Boeing’s KC-46 will Continue at Same Pace as Company Focus on Commercial Space, Says GlobalData

Jan. 28, 2021

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Boeing’s results show how much the company has had to go through due to disruptions in production as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Boeing’s financial struggles will be particularly problematic as its marquee programs were already in trouble before that from quality of production, the presence of foreign objects, issues with software and hardware, availability of engines which all led to production and delivery delays, therefore, halting, or in some cases suspending programs.

“Reviving the commercial side of the business is its main focus with a significant proportion of Boeing’s revenue historically being generated from this side. With progress there, those defense programs that need the commercial variant for conversion can pick up as well.

“As far as the KC-46 program is concerned without the commercial side producing the aircraft, it can’t be modified into the tankers. Nonetheless, it seems that it might be a while before the tanker program will pick up pace. Just this year alone, Boeing delivered 14 KC-46A aircraft compared to 28 last year, and five behind the number of deliveries expected for last year.

“With a recent order for KC-46 tankers, we assumed that Boeing would work to fix all issues, increase production and add on orders from new customers However, with the focus on the commercial side, and no particular guidance on the KC-46 program, it is expected that the company will continue this program at the present pace.

“Positive news though is the clearances that Boeing is receiving for 737 Max and its return to commercial flight. We can expect that if Boeing pays closer attention to quality and safety issues moving forward. These programs can gradually return to a pace that builds confidence in the brands and programs from the market and end-users.”