Boeing’s unending crises may force shift to other aircraft types by airlines

This is not the best of times for aircraft giant, Boeing as the company is faced with many problems that threaten its existence.

The latest problem results from whistleblower claims that its B787 Dreamliner planes have structural failings that could eventually cause them to break apart, adding to the unprecedented crisis facing the aviation giant.

But the new allegations come at a bruising time for the Virginia-based company, two weeks after CEO Dave Calhoun and other senior executives announced they would step down following a series of damaging stories about the safety of its jets.

The recent problems bedevilling the company could make Nigerian carriers shift focus to its biggest competitor, Airbus as the French company is making inroads into the country and becoming the preferred choice for some Nigerian carriers.

In the face of the Boeing crisis that started after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, killing all 157 passengers onboard, Ibom Air, Nigeria’s fast-rising airline placed orders for ten brand new A220 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow in November 2021.

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Just late last year, the carrier received the first of 10 new Airbus A220-300 aircraft it ordered from the European manufacturer.

The airline’s CEO, Mr Udom said, “The introduction of the Airbus A220-300 to our fleet is a game-changing leap forward for Ibom Air. The decision to invest in a fleet of highly efficient brand-new aircraft to power our growth plans underscores our determination to offer no less than world-class airline services to our valued customers.”

Just recently and mostly during peak seasons like Christmas, Air Peace got Airbus airplanes because of the demand at that period.

On the other hand, Air Peace recently signed another milestone deal- a firm order for five brand new Embraer 175 aircraft and a planned maintenance facility with support from Embraer to service the aircraft locally.

The carrier has over the last three years taken delivery of more than three of the Embraer 175 aircraft, having a mixed fleet comprising B777, Airbus, and Embraer aeroplanes.

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Overland Airways had September last year has taken delivery of its first Embraer 175. The domestic jet is the first of three new aircraft set to join Overland Airways’ fleet over the coming years, which also has options for three more jets to expand its operations even further.

Although operators like Azman, Max Air, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, and Nigerian Eagle have their fleets dominated by B737 classics and Next Generation, the focus for airlines in the country is moving towards Airbus, ATR, Bombardier, and Embraer among others because of their fuel efficiency and the low cost of operations.

Calhoun said a door plug blowout on a Boeing 737 Max plane flown by Alaska Airlines in January was a “watershed moment for Boeing” — and now the company he leads until the end of the year is again forced to defend its safety record and protocols.

Meanwhile, after more than 50 years, Boeing has finally announced plans to cancel the Boeing 737 program. The company is going to launch a new and long-awaited B797 aircraft to replace the 737.

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In a real surprise, the company says development work has been quietly underway for some time, and the aircraft should be certified relatively quickly.

Though the MAX is once again flying, it has not been smooth sailing. We all know about the plug door flying off Alaska 1282 due to poor workmanship. Management’s arrogance and continued failure to fix the company led the government to take drastic action.

It has refused to certify the MAX 7 and MAX 10 variants until minor defects are fixed. It has also prevented Boeing from increasing production rates of the MAX, frustrating every airline that is desperately waiting for Boeing to live up to its promises.

Wole Shadare