Salute to Joe

Just a few days after new orders came in for the 747-8 Freighter, Cargolux took delivery of their 30th 747, a 747-8 Freighter. And they did us all proud by marking the milestone with a tribute to the man who started it all—Joe Sutter.

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Cargolux decked out their newest airplane with a special decal honoring Joe as the Father of the 747. I can tell you that Joe’s office is just a upstairs from me, and we are proud to say that he is still a regular fixture in the halls of Boeing.

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Cargolux honors Joe Sutter (right) during a celebration.

Ever since we delivered Cargolux’s first 747-200 Freighter in the late 1970s, we’ve enjoyed a great partnership with an airline that has built its entire business around the 747. The airplane family has been a fantastic workhorse for our friends in Luxembourg and earlier this year I wrote about how the airline is now serving 100 airports worldwide with the 747-8 Freighter. That’s a testament to the airplane’s incredible versatility.

Thanks to Cargolux for its continued commitment to the 747 program over the years, and for honoring the man behind the Queen of the Skies.

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Early observations

I’ll be heading down to Arizona next week for the ISTAT Americas conference. It’s a great place to hear what’s going on in the industry and to share our view of things. We’ll also be unveiling some 777-300ER improvements that will be rolling out soon—more to come on that next week.

Now that February is in the books, I wanted to share a few observations about the year so far—starting with the orders and deliveries race.

Net orders

Boeing: 74 (through March 3)

Airbus: 28 (through Feb. 28)

Deliveries

Boeing: 113

Airbus: 82

We’re off to a solid start on several fronts. The production bridge from 777 to 777X is one of our priorities this year. And we continue to make good progress building that bridge thanks to an order from Korean Air for five 777 Freighters.

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A 777 Freighter for Korean Air.

The 747-8 program also garnered three new Freighter orders from Silk Way West. Both of these orders are signs that the cargo market continues to improve, and our products are perfectly positioned that capitalize on the growing demand.

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A 747-8 Freighter for Silk Way.

Orders for the 737 MAX continue to grow—now totaling 2,713 since the airplane’s launch. And orders for the Next-Generation 737 keep coming as well.

I’ll end with congratulations to the Boeing South Carolina team. Today, we received word from the FAA that 787-9’s built at our North Charleston factory are now part of Boeing’s production certificate. It’s another great accomplishment to start the year.

Freighter milestone

It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, we delivered the 100th 777 Freighter. The airplane went to China Southern.

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The 100th 777 Freighter was delivered to China Southern.

Earlier this month, we booked a new order for five 777 Freighters from Korean Air. As the world’s largest and most capable twin-engine freighter with the lowest trip cost of any large freighter, we’re excited to see more orders and more deliveries for this airplane that launched just under 10 years ago.

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The 777 Freighter is seen here during its first flight in July 2008.

We’re also excited that air cargo appears primed for growth after some slow years. We projecting that air cargo will grow at an annual rate of just under 5 percent for the next 20 years. And in the near-term, fuel savings and a stronger U.S. dollar equal good news for our customers.

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Our commitment to the cargo industry is unrivaled. With our lineup of freighters, we’re in the perfect position to meet market demand as things continue to improve. You can check out our complete lineup of freighters on our special webpage.

Building boom

One year ago today, we announced that our new 777X Composite Wing Center would be built on our Everett campus. The progress since then has been nothing short of amazing.

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This aerial photo shows construction of the 777X Composite Wing Center in Everett.

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This artist rendering shows what the completed wing center will look like.

Construction is in full force as we continue erecting steel for the building structure. In just a few months, we’ll start installing the first of three giant autoclaves in the 1.3-million square foot facility— a facility that will be roughly the size of 25 football fields.

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A rendering of the autoclaves inside the 777X Composite Wing Center.

The sounds of construction can also be heard at Boeing Field in Seattle as we near the completion of our expanded Seattle Delivery Center for 737s. When it’s finished, the facility will more than double the space we currently have- helping us support increased 737 deliveries. And this place will be very busy as we go from building 42 737s a month today, to 47 in 2017 and 52 in 2018.

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Construction of the expanded 737 Delivery Center in Seattle is nearing completion.

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Here’s what the finished 737 Delivery Center will look like.

And inside our 737 factory in Renton, preparations continue for final assembly of the first 737 MAX later this year.

It’s an exciting time as we continue to make investments now that will be a key part of our future success.

Shared success

The annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in Lynnwood, Wash. continues to grow every year. Today, I once again had the pleasure of speaking with our supplier partners who’ve been just as busy as we have over the past year.

It’s very clear that Boeing won’t be successful if our supply chain partners aren’t successful. That’s because 65 percent of our costs come through the supply chain. As we continue to increase production rates, it’s crucial that our suppliers continue to invest in facilities, equipment, Lean manufacturing and innovation.

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We now procure a billion components and assemblies a year from about 1,500 production suppliers in 34 countries around the world. Last year we spent $43 billion with our supply chain partners. As we continue to grow our production, those numbers will only get bigger.

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As for any news coming out of today’s session, there was more talk and speculation about a 757 replacement. Some even suggested a re-engined 757. The fact is, there’s absolutely no business case to support that.

We’re very happy with our 737 and 787 product lineups. So we’re studying the space in between them. Customer feedback has led us to look at an airplane that is larger than today’s 737 and has greater range than the 757.

Of course, our main focus areas continue to executing on our production rate increases and our current airplane development programs. That’s more than enough to keep all of us busy for some time to come.

 

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