August 2008 Archives


This morning Boeing submitted our Best and Final Offer (BAFO) to the IAM.

The new offer includes an increased pay package, an industry-leading retirement plan, and improved health care and insurance plans.

As I mentioned in the previous post, you can get more details on our negotiations site and you can go directly to a summary of the final offer here.

2nd offer

I’m sure many of you are watching with great interest the negotiations going on this week between Boeing and the IAM union. We have a 2008 labor negotiations site where you can keep up with the latest.

This afternoon Boeing has just put on the table a 2nd offer which you can review here.

We’re still in negotiations and we’re committed to making a best and final offer before the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S., but it’s clear that we’ve already made a great deal of progress.

Newairplane, new focus

Last week I mentioned being away enjoying some time off, so I thought I’d share a couple of photos.


The first one is yours truly jumping in for a swim - my personal version of “wheels up, wheels down.”

I know .. not the most flattering shot.

And the second photo (below) is a lovely shot I took of a bright, full moon reflecting on the lake - just to give you an idea of how peaceful and beautiful the setting is there in Montana.


But getting back to business, something else that happened over the summer while we were all busy with air shows and other travel had to do with Boeing’s interactive Website, If you haven’t visited lately, you’re in for a treat.

We’ve totally refreshed the site – taking advantage of the latest Web technology. We wanted to offer a deeper, more engaging look at our products and how they’re changing the way we travel.

image started out a few years ago as 787-focused. And while there’s still a lot of material on the Dreamliner, now you’ll also find new content on the 737, 777, and 747-8. We’re making air travel more efficient and improving the passenger experience, and we think this site is a great place to learn about those initiatives.


There’s now also an in-depth treatment of environmental issues, including a detailed look at sustainable biofuels and aviation. You’ll notice the biofuels emphasis right on the homepage. And that brings up an important point. We’ll continually update the site with fresh features. In a few weeks, we plan to add content about the passenger experience. So check back frequently.


Click on any of the images to go directly to various pages on the site.

We think this refreshed site really focuses on the future of flying – and it brings together our new products in a kind of “cross-pollination,” if you will. It puts the focus where it should be – on the “customer” – that is, our airline customers, as well as you, the travelers.

Wheels up, wheels down

While I was lakeside in Montana last week, the 787 program really got “geared up.” In the final assembly facility in Everett they began the process of testing the landing gear on Airplane #1.

These gear swing tests replicate the extension and retraction of the landing gear, as they would function on a regular flight. The successful swinging of the landing gear into a stowed position and back down into a landing position verifies for us that the installation and functioning are working as we expect.

You can watch the testing for yourself on a new 787 Dreamliner Milestones site we’ve launched.




Scenes from the 787 factory earlier this month as gear swing tests got under way on Airplane #1.

The landing gear action is initiated from the flight deck. It requires the integration of avionics as well as the common core system, the electrical power system, the hydraulic system and the major structure of the airplane itself. The nose gear and main gear left and right were all tested independently and then together.

Testing will continue, but there’s no question that this marks another visible sign of progress on the program as it nears first flight later this year.

Big new jet airliner

Late last month, I had the pleasure of visiting Japan on my last business trip of the summer season.

In Tokyo, I briefed a packed room of more than 20 journalists. We discussed the future of big airplanes in Asia, and talked about Boeing’s newest long-haul airliner, the 747-8 Intercontinental, which can accommodate more than 450 passengers.


Meeting with reporters in Tokyo last month.

Talking about this great airplane is familiar territory for me. Last year, I had the opportunity to brief Japanese media on the 747-8 Freighter. And you may recall that in my previous role at Boeing I was Customers Leader for the 747-8.


Step aboard and into the new entryway for the 747-8 Intercontinental.

One of the things I told the reporters in Tokyo is that large airplanes do not make sense for every airline or geographic market. They inherently carry more economic risk for airlines. The more seats you have to fill, the more “risk” - day in and day out, for every route served by a super-sized airplane.

Plus, passengers tell us they prefer to avoid major hubs and want to fly on more point-to-point routes. They also want more choices – that is, the opportunity to choose a “flight plan” from among more frequent departures and arrivals. With really big planes and lots of seats to fill, point-to-point flying with increased frequency is difficult to do.

But, we’ve also pointed out that a larger plane may make sense for some routes in some markets, and airlines in Asia may find themselves deciding whether or not to utilize them. If they do, then the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is a great choice.

Why? First and foremost, by incorporating new engine, wing, system, and material technologies, the 747-8 Intercontinental is extremely efficient and will have the lowest cash operating cost of any long-range airplane.


The 747-8 will incorporate new technologies, and will use less fuel and produce less CO2. The 747-8, is 16% more fuel efficient than the 747-400, and with about 100 fewer seats than the A380, the -8 consumes 11% less fuel per seat than the Airbus offering.

Second, the 747-8 Intercontinental will fit seamlessly into the infrastructure of today’s 747 operators as well as today’s airports.

Third, we’re taking an airplane that passengers absolutely love today in the 747, and making it even better. The new interior of the Intercontinental is inspired (in more than just the “marketing” sense of the word) by the 787 Dreamliner.

And finally, the Intercontinental will be better for the environment – cleaner, quieter, and more fuel efficient – as you can see in the graphic above.

Speaking of the environment, I’m off to Montana to enjoy some outdoors with my family for what I think is a well-deserved holiday. Leavin’ home, out on the road - but this time it’s to recharge the batteries before the always exciting last part of the year.

(pod) Casting for new leaders

It’s not often you get a personal insight into what it means to be a leader inside Boeing. So I want to share with you a podcast hosted earlier this year by my Commercial Airplanes colleague Sandy Postel, on behalf of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Sandy wears three hats at BCA: vice president and general manager of Propulsion Systems, Production System Strategy, and acting vice president of Manufacturing and Quality. [Update: as of August 8, Sandy has been named vice president of Manufacturing, Quality and Boeing Production System Strategy.]


Boeing’s Sandy Postel has been recognized for her leadership by the Society of Women Engineers.

Changing hats that many times in a day is a dizzying feat. So it’s not surprising that in her podcast Sandy talks about her belief that success is measured by a person’s ability to adapt to change.

She believes this is especially true in work environments such as Boeing where technology evolves at an incredible pace.

That’s why Sandy thinks it’s vital that she, like everyone, learns every day and finds a way to contribute knowledge and leadership across all of her endeavors. So she embraced this opportunity to learn how to communicate via the Web.

In her podcast with SWE, Sandy reflects on some of the proudest and most challenging assignments she’s had in her career, such as Propulsion Systems’ recent “Move to the Future” initiative that enables continuous Lean improvement across the Boeing Production System.


Sandy Postel confers with Belinda Williams, engineering work statement manager, about changes facing the team as they support new airplanes and technology upgrades on current airplanes. Sandy routinely meets one on one to make sure employees are plugged into new learning opportunities so they can keep growing.

As one of our many Boeing leaders who tries to “walk the talk,” Sandy makes a habit of committing time to develop leaders by mentoring new employees, females, minorities and others who are on the rise. She does it not just for Boeing, but for people in other industries through organizations such as SWE.

Why? She says it’s because mentoring new leaders is one of her own personal core values. As a result, it’s very important to her to spend time and energy “giving back” – both inside and outside Boeing.

Her hope is that women, minorities, new employees, and especially those in engineering will increase their capabilities by learning new tools that enable them to move up in whatever company or industry they’re in.

Sandy’s leadership was acknowledged late last year when she received the 2007 Upward Mobility Award at the national conference of the Society of Women Engineers. The award recognized Sandy for outstanding technical management and leadership as well as for serving as a role model and advocate for diversity. The society cited Sandy for inspiring a new generation of women engineers.

We’re proud of Sandy and other Boeing leaders like her - and we’re always “casting” for people who might become Boeing’s next generation of leaders.


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