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Boeing cites risks in design of A321XLR, Airbus' newest jet

Boeing has raised concerns over the design of arch-rival Airbus’ newest narrow-body jet, the A321XLR, saying a novel type of fuel tank could pose fire risks.The US plane giant’s intervention is not without precedent in a global system that regularly allows manufacturers to chime in whenever safety rules are being interpreted in a way that might affect the rest of the industry. ( More...

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Chris B 38
They have the right to comment.


Its all about using the lawyers and marketing people to put the other guy down.

Marketing politics.

How would Boeing feel if Airbus objected to the Max's design deficiencies, been overruled and look what happened.

Boeing has the 777X in progress. What could Airbus do to further delay a competitive aircraft?

Karma isn't pretty.....and eye for an eye makes everyone blind....
21voyageur 13
In business, there is not comment without reason. IMHO, this is calculated and targeted, unfortunately, to change the current narrative of all the recent Boeing issues. I guess it is an admission that they can't currently beat them in the marketplace and as such have resorted to fear-mongering. Quite sad actually, signs of survival mode management. AND let us not forget that shareholders are the primary customer of Boeing.

[This poster has been suspended.]

21voyageur 4
Saying that Boeing did not make the statement?
Wally Roberts 14
For many, many years Boeing has had a nasty senior management culture. They know no bounds.
Tim Segulin 10
Yes, I remember what they did to try and stop the Bombardier C Series.
AviationScott 31
Boeing should not be throwing any rocks in the enormous glass house they currently reside in and on several major issue, not just one or two. Very inappropriate on their part.
So if they perceive that there could be a problem they should ignore it
John Steiner 5
They should send Airbus a detailed letter of what they think, not go public regarding their view of a competitors product. This is especially true after the 737MAX and their human space product.
Peter Fuller 2
There’s nothing in the squawked article specifically identifying their source for the Boeing comments. The article only relies on “comments first reported to EASA by Flightglobal”. I looked in the news releases, found nothing on concerns about the A321XLR. It’s a stretch to contend that Boeing went public regarding their view of a competitor’s product.
21voyageur 2
I would say, correct. It is not their business to run another company much in the same way that they would be howling in protest if Airbus was poking their fingers in the Max8 fiasco. Common man, see this for what it is.
Jaime Terrassa 14
Boeing can't take care off there own problems why started worrying about airbus
belzybob 21
I guess that they became fuel tank expurts after TWA 800.
Andrew Bain 23
typical boeing should concentrate on its own problems and not try bring airbus down to there level,

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

patrick baker 19
boeing has not earned the benefit of any doubt with its own reprehensible behavior, so when they make these points, it falls on deaf ears. I didn't think boeing had the spare engineering time to look into outside problems, real or imagined, so lets ignore this as diversionary chatter. If it happens to be true, well , boeing guessed right finally one time, and one time only. Consider the source.....
Tom Bruce 18
Boeing trying to draw attention away from their own failures... MAX, KC46, 787, and maybe 779
Not as big as an Airbus but those flying small aircraft know at least couple airplanes where pilots used to sit just in front or sometimes even on top a full tank. Many are still flying. Robin had to change their fuel tanks as well. Those who fly small aircraft to Europe sometimes sit next to them.
Airbus pls double check and if necessary improve.
Cmon Boeing focus on your own problems
Derek Vaughn 10
Boeing's situation aside, this does seem like a legitimate concern.
Tim Dyck 1
That's a question that really should be answered.
Ed Schijf 18
It would a much better strategy for Boeing if they would check their problems (that cost so many lives) first before criticizing other manufacturers.....
Rock Pinard 2
agree 200% with you
What are the technical merits of Boeing's criticism? Did Boeing do a risk assessment? Does the severity of the risk include loss of the aircraft?

Many safety-critical industries regularly trade information on hazards among competitors. In medical device design, this sharing of information is actually mandated by consensus standards that guide safe product development. We routinely incorporate lessons learned from other manufacturers in design mitigations that reduce risk and increase safety.

I hope that Boeing is not dissuaded from performing this important role in safe aircraft design.
Roy Hunte 21
They're just making competitive hype because Airbus is adapting to change where Boeing is putting lipstick on a pig.
John Macaulay 1
Boeing is the pig, too!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

jptq63 4
Know the concern is about the location of the fuel tank, but is there any ability for public disclosure of the specifics Boeing is expressing concern about? I.e. would like to read the details to learn, and maybe, other folks could also make some reasonable input based upon the evidence.
Lewis Tripp -2
Amen, Jeff
srobak 8
Boeing needs to focus on their own aircraft safety issues.
jptq63 9
1) Does Boeing have a point? I.e. how much of a concern / risk it is actually for additional / location of the fuel tanks?

2) Could Boeing do, more or less, the same design to the 737 (call it the 737FT – fatty tank – or to avoid confusion with a freighter, the 737ET i.e. Extra Terrestrial, it could be out of this world…  ) and would they do it?

3)Is Boeing just trying to be a PITA?
Maybe all of the above? :)
Boeing stoops lower than Enron.
Noal Johnston 7
Wow! what a bunch of negative comments toward Boeing. I flew Boeing 747's and 727's for over 30 years and I still stand by them. Yes mistakes were made with the Max like those that were made by the early Airbus A320, Douglas DC-10, Lockheed Electra, and so on.
21voyageur 9
But the real issue here is the cheap fear-mongering being used by Boeing leadership. I don't believe that anybody seriously thinks that any manufacturer is perfect. If all they have as a strategy is schoolyard bullying, that is sad. They did similar with Bombardier when Boeing realized that they were being leap-frogged technology-wise with the C-Series now A220. That approach just sent Bombardier into the arms of Airbus - yet another brilliant (not) strategy by Boeing. The bottom line is that poor product strategy in the recent past has left them way way behind the competition and the market's needs.
Noal, good thoughts. Flew the 72 for 17 years in all seats. Best times in my life. I also flew the 73 series through the 8. I felt the 8 was a good bird but it didn't fly as solidly as the 200 and 300. New wing and not as nice in unusual maneuvers in the Sim. Very efficient but Boeing was starting to stretch efficiently over flyability. The Max was another level. Probably one too far. However I will never doubt my wonderful career fly Boeing.

You were my greatest Chief Pilot by far!
wiregold 3
346 MAX 8 deaths is not a "mistake", it was a calculated risk made by millionaire execs who stood to make money regardless of the outcome. Boeing is as corrupt as the city its headquarters are located.
So it works exactly the same as literally every form of transportation from bullet trains to tricycles?
Dale Rowett 2
There's a very old statement that goes something like “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” On another occasion, the same guy admonished, "Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." In other words, it's unwise to point out someone else's problems when you have problems of your own. This advice has stood the test of time.

Other commenters are not ignoring the mistakes made by the manufacturers you mentioned. They are criticizing the technique of exploiting the media to publicly denigrate a competitor's product, which appears to be a desperate attempt to damage the competitor while distracting from their own problems. Until recently, this was considered "playing dirty" and unethical.
clarify 2
I don't know if that advice has stood the test of time. How many potential whistle-blowers have decided just to keep their mouth shut and what has been the cost of that?

I think about how long some of the sexual abuse scandals were allowed to happen, even when people knew -- Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, University of Michigan. Even if the potential whistle-blowers are far from perfect, blow the damn whistle!
Dale Rowett 3
I shouldn't have to explain this, but publicly bashing competitor's product does not equal whistle-blowing. For those of you sitting in the back of the room, here is the definition of whistle-blowing: AIRBUS (not Boeing) employee sees an unsafe design flaw and brings it to the attention of his/her superiors who ignore the warning. So AIRBUS (not Boeing) employee reports the flawed design and the carelessness of his/her superiors to the FAA. THAT'S whistle-blowing.
John Macaulay 1
However, Noal Johnston, the mistakes the other airline manufacturers made did not iclude covering up and subterfuge covering up deaths which then led to would have the same cheery disposition about what a wonderful life you led at Boeing which then resulted in a perpetuation of the Boeing problems which then led to more deaths. I can't help but wonder if you hadn't been so lucky in the Boeing planes you flew (not MAX's) if you would have the same upbeat take on Boeing's corruption?
djmobile 1
Good answer! They’ve all had their share of problems. It’s just Boeing’s turn now. Leadership is the key to any business . Maybe the new CEO will straighten them out.
George Pepe 2
I bet this is just Boeing trying to get back at airbus for the 737 max issue. For a while, airbus had an advantage over Boeing because their neos actually flew. Now, Boeing just wants to gain some lost ground by dong that. I think so, anyway.
Joao Ponces 2
Boeing: How MORE dirty and low can you get? There is no shame?
Tom Bruce 3
wasn't was Boeing failing to put info in training manual on the device that kept sending the aircraft into a "nose down" attitude...with only one AOA sensor... so airlines wouldn't have to "train" pilots on the MAX..
David Whittle 4
What I find so reprehensible is that Boeing self righteously decries the competition whilst suppressing its own failures that have cost so many lives already.

In the Karma stakes Boeing is dangerously in Debt.

Take the most recent total loss of the Boeing 737 in Asia. News hit the wires immediately yet since that day there are no progress reports as to the probable causes of such a Terminal Accident, all souls lost.

And yet Boeing seeks to cloud as yet design features of a competitor.

Full disclosure Policy is what Boeing should pursue, but hey come on.....

Alan Mulally brought honesty to the Company for a time.
Gary Bain 5
The "most recent total loss of the Boeing 737 in Asia" has absolutely nothing to do with this topic. If you've read the most recent reports it is obvious that this is a maintenance / flight crew issue. Maintenance didn't fix the autothrottle problem and the flight crew couldn't/didn't handle a very simple problem which kind of negates maintenance not fixing the problem. The thrust lever moved towards idle and the engine wound down. Apparently neither pilot was paying attention. To associate this accident with the MAX problems is disingenuous. I'm now retired with over 25,000 hours and flew both the 737, all models from the 100 to the 700, as well as the 767 and the A320. I'd gladly go out and fly and unmodified 737 MAX this afternoon over an A320.I also happen to agree that a fuel tank molded into the side of the fuselage doesn't sound like a great idea. Its a relatively fragile area on any airplane. It will be interesting to see what EASA has to say.
narayan 0
Hey, you are a great pilot, so are many out there who understand the automation well. Still, it is a dumbass design by Boeing for the 737 MAX trying to extend its life trying to avoid major certification with its new engine. On top of that, they short changed their customers by making the dual redundancy AoA optional for MCAS. Cheap and stupid!
Boeing commenting on passengat safety - that's a laugh!
Jamar Jackson 2
I was taught it’s best to mind your business instead off all that snitching. Boeing snitched on Delta and Bombardiar and the next year two max jets fell from the skys.
shaggy skunk 2
Just stack up the fatalities on Boeing vs Airbus. Doesn't look good for Boeing.
Steven Palmer 2
Who was that from Hollywood legend who said "Well they would say that wouldn't they"
Greg77FA 2
Best Boeing focus on its own fix own house first, before pointing fingers at something that has not killed anyone yet. Can't same the same for the Boeing.
James Schmehl 2
That’s rich coming from a company with shoddy workmanship and poor quality control throughout is process and across its portfolio over the last few years!
william baker 1
This is just my opinion but I feel what Boeing is doing is trying to help a competior out and saying we dont want you to suffer losses like we did with the Max series. We have seen our problems play out hard and we want to make the industry safer then it is today. Maybe they learned there lesson??? Maybe they are just trying to put a competiors airplane because they know they are in trouble. Either way helping out saying there is risk is always a good step forward to creating trust with the general public.
Jeff Phipps 8
Bill - you can't be serious. Boeing is trying to help a competitor? Boeing tries every dirty trick in the book to kill off competition. They have a long history of it. If they can't win by making a better plane at a better price, they simply try to hurt the competition by screaming foul. Whether that's accusing of selling below cost, crying about subsidies, or even the safety of competitors. They enlist their lobbyist and lawyers to create an unfair playing field for themselves.
Robert Cowling 11
That would be fine, if it appeared that Boeing had learned anything from that experience. It appears that they have not. If anything, they have tripled down on the mindset that created that hot mess.

Boeing may have a point here, but they are not the once trusted engineering leader they were in the past. This looks like snipping at your competition and just basic 'poop slinging', hoping some sticks on Airbus to distract from the mass clinging to them. A wolf crying wolf?
Reminds me of Boeing’s efforts to kill the Bombardier CSeries.
Mike Didsbury 7
Boeing, I feel, has always believed it should be the only manufacturer of airliners
Ralph Falconi 1
No good! sitting on top of a few hundred gallons of airplane fuel, greed,
Edward Dexter 1
I thought it was nice of Boeing to offer its biggest competitor technical advice, lol.
Kevin Heath 1
Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black.
bartmiller 1
The fact that his issue comes from Boeing makes it more difficult to accept. It would be great to set that aside and try to understand the core engineering and safety issues.

With 5000 flying hours, I have always understood that having the fuel in your wings and not fuselage is a major risk for post-crash survival. Post-crash fire is a serious issue and I would never buy a plane that had tanks anywhere in the fuselage.

Both of the big plane manufactures are pressured to push their aircraft to higher and higher performance levels. And they are taking their smaller single isle planes into roles taken previously by much larger planes.

When you ferry a small plane across the ocean, such as the Oakland (Calif) to Honolulu route, you remove the extra seats and put a fuel take in the cabin, and allow the plane to be loaded over its certified gross weight. Of course, this requires a special ferry permit and no passengers are allowed. Fuel inside the plane is considered high risk.
Stefan Sobol 1
Thanks to Boeing there is a requirement for passenger aircraft to have fuel tank inerting systems, so an extra fuel tank in the Airbus shouldn't have any problems.
Erik Bruner 1
Boeing's reasoning is somewhat hypocritical. Airbus is useing a technique that Boeing used to extend the range of the MD-11. ie. Fuel tank in cargo and Boeing even went as far as using the horizontal stab for fuel as well.... Sorry Boeing, your arguement is flawed.
John Macaulay 1
Boeing is f'ing abysmal; has no leg to stand on; how chickensh_t of them to level accusations at the competition. I wish that I would run into the as_holes at Boeing who were responsible for their MAX issues (attempted coverup = murder) because the justice system has once, again, failed in holding Boeing accountable.
Tim Dyck 1
If there is a legitimate concern there should be (and probably is) a way of raising the issue without going public. This not only distracts from the issue but makes Boing look petty.
But now the important this a real safety concern? I might be on one f those planes some day and if it is a legitimate concern I hope it is looked into and everything is made safe befor it enters service.
Frank Barber 1
What about the A330 softwear glitch that had the aircraft diving towards the ground on 3 different aircraft with the pilots barely able to save it. See video on Qantas 72. No one got killed so it has gone unnoticed but it was close.
wiregold 1
The first move of the scoundrel unmasked is denouncing others.

If it's Boeing I'm not Going.
gatorbuc99 1
Ha, this is rich.
James Eaton 1
Clearly Boeing has had to change Strategy to now include identifying potential weaknesses of the competitor's products and highlighting them in the public forum. No doubt, such issues would have been aired privately in the past.

One has to question why Boeing now has the need to adapt this approach. Could well be the classic "divert attention away from the real problem" that any one under threat tends to utilise.

Nonetheless, despite whatever the motive may be, this is 'competition' in action - keeping the competition on their toes be it through pricing, design, innovation, etc.
Mike Didsbury 1
Sour grapes?
paul gilpin 2
Typical! I'm not sure it'll halp Boeing restaure their credibility after the 737 Max catastrophic venture! Being did not show, to say the least, ethical concerns and pointing finger on their arch-rival for technical issues does not provide any consistance to this claim of technical shortcoming of Airbus! And this for sure will not help improving the disastrous financial and industrial dismay of Beoing. They should devote all their efforts to mind their own flailing business!
i don t think that boeing has lessons for air bus ,remember what was said at the us senate during the investigation on the 737 8 max ,that the plane has been designed by clowns and supevised by monkeys , dont look over the fence to give lessons...
Gary Bain 2
I think clowns and monkeys better describes the U.S. Senate!
Randy Brown -1
Pretty harsh response here.
Boeing will survive no matter what.
Our National defense depends on it.
Buying Airbus weakens us as a country.
Airbus gets more government help in Europe that Boeing does here.
I know it is currently unpopular to “cheerlead for America”
Why are we being taught to hate ourselves?
N Porcello 4
Maybe we should start asking more of our aeronautics industry. Is Boeing to big to fail? That's a problem- How did they get there -by wiping out their competition that led to a very laissez faire manufacturing program at Boeing, that was heavily influencing the Federal regulation regime meant to protect the flying public. What everybody should hate is poor quality and unethical business practices where every they see them.
"Buying Airbus weakens us as a country."

Well, but supporting a corporation that is poorly run, and has the horrific record to prove it is just... 'Communist'.

The problem with the Russian version of Communism was that the 'state industries' ran with no competition, and there was no choice, or alternative. You drove the car the Politburo decrees, or you walked. If you wanted bread, and it was Tuesday, you went hungry.

So great to have an American willing to lay bare the idea that freedom only works if you support reckless American corporations. Nice... I was hesitant to fly in my first Airbus, and found the plane comfortable, and well apportioned. I actually enjoyed the services and setup of that plane. The 'Glory Days of Boeing' are gone. They seem to be, for at least 2 Max planes, the 'Gory Days of Boeing'...

I'm watching a Periscope Films promotional video of the 747. I don't think Boeing could pull that off in today's version of the company. And they aren't screwing up the aviation division, the rot has spread to their space systems divisions too. It's the head of the beast that is rotten, and the damage is spreading.
21voyageur 2
Valid point but only if you think that the approach being used by Boeing is acceptable and reflects American culture. It's cheap, it's pathetic, and it is sad to see Boeing stooping this low.
Regardless of all the negativity surrounding Boeing, they should be sounding the alarm for anything that may possibly compromise safety just as Airbus has the same right. I would certainly not wish to be on a plane with 50,000 pounds of fuel under my seat. Imagine a landing gear failure or a runway overrun. Has anyone considered how fragile airplane skin thickness is? 2.5 milimeters equates to 0.0984252 inch. I agree with Boeing [or anyone else for that matter] that raises concerns about fuel being in the same space as passengers. And yes, Boeing does have more than passing knowledge on fuel tanks. The two questions that arise here are #1 - Is Airbus compromising safety for range? #2 - What steps have they taken to protect the airplane body in the event of a fire?
wiregold 4
Has anyone considered using 6 sig figs when you only have 2 ...
Throwing a red flag at a superior MAX competitor aircraft is beyond obvious and further speaks to Boeing's NEED to appear safety conscious. Boeing killed half-again more than were killed in the Beirut blast.
Toss a couple of top decision-makers in the pen for manslaughter and you'll see actual safety consciousness.
JetMech24 1
If you sit anywhere that is in-line with the wings, you are sitting over a fuel tank. On every Boeing or Airbus aircraft.
Boeing was a great company now they are shit
James Bruton 1
Not a pilot but a frequent flyer, I would much prefer a wide body aircraft for a longhaul than a narrow body. Adding extra fuel tanks in the fuselage doesn't seem to me something I want to fly. Years ago KLM tried flying 737's across the Atlantic from Schipol. Even in business class it was not a pleasant flight and I only flew it once.
BREAKING NEWS - Pot calls kettle black! Reports, "Nothing to see here behind this 737 MAX!".
The 737 Max issues weren't a design issue - it was a TRAINING issue.
Fact: Two US Aircrews had the same failure occur.
No loss of aircraft or life. They reached down on the lower right side of the center column, and turned it OFF.
Why the foreign air crews could not is a mystery, but it screams INADEQUATE CHANGE MANAGEMENT and INADEQUATE TRAINING.

You can't blame that on the airplane. Instead of understanding the problem and what was happening, the crews tried to fight the controls. That was a fatal mistake for the foreign aircrews.

There is no product in the world anyone can make that can't be fouled up by someone without the right training.

And as someone who has flown in numerous Boeing and Airbus products, I prefer Boeing. They don't sound like they are falling apart when they land like the Airbus products do.
Randy Marco 5
WRONG... you are just another American cheerleader fanboy...

Not only was there WAS no training on the MCAS, there was NO mention of it ANYWHERE in the flight manuals, most ALL pilots were NOT even aware of its existence... let alone how it operates.

Fact.... It was sheer LUCK that there were no crashes in the U.S.
there was NO mention of it ANYWHERE in the flight manuals...

well, no mention anywhere except page 748 of the system differences training manual. If you don't have a good argument, make something up.
Gary Bain 3
Sheer LUCK? I don't think so.
Tom Bruce 0
perfect answer!
dulaney glen 0
dulaney glen 1
R.O.T.C Leadership Maxim: 'You can delegate Authority, but not Responsibility'. Not so in 'Business', even in Japan (Hari Kari seems out of fashion).

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

John Macaulay 3
what are you talking about?
matt jensen 5
Just as many anti EU too
Here we go again, if you are not with me you are against me, black & white thinking.
I'm original from Belgium and a couple years ago your president called Brussels a hellhole. So what, I personally think he still expressed himself nicely :) If somebody is thinking something different it does not mean he is against you. He just has a different opinion about the same subject. If my son would have been flying a Boeing instead of an Airbus, he probably still would have his job right now. The company that helps to recover the airline has American roots, just saying, I may be wrong as well.


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