Boeing expands into the Alpha and Omega of Aviation

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Tobacco Photosaircraft_spare_parts

The Boeing Company of Seattle, IL or is it Seattle, WA is approaching 100 years (born 1916) of making airplanes. The below two articles indicate that the creator of many iconic aircraft is diversifying at both ends of the continuum—creating synthetic fuels and spare parts (see above two pictures). Interesting!

It is clear that aviation needs to find a renewable source of energy to turn the engines of Boeing’s planes. South African Airways, SkyNRG and Boeing have formed a joint venture to convert tobacco into a biofuel. The actual hybrid plant is Solaris, an energy crop that is related traditional tobacco and ideally would be grown in lieu of the cancer-related weed.

If this becomes a viable alternative, the carbon emissions could be reduced by 50 to 80%. It is clear that biofuel can provide the power with more than 1,500 passenger flights having used this class of fuel since 2011, but the open question is whether the crop can be harvested, refined and distributed at a total cost approximating petroleum.

The second piece, Boeing’s entry into the scrapping of aircraft parts as the plane enters the boneyard. The article explains that t is expected that 6,000 airliners are will be taken out of service in the next 10 years. Included in that discarded asset (components and engines) might include as much as $3.0 million for a wide body and $6.0 million for a narrow body in recaptured parts and systems, with the powerplants the high value items. The total market for spare parts recycling is listed as $3.2 billion.

The critical business acumen for stripping these bones is to determine what is airworthy and what should be discarded. Boeing’s expertise as to what meets the regulatory and engineering standards is obvious, but in some ways its judgment may be unduly conservative and revenue lean. Boeing and its subsidiary, Aviall, are in the business of selling replacement parts; so the inspectors may use very high standards in sorting through this new/old inventory. Occupying this segment of an integrated business should provide greater insight into inventory flows and how best to balance the introduction of new supplies. It will be interesting to see how this new venture fares.

What is clear that Boeing, as an aircraft manufacturer, or more aptly airplane designer and assembler, is spreading its wings, extending its market presence to creating new supplies of fuel and recycling its own product line.

ARTICLE: Boeing Partners with South African Airways to Turn New Tobacco Plant into Jet Fuel

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ARTICLE: Boeing’s Treasure is Others’ Trash in Parts Recycling

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