December 2011 Archives

The long and winding road

I’m often asked how many miles I travel in a year. When you’re on the road as much as I am, you keep track. So here are the final statistics of my travels in 2011.

277,710 miles

122 flights

31 airlines

26 countries

After logging all those miles, I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks off to spend some time with my family. But I wanted to take this chance to thank all of you (2 million unique readers across the globe this year alone) for making this blog so successful. Our readership more than doubled in 2011 thanks to what I hope were interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking posts about the wonderful people and products of Boeing.


A group photo during the first leg of the 787 Dream Tour in China.

My last business trip of the year was definitely my favorite. Being able to kick off the Dream Tour in China and fly on the 787 for the first time is something I’ll always remember. I wanted to send a special thanks to every member of the Flight Test team for making me feel so welcome.

I’ll leave you with a quick video of one of my favorite things besides airplanes…food! This time, it’s homemade noodles we had in China made in less than 15 seconds! Enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful New Year. We’ll see you back here in 2012.

Spirit of the Season

We deliver hundreds of airplanes every year (426 so far as of December 1). But many of you may not know that some of those deliveries carry very special cargo. I’m very proud that Boeing regularly teams up with our customers, relief agencies and charities to send everything from books to medical supplies across the world to the people who need them most.

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share one recent delivery flight of a 777-300ER to Biman Bangladesh Airlines.


A delivery flight for Biman Bangladesh turns into a humanitarian flight. (left) Mohammed H. Kabir and Syed M. Hussain

Syed M. Hussain, a Boeing engineer with 787 Interiors and native of Bangladesh, organized with other Bangladeshi Boeing employees an effort to put 8,500 pounds of relief items such as clothes and school supplies onto the airplane. Working with a non-profit organization called SpaandanB, the supplies were delivered to areas in Bangladesh affected by harsh winter conditions.

Hussain actually went on the delivery flight and was kind enough to share his story with us:

After a 16 hour direct flight, went to a remote area about 150 miles from Dhaka. With the help of more than a dozen volunteers from the local non-profit organization, we distributed clothes, vitamins and food to about 700 people.


Boeing engineer Syed Hussain distributes vitamins to children in Bangladesh.

It was a great feeling for me to serve so many people with my own hands. I was about to cry by seeing all these children without clothes, shoes and nutritious food.

I got an opportunity of a lifetime to gain a different kind of experience in life besides work. I have served local communities in the USA for the last 31 years, but this experience touched me very much where I served my motherland. It was a great feeling.


Syed meets a 110 year old man in need of a blanket.

Along with Hussain, Bangladeshi Boeing employees volunteered countless hours to make this possible. I thank you, as well as all Boeing employees who’ve contributed to other special delivery flights, for your efforts to make a real difference in people’s lives across the globe.

7000 and counting

Even though it’s the world’s most popular airplane, you still have to be amazed that we’ve just delivered the 7000th 737. I know our friends at flydubai are proud to be the ones flying it—especially since it comes with a commemorative logo near the nose.


Number 7000 goes to flydubai.

While the 737 MAX will soon continue the proud tradition of this program, the Next-Generation airplanes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You only need to look at some of our recent orders to see that it is still a vital part of our customers’ fleets.

As we celebrate today’s 7000th delivery, I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane for a look at the program’s previous milestone deliveries. Thanks to our friends at the Boeing archives for digging up some of these.


1000th delivery: December 1983, Delta


2000th delivery: February 1991, Lufthansa


3000th delivery: February 1998, Alaska


4000th delivery: June 2001, Air Algerie (we have no photo of the actual airplane. This photo shows a 737 delivered to Air Algerie in July of 2001)


5000th delivery: February 2006, Southwest


6000th delivery: April 2009, ILFC (for Norwegian Air Shuttle)

Now that we’ve had some fun with photos, here are some fun facts to go along with them.

• On average, approximately 1700 737 airplanes are in the air at all times.

• One 737 takes off or lands every 2.3 seconds.

• The 737 has flown more than 103.9 billion miles; equivalent to approximately 559 round trips from the earth to the sun.

• The 737 family has flown more than 106.6M flights.

• The 737 family has flown more than 168.4M flight hours; the equivalent to one airplane flying more than 19,000 years nonstop.

I want to congratulate all of our employees in Renton for reaching yet another impressive milestone. Your work never ceases to amaze all of us.

By the way, 7000 must be a lucky number this month. My congratulations to Airbus for their 7000th aircraft delivery. It really is an exciting time to be in this business and I look forward to the competition in 2012.

Wild, Wild Week

Just when you thought our late flurry of orders may have come to an end with the Southwest deal, our friends at FedEx Express kept the momentum going with today’s order for 27 of our 767 Freighters and two 777 Freighters.


The perfect pairing for FedEx… the 767 and 777 Freighters.

It’s no secret around the office that I’m a huge fan of FedEx Express. In fact, I made sure to snap a picture of a 777 Freighter model they had on display at this year’s Dubai Airshow.


A FedEx 777 Freighter model on display in Dubai.

FedEx has been very aggressive in the way they advertise their 777 Freighters, promoting both the airplane’s efficiency and environmental responsibility. With today’s order, FedEx is putting its confidence in the 767 Freighter’s ability to fit right into its fleet. It also means we’ll be building the 767 Freighter for years to come.

With today’s order from FedEx, our numbers for this week are truly staggering—251 new firm orders. And when you look at the mix of airplanes ordered by our customers, it proves just how popular our products are across the board.

This week’s orders:

Etihad: 10 787s and two 777 Freighters

Southwest: 150 737 MAX airplanes and 58 Next-Gen 737s

FedEx Express: 27 767 Freighters and two 777 Freighters

Unidentified Customer: Two 777 Freighters

Net orders for the year have jumped from 527 to 778. And the 777’s record year continues with 200 net orders. While we’ve obviously been very busy with several campaigns, it’s our great customers who’ve made all of this possible.

This wild week ends with two more big milestones for the 747-8 team. Just yesterday, the 747-8 Intercontinental got FAA certification. And this morning, certification came from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The program is now in the final stages of delivering the first Intercontinental early next year.


A ceremony marking our certification from the FAA.

The program took another key step this month when the Intercontinental made an early visit to Frankfurt, home of Lufthansa, the airline launch customer for the newest member of the 747 family. I wanted to share some new photos from that trip.


A beautiful scene as the 747-8 Intercontinental visits airline launch customer Lufthansa in Frankfurt.


Hundreds of Lufthansa leaders and employees had a chance to tour the airplane and get an idea of the passenger experience. Lufthansa wants to keep photos of its interior secret until the airplane goes into service, but I’m told there were smiles all around once they saw it for themselves.



2011 has been one wild ride. I’m glad you were able to take it with me, and hopefully we can be just as entertaining in 2012.

Sending our LUV to Southwest

Just a few days ago on this blog, I hinted that our first firm order for the 737 MAX was coming soon. How fitting that our longtime partner Southwest made the order and became the launch customer for the MAX.


A 737 MAX in Southwest livery.

We’ve been with Southwest from the very start. Not only have Boeing and Southwest helped each other prosper through the past 40 plus years, we’ve also stood side by side during the more challenging economic times. I’m very proud we could stand together today for what’s going to be a very exciting time for both of us.


An early Christmas gift. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh (left) presents a 737 MAX model in Southwest livery to airline CEO Gary Kelly.

You can’t think of the 737 without thinking of Southwest. But while today’s order is another one for the history books, it’s a lot more than just dollars and numbers. The firm order shows that Southwest not only stands behind the MAX, but is also dedicated to making it the key to its future. We take that commitment very seriously and can’t wait to deliver their first airplane.


A blast from the past— Boeing and Southwest working together.

If you’re interested, click here to download wallpaper of the 737 MAX in Southwest livery.

In closing, as someone who tries very hard to keep a blog interesting, entertaining and relevant— I want to say how much I enjoy Southwest’s great blog “Nuts About Southwest.” The airline is famous for its customer service and they’ve also done a really amazing job when it comes to social media— especially with today’s post celebrating the MAX order. Cheers to you Southwest. The ride gets better every day.

Thank you China!

As the 787 Dream Tour moves on to Africa, I’m heading back home after an incredible journey across China.


A water salute and rainbow greet the Dreamliner as it arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the African leg of the Dream Tour.

I’ll remember this trip not only because it was my first time flying on the Dreamliner, but because we got to share the experience with so many of our customers, suppliers and friends in China. It was very special for everyone involved— including our incredible team from flight test that made it all happen. I’ll leave you with some new pictures that capture some of my favorite moments.








100 days of MAX

I can still remember standing in the room as we introduced the 737 MAX to the media for the very first time. 100 days later, the excitement around this airplane has reached a fever pitch.


The unveiling of the 737 MAX in August.

Since we launched the MAX back in August, firm commitments have grown from 496 with five customers to almost 800 commitments from 12 customers. American, Lion Air and ACG have already gone public with their commitments while the rest of our customers wish to remain unidentified. Before the end of this year, we’re also expecting our first firm order.


I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how initial reaction to the 737 MAX compared to the introduction of the A320neo. During the same amount of time that we’ve seen nearly 800 commitments, our competitor had reached just 300 commitments and orders.

As for where the program stands right now, we’re on schedule with internal configuration milestones and we continue to work with our customers and partners to optimize the engine core architecture.


With the huge news that the 737 MAX will now definitely be built in Renton, our MAX team is now based at the Renton site, working hand-in-hand with leaders of the Next-Generation 737 program. It’s an exciting time for all of us—and I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days will bring.

Around the world... in 42 hours

As the 787 continues to cause quite a buzz on the first stop of the Dream Tour here in China, another Dreamliner was flying its way into the record books. On Tuesday, Capt. Rod Skaar led a team of pilots, flight test personnel, Boeing executives and an observer from the National Aeronautic Association on an around-the-world journey that ended today with not one.. but two world records for the 787.


ZA006 takes off on its record-setting trip.

The first record was set when the Dreamliner (ZA006) landed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With the more than 10,000 nautical mile trip from Seattle, the team established a duration record for this weight class (440,000 to 550,000 lbs.). That record had previously been held by the A330 for a trip made in 2002 that was just over 9,100 nautical miles.


Making a stop for fuel in Bangladesh.

Upon landing in Seattle this morning, less than 43 hours after they departed, another record was set. It was the fastest time around the world for an airplane in this weight class.

Speed and duration are just two of the capabilities that make the 787 so special. I’m thrilled we could demonstrate this in such spectacular fashion.


Here’s the group that flew into the record books— moments after landing at Boeing Field.

Today’s record brings back memories from 2005. That’s when I was lucky enough to be on a 777-200LR that broke the non-stop distance record for commercial airplanes. The flight from Hong Kong to London spanned 11,664 nautical miles. Only 35 people were on board, and I vividly remember passing the time by playing games and even doing group stretching exercises. It was like being in an airborne aerobics class.

Before signing off for today, I want to congratulate everyone involved in the approval of the machinists’ contract. It’s a win for our employees, our customers, and the Puget Sound economy. I look forward to seeing the first 737 MAX roll out of the Renton factory in the very near future.

Ticket to Ride

What a great experience for our customers and the media as we took them up for some short demonstration flights on the 787 during our Dream Tour stop in China. We’ve given a lot of tours of the airplane over the past year, but actually taking people up in the air is a rare treat.


Inspecting the airplane before one of our demo flights.

I often say that pilots have the greatest offices in the world. And when our customers’ pilots have emerged from the flight deck of the 787 after these demo flights, they are absolutely beaming.

Following the demo flight in Guangzhou, I had the honor of presenting a gift to China Southern executive Liu Qian, the airline’s VP for flight operations and safety. The gift is actually the window hole we cut out of composite material used on the Dreamliner.


Presenting a very fitting gift to China Southern.

We still have one more stop in China in Haikou, but I can tell you this first leg of the Dream Tour has been an incredible success. I could talk all day about the features of the 787, but being able to experience the airplane first hand is when the magic really happens. I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in the kickoff of this tour, and I wouldn’t trade the smiles I’ve seen for anything in the world.


A picture I took of China Southern flight attendants posing by the 787.


A picture of me taking a picture of China Southern flight attendants.

Welcome aboard

We’ve said goodbye to Beijing and hello to Guangzhou as the 787 Dream Tour continues through China.


The Dreamliner arrives in Guangzhou for the second stop of the tour.


Boeing pilots pose by the airplane after landing in Guangzhou.

Before we left Beijing, I had the chance to show off the inside of the Dreamliner to waves of people who couldn’t wait to come inside. Before climbing aboard, visitors got to sign our very own “Great Wall.”


Visitors leave their name on the Dream Tour’s very own Great Wall.

It was great to see all the smiles as everyone made their way through the airplane. And make no mistake, the 787 is the perfect airplane for our customers in this thriving market. Over the next 20 years, our Current Market Outlook shows that China will need 5,000 new airplanes worth $600 billion. More than 80 percent of those new airplanes will be needed just to keep up with growth, with the greatest demand for widebodies like the 787.


A full house as guests check out the interior.


Even toddlers love the 787! This little guy is enjoying the airplane’s large windows.


Talking with the media about the many features of the 787.

I’ll end this post with a very fitting picture. We woke up to a snowy morning in Beijing. I’m told that in China, a good snow forsees a fruitful and bountiful year. Here’s hoping this snow is a sign of great things to come for the Dreamliner in 2012.


Feels like the first time

There’s nothing like getting up at 3:30am on a cold, frosty morning to catch a flight. But when that flight happens to be my very first time flying on the 787 Dreamliner, I didn’t need to hit the snooze button. In fact, I could barely sleep thinking about the first leg of our 787 Dream Tour to Beijing.


Taking off for the Dream Tour. Next stop, Beijing.

We got off to a bit of a late start but managed to make up a lot of time. In fact, I was able to snap a photo as we passed a 747 in the air. Not something you see every day.


View from the cockpit as we pass a 747.

What I was looking forward to the most was getting a better feel for the 787. This is just an incredible machine. The wing is absolutely beautiful. The ride of the aircraft is amazing. It really is true about the lower cabin altitude and the feeling of being more refreshed when you land. Simply said, it’s all I thought it would be and more.


What a wing!


Showing cabin altitude at 5400 feet, while the airplane is flying 38,000 feet.

With only 30 of us on board for the flight to Beijing, I had lots of opportunity to walk around and talk with my colleagues. Chinese noodles and fortune cookies were appropriately served.


Time for lunch!

As you can imagine, we arrived to a lot of fanfare in Beijing. More than 1500 people turned out for the opening event of the Dream Tour. I had the opportunity to participate in a media forum that included Randy Neville (787 chief pilot), Marc Allen (Boeing China President) and Ihssane Mounir (senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for greater China and Korea, BCA).


Landing in Beijing.


A panel discussion at the airport.


Speaking with media in Beijing.

Just like it did at the Dubai Airshow, the interior of this newly refurbished 787 is really catching the eye our Chinese customers, suppliers, government officials and the media. I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful it is and how it really sums up the way we’ve taken the passenger experience to the next level.


Inside the refurbished cabin on ZA003, the third 787 Dreamliner.

Look for more posts as we continue our travels through China—living the dream.


Some young fans of the Dreamliner pose in front of a 787 ice sculpture.

MAXimum Commitment

In the past couple of days since we announced our intention to build the 737 MAX in Renton, pending union contract approval, some people have questioned our commitment to the MAX. Let me be clear—we are 100 percent committed. Period.

And let’s also be clear about something else. If this agreement is ratified, the MAX will be built in our Renton factory.

The decision to go with a new engine variant wasn’t made lightly. It came after a careful analysis of our customers’ needs and a hard look in the mirror. In the end, the 737 MAX was clearly the best choice over an all new small airplane. We now stand behind the MAX with all of our energy and resources.


With over 700 commitments so far, the MAX is clearly stirring up the industry. It even has the competition talking more about our airplane than their own.

Lion Air’s historic announcement last month that it committed to buy 201 737 MAXs, and up to 380 total 737s, was a huge win for us. We’re proud that a customer already flying an all-Boeing fleet weighed its choices and went with the best product. We’ll continue to do everything we can to keep our other customers just as happy—and we believe the MAX will do just that.


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