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Boeing

There was a millennium bug joke - an airline captain told his passengers that one of the aircraft's engines had cut out because of the millennium bug but it was OK because the other one was still working. Then his co-pilot told him that the clock on that one was a minute slow.

Of course, no airlines fell from the sky at midnight on 31 December 1999 and even the dozens of chips in some of the USA's nuclear missiles that were causing concern turned out to be just fine.

So, that's that then, you might think. But no.

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Let's accept for a moment that, good as it is, data from commercial flight-tracking services is not 100% authoritative. But it is certainly extremely persuasive. The data that was made available immediately after the crash of Ethiopian Airways flight 302 showed a remarkable similarity to similar data published after the crash of Lion Air JT610. As more and more countries banned B787 MAX, the FAA supported Boeing. Boeing said "we stand by our aircraft." Then even more compelling evidence of similarity between the crashes emerged.

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In July last year, we said Malaysia needs to review Malaysia Airlines - Boeing deal because of political issues. Now, there's another reason to look at it.

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There's history: Malaysia Airlines's fleet used to be almost entirely Boeing. Because there were almost no components common to more than one Boeing model, stocks of parts were enormous and that translated to vast amounts of capital tied up in warehouses. AirAsia, however, like many low-cost airlines, capitalised on the fact that there are many common parts across the Airbus A300 series which means that stock costs (and the space to keep them) can be significantly smaller. Malaysia Airlines began to restructure its fleet. Then, at the height of the 1MDB scandal, the government-linked flag carrier announced it was going to buy Boeing again. And then something interesting happened in the 1MBD investigation in the USA. Current PM Mahathir and his graft-busting team need to take a look at what went on.

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Boeing plays dirty:what it can't win with honest competition it tries to win by alleging dirty tricks by rivals with a view to undermining their access to markets. As a major US employer, when it starts action in the US, it's always assumed that it has home court advantage and because those judging are political appointees that vested and conflicts of interest will almost inevitably mean a decision in favour of Boeing. To the surprise of all, Boeing's action against Bombardier, has been thrown out.

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Almost every couple of weeks, we hear that Airbus is not achieving orders, that its order book is depleted, that if it doesn't get orders soon it's going to crash and burn. The biggest comments are directed at the biggest aircraft: the A380 with "no new orders, A380 is a failure" being the general drift.

But here's the thing: Airbus has orders in abundance: indeed, it could not satisfy its existing orders within a year if it tried.

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