February 2012 Archives

Delivering The Incredible

It’s hard to believe just a little over a year has gone by since the 747-8 Intercontinental made her world debut. I took my son to the premiere event in our Everett factory to see the new Queen of the Skies decked out in a gorgeous sunrise livery. It was a day we’ll both remember.

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One year ago— at the Intercontinental’s premiere with my son Joel.

Today, we celebrated as the very first 747-8 Intercontinental to be delivered took off from Paine Field. While the VIP customer of the airplane didn’t want to be identified, you could clearly identify what has become a symbol of Boeing as she took to the skies on her delivery flight.

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The 747-8I takes off today on its delivery flight.

This is shaping up to be a great year for the 747 program. Delivery of the Intercontinental for our first airline customer Lufthansa will happen very soon, and feedback from the early customers of the 747-8 Freighter has been very positive. The airplane has been incredibly reliable — about 97 percent; well above what you’d expect from an airplane in its first months of service. And the airplanes are actually burning about 1 percent less fuel than we predicted they would in service, the program’s chief engineer Bruce Dickinson said at a press conference today.

This is now the airplane of choice for many heads of state, particularly in the Middle East. At one point during today’s event, 747 Vice President & General Manager Elizabeth Lund was asked if the Intercontinental could soon become the U.S. President’s new ride.

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This huge model of a 747-8 VIP airplane served as the backdrop for today’s event.

“We would love to sell the 747-8 as a replacement for Air Force One,” she replied.

Now wouldn’t that be a beautiful sight? To our 747 team, congratulations for once again delivering the incredible.

4 on the floor

Here’s something you don’t see every day. In fact, for only the sixth time in history—four different models of the 777 are currently being built inside our factory in Everett. The first time this happened was in 2009. The last time this happened was in 2010.

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A rare sight on the 777 factory floor.

We snapped some photos to make sure we captured this rare sight for all of you to see. A 777-300ER for Air France and a 777-200LR for Air Austral are in systems installation. In final body join we have a 777-200ER for ANA. And in final assembly there’s a 777 Freighter for Qatar as well as another 777-300ER— this one for Cathay Pacific.

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The flexible production system in our 777 factory makes it possible to work on all four of the models at the same time.

These are indeed exciting times for the 777 team. The countdown is on to this Friday’s big event when we celebrate the 1,000th 777 which is going to Emirates. Check out the beautiful special livery in the photos below. I look forward to the party and we’ll share some of the highlights with you following the event.

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The 1000th 777 rolls out of the paint hangar. Matthew Thompson photos.

Some like it hot

I’m back home from Singapore after enjoying another great air show. Not even the 95 degree weather could stop the crowds from lining up to see the 787 during its special stop in Singapore as part of the Dream Tour.

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Sweating it out in Singapore for a chance to go inside the Dreamliner.

Even though some like it hot, our colleagues at Aviall came up with a super creative way to beat the heat and the sun at the same time. They handed out fans that doubled as a pair of sunglasses.

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One way to beat the heat in Singapore.

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I also took part in a video that features another fashion statement— a Dreamliner cap! You can check it out below.

During the show, we hosted another “tweet up” and gave away some Boeing gear to our Twitter followers. It was really amazing to see how social media played such a big role during the air show. In fact, we added thousands of Twitter followers just last week alone thanks to all the air show buzz.

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One of the people who attended our “tweet up.”

Thanks to the people of Singapore for being such great hosts. I look forward to a return trip in the near future.

Presidential visit

President Obama’s visit to our 787 factory last Friday gave us the opportunity to show off the Dreamliner on a national stage. But it also put the spotlight on our employees who’ve worked so hard to bring this airplane into service. Since I was traveling home from Singapore, I didn’t get a chance to attend the event. But I wanted to share this photo gallery from our team of Boeing photographers. You can also check out our video and feature story on Boeing.com.

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Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747, touches down Friday at Paine Field. Photo by Jessica Oyangi.

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President Obama tours the 787 production line with Jim McNerney, Chairman, President & CEO of The Boeing Company (right) and Jim Albaugh, President & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

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President Obama speaks with 787 employees. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

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President Obama sits in the 787 flight deck along with Mike Sinnett, VP & Project Engineer for the 787 program. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

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Inside a 787, the President tries out the larger overhead bins. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

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Enjoying the touch button windows. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

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President Obama makes his entrance after touring a 787. Photo by Jim Anderson.

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Greeting the crowd in the 787 factory. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

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The 787 factory made for a beautiful backdrop— and so did the Dreamliner for United. Photo by Jim Anderson.

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Shaking hands with the crowd after finishing his speech. Photo by Jim Anderson.

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Photo by Marian Lockhart.

The (Boeing) Edge of glory

SINGAPORE — Here at the air show, or any other time, it’s easy to get wrapped around talking about the latest new products and the global demand for our cutting-edge commercial airplanes.

But I have to admit there’s a lot more to Boeing than designing and building airplanes. Now, if you’re thinking, “there is?” I wouldn’t necessarily blame you. We haven’t always done a great job of talking about the services side of our business. Today we’re changing that.

It’s the story of our customers and the amazing advantage that Boeing gives to them. This week at the Singapore Air Show we kicked off this story in a big way - launching the Boeing Edge.

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Our new service mark, an extension of the Boeing brand, represents the value we provide to our customers. Click above to explore the Boeing Edge.

Lou Mancini, our leader for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, has a saying: “Every customer is precious.” I agree completely.

Making our customers successful is at the heart of everything we do. That’s what services is all about - giving our customers every advantage to succeed in a very competitive marketplace.

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Boeing Converted Freighters are passenger-to-freighter conversions. Boeing provides design, engineering and project management, while partnering with some of the industry’s best-known modifications centers. Click above to explore Fleet Services.

Our connection to the customer is not just about sales and deliveries of new airplanes. It is a relationship that starts long before delivery and continues long, long after.

It’s a collaboration in the design and data behind the airplane and a continued dialogue during assembly of an airplane. It’s the training and the data to operate and maintain the airplane and all the work that goes into ensuring a smooth entry into service.

Boeing is embedded with the customer, providing everything needed for the successful functioning of the airplane and the entire airline operation - the parts, information, expertise and support available 24/7 to keep fleets flying safely and efficiently into airports around the world.

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The 787 full-flight simulator is part of a suite of advanced training technology as innovative as the Dreamliner itself and is deployed at flight training campuses world-wide. Click above to explore Flight Services.

Over the next 20 years the global commercial aviation services market is expected to reach $2.3 trillion. That’s huge!

The Boeing Edge is aimed squarely at this market and the competitive advantage we give our customers. There are many companies out there offering one aspect or another of aviation services. But no company has it all - that is, except Boeing.

Boeing has an unmatched breadth and depth in terms of knowledge, technological innovation, commitment and integration — and the passion of an engaged global team of people.

This is how Boeing sets itself apart from a crowded and diverse field of services competitors.

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Shipping and Distribution facilitators at the Boeing Spares Distribution Center (SDC) pick parts in the 60 ft. high (18.3 m), 320 ft. long (97.5 m) “high bay.” The SDC makes close to one million spare parts shipments each year. Click above to explore Material Services.

With these capabilities we’re focused on helping our customers be more efficient, effective and successful at what they do in their fleet and flight operations.

Airlines are really looking to focus more on their customers - the flying public - and less on some of the non-core functions. We’ve seen over the last several years that the low-cost carriers and now larger airlines have figured out what services are essential to doing themselves and what can be handled better by others.

That’s where Boeing provides an edge.

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Technology such as radio frequency identification devices (RFID) adds efficiency to airline maintenance operations and enables better supply chain visibility. Click above to explore Information Services.

We have an incredibly large and diverse staff with skills spanning all aerospace disciplines. We have the intellectual property, the data, behind the airplanes.

And we have an unparalleled logistics system and global support network to deliver to our customers wherever they are based in the world 24/7/365. We put these to work for our customers in ways that others just can’t.

The bottom line is, we are the only company in the world that can do all the things we do!

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A portfolio of services brings value to customers and the industry. In air traffic management (ATM), for example, we’re working to transform the current system to create greater capacity and more efficient airspace, enabling aviation growth around the globe. At the ATM Modeling and Simulation lab, Boeing conducts research of advanced arrival management concepts. Click above to explore Integrated Services.

Let’s face it, customers aren’t going to choose our products and services just because it says Boeing on them. They’ll choose them because there’s value there and because going with Boeing makes them more competitive and more successful.

Like Lady Gaga - another globally-known brand - with Boeing, you know what you’re getting: a unique quality you can’t get anywhere else - a powerful combination of expertise, innovation and passion.

We are the Boeing Edge and that’s what you get when you do business with us.

Shining moments in Singapore

SINGAPORE - What an amazing kickoff to the Singapore Airshow. I’ve been busy over here as the good news keeps rolling in for Boeing. First, a huge congratulations to Lion Air for teaming up with us to make history. Lion finalized their historic order for up to 380 737s, including 201 737 MAXs. They’ll be the first in Asia to fly the 737 MAX and will become the global launch customer of the 737 MAX 9.

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On left, Dinesh Keskar, vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Rusdi Kirana, founder and president director of Lion Air, celebrate the order. Photo by Gail Hanusa.

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Here’s a 737 MAX 9 in Lion Air livery.

You know, our 737 family will play a big role in the future of air travel here in Southeast Asia. Before the air show started, I had the chance to make a presentation at the Low Cost Airlines Conference in Singapore. We’re forecasting that Asia’s low-cost carrier market will continue growing at double digit rates - reaching more than 13 percent annually until 2020. There are almost twice as many 737s serving the LCC market today compared to the A320. With many airlines in this region already working to renew their fleets, we’ll be working to make sure the Next-Generation 737 and the 737 MAX are part of their plans.

Of course, the 787 Dreamliner is here in Singapore and is once again turning heads. It’s especially nice to be able to show off the airplane to Singapore Airlines, which has 20 of our 787-9s on order.

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The Dreamliner lands in Singapore.

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Here’s me talking all things 787 on CNBC Asia.

While it’s been a busy past few days here in Singapore, I did find time to take in some of the region’s amazing food. I’ll leave you with a few photos—and let me assure you, the food is as good as it looks.

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Drunken prawns at Jumbo’s, one of Singapore’s most famous seafood restaurants.

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Chili crab.

Putting the 787 on the map

The folks at Boeing Test & Evaluation have really outdone themselves this time. After coming up with a creative flight plan that basically painted a huge 747 over the U.S. last August, the team decided the Dreamliner should get its own “etch a sketch”.

During a flight that started Thursday afternoon and ended this morning at 8:45am Seattle time, they not only drew a 787 on the map— they also added a Boeing logo!

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Image from Flight Aware.

This wasn’t a joy ride. It was an 18 hour Maximum ETOPS (Extended Operations) Duration flight test for a 787-8 with GE engines. Our team coordinated with the many air traffic control centers, choosing the routing to avoid restricted airspace. In the end, the flight covered over 9,000 nautical miles— all of it captured by our friends at Flight Aware.

Congratulations to the team on a successful flight test, and for giving all of us aviation geeks something to smile about.

787 production update

You may have heard reports about a shimming issue on some of our 787s. I wanted to give you an update on where things stand.

First, let me explain the issue itself. Shimming is a routine practice used across the industry to fill small gaps that occur naturally during manufacturing. Shims are basically engineered fillers used to make sure parts fit together. In this case, we found that incorrect shimming was done on the support structure of the aft fuselage of some 787s. Our engineers have a good handle on the situation and have a straightforward fix.

The good news is there’s no short-term safety concern. Repairs will take days, not months, and can be conducted concurrent with other planned build activities. This work has already started on some airplanes. We’ve notified all of our customers and we’ll be keeping them up to date as we go forward. In keeping with our standard response for build-quality issues, all 787s will be inspected for this condition. There is no need to conduct the inspections or repairs on in-service airplanes immediately. The process for in-service airplanes will be completed as efficiently as possible.

As always, our goal is to make sure we deliver a product that exceeds expectations—and we appreciate our customers’ patience as we iron out this issue.

Double delivery

Some of my colleagues described it as Cirque du Soleil meets Boeing. In what was a stunning ceremony, Korean Air took delivery today of a 747-8 Freighter and a 777 Freighter. Korean becomes the first airline in the world to operate both types of our freighters. In fact, they’re the first customer to order both the 747-8 Freighter and Intercontinental.

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Nose to nose. The 747-8 Freighter (left) and 777 Freighter. Photo by Marian Lockhart.

The ceremony at the Future of Flight in Everett began with members of an acrobatic troupe dressed in Korean Air uniforms. After a few minutes of doing some flips on a trampoline, they pulled a giant rope that opened a curtain—revealing the two airplanes parked nose to nose.

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High flying acrobats perform during the Korean Air delivery ceremony. Photo by Jim Anderson.

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Photo by Jim Anderson.

The unusually warm weather and sunny skies also provided a beautiful backdrop—with Korean’s livery blending in with the blue skies.

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Cutting the ribbon on history. Photo by Jim Anderson.

Korean plans to operate the 747-8 Freighter on its transpacific route including Japan, Los Angeles and San Francisco. They’ll use the 777 to open new markets in Europe. Congratulations on an amazing double delivery.

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Photo by Marian Lockhart.

Taking a breather

As we head toward the weekend, I’m catching my breath before what promises to be a very busy stretch going into the Singapore Airshow. First of all, I wanted to step back and say a huge thanks to Aer Lingus for playing host to us during the Dream Tour’s stop in Dublin last week. More than 1,000 people visited the 787 during that stop in Ireland and it was exciting to see all the buzz.

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Great photo from Dublin looking out the 787 windows and onto the wing. Photo by Bob Ferguson.

During my time in Dublin, I also took part in the annual European Airfinance Journal Conference. I always enjoy this conference because it offers a great opportunity to take the pulse of the industry early in the year. Are there concerns about the market? Yes, but I have to say that everyone continues to be upbeat—including the financiers who seem confident about what lies ahead.

I’ll be in Singapore a few days before the actual air show to attend the Low Cost Carrier Conference. A lot of airlines, especially in Asia, are now competing in the low-cost segment and that’s fueling demand for single-aisle airplanes. Case in point— Nok Air in Thailand. They recently promoted their new 737-800 with a special sale to destinations across Thailand. Love their livery. I’ve always said our airplanes have personality. Now it’s great to see that Nok (which means bird in Thai) gave them a face— and a beak too.

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We know the new 737 MAX and the Next-Generation 737 are the perfect fit for these airlines and we look forward to working with them on their fleet needs. I’ll be blogging more in depth about this once I get to Singapore. For now, I’ll leave you with a picture of Guinness I enjoyed in Dublin. While it tastes good here at home, it tastes even better in Ireland.

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Cheers to the weekend!

White room with a view

There’s something very elegant about an airplane painted in simple white. And when that airplane just happens to be the first 747-8 Intercontinental scheduled for delivery, it’s even more beautiful.

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The Intercontinental being readied for delivery conducted its first flight from Paine Field this week. Ed Turner photo.

Earlier this week, the airplane reached another milestone by completing its first production flight (B-1 Flight) from Paine Field in Everett. During the flight, the pilots checked the Intercontinental’s systems to make sure the airplane is ready for delivery.

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I’m told the airplane performed very well and will now undergo more tests and a customer flight before delivery to a VIP customer. We look forward to announcing a delivery date soon. Congratulations to the entire 747 team for another exciting moment in program history.

 

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