More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, May 29, 2020

Recycled plastic roads ready for rollout after bike paths prove successful

DutchNews, May 28, 2020 

Photo: Plasticroad.eu

Two successful trial runs of cycle paths madefrom recycled plastic waste have paved the way for larger scale projects in the Netherlands and abroad, the developers have said. 

KWS, plastic pipe maker Wavin and Total oil said on Thursday that after a 18 months of testing and developing, they now have a design suited for industrial production and that the technology is ready to be launched on the market in the first quarter of 2021. 

The first plastic cycle paths, which were built in Zwolle and Giethoorn with local council support, have proved to be able manage excessive water from rain, severe drought and everything in between, the makers said. 

The two 30 metre bike paths, which were made using 1,000 kilos of recycled plastic, were also found to have reduced CO2 emissions by some 50% to 70% compared to concrete or asphalt paths, the makers claim. 

Sensors in the paths were also used to monitor wear and tear and the paths were found to stand up well to heavy weights, like refuse and maintenance trucks. 

‘We have proven that our ground-breaking circular concept – a prefab road based on recycled plastic – is feasible in practice,’ Marcel Jager and Anne Koudstaal of the PlasticRoad team said. 

The next generation of roads will be more robust still which will make the concept a viable alternative for asphalt and concrete motorways and car parks as well pavements and school yards, the group said. 

The roll out will initially be focused on clients in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries, after which they expect to scale up to markets in other parts of the world, the makers said.

Artists impression: KWS 

Related Article:


Friday, May 15, 2020

Micro cars which park on Amsterdam pavements face €95 fine from July

DutchNews, May 14, 2020 

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The drivers of micro electric cars such as Biros are being offered the chance to buy a two-year Amsterdam-wide parking permit for the discounted price of €450 as part of efforts to get them off the pavements. 

The city plans to ban the micro cars from parking on the pavement from July 1, but says wardens will only be able to issue fines if the vehicles have number plates – and only about 50% currently do so. 

The coronavirus crisis has led to long delays at the licencing board RDW and, according to alderman Sharon Dijksma, as long as owners do not have a number plate, the city will not be able to fine owners who still park on pavements, according to the Parool. 

Dijksma said the city sees the micro cars as a good alternative to the car, and a welcome addition to public transport and bikes. 

Initially, the city will issue 3,000 trial parking permits. The fine for parking on the pavement from July 1 is €95. 

People who drive micro cars because of a physical handicap will not have to have a licence plate but their car must be specially adapted to meet their needs and be checked by the RDW.

Coronavirus could put export of Dutch cycle expertise into gear

DutchNews, May 14, 2020 

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The coronavirus crisis could boost the export of Dutch cycling infrastructure expertise and products as countries are turning to the bicycle for a safer means of transport, RTL Nieuws reports. 

‘Coronavirus is accelerating the cycling infrastructure projects of many cities,’ says Lucas Harms, who heads the Dutch Cycling Embassy, a network of Dutch companies specialising in products like bike parks and other bike-related infrastructure. 

As coronavirus is turning people away from using public transport, the local authorities in Brussels have been turning car lanes into bike lanes over the last few days, as has Paris, RTL said. And in Milan, plans have been presented to limit space for cars in favour of bikes. 

‘We don’t yet know if this is a temporary thing. People may be just panicking and improvising but the good thing is that a seed is planted,’ said Harms, whose Cycling Embassy has advised hundreds of local authorities around the world on emulating Dutch cycling infrastructure. 

To build an infrastructure for cycling involves expertise in many areas, Harms said. ‘You need traffic experts, marketing people to create awareness,  and policy advisors. We have a lot of companies with specialised knowledge, just think of the multi-storey bike parks, like the one at Amsterdam’s main railway station. We are used to them but in other countries they are far from usual.’ 

It is not known how much the export of cycle expertise and products is currently worth but, Harms said, the 60 partners of his network are all involved in projects abroad.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Saudi Aramco tips difficult 2020 as virus hits quarterly profit

Yahoo – AFP, May 12, 2020

Aramco was listed on the Saudi stock market in December following the world's
largest initial public offering but has since been hit by a slump in world oil prices
as the coronavirus pandemic has sent the world into recession (AFP Photo/
Fayez Nureldine)

Riyadh (AFP) - Energy giant Saudi Aramco on Tuesday posted a 25 percent slump in first-quarter profit and said the coronavirus crisis which triggered a crash in oil prices would weigh heavily on demand in the year ahead.

Aramco was listed on the Saudi stock market in December following a historic $29.4 billion initial public offering -- the world's largest -- but since then has faced a torrid environment.

Oil prices slumped to nearly two-decade lows in March, losing almost two-thirds of their value as the coronavirus pandemic sent the world into recession.

Prices plummeted further in April amid a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia as the major producers scrambled to secure market share.

"The COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything the world has experienced in recent history and we are adapting to a highly complex and rapidly changing business environment," CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement.

Aramco said that a steep decline in global demand for energy and prices caused by the pandemic would undermine its full-year results.

"Longer term we remain confident that demand for energy will rebound as global economies recover," Nasser said.

The world's largest listed firm posted a net profit of 62.5 billion riyals ($16.66 billion) in the three months to March, compared to $22.2 billion a year earlier.

The company said the drop in earnings mostly reflected a decline in crude oil prices, as well as shrinking margins in the refining and chemicals businesses.

Price war truce

During the price war in April, Saudi oil production soared to a record 12.3 million barrels per day, pushing stockpiles to unsustainably high levels and causing chaos on global oil markets.

However, top producers agreed last month to slash output by 9.7 million bpd to try to arrest the freefall.

During the crisis, prices for benchmark West Texas Intermediate dipped below zero for the first time ever as abundant supplies wiped out storage capacity in the United States.

The coronavirus lockdowns, which have kept billions of people in their homes in order to contain the pandemic, have sapped global demand by more than 20 million bpd.

On Monday, Riyadh announced it would cut output by more than it had pledged -- shaving an additional 1.0 million bpd -- providing markets with a much-needed boost as the world economy cautiously emerges from the shutdown.

The move means that in June, Aramco production will drop to 7.5 million bpd -- its lowest level since mid-2002, according to analysts.

Aramco said Tuesday that its first quarter revenues were calculated on the basis of an average production of 9.8 million barrels per day and an average oil price of $51.8 a barrel.

However, factoring in the cuts in May and June, profits in the coming quarters are likely to plummet, meaning that Saudi state revenues, which heavily rely on Aramco results, will take a substantial hit.

The kingdom, which has posted a budget deficit since 2014, resorted to austerity measures on Monday, tripling value-added tax to 15 percent, delaying or cancelling projects and abolishing citizens' cost-of-living allowance.

The cuts risk stoking public resentment over an already high cost of living and demands for greater scrutiny of major projects such as the proposed purchase of English Premer League football club Newcastle United.

Industry reeling

Almost all global energy giants, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and BP, have reported huge losses in the first quarter.

Aramco, which is responsible for the stewardship of Saudi's huge energy reserves, has relied on its extremely low production costs to remain profitable.

The company said however that capital spending will be trimmed this year, in a range between $25 billion and $30 billion, down from $32.8 billion in 2019.

Investors brushed off the drop in profits as Aramco's share price closed the day up 1.3 percent at 31.30 riyals.

Since the start of the year, Aramco shares have lost 11.2 percent and its current market value stands at $1.67 trillion, way down from levels of just over $2 trillion that it hit soon after listing.

Aramco, which is headquartered in the eastern city of Dhahran, last year posted a 20.6 percent decline in its annual net profit to $88.2 billion due to chronically low oil prices and production levels.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Boeing to cut staff, plane output after big Q1 loss

Yahoo – AFP, April 29, 2020

Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures after reporting a first-quarter loss
of $641 million following the hit to the airline business from the coronavirus pandemic
(AFP Photo/SCOTT OLSON)

New York (AFP) - Boeing announced sweeping cost-cutting measures Wednesday after reporting a first-quarter loss of $641 million following the hit to the airline business from the coronavirus pandemic.

The aerospace giant plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent through a combination of voluntary and involuntary layoffs and will slash production of its main commercial planes, including the 787 and 777, Chief Executive David Calhoun said in a message to employees that accompanied an earnings release.

"The aviation industry will take years to return to the levels of traffic we saw just a few months ago," Calhoun said. "We have to prepare for that."

Calhoun said the job cuts would be deeper -- more than 15 percent -- in commercial airplanes and services, as compared with defense and space systems, where the business has been more stable.

The quarterly loss of $641 million compared to profits of $2.1 billion in the year-ago period. Revenues fell 26.2 percent to $16.9 billion.

Total debt at the end of the quarter was $38.9 billion, up from $27.3 billion at the end of December.

Calhoun said the belt-tightening was needed to maintain adequate liquidity at a time its revenues are depressed, adding that the company is "exploring potential government funding options" in the wake of COVID-19.

Boeing has previously called for $60 billion in government support for the US aerospace industry. Federal relief legislation includes $17 billion aimed at Boeing. Calhoun has previously balked at the idea of the US taking a stake in Boeing.

The loss reflected "abnormal production costs" connected to the temporary suspension of Puget Sound manufacturing operations due to COVID-19 and due to the suspension of production of the 737 MAX, which remains grounded following two deadly crashes.

Boeing said the pandemic crisis has hit demand for new planes and services, with airlines delaying purchases of jets, slowing delivery schedules and deferring elective maintenance.

It will cut production of the 787 from 14 per month to 10 per month in 2020 and gradually to seven per month by 2022.

Boeing also will trim output on the 777 and lower its targets for the 737 MAX.

"We have done a tremendous job of increasing our production rates and services offerings in recent years," Calhoun said. "But the sharp reduction in our demand for our products and services over the next several years simply won't support the higher levels of output."

Boeing shares jumped 4.1 percent to $136.36 in pre-market trading.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Icelandair Cuts 2,000 Staff Over Coronavirus Impact

Barron’s – AFP, Alexander Klein, April 28, 2020

Icelandic airline Icelandair announced deep job cuts due to the effects of the
novel coronavirus crisis

Icelandic airline Icelandair said Tuesday it would lay off about 2,000 of its staff as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact air travel "for the unforeseeable future."

In response to the impact, Icelandair said the company was preparing for an "extended period of minimum operations."

The company said that "the employment of around two thousand employees will be terminated," adding that crew, maintenance and ground operations, would be most affected.

Icelandair added that the "majority of the remaining employees continue in part-time roles" and those in full-time positions would be affected by salary reductions.

"These measures are very painful yet necessary. We are facing considerable uncertainty for the unforeseeable future," Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, said in a statement.

Bogason added that they hoped to be able to offer those affected employment again once markets started to recover.

In 2018, Icelandair had some 4,600 full-time employees and carried 4.4 million passengers, according to the company.

As of Tuesday, Iceland had confirmed 1,795 cases of the new coronavirus and 10 deaths.

Related Article:


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

New Dutch law allows mass claim against Volkswagen over Dieselgate

DutchNews, March 17, 2020 - By Robin Pascoe 

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A Dutch foundation is taking car maker Volkswagen to court on behalf of 8.5 million car owners to demand compensation for manipulating emissions tests in the Dieselgate scandal. 

The Diesel Emissions Justice Foundation is taking advantage of new legislation in the Netherlands allowing mass claims and giving plaintiffs the right to go to court if the company concerned refuses to reach a settlement. 

Robert Bosch, the company which developed the software used to fiddle the emissions reports, car importer Pon and a number of Dutch car dealers are also named on the legal documents. 

In autumn 2015, Volkswagen admitted that it had sold 11 million cars worldwide with secret ‘defeat device’ software that ensured it would pass emissions tests in a laboratory, while the cars emitted higher levels of pollution on the road. 

‘This law offers access to justice for millions of injured customers, both within and outside the Netherlands,’ said the foundation’s managing director Femke Hendriks in a statement. ‘Volkswagen has rejected our invitation to engage in negotiations, which compels us to go all the way.’ 

The car company’s actions, she said, had caused ‘tremendous harm’ to consumers, the environment and public health. ‘It is time for Volkswagen to be presented with the bill for its fraudulent actions across Europe.’ 

Fines 

Volkswagen has already paid billions in damages and fines as a result of legal proceedings in the US, Australia, Canada and South Korea but has largely escaped in Europe. 

In February the company agreed to pay out €830m to 400,000 drivers following a case brought by German consumer groups. 

‘This is the first time that Volkswagen has taken responsibility for its actions in Europe and is attempting to dispel the past, although only for a small part of affected consumers and for relatively small amounts,’ Hendriks said. 

In 2017, the Dutch consumer and markets association fined Volkswagen €450,000 for ‘unfair commercial practices’ for advertising cars as eco-friendly ‘while the results of emission tests had been manipulated by illegal software.’ 

No basis 

Volkswagen told DutchNews.nl in a reaction that when the case starts, Volkswagen will defend itself, ‘as it believes there is no basis for the compensation of damages or other remedies for consumers in the Netherlands’. 

‘Our customers in the Netherlands have not suffered any loss or damage, as all cars can be used in traffic and are safe,’ the statement said. ‘They are still driven by more than a hundred thousand customers every day. All necessary approvals are valid and in place. For these reasons, we see no legal basis for customer complaints. This new initiative does not change this position.’

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Luxembourg becomes first country with free public transport

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine KURZAWA, February 29, 2020

Private cars are the most used means of transport in Luxembourg, but the government
is hoping to change that with the new free ride policy (AFP Photo/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE
VERHAEGEN)

Luxembourg (AFP) - Luxembourg on Saturday became the first country in the world to offer free public transport, as the small and wealthy EU country tries to help less-well-off workers and reduce road traffic.

Some cities elsewhere have already taken similar, partial measures. But the transport ministry said it was the first time such a decision covered an entire country.

The free transport, flagged as "an important social measure", affects approximately 40 percent of households and is estimated to save each one around 100 euros ($110) per year.

Not all passengers were aware of the change, which was brought forward one day ahead of schedule.

"It's free? I didn't know," said a woman in her 50s who gave her first name as Dominique as she waited at Luxembourg's main train station.

Transport workers were concerned about what impact the measure would have on their job security.

"We don't yet know" what will happen to their positions, said one ticket seller at the station who declined to give his name.

"All the public transport workers are worried. It's not yet clear."

Traffic woes

The measure is part of a plan intended to reduce congestion.

Private cars are the most used means of transport in the Grand Duchy, accounting for 47 percent of business travel and 71 percent of leisure transport.

Luxembourg has invested in its public transport network, but commuters complain
it is still patchy (AFP Photo/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN)

With more than 200,000 people living in neighbouring France, Germany and Belgium who work in Luxembourg and most of them driving in, that makes for major traffic jams at peak hours.

The population of the tiny country is just 610,000 and those cross-border workers account for half the total employees.

The capital city of Luxembourg has invested in its public transport network, notably by building a tram network, but commuters complain it is still patchy.

It will be some years before the network links to the northern airport, for instance.

"There's been an enormous delay to the development of public transport," said Blanche Weber, head of the Luxembourg Ecological Movement pressing for better links on environmental grounds.

"Systematic and continuous investment is a sine qua non (essential) condition for promoting the attractiveness of public transport," admitted transport minister Francois Bausch.

Sales of tickets on the domestic network -- which cost two euros per journey -- previously covered just eight percent of the 500-million-euro cost of running the transport system. That shortfall will now be met from the treasury.

Ticket machines are to be gradually removed from stations, but offices selling tickets for international train trips and for first-class seating in Luxembourg -- which continues to be a paying service -- will remain.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Climate campaigners win appeal to block new Heathrow runway

Yahoo – AFP, February 27, 2020\

.Opponents welcome an appeal ruling against building a controversial third
runway at London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest. (AFP Photo/Niklas HALLE'N)

London (AFP) - Britain's Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled in favour of green campaigners who oppose the building of a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest.

The court said the UK government -- which in 2018 approved the Heathrow extension -- had failed to take into account its commitments to the Paris Agreement to limit climate warming.

The legal action against the approval was brought by various London councils, environmental groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan. They lost at an original hearing in May.

In a summary, judge Keith Lindblom said the Conservative government under then-prime minister Theresa May gave no explanation of how it took into account the 2015 Paris accord -- which seeks to cap climate warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

"The Paris Agreement ought to have been taken into account... and an explanation given as to how it was taken into account, but it was not," Lord Justice Lindblom said.

The judge added that the government did not oppose its declaration -- and had not sought permission to appeal to London's Supreme Court.

In 2015 while he was London mayor, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to "lie down in front of... bulldozers and stop the construction" of a third runway, citing environmental as well as aesthetic concerns.

Johnson may still have to make an official decision on scrapping the project, however, after Heathrow airport -- which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish construction giant Ferrovial -- declared it would appeal Thursday's ruling.

Khan welcomed news of Thursday's landmark legal victory.

"We won! Today we blocked the Tory government plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport," the London mayor said.

"Today's judgement is a major victory for all Londoners who are passionate about tackling the climate emergency and cleaning up our air."

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, called on Johnson to now formally axe the plans.

"Boris Johnson should now put Heathrow out of its misery and cancel the third runway once and for all. No ifs, no buts, no lies, no U-turns," Sauven said.

Prior to the ruling, building of the third runway had been expected to start in 2022 and take four years.

Johnson, who wants big infrastructure projects to help drive Britain's post-Brexit economy, earlier this month gave his backing to the high-speed railway link HS2, dismissing soaring costs.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Schiphol tests speed limiting system for super fast e-bikes

DutchNews, February 25, 2020 

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Schiphol airport is to test an automatic braking system to reduce the speed of fast e-bikes and speed pedelecs around the airport to improve safety, airport officials announced on Tuesday. 

The test is part of a plan introduced by Schiphol with construction company BAM Infra and bike maker Gazelle in 2018. The aim is to ease congestion and promote cycling, including a 22km cycling route especially for fast bikes  Only 4,000 of the airport’s 66,000 staff currently cycle to work. 

The system, called the Intelligent Speed Assistent (ISA), would automatically limit the velocity of the bike to normal peddling speed on approaching the airport via a link to the GPS network. 

Cyclists would be warned that they are approaching the lower speed zone and, if they have an ISA fitted, the motor power would prevent the bike from travelling too fast. 

If the Schiphol test is successful, speed limiting systems could also be used to reduce problems caused by fast electric bikes in the centre of Amsterdam as well, Kees Bakker of cyclists organisation Fietsersbond told the Parool

Automatically limiting the speed would make it possible for people using super fast bikes to use the cycle paths. They are now required to use the main road. 

Asked if an outside intervention in their speed would be an infringement of cyclists’ freedom Bakker said e-bikes are already limited in how fast they can go. ‘You should look at it from another perspective: the system allows you to go faster where it is possible.’

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Boeing reports first loss since 1997 as MAX costs rise to $18.6 bn

Yahoo – AFP, John BIERS, January 29, 2020

Boeing reported its first annual loss in more than two decades as the lengthy
grounding of the 737 MAX weighed on revenues and added to costs (AFP Photo/
Jason Redmond)

New York (AFP) - Boeing reported its first annual loss in more than two decades Wednesday as the lengthy grounding of the 737 MAX undercut the company's revenues and exploded costs.

The aerospace giant reported a $1.0 billion loss in the fourth-quarter and a loss of $636 million for all of 2019, the company's first year in the red since 1997.

Newly-installed Chief Executive David Calhoun, who took the reins this month to stabilize the situation, pledged to turn the company around even as Boeing disclosed $9.2 billion in additional costs connected to the MAX, essentially doubling the bill from the disaster.

Some analysts had expected new costs twice as high, and despite the hefty charges, Boeing shares advanced Wednesday.

The MAX has been grounded since March following two crashes that killed 346 people that opened the doors to intense scrutiny of Boeing's safety practices, as well bruising congressional investigations which have revealed a troublesome culture at the aviation giant.

"We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do," Calhoun said in a statement. "Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward."

Calhoun has been at the helm of Boeing only since January 13 after Dennis Muilenburg was ousted in December following criticism of his handling of the crisis, and immediately after a damning series of internal communications were released.

Calhoun is targeting mid-2020 to win approval from aviation regulators to resume flights on the MAX, which is seen as a realistic timeframe after Muilenburg repeatedly pushed a more optimistic schedule.

Calhoun told CNBC that he was "confident as a CEO can be" of the current timetable, adding that "we put together a schedule we think we can make."

Higher costs

The grounding of the MAX dented Boeing's earnings in multiple ways, among the most damaging of which was a halt in deliveries of new planes to customers, a major source of revenue.

Boeing revenues in the fourth quarter plunged 36.8 percent to $17.9 billion, while revenues for all of 2019 dropped 24.3 percent to $76.6 billion.

The crisis also prompted the manufacturer to first reduce and then halt production of the MAX.

Boeing said Wednesday the changes in the production schedule added $2.6 billion in costs connected to airplane deliveries, plus another $4 billion in "abnormal production costs," which are primarily in 2020 and associated with the suspension of the MAX plus a "gradual resumption" of production.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said MAX production will be at "low rates" in 2020, with increases "over the next few years."

The company set aside $2.6 billion to compensate airlines that have been forced to cancel thousands of flights due to grounded MAX planes and undelivered aircraft.

With these costs and expenses disclosed previously, the total impact on Boeing is $18.6 billion.

Ripple effects

The MAX crisis has also weighed on numerous suppliers, such as Spirit AeroSystems, which announced earlier this month that it would lay off 2,800 employees in Kansas due to the production stoppage.

And General Electric, which builds engines for the MAX, said the crisis lowered cash flow by $1.4 billion for 2019.

Boeing also announced Wednesday that it would again cut back production of the 787 Dreamliner, a top-selling plane that has supported revenues during the protracted 737 MAX grounding.

The aerospace giant plans to trim production to 10 airplanes a month in early 2021 through 2023 based on the "near-term market outlook," Boeing said.

The company in October had dropped production to 12 a month from 14 due to lower orders from China.

A note from JPMorgan Chase said Boeing's charges on the MAX were "less than feared," although the company was expending cash at a faster rate than expected. Boeing has reportedly lined up $12 billion in loans, but "balance sheet management" in 2020 will be an area for questions, the note said.

In another non-MAX development, Boeing set aside $410 million to cover costs of an additional uncrewed mission after the December NASA flight did not reach the International Space Station.

"NASA is evaluating the data received during the December 2019 mission to determine if another uncrewed mission is required," Boeing said.

Boeing shares rose 2.2 percent to $323.66 in early-afternoon trading.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Boeing's new 777X airliner takes off on first flight

Yahoo – AFP, Jason REDMOND, with Christophe VOGT in Washington, January 25, 2020

The snow-covered Olympic Mountains are pictured in the background as a
Boeing 777X airplane takes off on its inaugural flight at Paine Field in Everett,
Washington in the United States on January 25, 2020 (AFP Photo/Jason Redmond)

Everett (United States) (AFP) - Boeing's new long-haul 777X airliner made its first flight on Saturday, a step forward for the company whose broader prospects remain clouded by the 737 MAX crisis.

The plane took off from a rain-slicked runway a few minutes after 10:00 am local time (1800 GMT), at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, home to Boeing's manufacturing site in the northwestern United States.

Weather conditions had already twice delayed the inaugural takeoff of the plane, which sports blue and white company colors and is emblazoned with the Boeing name.

High winds led to its postponement on Friday, and the company blamed weather for an earlier delay on Thursday, which was rainy.

"Yes!" shouted Boeing spokesman Josh Green as the plane's wheels finally lifted off the tarmac as its two powerful engines sent up huge clouds of mist.

Minutes earlier, the pilots had deployed the plane's winglets -- folding wing tips -- designed to improve the craft's fuel efficiency and make it possible for the plane, with the widest wing span ever from Boeing, to be accommodated at more airports.

A Boeing 777X airplane taxis before taking off on its inaugural flight at Paine 
Field in Everett, Washington in the United States on January 25, 2020 (AFP Photo/
Jason Redmond)

The 777X quickly disappeared into the clouds; after a flight lasting several hours, it was to land later at Boeing Field in a Seattle suburb, some 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the south.

The 777X was originally to take to the skies for the first time in mid-2019, but that was postponed due to problems with the new engine, manufactured by General Electric, and difficulties with the wings and software.

Saturday's flight was to be the first of a series of in-flight tests. If they go well, Boeing will officially file for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

With Boeing facing a crisis over its top-selling 737 MAX following two deadly crashes, the 777X is supposed to compete in the long-haul aircraft market with the A350 made by rival European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

Major airlines including Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways have placed some 340 orders for the 777X.

The first deliveries of the new model, with maximum capacities of 384 to 426 passengers depending on the configuration, are not expected before early 2021, instead of mid-2020 as initially planned.

Boeing employees and others watch as a Boeing 777X airplane taxis before taking 
off on its inaugural flight at Paine Field in Everett, Washington in the United States 
on January 25, 2020 (AFP Photo/Jason Redmond)

The aircraft encountered significant problems during pressurization tests in September.

Business down

Boeing's business has also been weakened by a lack of firm orders from Chinese airlines for its 787 Dreamliner, which is expected to see production cuts.

The 777X has a range of 16,200 to 13,500 kilometers depending on its configuration and the number of passengers aboard, according to the Boeing website. It is also extremely fuel-efficient, an important consideration at a time when passengers are increasingly concerned about carbon emissions.

Its list price is between $410 million to $442 million, though customers often negotiate discounts.

US air safety regulators could clear the 737 MAX to return to service before mid-year, a person close to the process said Friday.

A pilot gives a thumbs up as he taxis a Boeing 777X airplane before taking off on 
its inaugural flight at Paine Field in Everett, Washington in the United States on 
January 25, 2020 (AFP Photo/Jason Redmond)

The plane has been grounded since March following two deadly crashes, in Ethiopia and Indonesia. On Tuesday, Boeing announced that it did not expect to win regulatory approval until mid-2020.

Boeing suspended production of the MAX this month but Chief Executive David Calhoun said this week the company plans to begin ramping up production of the model in anticipation of winning regulatory approval to restart service.

Calhoun began as CEO earlier in January following the ouster of Dennis Muilenburg, who tenure was rocked by the MAX crisis which led to deteriorating relations between the company and the FAA.

Calhoun aims to turn the company around, and has highlighted restoring Boeing's reputation with regulators, customers and other stakeholders as an imperative.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tesla value hits $100 bn, triggering payout plan for Musk

Yahoo – AFP, January 22, 2020

Tesla chief Elon Musk, during the delivery ceremony for the firm's China-made
Model 3 in Shanghai in January 2020 (AFP Photo/STR)

New York (AFP) - Tesla's market value hit $100 billion for the first time Wednesday, triggering a payout plan that could be worth billions for Elon Musk, founder and chief of the electric carmaker.

Shares in Tesla rose some 4.8 percent in opening trade to extend the gains in the value of the fast-growing maker of electric vehicles.

Under a compensation plan approved by Telsa's board in 2018, Musk is to be paid in stock awards based on the value of the company, which could be worth as much as $50 billion if Tesla reaches $650 billion.

Musk agreed to the plan, which would pay him nothing until Tesla's value reached $100 billion.

The package, using shares which "vest" based on certain criteria, gives Musk stock worth around one percent of the company for each of 12 milestones over a 10-year period.

For achieving the first milestone, Musk will get shares worth $346 million if Tesla shares hold above $100 billion over six months, based on the formula.

In announcing the plan in March 2018, the company said Musk "would receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind -- no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time" without the rise in value.

In 2019, Tesla sold some 367,000 vehicles, a rise of 50 percent from the prior year.

That is a fraction of the 10 million sold by leading global automakers Toyota and Volkswagen, but investors have pushed up Tesla's value in the expectation that it is changing the industry.

Tesla has begun manufacturing in China and has announced a new plant in Germany that could start production by 2021.

The Tesla Model 3 electric car is designed to be more affordable than its earlier models -- around half the cost of the $70,000 models -- and is fueling expectations of stronger growth.

Analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities offered an upbeat view of Tesla in a research note Wednesday.

"In our opinion, the company has the most impressive product roadmap out of any technology/auto vendor around (which the market cap reflects vs. its traditional auto competitors) and will be a 'game changing' driving force for the EV (electric vehicle) transformation over the next decade with Model 3 front and center," Ives said.