The flight before Christmas

If you’re like me, you’ve got a zillion things to get done before the holidays. So here is where I take care of all the items that have been piling up in my blog stocking – waiting to be “wrapped.”

First, given the current state of the economy, it may not surprise you to learn that U.S. airlines are expecting a sizeable drop in passengers during the travel season that runs from now through the first week of January.

ATA is out with a forecast that says 43 million passengers will fly globally on U.S. airlines over the holiday. Sounds like a big number, but that’s 9% fewer than last year. However, don’t expect lots of empty seats. Airplanes are going to be at or near capacity because airlines have reduced the number of available seats – also by 9%.

On a lighter note, did you see where Randy’s Journal was featured on the Polish Aviation site? You know you’re doing something right during the year when they translate your stuff into Polish. And also into Dutch. “Zeer goed.”


What a year: Randy’s Journal, even translated into Polski (Polish).

Next, a true story. The other day the air-circulating fans in the ceilings of our offices shut down and were out of service for an hour or so. In addition to keeping the air fresh in here at Boeing Commercial Airplanes offices, the system also happens to provide a comforting “white noise” for employees at work. Well let me tell you, when the system went on the fritz, it was eerily quiet. In fact, it made some folks a bit uncomfortable.

For example, you could hear people having telephone conversations clear across the floor, many cubicle rows over. The clicking and clacking of fingers on keyboards multiplied many times over was a strange sound indeed. You get the idea. Now, segue to an interesting couple of items that we came across at about the same time. Anyway, to make a long story short, the fans finally kicked back in, and we were able to get back to work. Sometimes silence is not golden.

Here’s a good one: maybe you caught this too in your local newspaper, but as a blogger these past 20 months or so, I had to chuckle with recognition when I saw this recent funny comic strip. Indeed maybe there’s something to be said for being the “unclever” guy on the Internet. I may have to strive for that goal in 2009!

As for my past year, where to begin (or conclude)? Unofficially, I traveled 208,000 statute miles in 2008. That’s more than 50,000 miles a quarter.

So here’s my gift to you, a few photos from my travels over the past 12 months:


Springtime in Sydney. A panoramic view of the lovely harbor.


Enjoying the view inside Beijing’s new airport terminal.


After a long lunch with the media in Shanghai, our interpreter, Adele, finally gets a chance to eat.



My favorite airplane in two separate displays at the International Air Cargo Forum in Malaysia.


June in Beijing - pre Olympics.


A rainy morning in Shanghai. Feels just like home.


In Taipei: fish heads with chili. How many blogs can say they’ve featured fish heads twice?


747s on display at Taipei’s airport.


A picture perfect day in Auckland.

It’s been quite a year, with a lot of accomplishments as well as challenges. I’ll be taking off the next couple of weeks and I’ll be back the second week in January. At that time we’ll recap some 2008 results, and kick off the discussion about the critical issues we see in the 2009 business environment.

Until then, Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! Or as they say in Polish, Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

And with that, from snowed-in Seattle, I wish you all a good flight.

Comments (10)

Chris C (South Africa):

Thanks for sharing some of those unique photos with us, Randy, they’re great. Thanks for all the great Blog entries over the months; it is always a pleasure reading your work. I can’t wait for 2009...we’ll have super-efficient 787 Dreamliners gracing our skies, 777Fs hauling valuable cargo and the rollout and first flight preparations of my favourite airplane, the phenomenal 747-8!!

All the best with sales campaigns on all models for ’09, looking forward to seeing some more -8I orders soon! Best wishes to you, and the BCA team. Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year! See ya next year... Cheers.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It's been a big year at Boeing even with all the trouble with the project delays of the 787 and the strike but at least Boeing got some big orders with American Airlines order for forty-two 787-9's and options of having 100 such aircraft and the 737 orders did not hurt either. The surprise order of the year came from Iraqi Airways with it's order for 737's and 787's, a wonderful albeit strange surprise.
The winning aircraft of the year I think is the 777-300ER as the orders come in from the Middle East as it's airlines expand their networks and other airlines from around the world buy the 777 to replace older 747-400's and the A340-600's.

The US and now the world economy has taken it's toll on the airline industry, we've seen airlines like ATA, Aloha Airlines, a super discounter Skybus, and XL Airways fail among others but some markets have been sustainable like in the Middle East and I think that is where the next big orders will come from.

This has been a good year in blogging and I enjoy every post and reading about your travels around the world promoting the Boeing product even tough the food doesn't always look very appetizing. I look forward to a great year in 2009.

Thanks Randy for a good year in 2008 as it was in 2007 when I came, lets do it again in 2009!

To Randy, all the bloggers here and all the Boeing employees, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and have a safe and happy new year!


P.Sumantri (France):

I wish you a merry Christmas.
I hope 2009 will be a very happy and successful year.

Rico S (Heerhugowaard The Netherlands):

Thanks for all the infomation that you've shared this year. You're doing a "zeer goed" job, keep up the good work.
Very nice pictures indeed that you shared.

Looking forward to your entries next year.

And from across the other site of the Atlantic; a Prettige Kerstdagen en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar to you too!!!

Subhash Sharma (Renton, Wa) (Renton, Wa):

Thanks for sharing great photos. Next time try Taj Mahal (Agra, India) & Taj Hotel Photos (Mumbai, India)a contrast.

Jim (Everett, WA):

Regarding your comments about the noise levels when the fans stopped, imagine working like that every day in the new Factory of the Future, like we do. It reminds me of 1973 without the ash trays.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

A couple of airplane masters decided that the 747-8 was not quite mature for this festive season - so here's to next year! Will be a great plane capable of connecting any of the places mentioned here. Definitely look forward to all the new planes of 2009.

Here's to spending Christmas with all the people that matter - family.

One more thing.. Any bungee or BASE jumping in Auckland yet? :)

Sumit DasGupta (Austin, TX, USA):

Randy, I have been a life-long fan of Boeing. I love everything that says "Boeing", I own Boeing stock, and I very much prefer flying on Boeing planes, with all due respect to our worthy competitor. So, I look forward to your blog updates as one way of keeping up with news about Boeing.

So, let me wish you and your family the very best holidays and a happy new year!

Erik (Austria):

There are people out there which love quietness, especially when trying to sleep during long distance flights. I do prefer quiet planes, the quieter the better: I for example will always prefer a 777 over a 747. Health & safety regulations generally also propose quiet environments.

In one sense you might be correct - people are not used to quietness and might find it disturbing, since our daily life is polluted by noise (like unwanted music for example). But that does not make noise healthier.

BWJones (USA):

Thank you for your efforts on this blog, helping to keep us informed of Boeing's efforts over the past few months.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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