October 2011 Archives

Back from Barbados

Just eight months after its first flight, the 747-8 Intercontinental wrapped up its certification test flights today with a Function & Reliability flight back from Barbados. This marks the second certification flight test program the 747 team has completed this year— a truly incredible achievement.

The Intercontinental was put through some grueling paces during its testing. From the hot temperatures of Arizona to cross winds in Iceland, the three test airplanes came through with flying colors as they traveled the globe.

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The 747-8 Intercontinental flies over Mount Baker during its first flight back in March.

You’ll still see the Intercontinental test fleet taking to the sky over the next few months as we do some additional tests for the unique VIP and airline interior configurations. So keep your eyes out for these beauties.

A toast to the future

They may not be a 787 customer yet. But we’re already toasting our friends at RwandAir with their very own beer—RwandAle.

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The Pike Brewing Company of Seattle created a special private label for RwandAir.

When the airline’s CEO John Mirenge came to Seattle to pick up his second Next-Generation 737-800 with Boeing Sky Interior, we took part in a very creative surprise with the help of the Pike Brewing Company in downtown Seattle.

On the eve of the airplane’s delivery, Mirenge and other guests attended what they thought was a routine dinner at the Pike Brewing Company. But they were soon surprised with bottles of the special private label RwandAle featuring a picture of the Dreamliner in the airline’s livery.

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Charles Finkel (right), founder and CEO of The Pike Brewing Company, presents John Mirenge, CEO of RwandAir, with a bottle of the private RwandAle label brew.

The plan to surprise RwandAir was hatched after the Pike Brewing Company learned Mirenge had tasted some of Pike’s lagers while in town for the airline’s previous delivery. That’s when Mirenge had outlined the airline’s aggressive plans for growth, including plans for purchasing 787 Dreamliners in the future.

“When we learned that the airline’s CEO was returning to Seattle to pick up a second Boeing plane, we invited him and his group to visit our brewery for a tour and tasting,” said Charles Finkel, founder and CEO of the brewery. “As a surprise, I took the airline’s plans for future Dreamliners, along with some of the CEO’s poetic language, and used that as the motivation for a special label.”

“We came to Seattle to pick up our second airplane, but we are leaving with a newfound friendship and a great partnership we can bring to the people of Rwanda,” said RwandAir’s Mirenge. “Now all of Rwanda can see the great partnerships we have created in Seattle — such a great place with great people.”

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Members of RwandAir, Boeing and Pike Brewing Company celebrate with a toast.

I got my own bottle and have already sampled it. Very hoppy— and good. Cheers to RwandAir!

Saluting the Belle

It’s not often that I get to talk about the defense side of Boeing. But I definitely wanted to share a special moment from this past weekend that honored a Boeing legend.

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The new memorial in Memphis.

Boeing and FedEx teamed up to help dedicate a memorial to the crew of the “Memphis Belle,” the famed WWII B-17 bomber. The monument is a life-size, bronze statue of Margaret Polk. She was the sweetheart of Captain Robert Morgan, who named the B-17 Flying Fortress the “Memphis Belle” in honor of her.

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The crew of the Memphis Belle with Margaret Polk. Courtesy of the Memphis Belle Memorial Association.

The airplane was built in Seattle and was the first U.S. bomber to complete 25 missions over enemy territory during the war. The Memphis Belle is now undergoing restoration at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. My thanks to retired Lt. Gen. Chuck Johnson, Vice President of Boeing’s C3/Networks & Support Systems, who attended the ceremony in Memphis.

The new monument is not only a tribute to the crew of the Memphis Belle and those who served in WWII, but also to the men and women of Boeing who contributed to the war effort by building 6,981 B-17s in various models.

The Third Quarter

It’s very fitting that the day Boeing got great financial news on third-quarter earnings, the very first revenue flight of ANA’s 787 Dreamliner landed in Hong Kong. I wish I could have been on the flight myself, but as 787 Vice President and General Manager Scott Fancher said— thousands of Boeing employees were with ANA in spirit as they took to the air. ANA stood by us and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see them fly first. Congratulations to them on this exciting day.

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The first Dreamliner revenue flight, ANA Flight 7871, takes off from Tokyo on its way to Hong Kong.

The good news kept coming today as we announced third-quarter net income of $1.1 billion ($1.46 per share) on revenue of $17.7 billion. In fact, things are so positive that the company increased its 2011 earnings per share guidance to between $4.30 and $4.40. I’d like to share some of the stories that really played a role in our success.

737

The launch of the 737 MAX grabbed all the headlines—and for good reason. This airplane will continue to build on our advantage in the single-aisle market and offer incredible economics and performance for our customers. But I don’t want anyone to forget the great success of our Next-Generation 737. We continue to make improvements including the delivery of the first airplanes with certified performance improvement engines, part of a broader performance package that will improve fuel efficiency by about 7 percent compared with the first Next-Generation 737s delivered in 1998. To keep up with the worldwide demand for this airplane, we just started building the first 737 at the rate of 35 a month.

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Posing with the 737 MAX during its debut.

747-8

The 747-8 Freighter completed flight testing and was certified for entry into service in the third quarter. While the first delivery to Cargolux happened a little later than planned, it didn’t take away from the achievements made by everyone on the 747 program. The 747-8 Intercontinental also continued progress toward certification in the third quarter. As of last week, it had completed 98 percent of its certification flights and has begun function and reliability testing, keeping it on track for certification this year.

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The 747-8 Freighter leaves on its delivery flight.

767

The 767 program ramped up production to a rate of two airplanes per month in July for the first time in eight years and delivered one freighter and four passenger airplanes during the third quarter. The program continued to prepare the factory to build the first 767-2C airplane, which is the platform for the U.S. Air Force KC-46 Tanker.

777

I’ve been keeping you posted on our bid to make this the best selling 777 year in Boeing’s history. The 777 posted 55 net orders during the third quarter, making 2011 the third-best order year so far, with three months to go to reach the record of 154 net orders set in 2005. This best in class airplane is so wildly popular with our customers and the flying public, it’s being flown on average more than 12 hours a day - a 9 percent gain over last year and the highest average operating time since the 777 entered service in 1995.

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The 777 is on track for a record year.

787

As I mentioned earlier, the first revenue flight of our 787 landed today in Hong Kong after making the trip from Tokyo. That moment couldn’t have been possible without perhaps the most exciting news from our third quarter—the first delivery of the Dreamliner to our great partners at ANA. Standing in the rain in Everett on that September day is something I’ll never forget as Boeing employees paid tribute to ANA.

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First delivery of the 787 Dreamliner to ANA.

Commercial Aviation Services

Looking at some of the many accomplishments by CAS, Fleet Services delivered a 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter to Singapore Airlines Cargo and received a perfect customer satisfaction score. KLM signed on as a launch customer for Wind Updates, a Flight Services offering that saves fuel by providing real-time wind information to pilots. And United Airlines renewed and expanded its use of Airplane Health Management - a software system that gives airlines real-time maintenance information — to include the Continental fleet.

The news couldn’t be better for Boeing employees and our shareholders. It should be an exciting end to 2011—so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out our third-quarter highlights video that showcases all of our accomplishments.

Two milestones with one delivery

It’s only fitting that our best-selling 777, the 777-300ER, helped mark two recent milestones. We just delivered our 300th 777-300ER to Biman Bangladesh Airlines. It was also the airline’s first 777-300ER.

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The first 777-300ER for Biman Bangladesh.

This delivery continues a big fleet modernization push by Biman Bangladesh. The airline operates an all-Boeing fleet and will soon add more 777-300ERs as well as the 787-8 Dreamliner and Next-Generation 737-800. The chairman of the airline says the 777-300ER will usher in a new era of commercial aviation for his nation. It was also a proud day for about 30 Boeing engineers with ties to Bangladesh who were on hand for the delivery ceremony.

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Boeing employees with ties to Bangladesh celebrate outside Biman’s new airplane.

The 777-300ER has been ordered by 37 customers around the globe and is a major reason that we’re on track to set a 777 record for total orders in one year. As of October 18, there were 125 net orders for the 777. The record is 154 set back in 2005. I’ll keep you posted as we head down the home stretch.

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The wildly popular 777-300ER.

Seoul Man

After spending the first half of this week in South Korea where the 787 Dreamliner made its Korean debut at the Seoul Air Show, I’m now in Tokyo where all the buzz is about the 787’s first revenue flight. The inaugural flight for ANA’s Dreamliner takes place October 26 from Narita Airport to Hong Kong. While I won’t be able to stick around and experience it myself, several of my Boeing colleagues from the 787 program will be on board to celebrate.

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The Dreamliner made its Korean debut by landing in Seoul earlier this week.

If there’s been a theme to my trip through Northeast Asia, it’s the excitement that still surrounds the 787. In Seoul, I got to see firsthand how aviation enthusiasts — young and old— love this airplane. Some preschool kids were even lucky enough to take a field trip to the airport to watch the Dreamliner’s arrival in Seoul.

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Fans of all ages turned out to see the 787 land in Seoul.

The 787 later went on display in front of tens of thousands at the Seoul Air Show. The Northeast Asia market is primed and ready for this airplane. In fact, our market forecast shows the region will need 1,250 new airplanes over the next 20 years— mostly for growth. About 45 percent of the demand will be for twin aisle aircraft like the Dreamliner and 777, as well as large aircraft like the 747-8.

Congratulations again to our friends at ANA as they prepare for what promises to be a very memorable inaugural flight of their first 787. I’ll leave you with a photo of a fantastic dinner I had in Seoul featuring Korean barbecue and soju. It was great to be a Seoul Man, if only for a few days.

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The perfect way to end a perfect day in Seoul.

First at 35

On any other day, a wing spar load in our Renton factory would be considered routine. But that simple action today was a huge step forward in our Next-Generation 737 program. This morning, we began work on the first airplane produced at the rate of 35 a month.

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Members of the 737 team start building the first airplane at 35 a month.

Make no mistake—this is all a very orchestrated dance. Our employees played a crucial role by developing more efficient processes in the factory. We also made capital investments like a new, more efficient systems installation line for wings and the expansion of some areas. Finally, we worked closely with our suppliers to make sure they’re on the same page as us. In fact, employees in our Fabrication division made the parts that will become the spar, our first work on the airplane at the 35 a month rate.

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Lloyd Wilson checks out the first rivet driven on the first 737 at the new 35 a month rate.

You only have to look at the numbers to see just how popular the Next-Generation 737 is and why it continues to be the best selling airplane in history. We currently have 310 net orders so far this year with more than 2200 on backlog. The steps we’re taking now will allow us to keep pace with the demand from our customers all over the world. Congratulations to our 737 team for always making things happen!

Twice as nice

Here’s a cool fact for the Boeing history books. Today, the second airplanes from each of our new programs were contractually delivered to our customers. Cargolux flew their second 747-8 Freighter directly to Luxembourg a short time afterward, while ANA will fly away with their second 787 Dreamliner on Saturday.

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Side by side. The second 747-8 Freighter for Cargolux and the second 787 for ANA.

I also wanted to share a great photo from Sea-Tac Airport where Cargolux put its first Freighter into revenue service yesterday, loading 101.5 tonnes of cargo. After a 9-hour flight to Luxembourg, the new Freighter greeted observers with a low fly-by.

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Cargolux puts its first 747-8 Freighter to work.

The 747 program also began Function & Reliability (F&R) certification testing on Wednesday for the 747-8 Intercontinental, one of the last phases of flight testing prior to certification. During this testing phase, Boeing pilots will show the airplane, its components and equipment are reliable and function properly in simulated airline operation. The Intercontinental has completed more than 75 percent of the flight testing required to achieve its Amended Type Certification.

Meanwhile, our friends at ANA began training this week on their first 787 by flying the Dreamliner to airports including Haneda, Kansai and Naha. ANA will fly its first revenue flight between Tokyo and Hong Kong on October 26.

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ANA does more training on its first 787 Dreamliner at Haneda Airport.

It’s great to see our airplanes being delivered and even better seeing our customers putting them into action.

Delivery day for Cargolux

UPDATE - Now that the airplane has flown away, I wanted to add a few photos from the big day.

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The 747-8 Freighter leaves Everett this morning. Safe travels to Luxembourg!

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The crew says goodbye with a wing wag.

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The teams from Boeing and Cargolux mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting.

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Boeing employees get to say their own goodbyes as the freighter takes to the runway in Everett.

ORIGINAL POST - I’m happy to announce that we’ve resolved the contractual issues that delayed the first delivery of our new 747-8 Freighter last month. I’m even happier to let you know that Cargolux will take delivery of their first freighter today (October 12) and immediately put it into service with a stop at Sea-Tac Airport for a cargo pickup. On Thursday, Cargolux will take delivery of its second 747-8F.

Even though we had to wait a bit longer than expected, it doesn’t make these deliveries any less sweet. We know Cargolux and every customer after them will love this airplane in every way—from how it flies to how it performs.

I’d like to personally congratulate every employee who had a hand in working on this beautiful new symbol of Boeing. We all look forward to seeing it take to the sky as an official member of the Cargolux fleet.

Spirit of Seattle

I stopped off in Washington, D.C. last week for a quick visit after wrapping up my market outlook presentations in Canada. And look what was waiting to carry me back to Seattle!

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My ride back to Seattle from DC.

It’s a sight you don’t see very often. This beautiful Alaska Airlines 737 decked out in the “Spirit of Seattle” livery was my ride home from Reagan Airport. The livery was introduced in 2008 to celebrate the hometown partnership between Alaska Airlines and Boeing.

I also wanted to share my own winglet photo I snapped as the sun was setting during the ride from DC to Seattle. A great way to end a very memorable trip.

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A beautiful sunset.

Musings from Montreal

MONTREAL - Bonjour from Canada where I’ve spent the past few days unveiling our 2011 Current Market Outlook for North America. The ties between Boeing and Canada go all the way back to 1919 when Bill Boeing and pilot Eddie Hubbard flew 60 letters from Vancouver, BC to Seattle in a Boeing C-700. Those letters were the first international airmail to reach the U.S.

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Making history in 1919.

Today, Boeing has a strong relationship with 14 airline customers in Canada. In fact, the top two scheduled airlines by capacity are proud Boeing customers. Along with our facilities in Winnipeg and hundreds of suppliers, we generate around $1 billion in activity in Canada each year.

While aviation growth in the Canada and the U.S. won’t see the kind of boom times as some other markets, we still expect to see long term, moderate expansion. Over the next 20 years, we’re forecasting the need for 7,530 new airplanes in the region valued at $760 billion. Demand will be greatest for single-aisles airplanes, with replacement of older aircraft being the top driver. That puts us in a perfect position with the most fuel-efficient airplanes in the segment—our Next-Generation 737 and the new 737 MAX.

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I did an interview with Business News Network in Canada. Click on the image to watch it.

Another thing that’s driving demand in North America is people traveling to and from destinations in Latin America and South America. It’s easy to see that Canadian airlines are expanding into these locations as well as the Caribbean. In Montreal alone, airlines are expanding into more long-range service to international markets—opening the door to our 787 Dreamliner.

Being in Montreal, there’s obviously a lot of talk and questions surrounding the Bombardier CSeries. Based on the orders to date, the CSeries has clearly been struggling… but only time will tell how successful it will be. Regardless, the CSeries is a prime example of the increasing competition we face around the globe as new players enter the race.

I’ll leave you with some before and after photos of the seafood pasta I enjoyed during dinner at a great Italian restaurant on the Montreal waterfront. I look forward to my next visit.

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Seafood pasta - before.

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Seafood pasta - after.

Present tense

Over the past few weeks, I’ve fielded a lot of questions about Boeing’s future plans for the 777 program. But for me, the real news is what’s happening with the 777 here and now.

With last week’s order for 6 777s, 2011 has already become the second best year ever for 777 sales. We’ve recorded 124 orders— and we still have three months to go! If you’re keeping track, the magic number to beat is 154 set back in 2005.

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On track for a record year.

To put things into perspective, consider this. Just this year, we’ve sold more 777-300ERs than Airbus has sold A350-1000s since that airplane was launched in 2006. Overall, 163 777-300ERs have been ordered since the last A350-1000 was purchased.

Earlier this year, Airbus announced a significant redesign for the A350-1000 that will cause its entry into service to slide. While the competition is in disarray as it struggles to find its place in this market segment, the 777 continues to work its magic with both our customers and their passengers. This past Friday, Qatar Airways took delivery of its 27th 777, which also happened to be the airline’s 100th airplane. Qatar also has 13 more on order. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker summed it up best when he said “…the airplane has earned itself a reputation for comfort, versatility and reliability, and it is only fitting that our 100th aircraft is a 777.”

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Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, left, and Boeing’s Vice President of Sales for the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia Marty Bentrott celebrate the delivery of Qatar’s 27th Boeing 777.

As we close in on the 1000th 777 ever produced, I can understand the media’s fascination with the 777X and what’s coming next. We’re always looking at the best approach for the program and will continue to work with our customers to make sure we give them what they want. But while we consider the future, let’s take a moment to enjoy the present and an airplane that is the best in its class.

 

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