Lundi, Lundi

LE BOURGET – A guy by the name of Charles Lindbergh landed here 80 years ago after the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. It’s truly a place of aviation history. Paris has hosted air shows virtually since the beginning of the era of flight, and Le Bourget airfield in the northeast corner of metropolitan Paris has been the site of the big show for many decades now.

This is the “47th Salon International de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace.” And you know it’s always going to be a great show here. The air display is amazing. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, you just can’t look away when the airplanes fly each day.

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The Boeing “chalet.” Our home at the air show.

But I think what my colleagues and I look forward to most at these air shows, as I mentioned the other day, is rekindling the relationships we’ve made with people around the world over the years. That, and having a heckuva good time just talking about airplanes.

Which brought me to one thought as we started the week. Am I the only one who’s noticed that what we read in the media, and what the reality is, tends to be two separate things right now? Maybe it’s the added frenzy of Paris Air Show time, but it appears that many of those who report on our business are trying to pit Boeing vs. Airbus - and depicting the notion that we’re at each other’s throats, or of one side or the other “firing the first shots” or going “on the attack.”

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The Paris Air Show got under way for me first thing Monday morning with a discussion with Bloomberg Television at Le Bourget.

It’s a bit of a stretch. I think the reality is that Boeing is focused on what’s important to us – and that’s our customers. Airbus is focusing on getting back on track. They’re a strong competitor, and as you’ve seen expressed here in the past, that’s a good thing for our industry.

But we’re not going to be drawn into a war of words. Our outstanding products and services speak for themselves. And we continue to do everything we can to be successful in satisfying the needs of our customers and in delivering results companywide.

There’s been a lot of news out of Le Bourget already. BCA president and CEO Scott Carson met with reporters Monday morning, and predictably a lot of questions focused on the 787 Dreamliner. Some reporters seem intent on depicting “delays” in the 787 program. But Carson reminded the journalists that we are on track.

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Scott Carson and a media “scrum” following his press briefing on Monday.

As far as the date of the first flight, there has been no change. We don’t set a specific date for a first flight – that’s just not how new airplane programs work. We have been saying first flight will be in the late August or September time frame. And again, that hasn’t changed.

You know, new airplanes are always challenges. One of the things we say at Boeing is you have to be nimble, and I think we are. The process involves dynamic development and assembly challenges that we address every day. But the important point I want to make is just as Scott Carson said. The 787 Program remains on schedule to roll out the first 787 on July 8. The window for first flight starts in late August and goes for several weeks to a month. We are on track to meet that window, as well as entry into service in May 2008.

Speaking of new airplanes, on Wednesday I’ll have the opportunity to give a media briefing on the 747-8 program. On the -8, we continue to make progress. I remember that last year at Farnborough all the questions were about, “why don’t you have any orders?” And now we’re at 87 orders for the program. With the progress we’re making, we’re excited about the freighter airplane delivering in 2009 and the passenger version the following year in 2010.

All in all, as expected, it was a very dynamic day.

Monday, Monday. It was all I hoped it would be.

Comments (3)

Saj (London, UK):

Hats off to you Randy. And the rest at Boeing.

Regardless of what your competitor is or isn't doing, by keeping the focus of efforts squarely at the customer, the investment will redeem itself.

The numbers for the 787 speak and illustrate that very well. Even for the 747, which has won more valuable orders compared to the A380 when it was launched back in 2000.

Numbers aside, the media should now cease with the repeat conspiracy theories that the 787 program will be delayed et al.

Several times now, Scott Carson has had to repeat the message that all is on course. If the 787 customers have no qualms, then neither should anyone else.

Jets (FAJS, South Africa):

I have noticed this blog for a while, and was wondering why such a mod thing for Boeing to do, so well done that it is great, now can I do something about your main bland website, it has gone backwards in my book.

G (France):

Today, the total 787 orders is 634.
787 is only 153 away.

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