December 2010 Archives

787 returns to flight

I’m here in Los Angeles on my way back to Seattle after participating in the first flight of the first Air New Zealand 777-300ER and I can’t imagine a nicer gift for the holiday season than the return to flight of the 787. I’ve missed seeing the Dreamliner overhead in Seattle. The team has worked tirelessly in a disciplined fashion to get us to this point.

First, we focused hard on understanding the incident in Laredo. Then, we got down to the business of developing a solution. In our announcement earlier today, we noted that flight test airplanes are receiving an interim solution prior to the production solution, which will be implemented at a later date.

The interim solution allows us to safely return to flight. For the production solution, we are including additional enhancements in the design that will take additional time to develop and install.

After we developed the interim software solution, we conducted an exhaustive amount of testing. Verification of the system included laboratory testing of standalone components, integration testing with other systems, flight simulator testing and ground-based testing on a flight test airplane.

With the testing complete, we embarked on a rigorous set of reviews very much like the reviews we did prior to first flight. These concluded just yesterday.

In the days ahead we will conduct a series of Boeing tests and determine the path forward for returning to certification testing.

Happy Holidays (again), and see you next year!

Better things

As we reach the end of 2010 and I look back on what the year has brought, I see a a year of both highs and lows, of great accomplishments and a few setbacks. But what remains my strongest impression of the year is the dramatic recovery in the marketplace.

Just a few days ago, the International Air Transport Association reported that the world’s airlines will rack up more than $15 billion USD in profits this year — an all-time record. And don’t forget — they lost nearly $10 billion in 2009!

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As fast as we can make ‘em, airlines want us to make more of the innovative Next-Generation 737

That’s an amazing achievement by any standard. I admit that a lot went right for airlines — the global economy recovered at a strong pace, especially in Asia and the Middle East.

I think this turnaround is a credit to strong and effective management — airlines have done a great job in growing revenue, in controlling costs and in managing capacity.

As a result of their efforts, 2010 has been a pretty good year for Boeing Commercial Airplanes as well: Last year, we had 142 net orders.

This year, we’re already at 482, and we still have a couple weeks to go!

Airlines clearly need our market-leading products and services, and we’re pushing hard to get them what they need: Over the course of this year, we’ve announced plans to raise our production rates on the 737 (twice), the 747, and the 777 (twice, including an announcement today).

By 2013, our plan is to deliver 38 Next Generation 737s a month, 2 747-8s a month and 8.3 777s a month — that works out to a nice, round 100 777s a year!

Here’s a new video on just why we’re upping the 777 production rate:

Now, I’m getting ready to take off for my holiday vacation — a chance to spend some time with my family and friends, to reflect on the year that was 2010, and to get ready for 2011.

And what a year 2011 is shaping up to be — a year different from any in recent memory: We’ll deliver two new airplanes; we’ll begin production at our new South Carolina facility; we’ll begin to increase our production rates; and we expect to be making some key decisions about our approach in both the single-aisle and twin-aisle markets.

I’m excited for better things in the New Year, and I’m excited for a good break. And I want to thank you for spending time with me on the blog, and I wish you a terrific winter holiday, whatever you might choose to celebrate!

See you in 2011!

Here I am!

I have to tell you, I’m really impressed by your efforts in our little game from last week.

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As you can see (click on the photo for a larger view), I’m here in the lower half of the 5.

It took about four hours for somebody to submit the first correct entry.

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Everyone in the 8,500 photo got one of these souvenir golf towels. Now Michael from Wisconsin gets one too, along with a 737 model!

Congratulations to “Michael from Wisconsin!” Send me your e-mail address in the comments, Michael, and we’ll get in touch so that we can send you your prize.

And I received about 50 more correct entries as well — nice job!

Considering the amount of response this game got, we’ll have to do it again soon. And at the pace we’re selling the Next Generation 737, that could be sooner than you think!

Where's Rand-O?

On Dec. 1, I had the opportunity to join in a fun event at our Renton factory.

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Stylish and highly visible

To celebrate the 8,500th order of a 737 airplane, some 1,500 employees who help build the airplane and its parts gathered together to form a giant “8,500.” You might remember we did this at 7,000 orders a while back.

The event was a great way to recognize the hard work, effort and dedication that our employees exhibit every day, making this airplane the most popular commercial jetliner in history. Customers such as airplane lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), which ordered the landmark airplane, recognize the value and innovation that this airplane continues to bring to the market.

We thought it would be fun to do a little audience participation game to celebrate. So I put on an orange hat and I joined in the crowd. And it’s up to you to find me.

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A little too hard to see, I think. So click on the photo to get a larger version to search.

We’ll send a prize that commemorates the occasion to the first person who can point out where I’m standing in the photo — and tell what color jackets that I and the person standing next to me have on.

Now get searchin’!

Out of Africa

As I mentioned recently, I had the chance to fly to Ethiopia on Ethiopian Airlines’ new 777-200LR — the first -200LR to be delivered to an African carrier.

During the trip, we filmed a video blog to share some of my experiences on the flight over.

The trip was everything I could have hoped for: The flight was perfect; the people treated me wonderfully; I enjoyed the food (and we know how important that is).

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Cake-cutting during the landing ceremony in Addis Ababa with Ato Girma Wake, CEO Ethiopian Airlines; His Excellency Ato Seyoum Mesfin, the former Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and Chairman of the Board for Ethiopian Airlines; and Robert Morin, vice president, Transportation Division, Export-Import Bank of the United States

When we arrived, we were hosted to an exciting landing ceremony that included a flower greeting, a brief press conference and a cake-cutting — it truly was an honor to be there.

The airline also hosted a celebration dinner that featured a special Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Once I arrived, I had the chance to serve on a panel on improving the customer experience at at the Africa Airlines Association’s annual General Assembly.

And I had the opportunity to present our latest Africa market outlook to some assembled media.

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My hosts at Ethiopian Airlines, including these two flight attendants at the landing ceremony, could not have been more welcoming.

It was exciting news: We project that African airlines will need more than 700 new airplanes valued at approximately $80 billion for the next 20 years.

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Meeting with the media in Addis Ababa

That’s great for the region, because it means airlines will experience steady growth as air travel grows with the African economy and helps stimulate economic development.

It’s been much too long since I last was in Africa — it was a wonderful trip and I hope to get back soon!

Accolades for AERO

For those of you techies who regularly read Boeing’s AERO magazine, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that our quarterly customer publication recently won a top award in a global competition for communications excellence.

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Our AERO technical magazine has long been a valuable tool for customers. Now it’s an award winner.

The League of American Communications Professionals gave AERO the Silver 2010 Spotlight Award for its creativity, clear messaging and superb visual design. The award competition received more than 1,100 entries from more than a dozen countries.

You can check out the latest issue of AERO on the Boeing website. The magazine provides technical info to help our airline customers operate their Boeing fleets more efficiently. It’s also a way to keep our customers and others in the industry informed of the latest about Commercial Airplanes products and services.

 

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