MAX takes shape

We’ve started fabricating parts for the first 737 MAX. Work has begun at Boeing and supplier facilities to support production of the first flight test airplane in 2015. This is a big milestone for the team as the first airplane literally starts to take shape.

Below you can see the forming of the first fuselage stringer in our Auburn, Wash. fabrication facility.

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The first stringer for the 737 MAX is produced with a Progressive Roll forming machine at Integrated Aero Structures, Auburn, Wash. Oil is used as a lubricant while the part is transformed from flat to formed in a matter of seconds.

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Progressive roll form operator Mark Kain cuts the first 737 MAX fuselage stringer to length.

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After the stringer is formed, trimmed and initial holes punched, Joggle Press operator Rich Harrison prepares the first stringer for the press by brushing on lubricant. The press applies up to 100 tons of pressure to form small “jogs” in the metal according to the engineering drawings.

After forming, the stringers will be shipped to Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita for incorporation into the first 737 MAX fuselage. From there the fuselage will be shipped to our factory in Renton to be built into the first 737 MAX.

The stringers are largely common with the Next-Generation 737 stringers built at the same facility in Auburn. This commonality will ensure our customers get the maximum benefit, while leveraging the design advantage of the Next-Generation 737s.

This commonality benefits the production process as well, helping us ensure the 737 MAX will fit seamlessly into the Renton production system. Below you can see that that we’ve already started the tear down of existing structures in the Renton factory to make room for what we are now calling the Central Line. The first 737 MAXs will be built on this new final assembly line before we mix production of the new airplane in with Next-Generation 737s.

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The construction crew has almost finished demolishing the fuselage systems installation tool that once stood within the blue fencing. This space will be the first position in the new production line we are building in Renton to build the first 737 MAXs and help sustain higher production rates.

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The 737 MAX 8.

The team is doing a great job of keeping everything on track as we look forward to the start of final assembly next year. Enjoy the video below that takes you inside our Auburn facility to see the stringer production process.

Cargo rebound

It’s no secret that the air cargo market has been weak over the past few years. But we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Boeing’s new World Air Cargo Forecast, which I unveiled earlier this week in Seoul, projects that air cargo traffic will grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent over the next 20 years, with global air freight traffic expected to more than double by 2033. Those are some pretty healthy figures considering where things have been.

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I was joined by members of the Boeing cargo team in Seoul.

In fact, growth has reached 4.4 percent for the first seven months of 2014— compared to no growth during the same period of time a year earlier. If that trend continues, 2014 will be the highest growth year for the air freight industry since 2010,

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Boeing offers freighters for every market, including (from left) the 777, 747-8 and 767 Freighter.

As the market continues to strengthen, our forecast shows carriers will need new, factory-built freighters and our lineup of airplanes—from the 767, to the 747-8 to the 777—- is well positioned to continue carrying more than half of the world’s air cargo traffic. Our freighters continue to bring our current customers value, and we look forward to bringing in new customers are the rebound kicks in.

I’ll leave you with a look at some of the great food we’ve enjoyed during this trip.

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Korean barbecue.

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Cold noodles.

The list keeps growing

The list of new customers taking first delivery of their first 777-300ER keeps growing. China Airlines became the most recent recipient last Friday when it took delivery of the first of 10 777-300ERs it has on order.

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The first 777-300ER for China Airlines.

This airplane continues to open up new markets for our customers. China Airlines will begin operating its new 777-300ER to Hong Kong this month and eventually introduce it on trans-Pacific routes to connect Taipei with major cities in North America, including Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

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LED lighting in China Airlines’ first 777-300ER cabin interior casts a embracing glow. Katie Lomax photo.

China Airlines will also impress its passengers with a new cabin interior in the 777-300ER. The design team was led by Taiwanese architect Ray Chen, whose award-winning structures and designs are known for weaving Eastern aesthetics into modern and minimalist designs.

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A specially designed galley area is one of several features on China Airlines’ first 777-300ER. Katie Lomax photo.

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China Airlines’ new 777-300ER configuration seats 358 passengers in a three-class layout. The layout is highlighted by new Family Couch seats in economy class, where three seats convert into a flat surface. Katie Lomax photo.

There’s nothing like seeing the reactions of customers when they see their finished 777-300ER for the first time. And we look forward to many more.

Hometown proud

It’s always special to see “Proudly All Boeing” written on the nose of an Alaska Airlines 737. That’s why Alaska’s order today for 10 more 737-900ERs is positive news for us and our hometown partner here in Seattle.

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Alaska’s newest 737-900ER is prepped for delivery at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

Today’s purchase brings Alaska’s total Boeing jets on order to 74. We appreciate their commitment to a locally manufactured fleet of the most fuel efficient airplanes in the market. These new 737-900ERs will replace Alaska’s 737-400s, giving passengers the chance to enjoy the Boeing Sky Interior with larger overhead bins and power outlets at every seat.

To celebrate today’s order, Alaska has launched a “Keys to the Sky” scavenger hunt in Seattle. Five winners will get to test drive a 737 simulator and grab two round trip tickets on Alaska. Click here for full details.

Thanks to Alaska for adding to their all-Boeing fleet and good luck to everyone taking part in the scavenger hunt.

Total eclipse

Here’s a stat that would have sounded impossible just a few years ago. Through the end of the third quarter this year, we’ve delivered more airplanes than we delivered in all of 2011. Let that sink in for a moment.

Our delivery total of 528 airplanes though the first nine months of this year has already eclipsed the 477 airplanes we delivered in all of 2011. That’s a testament to our plan of executing on our production rate increases and getting airplanes in the hands of our customers as soon as possible.

Just yesterday, we made our next 737 rate increase official—going to 52 airplanes per month in 2018. It speaks to the strength of our backlog, the demand for the new 737 MAX (2,295 orders so far) and continued interest in the Next-Generation 737.

The rate increase is also attributable to our employees for the innovation and passion they bring to the job— and the products they build. The ultimate compliment is when customers come back and say “give me more.”

Speaking of more—we’ve now booked 1,000 net orders through the end of the third quarter. Airbus has not yet updated its totals through the third quarter, but we look forward to what the rest of 2014 will bring in the orders and deliveries race.

 

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