December 2007 Archives

Stocking stuffers

As we enter the Boeing year-end break, I won’t be posting again to the blog until after the holidays. We’ll have a lot to talk about then, including how we did in commercial airplanes sales and deliveries in 2007. It’s been a blockbuster year in a number of ways – at 1,213 net orders so far, it’s just astounding.

Of course the year has not been without challenges. And particularly with respect to the 787 Dreamliner, we’re working through those challenges, making steady improvement, and looking ahead to major milestones such as power on and first flight of the first Dreamliner.

This has been a year of change and transition for me personally, and I’ve really appreciated the support I’ve received from all of you who visit the blog regularly. I read and welcome all of your comments.

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“I think people should buy my plane because it has good lift and good speed. It has good looks. It is not very cheap but it is worth the money.” Drawing and caption by: Kaylee.

So, I wanted to share something with you. Call it my year-end gift.

Back in the mid-1990s, when I was a Boeing salesperson I was presented with a handmade book called “Airplanes for Sale.”

As anyone who’s visited my office knows, I keep this book in a place of honor across from my desk.

It was presented to me by teacher Sue V’s first grade class at Clark Elementary school in Issaquah, Washington. It features some whimsical flying machines from the minds of those first graders.

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“I think people should buy my airplane because it looks good. It costs $83. My airplane can fly across the world with one tank of gas.” Drawing and caption by: Chrissy.

I just thought I’d let you see a couple of the drawings and thoughts of our future airplane salespeople and designers.

Before I dash away, I also want to link you to an interview about some of the massive aviation challenges faced by a favored cargo carrier during the holidays.

And on a related note, check out this very important government site - available in six languages. If you’re into tracking aircraft on historic flights, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit.

Finally, speaking of historic flights, did you realize it was on a cold and rainy Friday in Seattle 50 years ago this week that the 707 conducted its first flight? It was just a short 7-minute journey, but it changed commercial aviation forever.

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The 707 flies over Puget Sound on its second flight, the same day after stormy weather cut short the first flight. The weather cleared and allowed the crew to fly for this 71-minute voyage around Seattle.

Here’s to the next 50 years of the jet age!

And with that, I want to wish everyone the best for the coming year. May it be a happy, healthy, and successful 2008.

New Year's resolution

This is the time of year when many of us resolve to improve ourselves in some way in the future — lose weight, kick a habit, maybe establish a more fuel efficient fleet, etc.

Well, that last resolution is more suited to airlines perhaps. And I wanted to share with you an eye-opening chart from Continental Airlines showing how they resolved to improve their fuel efficiency.

Continental presented this chart during a media event in New York this fall that I attended. What it says to me is, it’s possible for an airline to really make a significant efficiency improvement over a relatively short period of time. It’s not only great for our environment, it’s great for an airline’s bottom line.

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Continental has been steadily streamlining its fleet and adjusting operating procedures to reduce mainline fuel consumption per “revenue passenger mile” by 35% since 1997.

How was Continental able to do this? With new airplanes, new technology, and some good old fashioned hard work.

First, they retired older, less efficient aircraft and replaced them with newer technology Boeing airplanes. Continental has invested more than $12 billion over the last 10 years to acquire 270 aircraft and related equipment.

In terms of technology, they’ve added winglets to their airplanes. This has helped improve efficiency 4-5%. By the end of 2007, more than 200 aircraft in Continental’s fleet will be equipped with winglets. They’ve also installed GE90 Aero Blades (a more efficient fan blade) on their 777s.

And then there’s the hard work. For example:

  • Enhancing the flight planning system to minimize fuel burn
  • Where possible, using preconditioned air and power from the terminal to cool and power the aircraft at the gate rather than using the aircraft auxiliary power unit
  • Using only one engine during ground taxi whenever possible
  • Reducing the use of fuel-driven thrust reversers on landing

They’re even doing things as simple as routinely washing their aircraft and engines to reduce drag. And as they look to the future, Continental has put in place a Fuel Efficiency Task Force that continually evaluates new ways to improve fuel efficiency.

Finally, they’ll continue to add new fuel efficient airplanes such as the 737-900ER as well as the 787 Dreamliner to their fleet.

In 2008 I’ll be resolving to lose weight. Again. Not sure how that’s going to work out. But it’s good to know that in at least one case, a resolution is generating great results.

Record setting

We’ve just updated our orders and deliveries Web page. I know we’ve said this before, but at the beginning of the year, no one could have predicted the sustained strength of this airplane orders cycle.

Boeing’s commercial airplanes orders are above 1,100 for the first time. In fact, at 1,144 so far, we now stand at exactly 100 orders more than last year’s net total – which was 1,044.

Not only are we setting a record for overall orders, but with more than 300 orders in 2007, the 787 Dreamliner program continues to see unprecedented market demand, and will set a program record again this year for orders.

Of course, our job is about a lot more than orders, and we are as committed as ever to executing and delivering on our promises to our customers.

I have to say, though, the numbers are just astounding.

First of many

A few days ago I was talking about the remarkable 777 which, with well over 1,000 orders, is the best-selling twin-engine widebody in the world.

I neglected to mention a couple of other significant points. With 125 orders in 2007 alone, this is one of the strongest years in the history of the 777 program. And in the last three years, we’ve had more than 350 orders and added 16 new customers to the 777 customer base

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Qatar Airways’ new 777-300ER gets a ceremonial welcome in Doha last week after a nearly 15 hour delivery flight direct from Paine Field in Everett.

All great milestones, and just capped off with the delivery and arrival in Doha of Qatar Airways’ new flagship 777-300ER. Qatar has ordered a total of 27 777s - so this delivery is indeed just the first of many. It also happens to be the first Boeing airplane to enter Qatar’s fleet.

The 777-300ER – which entered service in May 2004 - has been a huge part of the success of the 777 program, with more than 300 orders to date.

Passengers love it for a cross-section that is - and will continue to be - the widest in the industry of any twin-aisle, twin-engine airplane - a “true” extra wide body.

Accountants love it for its efficiency and low operating costs. And maintenance and flight operations love it because it continues to have a technical dispatch reliability of more than 99%. We’re confident that Qatar and its passengers will truly love this airplane as well.

By the way, Qatar also has on order 30 787 Dreamliners. So, a big “Welcome!” is in order. We think this is just the beginning of a strong relationship between Boeing and Qatar Airways.

 

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