June 2012 Archives

Vote of confidence

Whenever someone asks me how long we’ll keep building 767s, my answer is always the same. As long as customers keep ordering them. And thanks to customers like FedEx Express, the orders keep coming in.

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A 767 Freighter in FedEx Express livery.

Today, FedEx announced an order for more 767 Freighters. It reinforces just how valued the 767’s capabilities are today and in the future. The 767 Freighters will provide similar capacity as FedEx’s current MD10s— with a 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency and a minimum of a 20 percent reduction in unit operating costs.

Congratulations to FedEx and to our 767 team in Everett.

Flying at Farnborough

Earlier today, we officially announced that a 787 Dreamliner—decked out in Qatar Airways livery—will travel to the Farnborough Airshow. It won’t just be on static display. This airplane will take part in flying demonstrations on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the show.

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The 787 for Qatar that will fly at Farnborough.

While Boeing hasn’t taken part in flying displays at air shows in quite a while, this opportunity at Farnborough allows as many people as possible to experience the gracefulness of the 787. The airplane will arrive in Farnborough on July 5. The following day, it will do a validation flight in advance of the air show.

Boeing Captains Mike Bryan and Randy Neville will fly the demonstration flights around 4pm each day that will last approximately 7 minutes—showing performance takeoff, the visual appeal of the airplane, and its quiet performance aspects.

In addition to Qatar’s 787, Korean Air will bring their 737-900ER with Boeing Sky Interior to Farnborough. It’s a great chance for us to show off the new interior that more and more customers are opting for—and will come standard in the new 737 MAX.

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Korean Air’s 737-900ER sports the new Boeing Sky Interior.

Before heading to the air show myself, I’ll be in London next Tuesday to unveil our 2012 Current Market Outlook—our 20 year forecast for the aviation market. I look forward to sharing details of that with you next week.

Change at the top

The news that Ray Conner will be taking over for the retiring Jim Albaugh as President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes has me taking a trip down memory lane.

I remember very clearly the day Jim took the reins of BCA after leading the defense side of Boeing. He didn’t skip a beat despite moving into a totally different environment—impressing everyone by the way he pushed our business forward. Jim spoke of three key things he wanted to accomplish at BCA: winning the tanker contract, delivering on our 747-8 and 787 development programs, and coming to a long-term agreement with the IAM. He managed to do all three—and we find ourselves in a much better place because of him. Congratulations Jim and thank you!

I first met Ray Conner way back in the early 90’s when he was the new sales director in charge of the Thai Airways account. In those days, I was an economics analyst supporting a 777-300 campaign for Thai. Even then, his passion for our customers was clear. His people skills played a key part in negotiating that contact extension with the IAM—one of Jim Albaugh’s goals. If there’s someone who bleeds “Boeing blue”—it is Ray. His passion for what he does will only make us better—and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of us.

Qatar's First Dreamliner

I always enjoy pointing out important Boeing milestones. And when that milestone also involves a customer, it makes it even more special. That’s why I’m thrilled to show off photos from today’s first flight of Qatar Airways’ first 787 Dreamliner. A beautiful airplane with a beautiful livery. Congratulations to Qatar. Enjoy the photos— and my thanks as usual to Boeing photographer Ed Turner.

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We are family

Talk about a family affair! Boeing hosted a Hollywood-like affair earlier this week for descendants and close relatives of America’s visionary aviation leaders. Held in Washington, D.C., the gala evening was the first time “the first families of aviation” were ever gathered together in one place with names such as Boeing, Douglas, McDonnell, Kindelberger and Wright.

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Guests gather at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. to view the documentary. A large screen overhead highlights key achievements in aviation history and banners commemorating each “founding family of aviation” donned the facility.

It was all to celebrate the premiere of an acclaimed PBS documentary series written and directed by William Winship and called “Pioneers in Aviation: The Race to the Moon.” A previous version of the Emmy-nominated series was recognized as being the definitive treatment of the rise of aviation in America. The all-new version, soon to air on more than 275 public television stations in the United States, is being released in high definition and includes unseen footage found in archives.

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William Winship, writer and director of Pioneers in Aviation, speaks to the crowd.

The film spans the first flight of the Wright Brothers and the development of biplanes to the emergence of jets and the conquest of space. And the film served as the platform for gathering together the legendary aviation families who accomplished such feats. An evening to be remembered, for sure. In addition to the photos, we’ve also posted a video from this special night.

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Descendants of Orville and Wilber Wright, William Boeing, James Kindelberger, James McDonnell, and Donald Douglas gathered for the first time. Among them were (all on front row) James and Malcolm Douglas (first and second from the left), Gretchen Boeing-Davidson (fifth from the left), Amanda Wright-Lane (seventh from the left), James Kindelberger Graham (eight from the left), and John McDonnell (11th from the left).

Latin flavor

SAO PAULO — I’m posting this journal entry from Brazil as we continue to take the 737 MAX message around the world. And even though we’re talking MAX on this trip, I wanted to start with a great photo shoot I did with a 747-8 Intercontinental model. The beautiful city of Sao Paulo made the perfect backdrop for our beautiful airplane.

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Posing with a 747-8 on a helipad in Sao Paulo.

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Don’t worry— I wouldn’t dare toss this beauty.

Back to the MAX, Latin America really underscores the potential for this airplane. The dynamics of this market have changed dramatically with about 80 percent of demand over the next two decades coming in the single-aisle segment. Today in alone, almost half of the capacity is provided by low cost carriers. That’s why we expect the 737 MAX to be a huge player here.

I’ll leave you with a photo from one of my favorite restaurants in Sao Paulo — the ever popular Fogo de Chao where I never leave hungry!

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The guys at Fogo de Chao never let me down.

Dream Weaver

While we’ve touted the 787 Dreamliner as being 20 percent more fuel efficient than other airplanes its size, we always knew the proof would be in the actual performance. Thanks to our launch customer ANA, we now have the numbers to back us up.

The airline just released stats showing their 787s have saved them 21 percent in fuel per flight compared to a 767. To put it in other terms, the savings equates to the fuel used for their Tokyo to Frankfurt route over an entire month. That’s huge to the airline’s bottom line.

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But we’re not just beating our customer’s expectations. We’re also exceeding passenger expectations. A survey of nearly 800 ANA passengers flying long-haul on the Dreamliner between Tokyo and Frankfurt yielded the following results:

• Nine out of 10 passengers said their overall experience met or exceeded expectations

• Four out of five said the higher humidity levels met or exceeded expectations

• 92 percent said cabin ambience was as good as or better than they expected

• Air quality and cabin pressure met or exceeded expectations for nine out of 10

• Cabin lighting exceeded expectations for 90 percent of passengers

• Smoothness of the flight was as good as or better than expected for 87 percent

And if you needed more proof that the 787 is one of the most highly anticipated airplanes in aviation history, keep in mind that the survey also found four out of 10 passengers chose their flight simply because they wanted to fly on the Dreamliner.

As the 787 Dream Tour came to a close last week, one thing was for certain. The reaction the airplane received at every stop around the world was overwhelming. We can’t wait to see how our other customers and their passengers feel about the airplane.

Trading spaces

From the cool picture file, here’s a nugget I wanted to share. We recently moved our 777 service-ready wing area so it could be closer to the wing-to-body join. Since each 777 wing is 106 feet long (eight feet longer than a basketball court) and the new space is a little smaller, it took some creativity to make it work.

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The 777 service-ready wing feeder line is located next to wing-to-body join area — the next step in the manufacturing process. Photos by Gail Hanusa.

The service-ready wing area is where mechanics install slats, flap supports, hydraulics and the fuel cell system to the wings just prior to attaching the wings to the fuselage. Four employee involvement teams not only came up with ways to make the smaller space work—but also helped create two tools that lift the slat and flaps into position so they can be more easily installed onto the airplane.

All of this work comes as the 777 continues to be in high demand as we get ready to move up in rate to 8.3 airplanes per month. Hope you enjoy the latest look inside our 777 factory.

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New photo from our 777 factory in Everett.

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Another look at the 777 line.

Green-Eyed Lady

I always enjoy using this blog to take you behind the scenes. And today, something pretty exciting happened at our Renton factory that I wanted to share. The fuselage for what will be our very first ecoDemonstrator airplane moved into the factory.

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Waiting to move into our Renton factory.

This 737-800 for American Airlines will be a flying testbed for environmentally progressive technologies in order to accelerate the use of this technology on future airplanes.

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The ecoDemonstrator fuselage inside the 737 factory.

The airplane will feature adaptable trailing edge technology to cut down on noise and emissions during the entire flight. Its variable area fan nozzle will reduce community noise, while flight trajectory optimization allows crews to determine more fuel-efficient routes. The airplane will also feature regenerative fuel cells for onboard power to potentially reduce weight, fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

We look forward to seeing how this airplane performs and want to thank American Airlines for helping us take yet another dramatic step forward in minimizing our impact on the environment. While this airplane may not have green eyes, she’ll certainly look beautiful in the sky.

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On the road again

Unless I look out the window, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what city I’m in. Such was the case last week when I took part in the Australia stop of the Dream Tour—and then headed straight to Europe for a 737 MAX road show.

I flew out of Melbourne en route to London (via Singapore) and landed around 5am. Less than five hours later, I was giving a MAX briefing to the London media. Let’s just say a hot shower can do wonders.

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London was all decked out during my visit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

This is the third time I’ve had the chance to update media and stakeholders in a specific region about the 737 MAX. This trip focused on the European market with stops in London, Paris and Frankfurt. Europe is the one of the top three markets for single-aisle airplanes with roughly half the demand coming from the need for more fuel-efficient replacement aircraft. And that’s exactly what the MAX will give our customers.

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My 737 MAX briefing in Paris.

Our timing in Europe was a great opportunity to set the record straight about what our airplane will bring to the market following our competitor’s media briefings in Toulouse earlier in the month. Media had lots of great questions about how our product stacks up against the competition and how we can claim to offer more value in the market. I encouraged them not just take our word for it, but to ask appraisers, financiers and leasing companies which airplane they value more in the market today. They’ll find that the 737 has higher lease rates, higher “fair market” values and higher residual values. The 737 MAX will build on this value and maintain our 8 percent per-seat operating cost advantage in the market place. In addition, I made a point to talk about market parity. When it comes to orders for the MAX, we’re on the right trajectory to catch up with orders for the A320 neo.

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I spotted one of ANA’s 787s at the Frankfurt airport.

Speaking of the market, our team is putting the final touches on our new Current Market Outlook that will be unveiled just before the Farnborough Air Show next month. I look forward to sharing that with you down the road. I’ll leave you with a look at one of the incredible meals I had on this European trip— roast pork knuckle and potato pancakes in Frankfurt.

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"Exceptional" week for the 747-8

Today marked the beginning of a new era for the Queen of the Skies and also ended what has been one incredible week for the 747-8 program. Earlier today, Lufthansa’s 747-8 Intercontinental touched down at Dulles Airport in DC after its inaugural flight from Frankfurt. Elizabeth Lund, vice president and general manager of the 747-8 program, was on board to celebrate the very first revenue flight of the Intercontinental.

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The airplane gets a water salute as it prepares to leave Frankfurt.

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Lufthansa’s first revenue flight with the 747-8 Intercontinental leaves Frankfurt.

While this was a huge moment for Boeing, it was also a special day for Lufthansa. This airplane, which Lufthansa’s CEO Dr. Christoph Franz called “exceptional”, will initially provide service between Frankfurt and DC six days a week. The airline, which ordered 20 Intercontinentals, plans to expand 747-8 service to other U.S. cities in the coming months.

Earlier this week, the 747-8 program reached another significant milestone by delivering its 20th airplane. We also helped make a little history in the process. The airplane, a 747-8 Freighter, was delivered to Atlas Air—who will operate it on behalf of Swiss-based freight operator Panalpina. It marks the first time in Panalpina’s history that an airplane, dubbed the “Spirit of Panaplina”, has been painted in the company’s livery. With yesterday’s delivery, we’ve now delivered 16 747-8 Freighters, three Intercontinentals to VIP customers and one Intercontinental to Lufthansa.

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The 20th 747-8 to be delivered.

Also this week, the 747-8 program officially moved up in production rate—going to two airplanes per month. If you’ve had the chance to tour our 747 factory in Everett, you’ll know building this airplane is no easy task. That’s why this rate increase is such an accomplishment.

Congratulations to our entire 747-8 team for all of this week’s accomplishments. I’m sure our friend Joe Sutter is all smiles.

 

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