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Rolls-Royce Warns of Further Hit From Trent Issues

Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (RR.LN) on Thursday warned of a further earnings and cash-flow hit on the back of issues in its troubled Trent 1000 engines, as the company expects to book a charge of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.80 billion).

The British aircraft-engine maker said it now expects full-year operating profit and free cash-flow to be toward the lower end of its guidance ranges as a result of higher costs in fixing Trent 1000 engines used on Boeing Co. ’s (BA) 787 Dreamliner planes.

The company estimates in-service cash costs over the Trent 1000 issues will amount to GBP2.4 billion across the 2017-23 period. This includes GBP1.6 billion previously expected, a fresh GBP400 million hit and a further GBP400 million in costs previously included within the company’s normal program contingency, Rolls-Royce said.

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Boeing vs. Technological Chaos

OPINION Section

Human beings and their machines find it hard to understand each other.

When congressional hearings were inaugurated, they were supposed to be information-seeking exercises. Not much information seeking went on at last week’s hearings on the Boeing 737 MAX. Senators gave speeches deploring plane crashes. Even when they asked questions, they seldom waited for answers. And if any legislation results, it will surely be written by staffers based on agendas long ago hashed out.

All in all, a display of institutional decadence not unlike the one that seems to have afflicted Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration in their implementation and approval of MCAS, the automatic software system blamed for two terrible crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

To the question of how such a system could find its way into a plane, the answer seems to be “by mistake.”

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Once a Problem Child, the Dreamliner Keeps Boeing Afloat

Inflows of cash from the once-troublesome 787 Dreamliner are now sustaining the production of the grounded 737 MAX

In a twist of fate, Boeing’s BA +1.23% financial health through the 737 MAX crisis will rely heavily on what was once another problem child: the 787 Dreamliner.

During the release of its third-quarter results late in October, Boeing said the 787’s production rate would be lowered from 14 to 12 a month in late 2020 as a result of weakening demand for large jets. The model is now a key source of cash for Boeing, especially while the smaller MAX remains grounded by regulators world-wide.

Boeing spends roughly $3 billion a quarter to face debt payments and the dividend that has helped retain investors through the crisis. But producing MAX jets without selling them is creating a quarterly cash drain that seems to amount to between $4 billion and $7 billion, forcing the company to issue debt.

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International Panel Set to Criticize FAA’s Approval Process for Boeing 737 MAX Jets

A panel of international air-safety regulators is finishing a report expected to criticize the initial U.S. approval process for Boeing Co. BA -0.24% ’s 737 MAX jets, according to people briefed on the conclusions, while urging a wide-ranging reassessment of how complex automated systems should be certified on future airliners.

As part of roughly a dozen findings, these government and industry officials said, the task force is poised to call out the Federal Aviation Administration for what it describes as a lack of clarity and transparency in the way the FAA delegated authority to the plane maker to assess the safety of certain flight-control features. The upshot, according to some of these people, is that essential design changes didn’t receive adequate FAA attention.

The report, these officials said, also is expected to fault the agency for what it describes as inadequate data sharing with foreign authorities during its original certification of the MAX two years ago, along with relying on mistaken industrywide assumptions about how average pilots would react to certain flight-control emergencies. FAA officials have said they are devising new pilot-reaction guidelines after two fatal crashes.

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