Boeing and Airbus Brace for Prolonged Downturn

April 30, 2020

 

Already hurt by the yearlong grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft, Boeing reported its second consecutive quarterly loss. PHOTO: ANDY RAIN/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

4/29/20

By Doug Cameron and Andrew Tangel
The Wall Street Journal

Aerospace companies outline survival plans as airline customers reel from near-collapse of air travel

The world’s biggest aerospace companies outlined survival plans that include thousands of job cuts and raising fresh funds as their airline customers reeled from the coronavirus pandemic and the near-collapse of global passenger air travel.

Boeing Co., rival Airbus SE and their engine supplier General Electric Co. detailed their initial responses to the crisis that has engulfed the industry after travel restrictions and fear of flying grounded more than half the global jet fleet.

The once-booming aerospace industry has suffered one of the fastest and sharpest changes in fortunes, forcing the manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic to prepare for a sustained period of reduced demand for their planes that, optimistically, could take three years or more to reverse.

“We will be a smaller company for a while,” Boeing Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun told investors Wednesday. Already wounded financially by the yearlong grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft, the company reported its second consecutive quarterly loss alongside plans to cut jetliner production and shed 10% of its workforce.

Mr. Calhoun outlined a modest near-term plan: catering to airliner retirements instead of fleet growth, and holding off on designing new aircraft. The airlines and leasing companies that helped Boeing and Airbus build up a trillion-dollar order backlog of more than 13,000 jets are already starting to cancel deals and defer new aircraft until a hoped-for recovery in airline travel.

Delta Air Lines Inc. and Deutsche Lufthansa AG , which have already idled most of their jet fleets, are among the carriers that have said they expect to emerge—with government aid—far smaller than before the pandemic crippled the industry.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said Wednesday the European plane maker plans to “right-size” its business, embarking on a wide-ranging cost-reduction effort and cutting jetliner production initially by a third, having struggled in recent years to keep up with demand for its planes.

Suppliers such as GE and Safran SA, which together make engines for both plane makers and supply spare parts and interiors such as aircraft seats, are cutting costs and laying off staff.

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group, expects passenger air traffic to halve this year compared with 2019, ending a decadelong growth surge driven by low-cost airlines and the demand in emerging markets.

Aerospace suppliers have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic because grounded planes don’t require as much maintenance or spare parts. Larry Culp, GE’s CEO, told investors that visits to its repair shops will likely be down 60% in the current quarter from a year ago.

“This is an unprecedented decline in the aviation market and is likely to be challenging for a while,” Mr. Culp said in an interview Wednesday. “We are well aware that it may take a while” for air travel to recover.

Boeing’s services unit, which the company once envisaged would triple in size to have $50 billion in annual sales, is also suffering.

Airbus, which had been gaining market share because of Boeing’s MAX woes, was in better financial condition than its U.S. rival, and said it can reshape itself without government support.

Boeing plans to raise cash and support a supply chain of about 17,000 companies. It burned through $4.7 billion in cash during the latest quarter and said it is considering applying for federal stimulus help, as well as borrowing more from private lenders. The company didn’t detail what type—and how much taxpayer aid—it might seek in coming weeks.

Both plane makers said they were optimistic that airline traffic would resume their long-term growth paths. They just don’t know when.

“We believe this industry will recover,” Mr. Calhoun said, with federal backing for the U.S. airline industry and overseas government efforts providing crucial support for the broader industry.

The planned production cuts outlined by Boeing and Airbus provided suppliers with more certainty about short-term demand, and the sector rallied on the plane makers’ outlooks. Boeing, whose shares have fallen 60% so far this year, closed up almost 6%; Airbus rose more than 10%.

For airlines, the pace of recovery hinges on securing emergency cash and addressing the patchwork of national travel restrictions imposed as the pandemic ripped across the world.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the European plane maker plans to ‘right-size’ its business.
PHOTO: BALINT PORNECZI/BLOOMBERG NEWS

IATA, the trade group, is coordinating a series of meetings with governments this week to standardize policies such as the health screening of passengers and staff at airports and onboard aircraft. Some carriers, , such as Lufthansa, are already requiring that passengers and crew wear masks.

Airlines now expect barely 10% of pre-pandemic flying in the current quarter. The busy summer travel season in which many carriers usually make the bulk of their profits isn’t expected to herald much improvement, but carriers are starting to make tentative plans for a resumption of flying later this year.

Domestic markets are expected to be the first to reopen, partly because national flying policies can be coordinated and passengers may be wary of traveling overseas. International routes that typically use larger planes could take several years to reach pre-pandemic levels, said Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the IATA.

The production cuts reflect those expectations. Boeing said Wednesday that by 2022 it will halve production of its 787 jetliner to seven a month and trim output of the larger 777, which is typically used on longer routes.

Boeing plans to resume 737 MAX output this quarter at a low initial rate, rising to 31 a month next year. It had planned to produce about twice as many MAX jets before regulators grounded the aircraft in March 2019 following two fatal crashes.

It is planning for regulators to clear the restart of deliveries from the third quarter. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it has no timeline for approving the MAX and would clear it to carry passengers once the agency deems the aircraft safe.

Boeing, which employed 161,000 staff as of Jan. 1, said it plans to reduce head count by 10% this year, including what Mr. Calhoun said would likely involve involuntary cuts. The company, which is also a major defense contractor, said most of the cuts would come from its commercial-airplane and services arms.

Reduced plane deliveries and sales of spare parts combined with the impact of temporary factory closures and the continuing impact of the 737 MAX crisis led to a quarterly loss of $641 million. Sales fell to $16.9 billion from $22.9 billion.

GE is cutting 10% of the 52,000 employees at its aviation unit and plans to furlough thousands more. Mr. Culp said it would look to make some of the immediate cuts permanent, while GE’s aircraft leasing business is preparing to repossess some of the 1,000 jets in its fleet from customers who have fallen behind on payments.

Airbus plans to furlough staff in France, Germany and the U.K. after eclipsing Boeing last year as the world’s biggest plane maker by deliveries. Airbus said its focus now is cash preservation, as airline customers defer and cancel orders.

Airbus said it burned through €4.4 billion ($4.78 billion) in free cash in the first quarter with the impact set to worsen in the second. It reported a net loss of €481 million during the period, compared with net income of €40 million a year earlier. Revenue fell 15% to €10.6 billion.

“We think our capacity to compete and be strong on the long term is intact, if not improved, as the impact of Covid-19 on our main competitor, on top of the previous difficult situations they had to manage, is probably making us stronger,” Mr. Faury said.

First among Airbus’s potential advantages is its A320 family of jets—a single-aisle rival to the Boeing 737 MAX—including a new long-range variant still in development. The two models once competed fiercely for orders from airlines, which prized their fuel efficiency and flexible range.

Boeing said the pandemic has complicated its own plans to develop new aircraft. Mr. Calhoun said the company will have to wait for a market recovery before designing all-new aircraft tailored to airlines’ needs: “It’s going to take us a while to sort that out.”

— Benjamin Katz and Thomas Gryta contributed to this article.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com and Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com.

The original story can be found here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-and-airbus-brace-for-prolonged-downturn-triggered-by-coronavirus-11588199021


Inspection Report Shows Problems with Suppression System Prior to Fire

March 30, 2020

3/6/20

By Lucas Geisler
ABC17 News

SALINE COUNTY, Mo. — State fire investigators noted past problems with a fire suppression system at a gas station that burned down in November.

The report from the Missouri State Fire Marshal said the hood suppression system attached to grills in the Dairy Queen restaurant weren’t properly installed to Laboratory Underwriters standards. The work order from Keller Fire and Safety also noted the system filters were dirty and that the appliances were “not properly covered with correct nozzles.”

The report from inspector Chad Hildebrand obtained by ABC 17 News ruled the fire that destroyed the gas station and restaurant off Interstate 70 on Nov. 1 as accidental. Three teenage workers at the DQ said a hot grill began to catch fire around 7 p.m. that night. The trio said they could not find anything to put out the fire with, and their manager advised them to get out of the building.

The marshal’s inspection found heavy damage along the wall by the grills. Damage to the building made it difficult for the inspector to figure out if the suppression system, which was still intact, actually worked.

“The tank to the system felt extremely light as if it was empty, however there was not a gauge present on this system,” Hildebrand wrote. “The fusible link attached to the system was not located.”

The workers, whose names were withheld because they are juveniles, said they never saw the hood system activate, which could have tamped down the fire when it started.

Firefighters with the Blackwater Fire Protection District, which led the initial response, said the suppression system put out a fire in 2017 at the DQ. Chief Tim Doty said the system put out a grill fire, but he was unsure if the system was ever recharged.

Hildebrand said he got a hold of the latest inspection for the suppression system, done by Keller on July 22, 2019. The inspection noted several problems, including the improper installation. The system was also not connected to the fire alarms in the building. The technician left a report with suggested fixes, but Hildebrand’s inspection does not say if Fast and Friendly LLC, which owned the gas station, followed the advice.

The inspection also noted the system had not been discharged prior to inspection.

Business owner Abdul Quddus told Hildebrand he did not remember a time when the suppression system went off at Stuckey’s. He also “denied having a fire in the business in the past.”

One of the teenage workers said they were working the counter when the store became busy around 7 p.m. The worker told Hildebrand the grill appeared “blacker” than usual and cooked the hamburger patties quickly.

A second worker said they began working at 4:45 p.m. An outgoing cook told them that the grill was “cooking hotter than normal,” according to the report. The worker said the grill appeared “cherry red” at one point. They turned the grill heat down in response.

A bit later, the worker said they put ten patties on the grill. When they tried flipping them, the worker said flames began to shoot from the surface of the grill.

The teenagers tried throwing several boxes of fry salt on the grill to put it out, the second worker said. When that didn’t work, they notified their manager, who advised they all leave the store.

That manager, Cali Hart, told Hildebrand she saw a male customer try to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Hildebrand said fire crews did find an empty extinguisher by the back door.

The original story can be found here.


Pictures from the FSSA 38th Annual Forum

March 9, 2020

This year’s FSSA Annual Forum took place on February 20-24, 2020 at the Margaritaville Resort in Orlando, Florida. Here are some of the many photos taken at the event!


2 Dead, 16 Injured in Fire During Testing of New Clean Agent Fire Suppression System (India)

February 10, 2020

11/17/19

By Raina Assainar
The Hindu

Two of the 18 workers who were injured in a fire at a company in Mangaon succumbed to their injuries.

Aashish Yerunkar and Rakesh Halde had received more than 80% burns. “Both of them succumbed to their injuries while in the ambulance. They were brought dead,” Dr. Sunil Keswani from National Burns Centre, Airoli, said.

The company, Cryptzo Engineering Pvt. Ltd., manufactures clean agent fire extinguishing systems. The blaze occurred around 4.30 p.m. when a demonstration was being conducted in the server room of the factory. There were 34 workers in the premises at the time of the incident.

Five of the 18 injured had sustained over 60% burns and four of them were taken to the Intensive Burns Care Unit of the National Burns Centre. Meanwhile, 11 patients are recuperating in the general ward for the minor injuries while one was discharged.

The fire extinguishing systems manufactured by the firm use gas. An officer was conducting a demonstration on a fire fighting system when it caught fire.

Since the activity was taking place in a closed room, the fire spread rapidly and injured many.

“We are investigating and verifying who is responsible for the mishap. A case will be registered based on the result of these investigations,” police inspector Ramdas Ingawale from Mangaon police station said.

Read the original story here: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/two-injured-in-mangaon-fire-succumb-to-injuries/article29995615.ece


Protegis Fire & Safety Acquires Florida Fire Service, Inc., Expanding Their FL Coverage

December 29, 2019

11/25/19

Protegis Fire & Safety

 

Louisville, KY / Cleveland, OH — Protegis Fire & Safety, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Tampa-based Florida Fire Services, Inc. Like Protegis, Florida Fire Service provides fire safety service and repair, inspection and installation services for commercial customers in a variety of end markets. On a combined basis, Protegis now does business in 45 states and employs more than 400 fire protection professionals across the country.

A long-standing family-owned and operated business in the Tampa area, Florida Fire Service offers complete fire protection services for various types of commercial and municipal facilities throughout the west coast of Florida and surrounding markets. “We’ve known the Florida Fire Service team for several years and are excited to welcome them to our growing company,” said Protegis President/COO Steve DeJohn. “Given their reputation for service quality and technical expertise, they are a natural extension of our brand and allow us to bring Protegis into the Florida market.”

“The partnership with Protegis is an exciting new chapter for Florida Fire Service employees and customers. We have great pride in the service we have provided to our customers over the decades, and we evaluated many options for our next phase of growth; Protegis stood out to us as a leader in the industry and a partner who will help support continued best-in-class service to our customers,” said Florida Fire Service Owner Doug Higgs.

Protegis is actively seeking fire and life safety companies across the United States who are interested in exploring their next phase of growth. “We don’t have a one-size fits all approach in our acquisition process. We work to create alignment between owners’ needs and company needs to create a successful transaction for all” said Steve Smith, VP of Mergers & Acquisitions for Protegis.

“Over the years we have had owners stay on board with Protegis after a transaction, we have had owners exit and cash out, and everything in between. Our overriding theme continues to be providing great opportunities for everyone in the companies we acquire and a transition strategy for the current owner. Companies of all sizes could be a potential fit as Protegis continues to expand our footprint and service capabilities.”

About Protegis

Protegis provides inspection, maintenance, installation, and repair services and sells new, repaired, and remanufactured parts for fire and security systems and equipment. The Company’s team of professional engineers/designers and NICET-certified technicians design, install, and program a wide variety of fire and security alarm brands. The Company’s national footprint and one-stop solution attract customers seeking to simplify their fire safety services spend and increase service quality through vendor consolidation. For more information, visit www.protegis.com.

Please contact VP of Business Development Steve Smith at ssmith@protegis.com to discuss further.


Honeywell’s New Clean Agent? ½ FK, ½ 227

December 29, 2019


Is Massive Recall of Fire Alarms Possible?

November 11, 2019

By Larry Anderson
SecurityInformed.com

Could millions of burglar and fire alarm control units be recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission?

That could be the upshot when the independent agency of the U.S. government rules on a ‘Complaint of Non-Conforming Products’ investigation requested on behalf of a consultant/forensic expert who says he has identified non-compliance dangers and vulnerabilities related to the devices.

Breaching security standards

Jeffrey Zwirn, an alarm and security forensic expert, says he has identified problems with the alarm devices and has posted online a series of videos confirming that they do not operate in conformance with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 985 and 103 and NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code) Standards. Specifically, the single data-bus circuits of the hardwired devices can be short-circuited and become either fully or partially non-functional.

The U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission is tasked with promoting the safety of consumer products by addressing “unreasonable risks” of injury, such as risk of fire, chemical exposure, electrical malfunction or mechanical failure. Typically, the CSPC evaluates such requests and determines what corrective action, if any, is appropriate, in this case possibly by the end of the year.

IDS Research & Development Inc. (Zwirn’s company) and Connaughton Group LLC, a product integrity consulting firm, sent a request to the CSPC on Sept. 20 asking for an investigation of products across the North American household fire and burglar alarm control units and commercial burglar and fire alarm control panel category.

Recalling alarm control units

The request estimates that “hundreds of millions” of the units were sold and installed across the United States. They include products sold under brand names such as Honeywell, DSC, NAPCO, ELK Products, and Interlogix. If the recall were to happen, it would be the largest recall in the history of the alarm industry.

The request states: “It is our expert opinion that these non-conforming control panels present a foreseeably dangerous and serious public safety hazard and risk to all of the unsuspecting consumers, their families and business owners who have these control panels installed in their homes and businesses.”

Zwirn has also submitted the products for investigation by UL and Intertek Testing Services Inc., which respectively provide the UL and ETL certification marks and are Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL). Outcomes of those investigations are forthcoming.

Jeffrey Zwirn also promotes and sells a product, The Interceptor, that would address the vulnerability. It is a microprocessor designed to protect the data-bus and auxiliary power output wiring installed throughout a protected premises.

Original story can be found here: https://www.securityinformed.com/insights/massive-recall-burglar-fire-alarms-sb.1571321616.html


3M Could Face “Existential Threat” from Lawsuits

October 6, 2019

Attorneys walk out of U.S. District Court in Charleston on Friday, July 26, 2019, following a meeting on more than 100 lawsuits that were filed against 3M and other companies. Andrew Brown/Staff

8/4/19

By Andrew Brown
The Post and Courier

The fortunes of an American industrial giant that developed Post-it Notes and Scotch Tape could turn in a Charleston courtroom, where 3M Co. is battling claims it contaminated the environment and polluted drinking water across the country.

The Minnesota-based company’s long-term profitability may hinge on how well it defends itself from a mountain of litigation over the production of chemicals known as per-and polyfluorinated substances – PFAS for short.

For decades, 3M was the primary manufacturer of that class of substances, which were used to make commonplace items like nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant carpet and grease-proof food wrappers.

The compounds were also a key ingredient in a firefighting foam that was sprayed at industrial sites, civilian airports and hundreds of military bases around the world.

It’s that product that landed 3M in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

At least 110 federal lawsuits involving the firefighting foam were consolidated here this year.

Last month, dozens of lawyers representing cities, states, individuals and water utilities in those cases packed into District Judge Richard Gergel’s courtroom to begin sorting out the high-stakes litigation.

They are all seeking damages for the chemicals that leached into the ground, seeped into drinking water and entered people’s bloodstreams.

3M maintains there is no evidence to prove the chemicals have ever harmed anyone, and it emphasized that it phased out production of PFAS chemicals in the early 2000s.

But medical scientists continue to scrutinize some of the compounds for possible links to immune problems, developmental issues, thyroid disorders and kidney and testicular cancers.

The cases involving the firefighting foam aren’t the only liabilities 3M could face as a result of its decades-long use of the chemicals. The company, which was founded in 1902, also faces allegations it contaminated the environment and drinking water near several of its manufacturing sites.

The scope of the alleged contamination is so large that it’s being compared to earlier battles over asbestos, which bankrupted companies and spawned the longest-running string of litigation in U.S. history.

That reality was not lost on Gergel, who has been assigned to manage the cases in Charleston.

He told the attorneys who crowded into his courtroom last month the litigation could pose an “existential threat” to 3M and the other defendants that manufactured, marketed and sold the firefighting foam.

“Right now, we have 110 cases,” Gergel said, “and if I’m reading the tea leaves right, there’s a lot more coming.”

“The liability could be extraordinary,” he added.

The attorneys for 3M have developed more than a few arguments to defend the Fortune 500 company, which is currently valued at more than $100 billion on Wall Street.

The chemical-laden foam 3M produced, the attorneys argue, may have been altered or misused.

The contamination, they assert, may have been caused by negligence on the part of military personnel and others who handled the foam during accidents and fire-training exercises.

The chemicals 3M utilized, the attorneys pointed out, were never regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Original article can be found here: https://www.postandcourier.com/business/m-others-may-face-existential-threat-from-charleston-court-verdict/article_fefa2990-afbb-11e9-b95d-0bbbc632b8fb.html


9th Triennial International Aircraft Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference

September 9, 2019

The 9th Triennial International Aircraft Fire and Cabin Safety Research Conference will be held at the Resorts Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, October 28-31, 2019.

The conference aims to inform the international aviation community about recent, ongoing, and planned research in transport category airplane fire and cabin safety. The conference is jointly sponsored by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the National Civil Aviation Agency – Brazil (ANAC), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).

The Cabin Safety Evacuation and Operational Issues sessions of the conference will comprise studies related to in-flight safety, and crash/post-crash survivability. Traditionally, research topics have included exit and escape slide performance, aircraft interior arrangements, water survival equipment standards, cabin crew procedures, passenger education, and evacuation computer modelling, presented by researchers from around the world.

The crash dynamics sessions will include studies focusing on aircraft-level crash impact performance, as well as studies that address new and emerging occupant injury criteria. These sessions will also include studies regarding the use of analytical modeling in various aspects of occupant protection, particularly where gathering statistically meaningful empirical data is difficult. Previous conference sessions have addressed ditching behavior, energy absorption characteristics of nonmetallic materials, and human tolerance to high levels of lateral loading, among many others.

The fire safety sessions will include presentations on research in lithium battery fire hazards and mitigation, engine/powerplant fire protection, cabin/cockpit fires, heat flux influence in flammability tests, cargo fire protection, and advanced fire research. Previous conference sessions have addressed battery fires, development of new test methods for Appendix F, fire research projects in Europe, full-scale lithium battery testing, fire research materials and characterization.

2019 conference proceedings are available at https://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/2016Conference/conference.asp.

Conference registration is free and is open to anyone with an interest in aircraft fire and cabin safety research. Past attendees have included aviation safety professionals in the areas of engineering, design, operations, maintenance, and research. Attendance at this year’s conference is expected to reach 600-700. Conference registration and hotel reservation details are available at https://www.fire.tc.faa.gov/Meetings/meetings.asp. Conference presenter bios and presentation abstracts will be available on this website soon. Please contact April Horner, CMP, Conference Manager, with any questions at april.ctr.horner@faa.gov.


NAFED Honors Craig Voelkert, Fire Protection Legend

July 29, 2019

July 2019

The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) recently honored longtime Amerex team member and industry icon, Craig Voelkert, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Craig exemplified this significant honor through his dedication to progressing the fire suppression industry. His commitment to innovation and industry engagement led to product advancements that are critical elements of life safety.

In the early 1990s, Amerex founder Ned Paine discovered Craig at a Nevada fire school, where he was leading fire-training courses. Ned promptly offered him a position at Amerex. Craig’s responsibilities would include advancing key product innovations, engaging with technical committees and leading interactions with local and federal governments. Since accepting Ned’s offer, he successfully fulfilled these duties and accomplished much more before he retired at the end of 2018.

Craig utilized his expertise and inventive personality to shepherd Amerex into new markets, such as pre-engineered fire systems for commercial restaurants and vehicles. In addition to his involvement with NAFED, Craig served as the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (FEMA) president and had various roles on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) technical committees. Craig and his peers continuously pioneered new code and code improvements, which led to inventions like the K-Class Extinguishers for cooking operations.

With his leadership and vision, Craig leaves a lasting legacy on Amerex and the fire suppression industry. Thank you, Craig, for your meaningful impact. Amerex and our entire industry appreciate your many contributions over the years.

# # #

Media contact:
Jonathan Carter
Marketing Manager
Amerex Fire
205.661.4146
jonathan.carter@amerex-fire.com