One week

LONDON - The Farnborough Air Show is fast approaching.

It’s going to be an exciting one, and I expect the show to focus on a couple of key stories: The recovery of the market and the buzz around the 787 and all of the new airplanes around the industry that are in development.

You can also count on one more thing. At the end of the day someone is going to make much of the “orders race” aspect of the show.

But I just want to tell you that however you may regard the so-called air show orders race, it’s not a race when there’s only one horse running!

I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but I do want to reiterate the point we’ve made each year. This is but one week out of 52.

Boeing decided several years ago that we would gladly accommodate our customers who choose to make announcements at air shows. But we also decided to ensure that we had an open, transparent process - so that each and every week that we received confirmed airplane orders we would post those on our website.

Our competitor, Airbus has a different approach.

But what really matters is how you perform over the long haul and where you are when business is tallied at the end of the year.


Even though we’ve been “out-announced” by something like 3 to one at the air shows, believe it or not, we’ve found a way to be the market share leader when you total up all year-end orders for the past five years.

When you think of following an “orders race” - think of checking our Orders and Deliveries website each week - that’s where you’ll find the real story. For example, we added new airplane orders just last week.

So, this year at Farnborough, will Boeing have order announcements?


If that’s what our customers want.

Comments (13)

Oliver (Vienna, Austria):

It´s good that Boeing is going this way. Wish you a successful Air Show in Europe!

Jonathan (Everett):

Trying to lower expectations, Randy?

Vero Venia:

"If that’s what our customers want."

I'm sure there is at least one of them who want to announce something at Farnborough this year.

Jason (California, USA):

I agree, the true order count is at the end of each 52 weeks and not air show announcements. The marketing differences may indicate the relative level of business maturity, and even differences in economic culture.

Air shows are Airbus' premier public venue. They promote themselves with relatively risky flying demonstrations in addition to their sales counts. It's their face to the public.

Actual customers place orders after thorough due diligence, so air show marketing must be for public political support including media fodder.

Yet, the finally tally is not really sales, but deliveries. That's where the real money is.

C. Marin Faure (Seattle, Washington):

In my 31 years at Boeing, as hackneyed as this may sound, I've been proud that this company has continued to choose the high road in its dealings with the industry, our customers, the media, and the public.

The CEO of one of our airline customers told us during an interview a number of years ago that "perception is fifty percent of everything." Today it's probably more like sixty or seventy percent.

So it's tempting--- and easy--- to chase perception by spinning the facts in the most persuasive manner possible. Our competitor is very, very good at doing this. Unfortunately, the truth is often quite removed from the spin.

While we would be foolish to not take advantage of opportunities to promote our products and ourselves, I'm glad to see that, so far, we have resisted the urge to make more of reality than it is.

Boeing is a better company for it, I think, and in my visits to customers around the world, I get the impression that they feel the same way.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Transparency should be everyones goal but I wonder in Airbuses part, what is with those coming and vanishing orders.

Jay (Tukwila WA.):

I really love the blog, Randy, so please keep it up!

It is very interesting that for the last 5 years, Boeing is really ahead. That is fantastic!

I would like to ask that the 787 fly at Farnborough. It seems fitting that the magic of flight be seen by all.


Vincent (Madison, WI):


James Baloun (Palo Alto, CA.):

The other 'one-horse race' happens in January where Airbus seems to celebrate New Years for about 15 or 20 days while I suspect their sales teams beat the bushes to flush out a few more orders.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

This is important. A Boeing executive once said luckily air shows aren't held on December 31st - concluding an air show that saw Airbus receive orders for about $15bn worth against 3 JAL 777-300ER's for about $525mn. I think I've mentioned it here before.

Style vs. Substance

Looking forward to a reasonably confident Airbus - keeps things exciting. May it rain orders at the show!

Tim K (Georgetown Ont.):

What difference does it make when an order is announced as long as airlines as placing orders both you and Airbus should be happy. It seeems appropriate to announce orders at a airshow since they are designed to showcase new ideas and products and project a positive image. Lets face it any order placed this year is great news for the entire avaition industry as it needs all the positive news it can get. You should be supporting and not attacking Airbus for its sales policy and perhaps even consider adopting their style too!

Rudy Hillinga (Kenmore, WA 98028):

BCA CEO Jim Albaugh just announced at the FAS, that the next new Boeing aircraft will involve much less outsourcing!

That is good news, but also confirms that excessive outsourcing is what seriously damaged the 787 program.

Outsourcing, was not only THE main contributor to the near three year delay of the program, but the associated costs will also make it much harder for Boeing to make a profit on the program, the break-even point having moved to the right, significantly!

Greg Schmitz (Anchorage, AK USA):

What I found interesting was the announcement that Kuwait Leasing company moved their order to A350-1000s (and will skip the stupid WXB foo foo)

They are dropping one unproven airplane for another even more unproven airplane.

I think its called "nervous", kicking the can as far down the road as possible so they can dump out before they get burned when the whole thing fails to meet expectations.

I do admire Boeing with the 787 and the heavy emphasis on belly freight, its all about revenue, and the more your flight makes the better off your company is.

I suspect the A350 is going to be an A380 with no freight generating capacity, and it has to carry freight and lots of it to match up with the 787 and 777

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