Mega-cities myth

You’ve probably heard the argument from Airbus that mega-cities will fuel greater demand for the A380. To put it simply, they claim very big cities need very big airplanes to deal with all the passenger traffic.

Here’s one more example of why that theory doesn’t add up.

Tokyo is a HUGE city. Its metro population (about 36 million) is larger than the entire population of Canada (about 35 million). Tokyo is served by Haneda and Narita airports. It should be the classic example of the Airbus mega-city theory.

But the A380 only flies in and out of Tokyo with a whopping 6 flights per day.

On the other hand, the 787 is being used for about 150 flights per day in and out of Tokyo. In fact, 11 airlines are flying the Dreamliner on 49 unique city pairs.

The chart below shows that Northeast Asia’s airports have seen continued growth, driven by new markets and more frequencies. Over the past 10 years, the number of destinations has soared—while the average seats per flight dropped (meaning smaller airplanes are being used instead of very large ones).

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In today’s world, travelers are demanding more frequency with more point-to-point options. And that’s exactly what the 787 delivers.

Firming things up

The 777X team reached a key milestone this week with the completion of firm configuration for the 777-9, the first member of the 777X family. The team reached this milestone after years of collaboration with customers and suppliers to make sure we had the optimal configuration for the airplane.

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777X can now be seen on the belly of the airplane.

You may have noticed that we dropped the “X” in our minor model designations. While it’s still the 777X family, we’ll now refer to the minor models as the 777-8 and 777-9. This naming convention keeps us consistent with minor model designations across the Boeing family.

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The 777X name has built tremendous equity and industry recognition since its launch in 2013. The 777 stands for efficiency, passenger appeal, flagship status for airlines and industry leading reliability. Combining 777 with the “X” means taking all of those great attributes to a new level.

Reaching firm configuration was truly a team effort—with our people setting up the 777X program for future success. Congrats to all involved.

On the move

Most people who drive along Highway 526 outside our Everett factory are used to seeing big airplanes. But probably not a giant autoclave.

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The first autoclave for 777X wings heads for home at our new Everett composite wing center. Tim McGuire photo.

The first of three huge autoclaves, measuring 28 feet wide by 120 feet long, was moved on Wednesday night from a site adjacent to Paine Field en route to our new 777X Composite Wing Center. As it crossed the bridge over Highway 526, crews shut down the road temporarily to avoid any distractions.

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It’s not officially on Boeing property until K9 officer Gizmo gives the all clear. Good dog Gizmo, good dog. Photo by Gail Hanusa.

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Crossing the Highway 526 bridge to our Everett factory. Tim Stake photo.

This first autoclave was initially built vertically in 13 sections, called cans. The cans were then assembled into three towers measuring 40 feet tall. All three autoclaves will be the centerpiece of our new Composite Wing Center, a 1.3-million square foot facility that will be roughly the size of 25 football fields. The autoclaves will help us bake sections of the composite wings for the new 777X.

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Talk about an oversize load! Gail Hanusa photo.

China outlook

We’re trying something new here on Randy’s Journal— our very first podcast (ok, it isn’t downloadable yet— but we’re working on that).

Our first topic is the China Current Market Outlook, which we released earlier today. Despite the current financial market volatility, we expect China to need 6,330 new airplanes over the next 20 years valued at nearly $1 trillion.

I sat down earlier with Darren Hulst, our regional marketing director for China, to talk about the things shaping that country’s very dynamic aviation sector. Click below to listen.

We’d love to get your ideas for future podcasts. Submit your topics or questions to: askrandy@boeing.com.

Also be sure to check out our full Asia outlook.

Fantastic Friday

It really was a fantastic way to end the week, with two great things happening on the same day. In Renton, the first 737 MAX fuselage arrived at our factory on Friday afternoon.

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A beautiful shot by Jim Anderson of the first 737 MAX fuselage arriving in Renton.

And earlier in the day, Korean Air’s first 747-8 Intercontinental took to the skies to perform a flyover at the Boeing Classic golf tournament at Snoqualmie Ridge, Wash.

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Crowds look up at the 747-8 during a flyover. Jessica Oyanagi photos.

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It’s the perfect way to start the weekend. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

 

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