May 2012 Archives

Been Around the World

I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in at least a portion of all seven legs of the 787 Dream Tour. It all started back in December of last year when we touched down in Beijing— which also happened to be the first time I’d had the chance to fly on the Dreamliner.

The seventh and final leg kicked off in Sydney a few days ago— giving me the chance to once again visit with some of our great customers. It has been one amazing ride. A big thanks to all members of the Boeing team who spent some very long stretches on the road to show off this great airplane to the world. I’ll leave you with some photos from our time Down Under.

image/photo

ZA003 touches down in Sydney.

image/photo

Kicking off things Down Under.

image/photo

Talking with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (center) and Jetstar Australia CEO David Hall (right).

image/photo

On the media flight from Sydney to Brisbane.

image/photo

Looking forward to seeing the real things in the air.

image/photo

In front of blog predecessor Randy Baseler’s favorite Sydney watering hole— the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel.

image/photo

One of the light shows during the Vivid Sydney festival.

image/photo

For all you foodies. Meatball subs— yum!

image/photo

Slow cooked lamb.. Flintstones style.

Moment in Time

Something special happened yesterday that brought a smile to my face—and a lot of other faces around Boeing. As the first 787 built in South Carolina made its first flight out of Charleston, we couldn’t help but notice some other things on the radar.

image/photo

The first 787 built in South Carolina takes to the skies for the first time.

At the same time that Dreamliner was flying above South Carolina, five other 787s were also in the air. One was the Dream Tour airplane heading from Seattle to Sydney, Australia. Meanwhile, ANA and JAL each had two Dreamliners up as part of their regular revenue flights.

image/photo

The Dream Tour continues as ZA003 touches down in Sydney.

image/photo

One of the seven Dreamliners belonging to ANA.

image/photo

JAL currently has four 787s.

We checked with our friends at FlightAware to find out if six Dreamliners in the air at once was a record. It appears that is indeed the case (it has actually happened three times just this month).

It wasn’t that long ago when having just one 787 in the air created a buzz. And while the skies will soon be full of Dreamliners—I don’t expect that special feeling to diminish one single bit.

Strength in numbers

Every now and then, I find myself sharing the stage with my counterpart from Airbus. As you can imagine, we both work hard to highlight the competitive advantages of our products while “poking” at our competitor’s shortcomings. This back and forth is loved by the audience. From the stage, you’ll hear a few laughs and some groans. These sessions always offer up some great headlines for the media.

During a recent industry event in Singapore, I followed an Airbus speaker who provided an in-depth look at the single aisle market, specifically the A320ceo and the A320neo. Regarding efficiency, the Airbus storyline was simple: 1) The 737-800 and A320ceo are at parity today; 2) A320neo will see a 15 percent improvement; 3) 737 MAX will see less of an improvement; and 4) A320neo is therefore better than 737 MAX.

Problem is—that analysis is flawed right from the first assumption. Showing the 737-800 and A320ceo at parity doesn’t line up with our analysis of having a 6 to 7 percent advantage. So what’s going on? Sounds like another case of “seat count games”. My Airbus counterpart showed a two-class seating chart of a 737-800 with 157 seats and an A320ceo with 150—a seven seat advantage for Boeing. We actually show the 737-800 with a 12 seat advantage.

For an unbiased analysis, I turned to seatguru.com — the site that shows seating charts for just about any airplane still in service. Using a few examples from airlines that operate both aircraft, the seatguru stats back up our numbers.

United

737-800: 160 seats

A320ceo: 144 seats

16 seat advantage

Delta

737-800: 160 seats

A320ceo: 148 seats

12 seat advantage

Turkish Airlines

737-800: 155 (4-abreast business class)

A320ceo: 143 (with 5-abreast “alize” class)

12 seat advantage

airberlin (one class)

737-800: 186

A320ceo: 174

12 seat advantage

Air China

737-800: 167 seats (4 lavatories)

A320ceo: 158 seats (3 lavatories)

9 seat advantage

When you factor in the true seat count, we have a 3.3 percent fuel efficiency advantage.

My guess is that the Airbus analysis also does not reflect the latest improvements we’ve made to the NG including carbon brakes and the Performance Improvement Package (PIP) which we rolled out last year. But, this is clearly a better question for them.

Combining the seat count issue with all our latest improvements gets you to a 6 to 7 percent difference. So, if the aircraft are not at parity today, what does that say about the rest of the story? It’s always fun to have spirited debate with our competitors. But in this case, the numbers really do speak for themselves. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Window in the skies

The 787 Dream Tour wrapped up its sixth leg this week. While we’ve been able to show you plenty of great photos of the airplane itself, I thought you’d like to see a photo gallery from the inside looking out. With a big thanks to Boeing photographer Ed Turner, enjoy the view from a window in the skies.

image/photo

The White Cliffs of Dover as seen from the 787 during its UK visit.

image/photo

An incredible view over Norway.

image/photo

Arriving at Reagan National Airport in DC.

image/photo

The Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

image/photo

One of the many water salutes the 787 received— this one at DFW.

image/photo

A view from the flight deck as the 787 makes its way to toward an excited crowd during a visit with American Airlines.

image/photo

On the way home to Seattle with our famous volcanoes serving as a beautiful backdrop.

image/photo

Thanks for a great leg 6. We’ll announce leg 7 of the Dream Tour soon!

Takin' care of business

ST. LOUIS — I’m here in St. Louis for the annual Boeing investor conference. The 787 paid a visit here over the past couple of days as leg 6 of the Dream Tour wrapped up.

image/photo

The 787 and the F-15 share a moment during the Dream Tour’s stop in St. Louis. Ed Turner photo.

Now that we’re almost five full months into 2012, I wanted to take a closer look at how the market is fairing so far. We expected 5 percent passenger growth this year, and things certainly seem to be tracking that way. Stability is also starting to come back to the cargo market.

The airlines can take a lot of credit for this year’s success. They’ve been managing their business very well, especially since we’ve seen a lot of risk and uncertainty in the market as well as high fuel prices. First quarter earnings for airlines have also been in line with their expectations.

The strength in the market is also reflected in our own numbers. We currently have 418 net orders for the year with almost 4,000 airplanes in our backlog. Demand continues to come from emerging and developing economies, low cost carriers and the need for replacement aircraft.

Speaking of replacement—here’s a staggering statistic. Every year over the next 20 years, we expect between 2 and 2.5 percent of the world’s fleet will need to be replaced. When you consider there are nearly 20 ,000 airplanes flying today, that becomes a really big number—a key reason we’re moving up our production rates.

It looks to be another exciting year to be in this business. And we look forward to meeting the challenges.

Wild week for the 787

This has been one whirlwind of a week for the 787. The Dream Tour airplane arrived in Washington, DC on Monday. We managed to capture some beautiful photos and video of ZA003 as it flew past the Washington Monument.

image/photo

The 787 comes in for landing in DC.

image/photo

After the airplane hosted thousands of guests in DC, the week was capped off last night at the Collier Trophy presentation dinner. The 787 received the prestigious award from the National Aeronautic Association for being the greatest aeronautic achievement in America last year. It’s an award we don’t take lightly and we’re truly honored to receive it.

image/photo

Jim Albaugh, President & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, honors the 787 team during the Collier Trophy dinner.

image/photo

Mike Sinnett (left), 787 vice president and 787 Chief Project Engineer, and Capt. Mike Carriker, the original 787 Chief Pilot, are part of the team that designed and developed the 787.

The events in DC weren’t the only big things happening with the 787 program this week. The first engine run of the first South Carolina-built 787 was completed as we draw ever closer to that airplane’s first flight in the coming days.

image/photo

The first 787 built in South Carolina during its rollout last month.

And before the Collier Trophy presentation, the 787 was honored with the 2012 Hermes Awards for Innovation Grand Prize. The Hermes Awards, given by the European Institute for Creative Strategies and Innovation, honor innovative ideas and products that help advance society. Finally, the Dreamliner was honored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics with the AIAA Foundation Award of Excellence.

Great things happen when you build great airplanes. Here’s hoping the rest of 2012 brings even greater things.

image/photo =

Open the door

Our production rate increases will be a key part to our success over the next few years. That’s why I’m always fascinated with the creative ways our employees manage to do their jobs better and faster. That’s not always easy—especially when you’re dealing with something that weighs nearly one ton.

image/photo

The 777 Freighter on the production line in Everett. Gail Hanusa photo.

The 777 Freighter’s main deck cargo door is the largest and the heaviest cargo door that Boeing installs. Back in 2009 when the first 777 Freighter was built, it took about 20 days to rig the cargo door. Now, it takes only 16 hours.

image/photo

From left to right, 777 door riggers Kiem Tran, Craig Morgan and Angelette Gambrell open the 777 Freighter’s main deck cargo door. Gail Hanusa photo.

Employees came up with a so called “smart pin” designed and patented by Boeing Tool Design. The smart pin allows mechanics to more easily rig the door, in less time and with improved quality. The team also came up with a new method that allows them to stop the moving line, stabilize the airplane, rig the door, get the necessary approvals to move forward, and return later in the process to tighten and seal the fasteners.

With a 20 percent rate increase for the 777— from seven airplanes per month to 8.3 — beginning this fall, this is just another incredible example of employee ingenuity paying off for our customers as we open the door to better ways of doing things.

Spread your wings

We’ve upped the game when it comes to the 737 MAX. Just when you thought we couldn’t further improve the airplane, along comes our new Advanced Technology winglet. While most of the buzz in the media has surrounded its eye catching shape, it’s the performance that will be the difference for our airline customers.

image/photo

The new winglet will provide airlines with an extra 1.5 percent fuel-burn improvement, depending on range. That’s on top of the 10-12 percent improvement we’re already promising. While our original focus on the MAX centered on engine improvements, this winglet opportunity is something we just couldn’t pass up. It provides our customers a substantial fuel savings with minimum risk to the MAX program on our end. To put this in real numbers, if an airline were to utilize a 737 MAX at the high-end of the range for a year, this would equate to a savings of $160,000 dollars per airplane. For a customer with 100 MAXs in their fleet, well you can do the math, this is huge!

image/photo

As for the winglet itself, it will be built out of composite and metallic leading edge and will have similar tolerance for ‘ramp rash’ as devices used on today’s airplane. The weight of the new winglet is also similar to today’s. And when we call it the Advanced Technology winglet, we mean it. Boeing aerodynamicists used advanced computational fluid dynamics to combine rake tip technology with a dual feather winglet concept into one advanced treatment for the wings of the 737 MAX - now that’s a mouthful. The concept is more efficient than any other wingtip device in the single-aisle market because the effective wing span increase is balanced uniquely between the upper and lower parts. This moves the center of gravity of the system down minimizing weight penalty while allowing maximum aerodynamic efficiency. To see how it will work, check out this video.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the 737 MAX as it spreads its wings— with many more milestones to come.

Lufthansa, a legend and a look to the future

It’s not very often that Boeing legend Joe Sutter, the father of the 747, shows up for an event. So when he does, you know that event is something special. Such was the case today as Lufthansa became the first airline customer to fly away with the new 747-8 Intercontinental.

image/photo

What a picture! Joe Sutter, the father of the 747, poses next to Lufthansa’s new 747-8 Intercontinental. Marian Lockhart photo.

image/photo

Flyaway for Frankfurt. Gail Hanusa photo.

The airplane dazzled everyone during a delivery celebration at the Future of Flight this afternoon. Lufthansa was our launch customer for the 747-8 Intercontinental and reaching this moment was special for every Boeing employee who played a role in handing her over to our customer. We’ve been incredibly pleased with the performance of the 747-8 Freighter that’s already in the hands of several customers—and we look forward to seeing what the Intercontinental can do.

image/photo

Cutting the ribbon for the first 747-8 Intercontinental delivered to an airline customer. Gail Hanusa photo.

It wasn’t just the outside of the airplane that had people snapping photos. Lufthansa unveiled its new interior for the first time to rave reviews. Photos by Patrick Rodwell.

image/photo
image/photo

We’re proud of what the Intercontinental will bring to Lufthansa and all of our customers. I could point to the double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over the 747-400, or the greater feeling of space and comfort that passengers will enjoy. But what we’ll be most proud of is watching a customer put the airplane into service and show off what it can really do.

image/photo

The party continues Wednesday in Frankfurt when Lufthansa brings the airplane to its new home. Let the celebration continue!

 

More posts