November 2011 Archives

Working together

When people sit down to work things out, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. Nine months before Boeing and the machinists faced a deadline for a new contract, today’s tentative agreement is a breath of fresh air.

That deal, which still needs to be voted on by our IAM-represented employees, would be a win for everyone involved. It would put the 737 MAX in Renton and help ensure the long-term future of aerospace manufacturing in the Puget Sound. It would also be huge for all of our customers who are lining up to buy our airplanes.

I often talk about the difference our employees make on a daily basis. It was incredible to see them celebrate their historic accomplishments this year on the 787 and 747-8 programs. And as we work together on this contract extension, the future looks brighter than ever.

Goodbye to You

With the Dubai Airshow, all of our recent order announcements and the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ve been too busy to say a proper goodbye to the A340. So let me take the time right now.

The A340 had a long— but not so successful run. After its launch in 1987, Airbus managed to deliver only 375 of the airplanes. The most successful model was the A340-300, while the A340-500 sold less than 40 units.

The “marketing” for the A340 might be more famous than the aircraft. I remember a couple of ad campaigns they did. One in the late 90’s featured their airplane over stormy seas, implying that four engines were safer than two.


An Airbus ad campaign from the late 90’s.

Then, with the introduction of the A340-500 and A340-600 came the infamous “4 Engines 4 Long Haul.” As you can imagine, the ad campaigns didn’t sit well with us or with others in the industry.


An Airbus ad from 2002.

A few years later, Airbus threw in the towel by launching the A350 — a long haul twin of their own. From that point, the end of the A340 was in sight.


The 777 posts a record year.

While the marketing never clicked, the real issue came down to performance. It’s clear the fate of the A340 family was sealed when the 777-300ER and 777-200LR entered the market. The 777’s superior economics and passenger appeal simply couldn’t be matched. The proof was also in the numbers. Not a single A340 has been sold in two years, while the 777 just racked up a record for most orders in a single year. And we intend to keep our foot on the pedal.

Dream Tour

After giving her a beautiful new paint job and gorgeous interior, we’re ready to unveil the big plans for ZA003—the third 787 Dreamliner. We’re hitting the proverbial road and taking the airplane on a 787 Dream Tour. The six month tour starts in December in China.


ZA003 on display at the Dubai Airshow.

If you saw the inside of any of our flight test airplanes, you know they were focused on being functional. But with this makeover, ZA003 is now focused on showing our customers some of the great design opportunities that the 787 offers.



The December schedule for the 787 Dream Tour includes six stops in Asia, Africa and the Middle East:

Dec. 4-11: China with stops in Beijing, Guangzhou and Haikou to visit customers, partners, and government officials including representatives from Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Air China, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Aviation Industries of China (AVIC) and Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Co. (CAC).

Dec. 11-16: Africa with stops in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya to visit Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.

Dec. 16-19: Middle East stop in Doha to visit Qatar Airways.

We’ll announce the rest of the stops about a month in advance. After seeing the airplane in Dubai and giving media a tour, I know people are really going to love what they see on the Dream Tour. It’s truly a stunning interior that will turn heads. I plan to be flying on the airplane for at least one of the tour stops and look forward to seeing the reaction.

A Week to Remember

How many times can you make history in one week? At Boeing, it seems the answer is three.

  1. A record order from Emirates for our 777s
  2. A record year for 777 orders
  3. A record commitment from Lion Air for 737s

At the end of this week, we recorded orders and commitments for 359 airplanes. It shows not only the incredible demand for Boeing products, but also incredible faith from our customers. For that, I say thank you to our customers and congratulations to our employees. Here’s a recap:

Emirates Airline ordered 50 777-300ERs, with options for 20 more.

Oman Air ordered six 787-8s.

Qatar Airways ordered two 777 Freighters.

Lion Air committed to buy 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next Generation 737-900ERs. The agreement also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes

Aviation Capital Group (ACG) committed to buy 35 737 MAX airplanes and finalized a firm order for 20 Next-Generation 737-800s.

Singapore Airlines finalized order for eight 777-300ERs

Unidentified customer ordered eight 777s.


Plenty of Boeing products on display in Dubai.

I just returned from the Dubai Airshow and can’t remember a more exhilarating week during my 30 years at Boeing. The air show proved that Boeing is the leader in the widebody market. The gorgeous image of an Emirates 777-300ER trailed by aerobatic planes was the perfect way to end a perfect show.


In a stunning finale to the Dubai Airshow, an Emirates 777-300ER took to the skies flanked by the United Arab Emirates’ aerobatic team.

Outside the air show, the 737 MAX grabbed the spotlight. It’s now set to lead the way in the single-aisle market just like the Next-Generation 737 has done for so many years. The commitments from Lion and ACG show the MAX and NG will be a key part of our customers’ fleet for years to come.



It’s also worth noting the ripple effect all of this will have on the economy. This week’s deals show the surging demand for Boeing airplanes—which in turn drives our production rate increase—which in turns drives job creation. More than 11,000 new jobs have been added just this year alone at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It’s a reason to cheer what will truly be a week to remember.

Signing off from Dubai

Even though the Dubai Airshow is winding down, I have to admit that I’m still all wound up. When I look back over the past few days, which some have described as a bit of a circus, I can’t help but be excited and encouraged about Boeing’s future. We made history with a huge 777 order and added a 787 customer.


Since Emirates ordered 50 of our 777s, I thought it was only fair that I buy one of theirs.

John Leahy from Airbus made the statement that the A320neo was the star of the Dubai Airshow. We beg to differ. The numbers for the Emirates 777 order speak for themselves. And as for the real star—judging from all the smiling faces of everyone who went on board, I’d have to say our Dreamliner stole the show. About 300 people went through the airplane every hour.


The skin of the 787— smooth as silk.

As I get ready to say goodbye to what’s been an incredibly memorable air show in Dubai, it hit me that this is my final air show of 2011. All of the shows this year have been exciting, informative and a bit exhausting. But I can’t wait to start things all over again in Singapore in 2012. As I’m signing off, I’ll leave you with the video below that recaps the week and some more pictures from our adventures in Dubai.


One of the many interviews I did with journalists from almost every continent.


A model of our new 737 MAX at Dubai.


A model of a FedEx 777 Freighter on display.


Another great meal in Dubai.

777th Heaven

Talk about one for the record books. Emirates’ order for 50 of our 777s is still all the buzz here at the Dubai Airshow. We woke up this morning to headlines such as 777th Heaven: Emirates Breaks Record with Boeing Deal (Flight Daily News), Triple Ripple (Flight Daily), Boeing Lands Triple Whammy (Arabian Aerospace), and Emirates Logs Record Busting Order for 777s (Dubai Airshow News).


Emirates Airline ordered 50 777-300ERs worth $18 billion.

This is the largest order ever for Boeing in terms of dollar value and officially puts us over the top for the most orders in a single year for the 777. With the Emirates order, the 2011 net order book for the 777 currently stands at 182.

While this order is incredible for Boeing, I’m also excited about what it means for our employees, the city of Everett and all of Western Washington. It sustains thousands of jobs and will keep our 777 employees busy for quite a while. It’s straggering to think that when we increase our 777 production rate to a record 8.3/month in 2013, this single order from Emirates will be a half year’s worth of production. It’s also great news for our suppliers around the world. Congratulations to our 777 team on winning this order.


The 777 sets a record for most orders in a single year.

While it’s clear the Middle East is a hot market for airplanes, my own market outlook presentation during the air show was also hot— literally. I ditched my sportscoat as I spoke in front of media from all over the world who endured a room without air conditioning. But everyone was eager to hear about what’s fueling the growth in this region. Over the next 20 years, we expect the Middle East to need an extra 2,520 new airplanes valued at $450 billion.


Presenting the Middle East Current Market Outlook in a very warm room in Dubai.

Our customers in the Middle East believe that newer, more efficient airplanes will give them a competitive edge over their rivals in Europe and Asia. And we believe that Boeing is in a perfect position to meet their needs. The bulk of the demand comes from the airlines’ ambitious plans to fly new routes. In fact Emirates says it will soon offer daily, non-stop flights from Seattle to Dubai via the 777.

While the 777 is making headlines here in Dubai, the 787 continues to turn heads. The Dreamliner we have on display has been visited by heads of state, members of the military, CEO’s from our customers, and the public. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also toured the airplane.


Sheikh Mohammed (bottom right) finishes a tour of the 787.

An aerobatic skywriting plane even drew a giant heart in the sky to show how much they love the 787.


I Heart 787.

By the way, Oman Air became our newest Dreamliner customer at the air show, ordering six 787s. This continues to be a great air show and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ll leave you today with just a sample of the great food we’re enjoying in Dubai.


Dubai Debut

DUBAI — Hello from the Middle East, where the Dreamliner made its debut in this region today. ZA003, the third 787, showed off its new paint job as it landed for the big Dubai Airshow. The airplane had the logos of all 56 Dreamliner customers to honor them.


ZA003 lands in Dubai with the logos of our 787 customers on its nose.

As I was giving a group of journalists a tour of the airplane, something strange happened. For the first time that I’ve ever seen, the group turned right as they entered the door instead of turning left for the cockpit. That’s how excited they were to check out the interior of the airplane that we recently installed to highlight the passenger experience.



The media got a kick out of trying out the large overhead bins— as well as dimming the windows with the touch of a button. This airplane was originally used for flight testing but was refurbished to showcase its features.



The cockpit was so quiet, I actually got the chance to sit down and chat undisturbed with 787 chief pilot Randy Neville.


This airplane really reflects the true passenger experience for the 787 Dreamliner and proves that we’ve changed the way you’ll fly. I know it will be a huge hit in the coming days here at the air show which officially starts tomorrow. I’ll be blogging on all the events, so be sure to check back.


Big Ol' Jet Airliner

The secret is finally out. To celebrate the accomplishments of the 747 program, more than 7000 employees were treated to a surprise concert by the Steve Miller Band today at the Everett factory. And even though the concert was delayed a few weeks from its original date, the music still sounded just as sweet.


Steve Miller Band takes the stage at the Everett factory.

For all of you who correctly guessed the mystery musical guest when I first posted some hints back in September—congratulations. But with a song like “Jet Airliner,” could we really book anyone other than the Steve Miller Band?



Prior to taking the stage, the band signed autographs as employees tried on some special t-shirts designed just for the event. The t-shirts, featuring the words “Big New Jet Airliner” on the front and a list of 747-8 customers on the back, were a huge hit.


The band opened up with “Jet Airliner” before launching into more of their hits. It was truly a fitting way to honor the entire 747 team with a well deserved party.


747 VP & GM Elizabeth Lund wearing one of the custom designed t-shirts.

1000 reasons to love the 777

The 777 team is celebrating two milestones this week that mark the program’s incredible history and its bright future.

On Monday, the 50th 777 Freighter produced by the program was delivered to FedEx. This is FedEx’s 16th 777 Freighter, making FedEx the largest operator of the freighter in the world.


Our 50th 777 Freighter.

Today, employees gathered in Everett as work began on the 1000th 777. Production began with the loading of the 97-foot wing spar - the main support structure for the wing - into a giant tool that automatically drills, measures and installs more than 5,000 fasteners into the spar. The 1000th airplane, a 777-300ER for Emirates, will be delivered in March.


Work begins on the 1000th 777.

The numbers once again point to the 777’s popularity not only with our customers, but the flying public. 64 airlines have ordered the airplane over the past 16 years. Our current backlog stands at 325 and that number continues to grow as customers place orders this year at an amazing pace.


Mechanics (left to right) Ricky Farrow, Mark Oglesby and Bruce Larsen all worked on the first 777.

Larry Loftis, vice president and GM of the 777 program, said it best. We couldn’t have reached this milestone without the innovation and inspiration of the thousands of Boeing employees and the more than 500 suppliers around the globe. Here’s to the next 1000 777s!


777 VP & GM Larry Loftis speaks to members of the 777 team as work began on the 1000th airplane.

I've Been Everywhere

Three months after the 747-8 Freighter wrapped up its certification flight testing by drawing a giant 747 across a map of the U.S., the 747-8 Intercontinental has pulled off a feat of its own. Last week, the crew flew an 18-hour extended operations flight which took the airplane over every state in the lower 48. Click here to see a larger image of the map below.


Our data on a Google Earth map.

Some of you pointed out that this map from our friends at Flight Aware shows we missed West Virginia and Rhode Island. But we’ve double checked our own telemetry to verify that we did indeed pass over all 48. That includes flying into the eastern portion of West Virginia— and grazing the state of Rhode Island with the airplane’s left wing. Now that’s what I call a detailed analysis!

This flight for extended operations, or ETOPS, certification helps determine how far the airplane will be able to travel from a suitable diversion airport. After the Intercontinental returned to Everett, it still had more than two and a half hours worth of fuel left.

There’s one other interesting fact about this flight that I wanted to share. Melanie VanderLugt, a Boeing Test & Evaluation flight test analysis engineer, found a creative way to keep herself busy during the down time. Walking in 15 minute increments, she circled a 225 foot loop around the aft section of the airplane - 310 times. It ended up being a half marathon. Now that’s a flight to remember, one that really has been just about everywhere.

The Sweet Spot

Hello 68. That’s the magic number everyone has been waiting for since the day we introduced the 737 MAX back in August. Today, we announced that we’re going with a 68-inch fan for the engine on this new variant of the world’s best-selling airplane.


New image: A 737 MAX is shown in the foreground as a Next-Generation 737 flies overhead.

Our CEO Jim Albaugh calls it the sweet spot and I couldn’t agree more. That 68-inch fan size, in combination with how we mount the engine on the wing, allows us to optimize the MAX for the best fuel efficiency and lowest operating costs. It also allows us to stay well ahead of our competition’s current and future offerings.


Why 68” is just right.

While we’re keeping the design scope of the MAX program as small as possible, there will be a slight adjustment to the nose gear. While some people think that may be a big deal, think of it this way. Boeing has a long history of integrating engines and wings. All you have to do is look at our employees who just finished two development programs in the same year. We’re fully prepared to start work on the MAX.

During my trip to Southeast Asia this week and wherever I travel the world, I’ve seen and heard the interest in the 737 MAX from customers, media and shareholders. The strong demand is best seen in the latest numbers—more than 600 order commitments from eight airlines. We expect to see hundreds of more commitments in the coming months. The buzz about the 737 MAX is just beginning and I expect it to only grow as we get closer to our expected first flight in 2016.

Greetings from Asia

HONG KONG - I’ve spent the past few days in Hong Kong and Taipei talking about how Southeast Asian airlines are ordering new airplanes at a rapid rate. Changes in regulations have really opened up air travel here. For example, more than 400 passenger flights per week are now scheduled between Taiwan and mainland China, opening up service that was previously limited to charter flights. There’s an opportunity for scheduled service to jump to more than 700 flights per week in the future.

We expect that over the next 20 years, the region’s airlines need 2,750 new airplanes valued at $410 billion. 62 percent of that demand will be for single-aisle airplanes like the Next-Generation 737 and the new 737 MAX. 31 percent of the demand will be for new twin-aisle airplanes like the 787 Dreamliner and 777 to serve long-range markets.

I always enjoy my visits to Southeast Asia where the streets hum with constant activity. You never know what you’ll come across—whether it to be people, animals or incredible food.


Fido hitches a ride on one of the countless scooters in downtown Taipei.


Ready to enjoy a Volcano Burger in Taipei. Yes, it is as good as it looks!

I’ll end with a video I’ve been meaning to put together for a couple of weeks that I shot during the Seoul Air Show. It gives you an idea of the sights and sounds that make these kind of shows so popular. Enjoy!


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