Resurgent Boeing 737 MAX could trigger jet surplus, expert warns

Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at Boeing facilities at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. The US plane-maker is expected to speed deliveries by 40 percent, to 70 units a month, when its factory doors reopen, in a bid to clear the backlog. (Reuters/File
Updated 06 November 2019

Resurgent Boeing 737 MAX could trigger jet surplus, expert warns

HONG KOAirlines struggling to cope with the grounding of the 737 MAX could face a markedly different problem when Boeing Co.’s best-selling jet is cleared to re-enter service: A switch to concerns about aircraft oversupply, carriers have been warned. The US plane-maker has continued to produce the jet since it was grounded in March after two fatal accidents, and is expected to speed deliveries by 40 percent, to 70 units a month, when its factory doors reopen, in a bid to clear the backlog.
Rob Morris, global head of consultancy at UK-based Ascend by Cirium, said the combination of any rapid rebound in deliveries, economic worries and an accumulation of market pressures dating back before the crashes could make it hard to absorb the jets.
“Next year is the challenge. When the dam breaks and the MAX starts to flow, there are going to be a lot of aircraft,” Morris told financiers at a Hong Kong briefing late on Monday. “There could potentially be as many as 1,000 surplus aircraft next year.”
The forecast is based on both a rebound in MAX deliveries and a potential glut of second-hand airplanes flooding back onto the market after standing in for the MAX during the grounding.
The crisis has rekindled demand for older and less efficient jets, with airlines using more than 800 planes that are more than 15 years old, compared to conditions four years ago, Morris told the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference on Tuesday.

Two-year logjam
Until now, most concern has focused on whether regulators would permit an orderly return to service by avoiding gaps in approvals by different countries.
But Morris, who has warned a long up-cycle in aviation is nearly over, said there were also risks in opening floodgates too quickly, overwhelming fragile growth in travel demand.
Still, he and other delegates at back-to-back aviation finance gatherings in Hong Kong agreed it would take Boeing 18 months or longer to deliver all the stranded aircraft.
The operation will be one of the industry’s biggest ever logistical challenges and any glitches or delays could further brake supply.
“Getting all those aircraft, that are currently parked, off the ground could take two years,” John Plueger, CEO of Air Lease Corp, told Reuters, adding he did not see fundamental changes as a result of the MAX’s return.
“It is not as if all these MAX could be delivered over a one-, two- or three-month period ... so it is not an open floodgate and 350 planes all coming onto the market tomorrow,” he said on the sidelines of last week’s Airfinance Journal Asia Pacific conference.
Boeing aims to return the 737 MAX to service in the US by the end of 2019, after making software changes in the wake of the crashes, which killed 346 people.
Europe’s top regulator said on Monday the airliner is likely to return to service in Europe in the first quarter of 2020.
Analysts say more than 300 MAX aircraft have been produced since March, when commercial flights were banned and deliveries frozen. This could rise to 400 by the time it resumes service.
Boeing is additionally expected to deliver close to 600 jets straight from the production line next year. It has indicated it plans to deliver up to 70 jets a month, equal to a previous record. Of this, analysts say around 20 are expected to be drawn from inventory parked at its factories and the rest newly built.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.