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.


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.


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.

Comments (12)

G (France):

Any sane individual understands that a bubble will eventually burst.

Chris C (South Africa):

These truly are exceptionally exciting, rewarding and humbling times for Boeing, and of course, at the same time these are also pretty challenging and demanding times for Boeing as well. But true to Boeing’s fine imagine of building the finest, most market preferred commercial airplanes in the world, you will pull through with the challenges on the 787 programme and will deliver the world’s most advanced and demanded commercial airplane in the finest manner.

Reason being is that Boeing has the right attitude, the right philosophies, the right products, and of course the right approach to matters, period. As I have said on many occasions, I firmly believe the 787 will perform better than expected, and thus benefit the customers’ further, not to mention the environment.

Congratulations and well done for a stupendous showing at this Dubai Airshow. Further, I am thrilled that the phenomenal 747-8 has passed the 100 order mark!! I am sure that the -8I will garner over 300 orders over the next 20 years!!


Chris C:

I notice that you hold very positive views on the new 747 model! It certainly is a lovely looking plane. May I ask which airlines you think will order over 300 747-8 Intercontinentals over the next 20 years?

Kinbin (Taipei):

I happen to concur with "G" from France.

I really doubt that Airbus will be able to deliver the A350 per their schedule, and perform as presented in their spiffy and slick slide-shows. When reality sets in, the bubble will burst.

Wide-body composite aircraft ain't just any airplane that one can make with off-the-shelf "Radio-Shack" components.

The engineering and production know-how for single, one piece carbon-fibre constant section and contoured barrels is vastly different from rolling and tacking aluminum sheets, as well as tacking carbon sheets. While I do not doubt that Airbus engineers have their engineering know-how, I presume that Boeing has got the exclusive rights to the production know-how though. Paper airplanes don't do intercontinental.

Secondly, the supply chain for anything carbon will probably remain over-stretched with strong demand from the 787 that does not include the A350. Supplier production ramp-up takes time and any upcoming additional capacity will be taken by Boeing not only for the 787, but for the Next-Gen 737 as well.

Boeing knew that it would be placed in quick-draw scenarios for the show-downs. They would have paid for all carbon fibre capacity ("guns") coming out from suppliers for years to come to ensure that their "firepower" overwhelms the competition (BTW, I don't think its on the price either).

Indeed, they may have already done that with the cash "booty" that they have at hand.

Mathew McBride (Geelong, Victoria, Australia):

Lets play spot the difference!

Congratulations to both manufacturers, orders from EK, Qatar and mini-surprises like the Qantas narrow body order.

Chris C (South Africa):

Ed in Dublin:

Naturally, over 300 orders for the highly-efficient and ultra-capable 747-8I will encompass many new customers. Of course the subject matter of new customers is always a sensitive matter, but I firmly believe that over the next few months we will see a ‘flash-flood’ of orders for the -8I. The 747-8I is indeed a true 747-400 replacement, but I do not humbly predict that every operator of the ‘ageless’ -400 will be a -8I customer eventually.

Nevertheless, I do believe that we will see at least four new customers (3 from Asia) over the few months for the airplane. Total -8I orders by year-end 2008 I predict at 86. The -8F will continue to see strong interest, and one or two of the new -8I customers I predict will order both variants. Total orders for 747-8 programme by year-end 2008 I believe will be 197.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

The orders for the show are impressive. Boeing makes a point of not saving up orders for such events - December 31st arguement. But more could have been done to save face - despite what Scott Carson said. But then again, Air Shows are purely marketing tools for those who know how to wield power. On the orders; saw Boeing's total earlier this month, and was surprised. It's starting to look like a bubble. Or, both Boeing and Airbus massively underestimated the market for new jets.

On the 787-10 and the 747-8I; I have the same feelings about these two as I did for the 777-300ER against the A340-600. It's a teaser - which means engineering is going to have to deliver.

My earliest memory of the 747 goes back to '94 when I saw one pass over the car on the N12 to the OR Thambo Airport. Since '99, I believed Boeing could launch a newer version if it played to market needs. And it did. I still believe in the basic product. So long as the economics of it are right, they will keep on rolling out of Everett. In any case, any aircraft that seats between 400 and 500 passengers and is a Boeing 747 competitor does not exist. Similarly, there is no economic comparison between the freighter 747 and similarly sized cargo aircraft. And that is not by default - it's by choice.

Rob (Las Vegas/Nevada, US):

Now that BA ordered the Super Jumbo, are we concerned that other carriers may follow suit?

I always felt at ease if I am on a 747 for long haul trip.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I am happy that the B747-8 has reached the 100 milestone, I hope the passenger B747-8I can match the success of the cargo version in the near future. I certainly hope to see Emirates Airlines commit to their order of twenty.

I was somewhat disappointed that Emirates Airlines
chose not to order the Boeing 787-10, I was
certainly anticipating that they would order the
787 pending the alleged disappointment that Emirates
had with the A350, I was hoping that they would at least split the order.

With over 100 orders made to Boeing in this airshow
this was only one of the parts of a successful year
for Boeing and the resurgence of orders for the company in the Middle East, congrats!!

Ted Cook (Mt. Vernon, WA):

Will the Middle East and the rest of the world order any more 747-8? Does it beat the closest size competition, (773er or A380) in terms of fuel efficiency? From Boeing's range chart, I see that the 747-8 carries 136K of payload 7000mi, using 54,800 gallons. For 1K of payload, that is 17.4 miles per gallon. How do the other two planes compare on a 7000mi trip?


Kinbin (Taipei),

I think you are misreading G's comment - G is implying that the bubble will burst regarding new airplane orders, ie that the ordering cycle is reaching its peak. This is a consensus view shared by many analysts.

As for your doubts of Airbus being able to keep to the A350 schedule, they is rather baseless. The A350 will reach complete design freeze next year yet will not enter service until 2013 - some 5 years later. This is considerably longer than Boeing's schedule for the Dreamliner. To add, the delay issues with the 787 seem to be centered around an inconsistency within the delivery & production schedules of some partners, however Airbus does not use many secondary partners such as this and it appears that Boeing may be more conservative in the future regarding same.

G (France):


Bubbles are everywhere. When you will hear those popping sounds, you'd better be prepared!

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