Boeing 787 recurring costs vs. recurring income

Few days ago I was discussing with some commenters on the blog of aviation analyst Scott Hamilton (Leeham News and Comment) about the recurring costs Boeing may be experiencing in the 787 program at the moment.

I used in the discussion the analysis I had made of the learning curve Boeing has experienced in the last 2 years according to cost reductions reported by its CFO, Greg Smith. See a post I wrote about it here. The result I reached is that lately they achieved a 87%. With information disclosed last year, the figure I arrived for 2013 was ~84%, see the post here. However, in the calculation to obtain the learning curve experience the actual costs are not needed, it is sufficient to know cost reductions achieved (reported) between given units.

However, when in 2011 I wrote a series of posts (1) about Boeing 787 break even, I did try to estimate what the cost of the first production units were using published information at the time. At that time it was disclosed that Boeing had about 18bn$ of work in process (WIP) and a number of aircraft in different stages of production. Reported average costs ranged from 250m$ to 400m$. I made some simple assumptions and arrived at an average cost of 310m$ for the first ~60 units.

The next step is to accommodate those average costs into a learning curve profile. The steeper the curve (75%) the more expensive the first unit would have been. Since in 2013 the calculated curve was a 84%, I obtain that the first must have been around 650m$ (2). From then on, I apply the mentioned 84% through end 2013. Then I switch to a 87% curve (slower learning) following the reported figures from Greg Smith.

This discussion so far gives an idea of how to estimate the recurring costs. At the end of 2014 this figure is estimated around 180m$.

In order to know by when Boeing will turn the production of 787s into something profitable, we first need to know by when the recurring costs will be lower than the recurring income. The latter is estimated from the information about prices (published by Boeing here) and discounts applied (estimated in other blog posts, see the last update for 2014).

Boeing list price for the 787-8 in 2014 was 218.3M$.

These list prices are, however, increased almost on a yearly basis by Boeing. Sometimes very steeply (+11.4% in 2010, from 2008) and other times more moderately (+2.4% in 2013 vs. 2012). Going into the future I assumed this increase to be constant and about equal to 2014′ increase, 3%.

On the other hand, Boeing applies some discounts to its customers. These are never disclosed. Some are reported by some sources. What I do is to try to estimate an average discount from reported information. See a detailed calculation here. The latest figure that I arrived at was about 47%. Going into the future I assumed this discount to remain constant. You can see here the recent evolution of discounted 787-8 prices.

With all these ingredients, the only thing left is to plot together the recurring costs and recurring income:

787 recurring cost vs. recurring income evolution.

787 recurring cost vs. recurring income evolution.

As you can see recurring costs may be lower than recurring income at the end of 2019.

This will truly depend on the learning curve achieved, the number of units produced (3) and the pricing power Boeing manages to have. If the learning is steeper, the date will be sooner. If the ramp up is higher, the date will be sooner. If the discounts are lower or the list prices increased more, the date will be sooner. In any other case, either 2019 or beyond.

(1) See the complete series here: “Will Boeing 787 ever break-even?“, “More on Boeing 787 break even” and “787 Break Even for Dummies“.

(2) We will never know that figure. I wonder whether this is even known or registered (if not deleted and forgotten) within Boeing.

(3) For the numbers of units built I based the model in reported information that the ramp up to 12 aircraft per month is expected for 2016. I assumed that in 2015 they are at somewhere between 10 and 12 aircraft per month.

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Boeing list prices increases vs. discounts increases (update for 2014)

In a previous post I updated the estimate of what is the average discount Boeing applies when selling its commercial airplanes using 2014 data of list prices, deliveries and reported revenues. The figure I came up with was a 47% discount. I included the following graphic showing the discount evolution:

Boeing Average Discount Evolution, through 2014.

Boeing Average Discount Evolution, through 2014.

Last year, seeing the increasing trend of average discount together with knowing the fact that Boeing regularly increases list prices triggered the following question: Have Boeing airplane discounted prices increased, decreased or stayed constant in the recent years? I set out to answer this question using the estimated average discount of each year (1) from the graphic above.

The Boeing list prices (LP) (2) can be found here. I have been recording those prices for years and thus have a table with the evolution of list prices for each model year by year. The following step is to apply the average discount estimated for each year to then-year list prices, to get the estimated discounted prices (EDP) (2) per model. Thus, a table can be built for the last 6 years.

You can find below the result for the best-selling aircraft during previous years: 737-800, 737-900ER, 777-300ER and 787-8. Together these 4 models amounted to over 640 deliveries in 2014 or 89% of the total 723 airplanes Boeing delivered in 2014.

Boeing List and discount Prices evolution table, 2008-2014.

Boeing List and discount Prices evolution table, 2008-2014.

In the table above I included in black figures what have been Boeing list prices of these models in the past years (as reported in their website) while I marked in blue the figures which are estimated, using as a departure point the calculated averages discounts per year (also included in blue in the table). I included as well the list prices year-on-year change as a % of the previous year list prices, per model.

The average list price increase included at the bottom line is computed with the information of all Boeing models (19 in 2008 and 20 in 2014, though different ones (e.g. last year addition of 777-8X and 777-9X), a total of 26 different models along this period), not only the 4 included in this table.

You may see in the table above that after not increasing prices in 2009, Boeing has steadily increased them in 2010 (6.3%), 2011 (4.7%), 2012 (6.7%), 2013 (1.9%) and 2014 (3.1%). However, if you take a look at the blue figures in the same table you will notice that prices of 2014 are between 2010 and 2011 price levels for all 4 models! That is, the widely announced yearly list prices increase has been yearly offset by a discreet (not-announced) increase in the discounts applied to the sales of airplanes. Thus, the pricing power of Boeing has remained barely constant during the last 5 years. You may see it better in the graphic below:

Boeing List & discount Prices evolution graphic vs. inflation in USA (through 2014).

Boeing List & discount Prices evolution graphic vs. inflation in USA (through 2014).

The graphic shows the price evolution for each of the 4 airplane models selected, taking as a reference their list and estimated discounted prices in 2008 (indicated as 100%) and also the evolution of inflation in the USA (3) in purple, to reflect the evolution of real prices (i.e. accounting for inflation). List prices are shown with straight lines, versus dashed lines used for estimated prices. Each pair of prices for each aircraft is presented in the same color for easier identification. Some comments to the graphic:

  • Through continuous increases, 2014 list prices were between 21% (737 and 777) and 31% (for the 787) higher than in 2008.
  • However, due to increasing discounts from 38% in 2008 to 47% in 2014, the increase in list prices is almost entirely offset (especially for 737 and 777, just 4% above 2008 levels).
  • 2014 discounted prices are below 2011 discounted prices for all models except 787.
  • If compare the evolution of prices vs. the US inflation (general prices in 2014 being 10% higher than in 2008), we see that:
    • Boeing actually lost pricing power in both the 737 and 777, which are cheaper in real (inflation-adjusted) discounted terms in 2014 than they were in 2008 (about 6% cheaper).
    • Only the 787 has been able to keep up the pace of discount escalation and inflation.

(1) There is no way to know the real price and discount that Boeing applies in each sale, as it will depend from customer to customer (American Airlines -AMR- or Fedex) and from model to model (737-800 or 787-8). There where competition is tougher, discounts will be higher. However, the estimates I have made are an average of all Boeing aircraft sold in a given year.

(2) Both list prices (LP) and estimated discounted prices (EDP) are expressed in then-year dollars.

(3) US inflation series since 2008: -0.4% (2009), 1.6% (2010), 3.2% (2011), 2.1% (2012), 1.5% (2013) and 1.6% (2014).

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Boeing discounts detailed calculation, 2014 vs. 2013

Last years I have published in the blog  some posts (1) dedicated to show what was my estimate of the average discount Boeing applies to its commercial airplanes. I included in those posts the rationale used for the calculation. Find here the post related to the calculation of the discount based on 2014 data of Boeing Commercial Airplanes revenues, deliveries and list prices.

In 2014, I included in another post a simplified table (2) with the calculation comparing 2013 simplified result versus 2012. In this post I wanted to update that table with 2014 figures in comparison to those of 2013:

Boeing discount detailed simplified calculation: 2014 vs. 2013.

Boeing discount detailed simplified calculation: 2014 vs. 2013.

In the table above, you may find for both 2014 and 2013 Boeing reported deliveries per model and Boeing published list prices per model (3) and Boeing Commercial Airplanes reported revenues.

What is then estimated? Boeing Commercial Airplanes services revenues (these are deduced from financial reports reported information), Boeing Commercial Airplanes platforms revenues (derived from the previous figure) and the average discount; this is calculated from the difference between estimated BCA platforms revenues and what should have been that figure had the airplanes been sold at list prices.

Results: average discounts of 46.3% in 2014 and above 46.2% in 2013, though nearly the same.

(1) Find here what is becoming a “body of knowledge” on Boeing discounts: estimates calculated for 20142013201220112010 and 2009; a review of the French portal Challenges.fr of aircraft discounts prior to Le Bourget airshow of 2013; aBombardier’s CEO statement on what is known in the market as the Boeing discount; Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Ray Conner speaking about the more aggressive pricing they are being forced to offer.

(2) I refer to this table as “simplified” as it excludes from the calculation the potential influence on yearly revenues (note, not cash flow) of down payments linked to orders received in then-year versus orders received in previous years for aircraft delivered in then-year.

(3) Two assumptions are needed: 737-800A transfer prices from BCA to Boeing Defense Space & Security for the P-8 (for simplicity assumed to be the same as the 737-800 price) and for the 737-based business jets (for simplicity assumed to be the same as the 737-900ER).

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Buenos días, Sevilla!

At the time this post is being published, two friends (Juan and Jose), my brother and I are about to start the Marathon of Sevilla.

To prepare this marathon I followed the same 16-week long training plan I used for the previous two marathons (Rotterdam and New York). However, the 1st day of the plan was on November 3rd, just the day after we completed New York marathon. Thus, I took a week of full rest and another 3 of almost no running, and I started following the plan at full throttle only from week 5, beginning of December.

From December till February 15th (when writing this post) I have completed over 616km (650km including those few in November) in 11 weeks, or about 56km per week. I have completed about 20 sessions of series training, I ran 9 long runs over 17km (6 of them over 27km, 2 over 33km), I did not take part in any race but during training sessions I managed to clock my 5th best time over 10km and my 2nd best time over 21.1km (half marathon). I am close to the fastest shape that I have been in the last year, and have no doubt followed the best training season so far.

Weekly mileage completed along the training plan for Sevilla.

Weekly mileage completed along the training plan for Sevilla.

In between, I switched training shoes, so I will run with shoes with less than 150km though more or less used to the shape of my feet.

Back to the race. We will cover the 42.195km by running all around Sevilla. This marathon will be somewhat special to us since it will be the first one we will be running together all of us in Spain. It will also be special as both my brother and I lived for a year in Sevilla while studying and working (not simultaneously though).

It will start in Isla de la Cartuja (where we studied at EOI) to go South towards Triana and Los Remedios. At km. 4 will turn left to take Av Republica Argentina just 4 blocks where our cousin lives. We’ll cross the river and turn left to go along the river for about 8km, passing Torre del Oro, La Maestranza (bullfighting arena), Av Torneo all the way to the Puente del Alamillo (we’ll be passing the cinemas we used to go, places where friends used to live, etc). At km. 14 we’ll pass by La Macarena, where Jaime used to live. Shortly after we’ll take Luis Montoto heading towards the hotel we normally stay when on business, where more friends used to live, etc. Then we’ll take Kansas City avenue to the North for another 2km. Shortly afterwards we’ll cross the half marathon mark.

PlanoDetalleRecorrido_v2The next 7 km will cover parts of the city I don’t know that well, therefore it will be perfect time to focus on the pace, drinking and eating. At km. 28 we’ll take Luis de Morales street, where I use to train when on business in Seville. At km. 32 we’ll pass by the football stadium of Betis and then take the Paseo de la Palmera for 2km until Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de España, two of the most beautiful spots of the city (which I also go by when training in Sevilla).

From then on, the last 6km I guess that are going to be overwhelming: the race will go through the very centre of the city (the University, the Cathedral (La Giralda), the city hall, Av Constitucion, Tetuan, Trajano, Alameda de Hercules), by then it will be about noon and more people will be on the streets cheering the runners. Hopefully, by then, we’ll still be in good shape, fighting for the objective and enjoying the experience.

This tour through the centre will end at the Puente de la Barqueta to cross the river and cover the last 2km in Cartuja before reaching the Olympic stadium where world athletics championship of 1999 took place.

And what will be my objective? Since I mentioned that I arrive at this race with the best training so far (as does my brother), we’ll depart trying to stay with the pacer of 3h30′ all along the way and thus clocking a time under that mark, which for me (and possible for Jaime) would be a personal best. The race is quite flat and if the day does not turn out too hot, the conditions should help us to achieve that goal.

To support us along the race we’ll count with the direct families (Inma, Luca, Andrea), extended family, friends that come from Madrid explicitly to cheer us (Elena, Maicol) and possibly some others we may see along the race.

To end this pre-race post I leave you with the traditional picture by Jaime:

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Boeing commercial aircraft discounts (update for 2014)

Few days ago, Boeing released 2014 results [PDF, 838KB]. The company reported revenues of over 90.7bn$ (59.99bn$ for the Commercial Airplanes unit), 723 commercial deliveries and 1,432 net orders for its commercial aircraft. All these were widely reported by the media and mean a great year 2014 for Boeing (with increases in these metrics from 6 to 12%).

Last years, I wrote in some posts (1) what was my estimate of Boeing discounts: the relation between what is announced by the press, what appears in its list prices and sometimes as backlogs and what it is indeed computed into the profit and loss account. In this post I wanted to update, if necessary, the figure I calculated for the average discount of Boeing.

Most of the necessary information can be found in its website. Boeing list prices can be found here.

The number of gross and net orders (after cancellations) year by year can be found here.

Last year deliveries can be found in the report of financial results (or here). From there we can also deduce the figure of Boeing Commercial’s sales of services. That is not directly reported but can be deduced (all Boeing services-related sales are reported as well as Boeing Capital Corporation division and Boeing Defense’s “Global Services & Support” unit)

As in the previous years’ post:

  • I needed to make one assumption: new orders come with a 3% down payment in the year of the booking, while the remaining cost I assumed that was paid on the year of delivery (for simplicity I didn’t consider more intermediate revenue recognition milestones linked to payments, the 3% figure was taken from the AIAA paper “A Hierarchical Aircraft Life Cycle Cost Analysis Model” by William J. Marx et al.). (2)

Having put all the figures together, the calculation is immediate. Boeing Commercial Aircraft revenues in 2014 (59.99bn$) are the sum of:

  • the discounted prices times the delivered aircraft in the year (including possible penalties from delays),
  • less the down payment of the current year delivered aircraft, as the down payment was included in previous years results,
  • plus the down payment of current year net orders (this year’s calculation includes 737 MAX and 777X orders),
  • plus services revenues (about 0.7bn$ from the commercial aircraft unit – calculated, not reported).

The discount figure that minimized errors last year was 47%. Using this figure, the error obtained this year in relation to Boeing Commercial Aircraft reported revenues is -0.2%. The best estimate for last years average discounts were: 47% for 2013, 45% for 2012, 41% for 2011, 39% for 2010 and 38% for 2009.

The updated figure (which minimize errors for 2014 down to -0.2%) for the discount for Boeing commercial aircraft is 47% (3).

Boeing Average Discount Evolution, through 2014.

Boeing Average Discount Evolution, through 2014.

The discounts seem to be stabilized around 45-47%.

This discount figures and their evolution reflect that Boeing’s list prices and their continuous increases cannot be enforced in the contracts nor in escalation formulas.

Final note: I received a comment suggesting to review whether the discounts are in effect on Boeing side or in the engine manufacturers side. Unless we had the information of actual contracts, there is no way to calculate that from published information. Nevertheless, whether Boeing or engine manufacturers, the fact is that there is discrepancy of up to 47% between what Boeing announces as their list prices for commercial aircraft and backlog figures (in volume) and what it actually receives as income (revenue).

(1) Find here what is becoming a “body of knowledge” on Boeing discounts: estimates calculated for 20132012, 2011, 2010 and 2009; a review of the French portal Challenges.fr of aircraft discounts prior to Le Bourget airshow of 2013; a Bombardier’s CEO statement on what is known in the market as the Boeing discount; Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Ray Conner speaking about the more aggressive pricing they are being forced to offer.

(2) Three years ago, I received a comment from the analyst Scott Hamilton on the level of downpayments. He mentioned they could reach up to 30%. I tried this time to compute the calculation using that input, though the figures of discounts to be applied each year to minimize errors would have to be even higher, close to 60% (!), thus I stayed with the 3% used in the above-mentioned published paper to stay on the conservative side. On the contrary, if we assume that downpayments have no influence in the revenue recognition (as another comment indicated last year), but only in the cash flow, the discount figure would slightly decrease (about 1%). The issue is not so much the size of the downpayments, whereas how much of those, if any, are recognised as revenues.

(3) I find this trend of continuous increases in Boeing discounts in line with bothChallenges.fr report and Ray Conner’s mentions of aggressive pricing last year, both referred to in note (1).

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Boeing 787 orders, cancellations, deliveries & backlog through 2014

The year 2014 seems to have been another complex for the Boeing 787 program.

There were no major operational hick-ups such as the 2013 grounding of the fleet due to the lithium-ion batteries heat runaway issues, but commercially just 65 new orders were received (main ones from Air Europa and ANA) with up to 24 cancellations. Production ramped up to 112 deliveries (almost double than 2013’s 63). This increase is positive in relation to revenue recognition and cash inflow, however the cost per unit enjoyed a lower improvement than expected. As a result of previous figures, the so-called book-to-bill on the program was below 0.6, making the backlog to shrink slightly (leaving it practically at the same level since 2007).

An image is worth a thousands words:

787 orders, cancellations, deliveries and backlog through 2014.

787 orders, cancellations, deliveries and backlog through 2014.

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My charities for 2015 are…

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.” Warren Buffett

If there is a blog post that I am looking forward to write each year is this one. Few things can give you more pleasure than helping others. And in doing so I try to be as public and noisy as I can,  hoping that I may serve the causes I contribute to also from the awareness point of view.

I know that between 100 and 200 of you will read this blog post. I bet with any of you that at least 50% of you will be compelled to take a look at some of these organisations below, 10% of you will consider making a donation. Do you dare thinking that 1% of you won’t actually make such donation?

Let’s go and see the different causes I decided to support in this 2015 (1):

Kiva, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, Slavery International, Wikipedia, Fundacion Hombres Nuevos, Gapminder, Fundacion Khanimambo, American Association for Cancer Research Foundation and the new addition of 2015 Avocats Sans Frontières… those are the causes I decided to support this year. If not one of those, I am sure that you will be able to find one which resonates with you. Do yourself a favour and contribute to it. It can be just 25$, the cost of diner at a restaurant. You’ll feel much better.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

(1) You may check out similar posts I wrote about contributions to NGOs in 20142013 and 2012.

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