good. But the sweeteners will probably have to be even sweeter then they are now, moving the break-even point even further back. This might also affect the willingness of banks to provide financing.

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I remember when the A380 development started having issues and the aircraft flew/was delivered about 2 years later than Airbus' initial schedule. That aircraft and company got pretty slated at the time but the AI is still going strong. The fact that the 787 has been grounded for so long is certainly not helping Boeing's reputation though.

Boeing took a huge technological leap with the 787 and I think it's just unfortunate in some way that the 787 entered into service before the A350. The A350, an aircraft that isn't as 'advanced' in terms of volume of composite structure used, was planning on using the same battery technology. They could have easily had the same problems had the aircraft entered into service first.

I don't think any operator would want to see either company leave the market. Think how long it would take to get an aircraft, if every airline had to order from the one company (even with larger assembly lines)!

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I found it interesting then too. Boeing, and many of it's supporters took glee in mentioning all the problems whenever they could....Airbus (with this in mind), have been notably quiet with the 787 issues...

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I don't recall Boeing once making any snide comments about the A380. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?
I actually recall Boeing publicly congratulating Airbus on the A380s first flight. I think they may even have given a vote in confidence in their abilities when issues with the A380 arose.

I don't want to start a war here but if memory serves, only Airbus (or more accurately John Leahy) has actually publicly slagged off their rival when something went south. I cannot find the article in question. But Leahy made several very snide and negative comments about Boeing's 787 and 748 projects.

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There is no reason as to why Boeing's reputation will be damaged

OK, a revolutionary aeroplane has problems but that can be expected when new frontiers are croossed.

People are too quick to jump on the doom and gloom.

British Airways, just this last week, has converted 18 options for the 787 into firm orders for delivery 20-17-21.

So they are happy and in the longer term all the problems will have been ironed out.

Lead customers often get discounts for being the first on an untried type.

Some airlines hang back and wait for the 'B' model...that's how it's always been and always will be

Boeing did make one enormous blunder. That was to launch a project into the untried and at the same time guarantee a timescale...how foolish.

But any customer with an ounce of common sense would not have fallen for that one, even if they did use the fact to try and get a penalty. If an airline does order a new type without a contingency plan, that's their look out.