November 2007 Archives

3 for 3

As many of us here in the U.S. got ready for the Thanksgiving holiday last week, it was rather remarkable to watch as Boeing’s updated orders and deliveries Website rolled past the 1,000 orders mark for the third time in three years.

And not just the numbers themselves, but the balance in orders is striking this year, with nearly as many widebody orders as for single-aisles. Nearly 600 orders for the Next-Generation 737.. and counting. Close to 300 orders for the Dreamliner booked firm this year so far. And 125 orders for the 777 as of last week.

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The 777 is a best-seller.

In fact, with the new orders coming in this month, the 777 has become the world’s best-selling twin-aisle, twin-engine airplane – surpassing the 767.

With more than a month left to go in 2007, the story isn’t fully written. And we have a great deal more work to do. But stopping a moment to take a breath, the only thought that comes to mind is, “Wow what a great year.”

Planes, trains, automobiles

Can’t speak to train and automobile travel too much, but I did come across a great resource that’s especially timely as a lot of people across the U.S. get ready to board airplanes for holiday travel this week and for the next several weeks.

It’s a Website called flyfaa.gov, offering flight delay information for domestic airports in real-time. The FAA is working on ways to give travelers info on what to expect before they get to the airport. This is one way of doing that.

The site refreshes every few moments, and allows you to view delay status and times, and reasons for delays on an interactive map of the United States.

It’s always a good idea to check on specific flight status with your airline, too. But this site is a great tool to help you avoid ending up like Steve Martin and John Candy.

Alaska wings it

You hear so much about the environment and the things we all can do to conserve energy and resources, but sometimes you forget that you can do big things in a lot of little ways.

That’s why I want to share an item I saw about how Alaska Airlines is taking a number of steps to reduce emissions and save fuel. For starters, they’ve just introduced their first 737-900 equipped with Blended Winglets. By the end of next year, the airline expects that 64% of its fleet will be flying with winglets.

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A winglet’s-eye view of Washington’s Mt. Rainier. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines)

As you may know, not only do winglets just look cool, they help airlines conserve fuel. Alaska says the winglet-equipped 737s in their fleet help reduce fuel consumption by 3% - or about 100,000 gallons of fuel a year, per airplane.

A little piece of trivia for you: about 90% of the 737s coming off the production line today have Blended Winglets. So that’s a lot of cool-looking, fuel-efficient airplanes rolling out of Renton!

Anyway, check out what else Alaska is doing to save fuel, such as updating its fleet with new, efficient Next-Generation 737s, using GPS technology to help fly more direct routes, and even putting into use lighter weight catering carts on board.

These are the kinds of improvements and innovations you’re going to see more and more airlines put into place to not only help reduce their operating costs, but reduce their impact on the environment.

Midday at the oasis

DUBAI - It’s been a big and busy week here at the air show. I delivered Boeing’s market outlook for the Middle East region – 1,160 new airplanes, more than half of which will be widebodies – and I got a chance to renew acquaintances with reporters and others who follow our business closely, and with friends and colleagues.

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This show has certainly grown along with the region. It’s been the largest Dubai Air Show yet, featuring more than 900 exhibitors and 600 journalists from around the world.

Clearly, there’s tremendous activity in this region. For the past five years, air travel has been growing faster here than any other part of the world. And as you saw this week in terms of Boeing customer announcements, airlines are placing orders to accommodate demand.

I wasn’t the only one out here engaging the media this week. My colleague Lee Monson, our vice president, Middle East & Africa Sales, also briefed reporters, pointing out Boeing’s deep commitment and market successes here.

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Summing up at my briefing to the media: Boeing’s product strategy is aligned with the Middle East’s needs.

BCA president and CEO Scott Carson was also here, signing some important deals and then doing news interviews to broadcast audiences on CNBC and Bloomberg TV.

We’ve been partnered with the Dubai Air Show since its beginnings back in 1989. At the show this year, Boeing has had an expanded exhibit, including a 787 interior mock-up and an F/A-18 simulator. We’ve been displaying and flying many of our products. And for the second consecutive show, we sponsored the media center.

This show continues to grow in parallel with the growth of Dubai itself as a major financial, business, and tourism and travel center. The 2009 show promises to be even more spectacular when it relocates to the huge new facility at Dubai World Central.

Now, I’m off to Asia – one last stop before I return home. I look forward to returning to Dubai in 2009, if not sooner.

Travel, in a "flash"

One of the points I like to make in my presentations is about the value of direct flights.

As I travel to different regions, for each of my presentations I’ve developed a nifty little animation piece that helps bring home the true benefits of point to point service. Below is a Flash animation of a hypothetical journey from Los Angeles to Brisbane – nonstop vs. flying through a large hub first.

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A passenger would save three hours on this journey by flying point-to-point to Brisbane on a Boeing 787-8. The alternative would mean a stopover and the added delay and hassle of a change of planes. (Click on the image to open a new window and start the animation.)

The benefits of point to point travel are very clear:

  • More convenience and time savings for passengers
  • Lower operating costs and potential increased revenue for airlines
  • Better utilization of the fleet
  • Less environmental impact

On that last point, you may have heard of the study published by Cranfield University in the UK – The Environmental Cost Implication of Hub-hub Versus Hub Bypass Flight Networks. You can download a PDF of the study here. In it, five long-haul markets were evaluated on a hub-to-hub and a hub bypass (point-to-point) basis.

The study found that the noise and emissions impact of point-to-point networks was significantly lower than hub-to-hub in all cases.

The bottom line for me is, it’s not only more convenient for you, and costs airlines less to fly point-to-point, it’s also better for the environment.

So the trend we’ve seen of airlines choosing to accommodate traffic growth by flying more flights to more places and offering more direct service - rather than flying larger and larger airplanes - should be no surprise. It’s a trend that’s here to stay – and certainly, no “flash in the pan.”

 

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