January 2011 Archives

Our winglets are worth a thousand words

Almost a decade after they made their commercial debut on a Boeing Next-Generation 737-800, our blended winglets are still giving travelers a reason to smile. Our good friends at WestJet are now featuring a program called “Winglet Wednesday.” The airline asks passengers to snap photos of the winglets as they travel to and from their favorite destinations.

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Mt. Rainier in the distance on a delivery flight from Boeing Field to Calgary.

Since the program began a little over a year ago, more than 1000 photos have been uploaded to WestJet’s Facebook page.

“It has been a crazy success,” Greg Hounslow with WestJet told us. He says the program is a great way to connect with passengers who want to share part of their travel experience.

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This view of Montego Bay may help your winter blues.

While they photograph well, our blended winglets do a lot more. Their primary functions are to reduce drag, save fuel and cut emissions. The fuel burn improvement is up to 4 percent on the 737 and up to 5 percent on the 757 and 767.

So the next time you fly WestJet, be sure to snap a photo of the winglet and share your view with the rest of us!

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Feeling lucky over Vegas.

Feelin' stronger every day

Hello again from Dublin. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently attending the European Airfinance Conference where I have had the chance to hear what’s in store for the year ahead. As I’m listening, I can’t help but be amazed by just how far we’ve come in just a few short years. Undoubtedly, some carriers are still recovering from the economic crisis (especially some of those here in Europe) even while many others are thriving in the current environment. In total, last year was a record year in terms of profitability. And, a better year for our customers has meant a better year for us at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

As the global economy continued to recover and air traffic rebounded, the demand for new airplanes increased faster than expected. That’s reflected in 530 net orders last year and the delivery of 462 airplanes as reported in our fourth-quarter 2010 results today. Here’s a glance at how our programs faired:

737 Program
With 376 deliveries in 2010, the Next-Generation 737 set a company delivery record for the second consecutive year, delivering an average of more than seven 737s per week. Demand for Next-Generation 737s remained strong. In October, the FAA granted an airworthiness certificate to the first Next-Generation 737 with the innovative new Boeing Sky Interior. Five customers received their new interiors in four regions of the world: flydubai, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Continental and two of TUI’s airlines — Jetairfly and TUIfly.

777 Program
The 777 team delivered its 900th airplane in November — a 777-200LR (longer range) to Ethiopian Airlines — reaching this delivery milestone faster than any other twin-aisle airplane in history. In December, Air New Zealand welcomed the airline’s first Boeing 777-300ER (extended range).

767 Program
The 1,000th 767 neared completion in the fourth quarter and is scheduled for delivery to ANA next month. Building 40-32 and the relocation of the 767 program reached 65 percent completion in the fourth quarter. The grand opening of the new building is planned for early next month.

787 Program
In the fourth quarter - one year after the 787 began its flight test program - the sixth and last flight-test airplane made its first flight. We’ve made substantial progress within the production system and further improvements in the quality of shipments to final assembly from our supply base.

An in-flight electrical incident in the fourth quarter resulted in first delivery moving to the third quarter of 2011. Improvements in software and a few minor hardware changes are being incorporated, and the airplanes have returned to flight status. Demand for the 787 remains strong, with 847 firm orders at the end of fourth quarter from 57 customers around the world.

747-8 Program
During the fourth quarter, electrical power was successfully turned on for the first two 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airplanes. Flight testing is two-thirds complete with more than 656 flights for more than 1,747 hours. We expect to deliver the 747-8 Freighter to Cargolux in mid-2011. The 747-8 Intercontinental will have its premiere Feb. 13, with delivery of the first airplane scheduled for late 2011.

Commercial Aviation Services
CAS captured its first GoldCare contract this year, and the team also led the industry in airplane on ground mission dispatch rates. In the fourth quarter, it announced a strategic alliance with Fujitsu to develop a service for greater operational efficiencies in information and maintenance operations. The seventh and final 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighter was delivered to ANA in Singapore and Malaysia Airlines signed a 10-year agreement for the 737NG Component Services Program for four airplanes, growing to 35 by 2015.

In summary, by almost any measure 2010 was an outstanding year - and a reflection of the amazing job the world carriers have done managing through difficulties and emerging strong. And, the good news is that we expect the market to continue on a steady trend upward. And though there are still economic challenges to be dealt with, many are Feelin’ Stronger Every Day.

Ready for its close-up

Dateline: Dublin

Greetings from Dublin, Ireland where I’m attending the European Airfinance Conference. The aviation finance world converges here every year to see what’s on the horizon for 2011 and beyond.

For us, 2011 will be a huge year especially for our 747-8 program. In fact, the new kid in town is set to make its world premiere during a big event next month. The 747-8 Intercontinental, the largest passenger plane Boeing has ever built, will be unveiled on February 13. We’ll even feature a live webcast of the event. It’s another important milestone for the 747 team as we prepare to deliver both the 747-8 Freighter and the Intercontinental this year.

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747-8 Intercontinental in Korean Air livery.

I had the honor of speaking with our 747-8 employees during their recent all-team meeting in Everett. In front of a packed house, I talked about the dynamics of the market and our plan to position the 747-8 Intercontinental now that airlines are starting to build up their wide-body fleets.

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A packed house at the 747-8 all-team meeting

But the most thrilling moment of this gathering came when we played a video of the team’s accomplishments during 2010. Set to some music that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping, check out the highlights including the first flight of the 747-8 Freighter, a stall test, and time lapse from the 747-8 Intercontinental assembly line.

Order up: A U.S. first

Even though it was born in the USA, it has been generating a lot of buzz overseas. Now, the excitement over Boeing’s 777-300ER has American Airlines getting in on the action. American just finalized a contract to buy two of the planes, becoming the first U.S. carrier to place an order for them.

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Rendering of American’s future 777-300ER

It’s more proof that U.S. airlines are now turning their attention to long-haul routes. These new 777-300ERs provide more capacity and even more efficiency and will be flown on American’s current international routes or new routes in conjunction with its partners.

This passenger pleasing aircraft typically seats about 365 passengers — about 20% more capacity than the 777-200ER. This gives American a lot more flexibility at airports where slots are tight and some more options for new markets.

New timeline for Dreamliner

It’s the question everyone has been asking: When will Boeing deliver its first 787? The answer is we expect to deliver the first Dreamliner to ANA in the third quarter of this year.

This new date allows us to complete flight testing, certify the plane, and install and test updated software and new electrical power panels as an outcome of the Laredo, Texas incident.

Today Scott Fancher, the general manager of the 787 program, is meeting with his management team to talk about how bringing new innovation to customers can be challenging and about the plan moving forward.

Our top priorities for 2011 are delivering the Dreamliner along with our other development program, the 747-8. We look forward to making all of that happen.

To read more about the new timeline, check out the full news release here.

All decked out

The secret weapon to shake up long-haul travel is now airborne in the form of a new Boeing 777-300ER. About a year ago the folks at Air New Zealand invited me and one of my colleagues to a “secret location” to check out something they’ve been keeping under wraps for quite a while. The revolutionary product they unveiled back then is now in the skies after taking delivery of their 777-300ER just before the holidays.

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An early Christmas present

Boeing handed over the huge Christmas present to Air New Zealand complete with a giant gift tag. I even took some photos with Santa in front of a tree decked out in the airline’s new colors. And once you see how the plane is decked out on the inside, you’ll understand why there was plenty of holiday cheer.

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Larry Loftis, general manager of the 777 program, Santa and Randy

I got to ride on the delivery flight’s first leg from Paine Field in Everett to Los Angeles. To say the experience is mind blowing is an understatement. From the moment you step on board, you’re in sensory overload.

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Relaxing in business class

Air New Zealand’s main focus for their new fleet of 777-300ERs is on the passenger. In fact, they even created a new experience in Economy including sleep pillows that attach to your headrest. In Premium Economy, you’ll find leather Spaceseats that make you feel like you’re behind the wheel of a luxury car. Seats in the center are designed for couples who want to face each other while sharing a meal or playing games. For those of us flying alone or who just want some peace and quiet, snag a seat along the outer space of the cabin. Perhaps best of all, your seat tilts back and slides forward when you recline—guaranteeing the person in front of you can’t get in your personal space. Check out what I mean in the video below.

When it’s time to eat, induction ovens make it possible to serve up a better burger. How about a pizza for lunch? Done! You can even order snacks with the touch of a screen as you watch a movie. And what better way to enjoy a delivery flight than with a glass of the bubbly like I did.

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Champagne at 30,000 feet

Air New Zealand has ordered five of our 777-300ERs with an option for two more. We’re thrilled to see how our product is helping provide a new level of customer service when it comes to long-haul flights. We hope you’ll have the chance to come aboard soon.

Check out a another perspective on the all new Air New Zealand 777-300ER.

Rock steady

They say there’s strength in numbers. And our 2010 orders and deliveries numbers, released today, were rock steady. These figures back up what I’ve been saying: Not only has the market recovered, it’s expanding. Net orders for commercial airplanes in 2010 topped out at 530. When you compare that to the 142 net orders in 2009, you can see why I’m so optimistic.

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737 flying high with 486 net orders in ‘10

We delivered 462 commercial airplanes last year, right on target. Of course, the Next-Generation 737 led the charge and set a record in the process. The 737 continues to be the industry’s most sought-after plane with 376 deliveries and 486 net orders for the year.

As people keep packing planes, Boeing is in a great position to meet the rising demand. As you may have read, we’ve already scheduled increases in production rates for the 737, 747 and 777. Flight testing has resumed for the 787 Dreamliner and we’re working on an updated delivery schedule.

While the new year may bring a lot of challenges, it also opens up incredible opportunities for all of us here at Boeing. We look forward to meeting the challenges and hope you follow us along the way.

Super 737

Happy New Year!

I’m back at work after taking a well-earned rest and spending some quality time with my family. I’m ready to get going on an exciting year, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you here in the blog.

In December, as I was making my way home from a quick trip to Los Angeles (more on that soon), I had a chance to fly on one of our Next Generation 737s, and it made me think about what an ongoing success this airplane is. In this video, you’ll learn why I’m so excited. And a big thanks to the folks at Sea-Tac International Airport for letting us use their facility!

 

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