LE BOURGET, FRANCE - Greetings from the Paris Air Show, where Mother Nature is putting on a show of her own. We were treated to a little bit of everything today—rain, wind, cold, heat and humidity. I grew up in Montana and it reminded me of those early spring days back home.
You can really feel the excitement over the unprecedented number of commercial airplanes we have at the show this year. The 747-8 Intercontinental is getting lots of buzz just for its size and beauty. We’re also hearing lots of talk about the 747-8 Freighter’s biofuel flight and the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner tomorrow.
Posing next to the Intercontinental, with an airberlin 737-700 in the background.
With Qatar Airways displaying one of their beautifully outfitted 777-200LRs (they announced an order for 6 more 777s today) and airberlin showcasing our new Boeing Sky Interior, there was something exciting at every turn.
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-200LR arrives at the Paris Air Show.
With so many airplanes on display this year, it’s a tight squeeze. With the tips of wings coming literally within inches of the airplane next to it, the ground crew— under the strict guidance from our flight test team— needed to park our airplanes with complete precision. As many of you have probably heard by now, another participant wasn’t as lucky.
The wing-tip of a Qatar 777-200LR next to the 747-8I, showing how close the fit is here.
After wrapping up our 2011 Current Market Outlook in Paris last Thursday, I was finally able to catch up on my sleep over the weekend before hitting the ground running this morning in Le Bourget. I did more than a dozen television and print interviews today with reporters from Al Jazeera and the BBC— as well as outlets from the U.S., France, Russia and Germany. We covered questions on the market, the 787 program, global competition and the environment. Despite the rain, every reporter wanted to do their interview with the 747-8 as a beautiful backdrop. Sometimes we kept dry (at least somewhat dry) under the wings of the airplane.
Doing an interview with a reporter from the BBC.
Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind is what will Boeing do with the 737. While there’s no doubt we can re-engine, we have to consider if that’s good enough considering the rising cost of fuel and environmental regulations. We also know we can build a new small airplane that’s 20 percent more fuel efficient. Regardless of the decision, our CEO Jim Albaugh said it best this morning during a briefing with the media: “we will always provide more value to our customers than our competition.”
We also had some great order announcements today, with the 747-8 Intercontinental really grabbing the spotlight. One carrier committed to buying 15 while another placed an order for two. It shows the strong market for large airplanes as the airlines focus on their long-range international requirements. A beautiful photo of the Intercontinental arriving at the air show is available on the right column of our Paris Air Show hub webpage. You can also see plenty of photos on our Flickr stream.
In addition, we announced today that Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has agreed to buy up to 33 of our airplanes including Next-Generation 737-800s, 777-300ERs and 787-9 Dreamliners.
The 747-8 Freighter arrives for the air show after making some history.
The 747-8 Freighter’s arrival at the air show today marks another big theme this year: the environment. As you probably know, the 747-8F flew to Paris using biologically derived fuel— becoming the world’s first transatlantic crossing with biofuel.
Tomorrow’s portion of the show promises to not only to focus on the environment—but also the increase in competition. I’ll fill you in on Tuesday. In the meantime, we all just hope to get to the air show on time tomorrow—since a rail strike could jam things up more than usual. Stay tuned!