September 2011 Archives

Coming home

Now that ANA’s very first 787 is on the ground in Japan, I wanted to share some final thoughts on the events of the past few days. As a crowd gathered outside Paine Field yesterday morning to watch the flyaway, many got emotional as the airplane headed for Tokyo. While we’ve watched first flight of the 787, countless test flights, and other milestones come and go, this moment was different. In a way, it was letting go of something so many people have poured their heart and soul into for so many years.

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ANA’s first Dreamliner lands in Tokyo for the first time.

We were so proud to watch the celebration back in Japan as the airplane was finally coming home to our great customer. And we’ll be even more proud to see ANA put the 787 into service. I’ll leave you with the video below that I made during Monday’s delivery ceremony. It really sums of what this airplane means to me and all of us here at Boeing.

Dream Delivered

I’ve never seen so many smiling faces in the pouring rain as I did in Everett today. The weather did nothing to dampen the energy and excitement as we delivered the first 787 Dreamliner to ANA. I could actually feel the pride coming from the crowd of thousands of Boeing employees who turned the parking lot into one giant party space.

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A view of the crowd from the factory roof.

I was lucky enough to catch up with some of the people who played such a key role in bringing Boeing to this historic day. I got to know the legendary Joe Sutter, the father of the 747, very well when I worked on the 747-8 program. He was once again recognized today during the 787 ceremony.

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Posing with a Boeing legend.

I also got to chat with a very proud Mike Carriker, the chief pilot of the 787 who helped get this airplane certified by logging more than 1000 hours.

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The 1000 hour man, 787 chief pilot Mike Carriker.

Even though there were many big names on hand, this day was all about the thousands of Boeing employees and our launch customer ANA. After such a long journey with such a big payoff, there’s clearly an emotional tie that binds Boeing and ANA. Through the good times and hard times, we’ve reached this point together and made aviation history in the process.

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Employees lead the way as one of ANA’s Dreamliners is towed into the big event.

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Ceremonial key exchange. As Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh said: “When you buy a car, you get a key. When you buy a 787 Dreamliner, you get a really big key.”

As I stood in the rain today in Everett, I thought back to the phone call I received way back in 2004 telling me this airplane had just been launched with an order from ANA. I’m still just as excited about where this program is going. As ANA’s president and CEO told the crowd, he can’t wait to see Dreamliners filling the sky. The first one leaves for Tokyo tomorrow, and many more will follow.

For more great photos, videos and content from today’s event, be sure to log on to newairplane.com .

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Meeting with Randy’s Journal reader Rob Howell who made the drive down from British Columbia.

The buzz in Barcelona

I’m just back from Barcelona, Spain where I attended the ISTAT Europe conference (International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading). ISTAT attracts a mix of traders, airlines, leasing companies, media, financiers, and manufacturers—and there was clearly a lot of interest with attendance up 50 percent from last year. Of course, I also found some time to enjoy the local cuisine.

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Getting ready for my presentation at ISTAT with Dan Da Silva, Vice President of Freighter Conversions at Boeing.

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A trip to Spain wouldn’t be complete without sampling three of my favorites: ham, paella and gazpacho.

I helped kick off the first day of ISTAT with a panel discussion where I touched on the current market, our 20 year forecast, and the new 737 MAX. While the single-aisle market received the most buzz at ISTAT, the success we’ve seen from the 777 this year certainly made an impression in the marketplace as people asked the question “where is the competition and what is their plan?”

But one of my main goals at ISTAT was to reintroduce everyone to the 787 and the 747-8 now that we’re on the verge of first deliveries. After the journey to get to this point, it’s easy to forget just how much these airplanes are going to change the way we fly and the way our customers do business.

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Here’s the 787 that will make history.

On Monday in Everett, we’ll celebrate with our launch customer ANA as they take delivery of the very first Dreamliner to go into service. It’s a moment I wouldn’t miss. Not only do we get the chance to thank ANA for being an incredible partner, we’ll also pay tribute to the men and women of Boeing who’ve paved the way to this historic day.

Be sure to watch Monday’s live webcast starting at 8:50am Pacific on both boeing.com and newairplane.com. I’ll share my own experiences from the ceremony right here on Monday.

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The Lion's Share

It’s easy to see why our employees are so connected to the airplanes they build. And in some cases, they also have a strong connection to the home country of a customer. One such story involves Wenarto, a manager with 747-8 Liaison Engineering. He grew up in Bali, Indonesia and got the chance to attend the delivery ceremony of Lion Air’s 50th Next-Generation 737-900ER last week. He wanted to share his story and I’m happy to oblige:

At the time I was growing up in Bali, only 2 or 3 small airplanes landed per day at our airport. Once a week I had the privilege to see a DC-10 land, and once or twice a year, a 747. My father used to take me on the weekend just to see the airplanes landing and taking off.
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Wenarto (middle left) talks with Lion Air President Director Rusdi Kirana (middle right). Also pictured: Boyd Brown, Sales Director supporting Lion Air (far left) and Eric Lindblad, vice president of 737 Manufacturing Operations (far right).

Now that I have worked here for 25 years, I am proud to say that the aviation industry in Indonesia has improved thanks to Boeing. Last Thursday, the 50th airplane of Lion Air’s fleet came dressed in a special livery. I was able to meet Lion Air President Director Rusdi Kirana as he took delivery of the aircraft. The Indonesian Ambassador to the U.S. was also present along with many of my old friends from Liaison Engineering.
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Lion Air’s 50th 737-900ER in special livery.

I just want to say that I am proud to be working for Boeing, and very proud to be a member of the Liaison family.

While Wenarto didn’t make the trip back to Indonesia on the delivery flight, one of my colleagues did and sent back some photos. Once the airplane arrived, a ceremonial vase was smashed on the tarmac in celebration as the crew was greeted by the media.

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A ceremony to welcome the airplane to Indonesia.

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Lion Air’s crew meets the media.

Thanks for sharing your story Wenarto. And congratulations to Lion Air on the milestone delivery. Lion was the launch customer for the 737-900ER and is now the largest customer and operator of this airplane in the world.

747-8F first delivery update

Just yesterday, I was telling you about all the excitement leading up to first delivery of the 747-8 Freighter—including a surprise musical guest who’d be performing for employees. It turns out, that party will have to wait.

We still need to work through some contractual issues with our customer Cargolux, so first delivery won’t take place as scheduled on Monday. Employee and media events for next week have also been postponed.

While this is disappointing to all of us here at Boeing, we’re working with Cargolux to resolve the issues. They’ve been an incredible partner going back a long way. Two decades ago, they became the first carrier worldwide to operate the 747-400 Freighter. It’s only fitting that they became the launch customer of the new 747-8 Freighter.

The 747-8 Freighter is something to celebrate—and we plan on doing just that very soon.

Guess who's coming to Everett?

While final preps are underway for Monday’s first delivery of the 747-8 Freighter to our launch customer Cargolux, there’s a bit of a party atmosphere around the Everett factory right now. Monday will be packed with a lot of pomp and circumstance as the Freighter flies away, but there’s also something very special planned during an employee event on Tuesday. A super top secret guest will be on hand to provide the entertainment to everyone at the Everett site. I won’t spoil the surprise—but let’s just say if you follow my taste in music, this guest is right up my alley. (Feel free to leave your guess as to who it might be in comments.)

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Ready for business.

As for the delivery itself, Cargolux will waste no time putting their new Freighter into service. As soon as the airplane takes off from Paine Field in Everett on Monday, it will head straight for Sea-Tac Airport to pick up cargo. It’s more proof that this airplane is immediately ready to generate revenue for our customers and will be the leading freighter in the industry.

By the way, the accomplishments keep coming for the 747-8. We already knew this airplane makes less noise than its predecessor. Now, we’ve proved it doesn’t cause any greater wake in the sky either. Earlier this week, the 747-8 received its “heavy” designation separation from the International Civil Aviation Organization. That means the airplane can operate under the same separation distance as the 747-400 for approach, landing, departure, climb/descent and cruising. That means our customers can operate the 747-8 in the same markets and on the same routes as the 747-400 without any slowdowns.

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The 747-8 Freighter during its first flight on Feb. 9, 2010.

Monday will indeed be reason to celebrate, and the party will keep rocking through Tuesday. Congratulations to our 747 team and Cargolux.

A picture perfect "thank you"

The certification of the 787 and the 747-8 Freighter involved the hard work of thousands of Boeing employees. But two of those employees know better than anyone how those airplanes handle in the sky.

It’s not often that you see 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker and 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein together. That’s because they’ve been incredibly busy with flight testing as we head toward first delivery of the Freighter on September 19 and the Dreamliner on September 26. But the two found time to meet up and pay a visit to some friends who they’d spoken with countless times—but had never met face to face.

Carriker and Feuerstein recently traveled to Auburn, Washington to thank the air traffic controllers who play a huge role in Boeing flight testing here in the Pacific Northwest. On a normal day, the FAA’s Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) hums with activity. So you can imagine how busy it gets when Boeing is involved in multiple flight tests.

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Mike Carriker and Mark Feuerstein present a signed, framed photograph to air traffic controllers at the Seattle Air Route Traffic Control Center.

To say thanks, Carriker and Feuerstein gave the group a framed picture that’s become one of my favorite scenes ever at Boeing—the image of the first 787 and the first 747-8 Intercontinental flying in formation. The picture, which will be on public display at the Auburn office, was signed by all the Boeing Test & Evaluation pilots who flew the 747 and 787 test airplanes. Without the assistance of these air traffic controllers, this photo would never have been possible. So thank you for your role in shaping Boeing’s history and future. (You can download some images from that day here.)

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Flying in formation over Washington state.

Give me wings

I wanted to share another way our team in Renton is ramping up for our next 737 rate increase. In January, we’ll deliver the first airplane built at our new rate of 35 airplanes a month, an increase from 31.5. A key part of that rate hike will be our new 737 wing systems and installation line.

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A look at the new wing line in Renton.

The new line is located in our Final Assembly building in Renton, just north of the old location. Our team will install hydraulics and electrical systems into wings that are built in a different building. They’ll have about three months to practice and get used to the new line before the rate break. The line will eventually run at higher capacity to support the increase to 42 airplanes a month in the first half of 2014.

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Once again, employee brainpower was used to make this line much more efficient. Mechanics from all parts of the wings team took part in a series of workshops where they came up with new ideas. For example, the old systems and installation area used three wing lines — one right-hand, one left-hand and one variable — to install the systems. But the new area is made up of two lines with one row for right-hand wings and one for left-hand wings.

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It’s this kind of teamwork that will lead to successful rate increases across the board. Thanks to everyone involved for their hard work and contributions.

Opportunity knocks in China

BEIJING - Hello from China where I’ve just unveiled some pretty impressive numbers about this booming country. Over the next 20 years, our Current Market Outlook shows that China will need 5,000 new airplanes worth $600 billion. That’s 15 percent more airplanes than we forecasted a year ago, with a 25 percent value increase.

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It was my pleasure to present the China CMO to reporters in Beijing today.

Several factors are driving this demand—but simply put, China’s economy is thriving. Personal income is on the rise and more people are traveling. As a result, airlines are offering more flights, including nonstops, to meet China’s international air travel growth. China’s mainland carriers are also expected to experience rapid international expansion over the next 20 years.

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We presented the CMO in Chinese for our media friends.

To show you just how fast the aviation market is moving in China, we expect 84 percent of those new airplanes will be needed just to keep up with growth—not for replacement. The greatest demand in China will be for widebodies like the 747-8, 777 and 787. The single-aisle market will also remain strong, with total deliveries expected to hit 3,550.

We know the market in China is more competitive than ever—and it’s no longer just two players going after business. We’re also facing challenges in the single-aisle market from China’s own Comac and other new players. That’s why the new 737 MAX family is so important to our future.

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The new 737 MAX.

It perfectly positions us to not only continue to deliver the most fuel-efficient and capable airplane with the lowest operating costs—but to increase our advantage.

We’ve already had a great 2011 when it comes to orders and commitments from our customers in China:

Cathay Pacific: 10 777-300ERs (order announced in March) 8 777Fs and 4 777-300ERs (order announced in August)

Hong Kong Airlines: MOU for 32 787 Dreamliners & 6 777Fs (announced in March)

Air China: Agreement for 5 747-8 Intercontinentals (announced in March)

I personally look forward to working with our great customers and friends here in China to make sure they have everything they need as they head into a very exciting future.

While I’m here over the next few days, I of course wanted to share some of my culinary adventures. While Beijing is home to some of my favorite restaurants, the street food is sometimes even better. I’ll leave you with some photos of a smorgasbord of Beijing street food—and a platter of some very tasty spicy chicken.

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A feast on the streets of Beijing.

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Some like it hot!

Dancing in September

To say we’re going to be busy around here in September is an understatement. We knew first delivery dates for the 747-8 Freighter and the 787 Dreamliner were going to be very close to each other. Today, we know exactly how close.

We just announced the 747-8 Freighter will deliver to launch customer Cargolux on September 19. As we previously said, ANA will take delivery of its first 787 one week after that on September 26.

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The first 747-8 Freighter that will be delivered to launch customer Cargolux takes off on its B-1 flight Wednesday in Everett.

Here’s proof of just how close this race to the delivery finish line was. On back to back days this week (Wednesday and Thursday), the first Freighter and Dreamliner that will be delivered flew their B-1 flights (first Boeing flights). While these two flights didn’t receive a lot of media fanfare, they were proud days for both programs.

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The first 787 that will be delivered to ANA took its B-1 flight on Thursday.

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Employees gather on the berm at Paine Field for the Freighter’s B-1 flight.

It never gets old to see our employees line up on the berm at Paine Field to watch one of our airplanes take flight for the first time—whether it be a true first flight of a new airplane or a B-1 flight. And the excitement is going to continue all the way through September.

All in a day's work

While our 737 has always been the workhorse of the Boeing fleet, some new numbers show the 777 is also putting in a pretty good day’s work.

The more than 60 operators flying the 777 have increased the average number of hours they operate the airplane to more than 12 hours per day. That’s an increase of one hour since the airplane went into service in 1995. The average flight length is now six hours, with nearly 1,900 777 flights taking off every day. The longest range 777, the 777-200LR, now has an average flight length of nine hours and operates 14.3 hours per day.

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The 777-200LR has the longest range of our 777 family.

These numbers speak to both the reliability and capability of the 777. They also show just how valuable this airplane is to our customers.

I was in the 777 factory just last week where our team continues to do amazing things. They’ve creatively met the challenges of going up in rate to meet the demand for this incredibly popular airplane. And they truly do it as a team.

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Members of our 777 team gather to share the plan for the day in Everett.

Twice each weekday in final assembly in a small bullpen, as many as five dozen team leaders, support staff and managers gather for 15 to 20 minutes. It’s a chance for everyone to give their input and talk about the plan for the coming day. Nothing fancy—just pure teamwork. And as these numbers prove— it’s really paying off.

 

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