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.
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.”
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.