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.

image/photo

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.”

Comments (21)

Chris C (South Africa):

Congratulations and Well Done on a simply stupendous order year, and moreover, for the last three years!! Truly phenomenal. This truly speaks volumes about the sheer superiority of the Boeing Commercial Airplane lineup in all segments...Boeing clearly build the finest, most market preferred commercial airplanes in the world, period.

Mark (Los Angeles, CA):

Congratulations on another stellar year!

John (Eugene, Oregon):

Since the dollar is now lower versus the Euro, I think Boeing sales should be even higher.

The Boeing planes will be less expensive than the Airbus planes. The EU is complaining bitterly about the Airbus disadvantage with the lower valued dollar.

James (Honolulu, Hawaii):

Congratulations on the 777's milestone. As a matter of fact, I was just watching the PBS mini-series on the development of that magnificent airplane. It looks like all of the blood, sweat and tears expended was well worth it in the long run.

Here's hoping that the 787 breaks the 777's sales record.

Ed (Dublin ireland):

This truly speaks volumes about the sheer superiority of the Boeing Commercial Airplane lineup in all segments...Boeing clearly build the finest, most market preferred commercial airplanes in the world, period.

Superior in all segments? Not exactly. The 777 is superior to the A340, both on technical and sales levels, thats definite. The A320 is superior to the 737, both on technical and sales levels. The A330 is superior to the 767, both on technical and sales levels. The 787 and A350 have yet to fly. The A380 is superior to the 747-8 Intercontinental, both on technical and sales levels. These are facts Chris!

Randy, congratulations on another great year. I really hope Boeing get the 787-10 launched asap, because it is bound to be a sales hit.

Chris C (South Africa):

Airbus has indicated that they are in the process of studying a stretched A380-800, dubbed the -900. Reading numerous articles describing the proposed -900 variant, I remembered a very interesting, and correct comment, made by Joe Sutter back in the mid-1960s, when they were defining the venerable 747: “Everybody was intrigued with double-deckers, and some of the preliminary designs that Pan Am said okay to were double-deckers, but the group working for me decided that was the wrong way to go. If you had 1,000 passengers, then a double-decker works, but if you’re designing for 500 to 600 passengers, you end up with a big wing on a short stubby airplane ...it’s just a clumsy airplane.”

Clearly, the A380-800 is the clumsy airplane, and has recently been publically criticised for its “dismal” cargo hold volume for revenue freight. Therefore, it is plausible for Airbus to consider an A380-900, to address issues on the -800. But, impressive size and technological achievements aside, the -900 will be an absolute disaster.

I for one could not bear the thought of having to sit with over 700 other passengers. The logistics of such an airplane are ridiculous. Beverage/food supply, toilets, baggage space, boarding and disembarking times, aircraft weights, aircraft insurance, airport/passenger handling...the risks are just far too high. Despite some initial reactions to the -900 as positive, just as they were positive reactions for the 747-500x and -600x, when reality really sinks in, the -900 will struggle to become marketable.

Ken W. (sea tac):

20 years ago, I would have signed up for a cheap flight with passenger seats made out of wood crates, and endured hours of discomfort and multiple layovers and indirect routes just to go somewhere at low cost. Today, as part of the huge, soon to retire and travel more, baby boomer population, I chose my flights and aircraft based on comfort and schedule first and consider price last.

I would only choose a 500+ passenger bus if there was absolutely no other option or the ticket price was multiple-thousands less.

I suspect other boomers may feel the same way.
A point to point 737, 777, or 787 trip works for me. The tolerant young folks and citizens of poor countries can bounce around between hubs on the bus.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Yes - a 1,000 orders and a fantastic balance. That profitable mix helps in New York! And 1,000 orders for the Triple Seven thanks to the -300ER. And the speed of that milestone. Also, the 787's order buildup to - a 1,000! Not forgetting that milestone reached by the Jumbo Jet this year. And, last year, 1,000 for the 767. But then also, 6,000 for the 737.

All these incredible order milestones in such a short space of time. Let us not forget that Airbus too has had some records.

But, Airbus announced 1,021 orders through October. Are those gross or net? I think they're gross - and it's grossly misleading considering how many cancellations there have been.

About the A380; there is a whole generation of mostly Asians that can now afford to travel - there will be something like 100 million Chinese that will fly not too long from now. Most of the wealth in Asia is still in the big cities. The A380 will have to be good for that.

And technically, it's quite the sound design - apart from the fact that it is overweight, and it (the -800) will remain so for comparisons with the 747. So, why is there this continued emphasis to compare? I can't remember such comparisons between the 747-400F and the An-124. Such comparisons only serve to demonstrate superiority.

Alan (Seattle):

Please think about your English - you aren't a sports broadcaster, so "3 for 3" really isn't called for. How about "3 of 3" which actually makes sense?

Otherwise, good work!

-------

Thanks, Alan,

And yes, actually I WAS trying to go for the "sports" angle there!

- Randy Tinseth

Ted Cook (Mt. Vernon, WA):

The 777-300ER is having a great year. Funny thing is, the 200LR and LR freighter have economics that are a few steps ahead of the long plane. I'm sure the LR's have their best sales years ahead.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Wow, all those 1,000's where reached this year! It's tough getting it all right!

So, it's 1,000 767's, 1,000 777's, 1,500 747's & 7,000 737's (not 6,000) all in 2007! It really has been a milestone year for a thousand and for the 7-series!

Barun Majumdar (Seattle, WA):

It is apparent that year 2007 is a phenomenal year for Boeing sales. Three years in a row surpassing the formidable feat of selling more than 1000 commercial airplanes each year speak for itself. A real magic in numerals coincide when the model 777 reaches the 1000 mark, 737 surpasses the 7000 mark, and the Dreamliner 700 mark. No doubt it's a triumphant era of commercial aviation!

James Baloun (Palo Alto, California):

All those thousands, and one more coming soon. At the current rate the 787 may just make it in 2008.

Over a thousand for three years in a row or an average of three a day or about one every two business hours! Amazing! The sales team has been busy!

Congratulations Boeing.

Mike Congdon:

I read elsewhere that there is pressure on you guys to counter the XWB 1000 or lose out on the replacement business for the 777.

Does Airbus really believe they can pull that one off?

G (France):

To Mike Congdon:

Timing is something very important here. The XWB 1000 is scheduled to enter into service in 2015.
I believe Boeing is not in hurry to do anything on this matter. Many things could happen between now and then.

Willis C. (Washington, DC ):

I enjoy reading your blog. I am glad Boeing had another stellar year selling commercial aircraft. I just wanted to throw something out there.

When Airbus originally attempted to counter the B787 with a modified A330 (and this is in no way to bash Airbus, I think those guys are awesome as well), the market rejected that plane as the long term solution for their midsize fleets. However, the market determined that it is a great addition and a great asset if they can get their hands on one "now".

Wouldn't the B777 be the same? I mean, if an airline has not ordered the A350 already, wouldn't they have to wait almost ten years to get one? Which means, no matter how much cheaper it is to operate, airlines will not be able to make a dime in revenue for ten years. Don't worry Randy, the 777 has some good years still to come...and yes, it is still at the top of her game.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Even in times when the A350 is picking up orders that
may have gone to the Boeing 777, the 777 is still picking up orders at a good pace especially the 777-300ER, it was not long ago that some armchair experts
on airliner sales where saying that the days of the 777 where numbered so far they where wrong.

There is still no twinjet like the 777 it is still the biggest of all the twinjets and it will remain
the most massive 777-200ER at 656,000 lbs MTOW to
the A350-1000's 650,000 lbs proposed MTOW and the
777-300ER is still and in the foreseeable future the biggest twinjet at an MTOW of 775,000 lbs, any larger twinjet in the future may come from Boeing in the form of a replacement jet.

The A350 though well designed is stuck somewhere between a cramped nine abreast airliner and not so profitable eight abreast airliner. The width of the 777 is 244 inches, good for a nine abreast economy configuration, the 787 is 226 inches wide, good for an eight abreast economy configuration, the A350 is 232 inches wide, for the economy class this makes the choice difficult for airlines they have a choice of a cramped nine abreast 777 replacement or a comfortable eight abreast plane but with a significant amount of unused revenue space.

With the sales of the 777 exceeding past the 1,000 mark and beyond the 767 sales mark the sales, this makes the 777 the second best selling widebody airliner of all time behind the 747 and the best selling widebody twinjet of all time until the 787 surpasses the 777 in the future.

In the current time the 777-300ER is the best selling model of the 777 family, I think the introduction of the 300ER model was the best thing in keeping the 777 line strong, and for the 300ER model I don't see sales declining in the foreseeable future because their is no other type like this and in the current and the future this plane it will replace older B747-400 models and replace the not performed as advertised Airbus A340-600.

It may be possible that the 777-300ER may exceed the 777-200ER model in sales in the future.

Expect 4 for 4 when the 787 order roster reaches 1,000 in the next year.

Eric (Canada):

The Triple-7 is definitely a beautiful airplane that flies elegantly. I've only been on it once but I love the spaciousness and the airiness of the cabin. It will always be my favorite plane... well 2nd most favorite after the 747.

I attribute Boeing's success to the way they do business. They listen to the customers and develop what the customers need, instead of developing something that they think the customers might want and then pushing them out to the market and be hopeful that the customers will buy their products. And Boeing's product line is definitely a lot more complete and well thought-out compared to its competitors.

Ed (Dublin Ireland):

Norman,

The A350 is optimised towards nine abreast aircraft - plain and simple!!! Trust me, we wont see any airlines using them with 8 abreast in economy.

The 777 is either a comfortable 9 abreast aircraft or a cramped 10 abreast aircraft.

The 787 is an acceptably comfortable 9 abreast aircraft in most airlines eyes. Very few airlines will put 8 abreast in there as 9 is considered acceptable, as it is on the 737. I'm pretty sure 90% will be 9 abreast. Of course it looks good in marketing photos to show the 787 mock up in an 8 abreast layout ;)

Matt (Long Beach, CA USA):

2007 has been a successful year for Boeing. With a third consecutive year of 1000+ aircraft orders, Boeing has again showed why it is the top aerospace company in the world. Even though competitors slash prices to undercut Boeing, we continue to thrive based on our commitment to providing products with the highest value and lowest risk. When airline customers purchase from Boeing, they know they are getting the best.

Phil (Berkshire GB):

An interesting perspective Randy.

The 2007 numbers game reflects the diversity of products Available from both Airbus & Boeing also the quality and inovation demanded by todays increasingly more responsible airlines.

2007 an incredible year? without a doubt for both Airbus & Boeing. Talking 2007 numbers again at this juncture it would appear that Airbus retains its production crown & also re-gains the total annual orders crown.

The comment that Boeings 777 series is the worlds best selling two engine widebody at 1,000 orders is not correct if we are talking families and airframes delivered/ordered the Airbus A300 family in its various guises as at 31/12/2007 is at 1,668 orders .

A good year by any airframe manufacturers standards.

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