GE Aerospace Faces Persistent Supply Chain Struggles Amidst Boeing Slowdown

Abhishek Nayar

21 Jun 2024

The global aerospace industry continues to grapple with supply chain disruptions that show no signs of abating. According to Russel Stokes, head of GE Aerospace's commercial engines and services, the challenges plaguing supply chains are expected to persist through next year, even as Boeing’s production rates slow down.

Collaboration with Boeing

GE Aerospace, a critical player in the aviation sector, co-produces the engines for Boeing and Airbus narrow-body jets through its CFM joint venture with France's Safran. This partnership supplies engines exclusively for Boeing's 737 MAX family. Despite aligning with Boeing's reduced production targets for this year, GE is working closely with its suppliers to prepare for an anticipated ramp-up in production in the future.

"A Challenged Environment"

Stokes expressed cautious optimism about long-term improvements in supply chain conditions. "I'm confident that over time things are going to get better," he remarked. "'s still a challenged environment for this year and probably next year." The sentiment underscores the ongoing difficulties in the aerospace sector, particularly with material availability and production bottlenecks.

Impact of Regulatory Scrutiny

Boeing's production slowdown has been exacerbated by increased regulatory scrutiny following an incident in January where a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines jetliner mid-air. As a result, GE Aerospace has revised its LEAP jet engine production estimates downward for this year. While the production deceleration could allow the supply chain to catch up, there is also a risk it could further complicate an already strained system.

Pandemic’s Lingering Effects

The root of many of these issues can be traced back to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a significant drop in air travel demand and the subsequent layoffs across the aviation industry. These disruptions have had a lasting impact, making it challenging to scale up jet production and increasing turnaround times in jet engine repair shops.

Engine Repair Delays: A Major Constraint

Engine repair delays have emerged as a significant constraint for the aviation industry. Some airline CEOs have highlighted these delays as a critical issue, impacting fleet readiness and operations. GE Aerospace's dominance in the engine market for narrowbody jets and its strong position in widebodies underscores the importance of resolving these delays.

Innovative Solutions to Supply Chain Bottlenecks

To address the persistent supply chain challenges, GE Aerospace has taken several innovative steps. The company has deployed 500 engineers to work directly at supplier and sub-supplier sites and is leveraging artificial intelligence to navigate through bottlenecks. Additionally, GE plans to implement a technology used to identify forged artwork to detect chemical anomalies in metal parts, aiming to reduce turnaround times at its repair shops by 30% from the previous year.

Meeting Airline Demand

Despite the challenges, GE Aerospace remains committed to supporting airlines' needs for more engines. Stokes emphasized, "We're doing everything that we can in support of that." This commitment highlights GE's proactive approach to mitigating supply chain issues and meeting the demands of the aviation industry.

The Road Ahead

As GE Aerospace navigates through these turbulent times, the company’s efforts to innovate and adapt will be crucial in overcoming the supply chain hurdles. While the environment remains challenging, the steps taken today could pave the way for a more resilient and efficient future in aerospace manufacturing and services.

With Inputs from Reuters

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What Does Korean Air's New Contract with Boeing Mean for the Aviation Industry?

Abhishek Nayar

21 Jun 2024

In an exciting development for the aviation industry, Korean Air has signed a new contract with Boeing to supply additional fuselage and wing structures for various aircraft models. This agreement, set to begin in 2025, extends their current partnership and highlights Korean Air's pivotal role in advanced aerospace manufacturing.

A Deepening Partnership

Expanding the Agreement

Korean Air's recent regulatory filing on June 17, 2024, revealed the new four-year contract with Boeing. This agreement includes the supply of fuselage and wing structures for the B737, B767, B777, and B787 models. While the exact value of the contract remains undetermined due to fluctuating aircraft sales, Korean Air estimates it to be worth approximately KRW900 billion (USD652 million) based on Boeing's projections and market analysis.

Expertise in Aerospace Manufacturing

Korean Air Aerospace, the company's manufacturing division, brings extensive experience and advanced capabilities to the table. Known for non-autoclave curing, integral carbon-fibre parts, and automation, Korean Air has been a trusted supplier for Boeing since 2005. Their production of B787 parts, including carbon-fibre composite skins with integrated stringers for the aft fuselage, underscores their expertise and innovation.

Beyond Boeing: A Diversified Portfolio

Collaboration with Airbus

Korean Air Aerospace's capabilities extend beyond Boeing. They maintain significant contracts with Airbus, producing essential components like wingtips, tip extensions, and winglets for the A320 and A330 models. This diversification not only demonstrates their broad expertise but also enhances their reputation as a leading aerospace manufacturer.

Military and Space Ventures

In addition to commercial aviation, Korean Air Aerospace is involved in the military and space sectors. Their work includes manufacturing eight AH-6 helicopter fuselages for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. This venture into military and unmanned aerial vehicles showcases their versatility and commitment to advancing aerospace technology across various domains.

Implications for the Aviation Industry

Strengthening Global Supply Chains

The renewed contract between Korean Air and Boeing reinforces the stability and reliability of global aerospace supply chains. As airlines and aircraft manufacturers navigate post-pandemic recovery, such partnerships are crucial for meeting the increasing demand for new aircraft and maintaining rigorous production schedules.

Innovation and Technological Advancements

Korean Air's advanced manufacturing techniques, particularly in carbon-fibre composites and automation, set a high standard for the industry. Their contributions not only support Boeing's aircraft production but also drive technological advancements that benefit the broader aerospace sector.


Korean Air's new contract with Boeing marks a significant milestone in their long-standing partnership. With an estimated value of KRW900 billion, this agreement underscores Korean Air Aerospace's pivotal role in the aviation industry. Their expertise in advanced manufacturing, coupled with a diversified portfolio that includes Airbus and military projects, positions them as a key player in global aerospace supply chains. As the industry continues to evolve, the contributions of companies like Korean Air will be instrumental in shaping the future of aviation.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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Embraer's Remarkable Surge in the Aviation Industry

Abhishek Nayar

21 Jun 2024

The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is enjoying a robust uptick in demand for its aircraft, leading to a significant boost in its stock price. The company, recognized as the third-largest aircraft manufacturer globally after Boeing and Airbus, is riding high on the wave of substantial orders and deliveries.

American Airlines: A Game Changer for Embraer

A notable catalyst for Embraer's recent success is a massive order from American Airlines. The airline confirmed an order for 85 Airbus A321neos, 85 Boeing 737 MAX 10s, and an impressive 90 Embraer E175s, with an option to increase the total to 133 E175s. This order alone now constitutes 10% of Embraer's backlog, highlighting the growing confidence in Embraer's capabilities and the quality of its aircraft.

Record Backlog and Impressive Deliveries

Embraer's backlog has hit a seven-year high of $21.1 billion, marking a 13% increase over the previous quarter. This surge is not only attributed to passenger aircraft but also to the growing demand for Embraer's private jets. The Embraer E2 series, in particular, has seen a significant rise in orders, with a total backlog of 194 units, including 179 E19-E2s and 15 E190-E2s.

Deliveries have also been impressive. In Q1 2024, Embraer delivered 67% more aircraft compared to Q1 2023. This included 25 jets, with 18 from the executive aviation segment and seven passenger E-jets. Among the E-jets, four were E195-E2s and three were E175s, indicating a balanced demand across different models.

Key Customers: Azul Airlines, Porter Airlines, and Azorra

Several major airlines are contributing to Embraer's burgeoning backlog. Brazilian carrier Azul Airlines accounts for 30% of the E195-E2 backlog with 51 aircraft. Canadian carrier Porter Airlines is expecting another 43 jets, while Azorra has ordered most of the E190-E2s, with a total of 12 aircraft. These orders reflect the global appeal and reliability of Embraer's aircraft.

Competitive Edge in the Regional Aircraft Market

One of Embraer's competitive advantages is the availability of its production slots from 2026. In contrast, Boeing and Airbus are sold out until the end of the decade, making Embraer an attractive option for airlines seeking quicker deliveries. This timing advantage, combined with the impact of Boeing's troubled 737 MAX production, enhances Embraer's position in the market.

Financial Resurgence and Market Capitalization

Embraer's market capitalization has seen a remarkable recovery, increasing by around 70% this year. Rising from approximately $3.5 billion to over $5 billion, the company's stock is on an upward trajectory. This recovery is particularly notable compared to its low in 2020 when its market cap dipped below $1 billion. Although it remains below the 2007 high of almost $9 billion, the current growth trajectory is promising.

Diversified Portfolio: Beyond Commercial Aircraft

Embraer's success is not limited to commercial aviation. The company is also a key player in the defense sector, supplying aircraft such as the A-29 Super Tucano and the KC-390 Millennium. The first KC-390 Millennium for the Hungarian Air Force recently completed its maiden flight, showcasing Embraer's expanding global footprint. The defense and security backlog amounted to $2.4 billion in Q1 2024, underscoring the company's diversified and resilient business model.

Conclusion: The Sky is the Limit

Embraer's recent achievements underscore its strategic growth and resilience in a competitive industry. With a robust backlog, significant orders from major airlines, and a diversified portfolio, Embraer is well-positioned to continue its upward trajectory. As the company navigates the skies of commercial and defense aviation, its innovative approach and timely delivery schedules make it a formidable player on the global stage.

Stay tuned as Embraer continues to redefine the future of aviation, one flight at a time.

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WestJet Mechanics Threaten Strike: Will Your Travel Plans Be Disrupted?

Abhishek Nayar

20 Jun 2024

In a significant development for Canadian aviation, WestJet Airlines' mechanics have issued a 72-hour strike notice, signaling potential travel disruptions later this week. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that approximately 681 aircraft maintenance engineers and other skilled employees would halt work by 9 p.m. ET on Thursday if their demands are not met.

What Triggered the Strike Notice?

The union's decision to strike comes in the wake of ongoing negotiations with WestJet, which have not yielded a satisfactory agreement for the mechanics. The primary concerns revolve around pay disparities and working conditions. The mechanics are pushing for improved wages and benefits to narrow the earnings gap with their higher-paid counterparts in the United States.

Impact on WestJet Operations

WestJet has sought to reassure passengers, emphasizing that the strike notice does not necessarily equate to immediate travel disruptions. The airline has formally requested intervention from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board and the Minister of Labor under the Canada Labor Code to prevent the strike and ensure continued operations.

Context: Recent Developments in WestJet Labor Relations

This strike notice follows closely on the heels of a successful negotiation between WestJet Encore's pilots and the airline. Last week, the pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), ratified a new five-year contract, securing pay increases. WestJet Encore, the regional wing of WestJet Airlines, operates an extensive network of regional flights essential to the airline's overall operations.

The Competitive Landscape: WestJet vs. Air Canada

WestJet, owned by Onex Corp, is embroiled in a competitive struggle with Air Canada, particularly concerning labor relations. Both airlines are striving to meet employee demands and bridge the pay gap between Canadian aviation workers and their American peers. This labor dispute is a critical test for WestJet as it navigates these turbulent negotiations.

Potential Consequences for Travelers

Should the strike proceed, it could result in significant disruptions for passengers, particularly during the busy summer travel season. Travelers with upcoming flights are advised to stay updated on the situation and consider contingency plans. WestJet's proactive request for government intervention underscores the seriousness of the potential strike and its broader implications for the airline's operations and reputation.

Conclusion: Navigating the Uncertainty

As the clock ticks towards the Thursday evening deadline, both WestJet and its mechanics are under intense pressure to reach a resolution. The coming days will be crucial in determining whether a strike can be averted and what measures will be implemented to mitigate any impact on passengers. Stay tuned for further updates as this situation unfolds, and prepare for possible changes to your travel plans.

In the meantime, WestJet passengers should keep a close eye on communications from the airline and be ready to adjust their itineraries if necessary. The outcome of these labor negotiations will not only affect WestJet's operations but could also set a precedent for labor relations in the Canadian aviation industry.

With Inputs from Reuters

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Air Canada Pilots Edge Closer to Strike Amid Contract Dispute

Abhishek Nayar

20 Jun 2024

In a significant escalation of their contract dispute, Air Canada pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), have taken their case to the Canadian Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Despite negotiations that began in June 2023, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement. The ALPA has filed a notice of dispute, triggering a mandatory intervention process.

Government Intervention: A Race Against Time

Following ALPA's filing, Canadian Minister of Labor Seamus O’Regan has a 15-day window to appoint a conciliation officer. This officer will then have 60 days to mediate discussions between the pilots and Air Canada. If no agreement is reached within this period, and without an agreed extension, a 21-day cooling-off phase will begin. Post this phase, ALPA could initiate a strike vote—a potential disruption that looms over the peak travel season.

CEO's Vision Versus Pilot's Reality

Michael Rousseau, President and CEO of Air Canada, highlighted the airline's progress during the Annual General Meeting in March. He emphasized cost control, revenue generation, network expansion, and improving passenger experience as key priorities. Additionally, Rousseau stressed the importance of employee unity, citing the hiring of over 8,000 new employees in 2023 and numerous town hall meetings aimed at fostering a cohesive company culture.

However, this optimistic vision sharply contrasts with the grievances expressed by the pilots. According to Charlene Hudy, chair of Air Canada’s ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC), the airline has consistently undervalued its pilots’ contributions. She pointed out that the proposed pay packages lag significantly behind those of pilots at American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.

Pay Discrepancies: A Longstanding Issue

The crux of the dispute lies in the pay disparity. Hudy criticized Air Canada for failing to restore pilot salaries to pre-9/11 levels, a milestone that other North American legacy carriers have long surpassed. She noted that Air Canada's pilots earn roughly half of what their counterparts at U.S. legacy airlines make, a stark gap that has only widened over time.

Potential Impact: Strikes and Service Disruptions

The prospect of a strike during Air Canada's peak season is a significant concern. Should negotiations remain at an impasse, the resulting strike vote could lead to extensive service disruptions, affecting thousands of passengers and potentially tarnishing the airline’s reputation.

Conclusion: Seeking a Path Forward

As the clock ticks, the urgency for a resolution grows. Both sides must navigate this complex landscape, balancing the pilots' demands for fair compensation with the airline's operational and financial goals. The coming weeks will be critical in determining whether Air Canada can achieve a harmonious agreement or face a turbulent period of labor unrest.

The outcome of these negotiations will not only impact the airline's immediate operations but also set a precedent for labor relations in the Canadian aviation industry. All eyes are on Air Canada as it attempts to navigate through these challenging skies.

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Is Embraer Poised to Disrupt the Narrowbody Aircraft Market?

Abhishek Nayar

20 Jun 2024

In recent weeks, speculation has been rife about Embraer's potential move into the narrowbody aircraft market, traditionally dominated by Boeing and Airbus. With reports from prestigious outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes hinting at imminent plans, and Brazil Journal suggesting an announcement as early as next year, industry watchers are abuzz with anticipation. However, is there any substance to these rumors?

CEO's Cryptic Confirmation

At Embraer’s annual media days in São José dos Campos, the company’s CEO, Francisco Gomez Neto, addressed the swirling rumors head-on. His initial response, "We were expecting this question," set the stage for a candid discussion about Embraer's future. Gomez Neto acknowledged that while Embraer possesses the capabilities to produce larger commercial aircraft, there are no concrete plans to launch a new narrowbody model in the immediate future.

"We are always studying opportunities for new products, not only in commercial but in all other business units as well," Gomez Neto explained. "We can do different products, but at this point in time, we don't have concrete plans to do a bigger airplane."

Strategic Vision for Growth

Embraer's focus, according to Gomez Neto, is on achieving the company’s ambitious revenue target of $10 billion by the end of the decade. Reaching this milestone will enable Embraer to improve its financial performance and generate the cash flow necessary to consider expanding its product lines.

"By doing that, we will further improve our financial performance and will generate more cash. Then we will be in a better condition to talk about the future," he concluded.

Capitalizing on Market Conditions

While a new narrowbody aircraft might not be on the horizon, Embraer is strategically positioned to capitalize on current market conditions. Both Airbus and Boeing are grappling with extensive backlogs and production delays, creating a window of opportunity for Embraer. The company’s agility and shorter delivery timelines present a compelling alternative for airlines needing to expand their fleets quickly.

"Because of the constraints in the delivery of big narrowbodies in the future, we are a great opportunity and a great solution for the airlines to add capacity more quickly to their fleets," Gomez Neto emphasized.

Rapid Deliveries: A Competitive Edge

A key example of Embraer's competitive edge is American Airlines' recent order of up to 133 E175s, with deliveries set to begin as early as next year. This rapid turnaround is in stark contrast to the industry giants. Forecast International estimates Boeing and Airbus have backlogs extending over 11 years. For instance, easyJet, which ordered narrowbodies from Airbus last October, does not expect deliveries to start until 2029.

Buying from Embraer could mean the difference between waiting nearly a decade for new aircraft and receiving them within a year. For airlines racing to meet burgeoning demand, this agility could be a decisive factor.

Embraer's Promising Position

Despite not diving into the narrowbody market just yet, Embraer remains a significant player with a unique value proposition. Its ability to deliver aircraft swiftly amidst the prolonged production schedules of its larger competitors makes it an attractive option for airlines worldwide.

The future might hold new ventures for Embraer, but for now, the company’s strategy focuses on leveraging its strengths and maintaining its position in the competitive aviation market. As Gomez Neto indicated, achieving financial goals and solidifying their market presence will pave the way for any future expansions, keeping industry insiders and observers eagerly awaiting Embraer's next move.