September 2008 Archives

Details, details

As I head off on my annual trip to Australia and New Zealand (with stops in Japan and Korea, too), I wanted to steer you toward some great new industry info that’s just available.

Many of you know that we release our new Current Market Outlook (CMO) each year around the Farnborough or Paris air shows. Then a couple of months later we release a “book” version of the report, with a lot of fascinating data behind our outlook.


Useful data indeed. The 2008 Current Market Outlook book is 60 pages of info and insight. A complete reference guide to the future of air transport. Click the image above to go to the pdf.

That book is available now on the Current Market Outlook page. You can download the entire report here. (4MB pdf). The CMO also happens to be the cover story of the current issue of Boeing Frontiers.

While we’re on the subject of new content, the site has just been refreshed with new content and a new blog, called Plane Talking. The new look amounts to a more attractive and informative resource for the flying public on aviation’s environmental progress, with a focus on climate change.


Click on the image to go to

In addition to the new blog, there’s an animated illustration of how the industry is making environmental improvements at all steps of a passenger’s flight. is supported by Boeing and Airbus, the major engine manufacturers and others, under the umbrella of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). I think you’ll find a lot of great information about our industry’s commitment to finding solutions to environmental issues.

Can you hear me now?

A little over a year ago I asked a simple question: How quiet do you want it to be on the airplane the next time you fly?


Spending some “quiet” time visiting the A380 flight deck at Farnborough in July.

That Sound of silence blog generated one of the highest comment counts we’d had here up to that date, and also created quite a buzz out in the aviation world. As one person put it, I was “roasted” on

A lot of you had strong opinions about my suggestion that there might be such a thing as an airplane that was too quiet. Truth is that blog was based both on our own research and on anecdotal media reports from early flights on the A380.

Well, now that the A380 has been in regular service for a while, it seems other folks are having the same reaction. Someone on FlyerTalk last month related their experience with hearing people snoring. And a couple of weeks ago a colleague sent me copy of a recent “Double je” column from the French publication Challenges. It was an intriguing item titled, “The Airbus A380 has a major defect .. it is too quiet!

The column reports on an informal in-flight conversation with a senior Airbus executive in which the executive breezily chats with his seat mate about a variety of issues facing the company. Among them, that during its first year in service the A380 has encountered an unexpected problem. Evidently, there is feedback that the airplane is too quiet, particularly in first class. Apparently some first class passengers have complained they can’t hold private conversations anymore.

It’s an interesting perspective, considering that just last year an Airbus executive declared that there’s no such thing as an aircraft that is too quiet, and called my blog “embarrassing.”

Anyway, the Challenges piece goes on to conclude that the issue is being taken so seriously that there might need to be some background music (white noise?) played in the airplane, like the canned music played in supermarkets.

May I suggest perhaps some Simon and Garfunkel?

Who wins?

What comes to mind right now is what my predecessor wrote in this blog three years ago. At times like this, we greatly disappoint our customers.


Boeing’s Everett factory - one of the facilities affected by the work stoppage.

While the circumstances, issues, and the competitive situation are somewhat different in 2008 vs. what it was in 2005, something else that Randy said back then also still rings true: In a strike, nobody wins. Except maybe the competition.

No agreement reached

The mediated talks with the IAM have ended without reaching agreement. Boeing has issued this statement:

“Over the past two days, Boeing, the union and the federal mediator worked hard in pursuing good-faith explorations of options that could lead to an agreement. Unfortunately the differences were too great to close,” said Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

During the work stoppage, we’ll continue to support our customers, and their airplanes in service. We’ll also deliver airplanes that were completed before the strike, but we don’t intend to assemble airplanes during the strike.

You can follow any updates from Boeing here.


Boeing has issued a statement today from Doug Kight, vice president of Human Resources, about Wednesday’s contract vote with the IAM.

We offered employees the best package of pay and benefits in the aerospace industry. We are disappointed with the vote on the contract offer.

The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service has asked both parties to meet at a neutral location this week to explore whether an agreement can be reached. Boeing has agreed to participate in this process in an effort to seek a resolution that is in the best interest of employees, our customers and our company. The IAM has agreed not to conduct a work stoppage for 48 hours during the mediation period, and all employees are expected to be at work Thursday and Friday while these talks take place.

You can go to our negotiations site for more details on the contract offer.


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