August 2012 Archives

First in the Americas

Here’s a great way to end the week as we head into a long holiday weekend. LAN Airlines celebrated its first 787— becoming the first airline in the Americas to receive the Dreamliner. The first cities that will be served by LAN’s fleet of 787s will be Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid and Frankfurt. Enjoy the photos and have a safe weekend.

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The windows in the Future of Flight frame LAN’s 787. Gail Hanusa photo.

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The ceremonial key.

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Cutting the ribbon for the first 787 in the Americas. Marian Lockhart photo.

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Premium Business class.

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Economy class all lit up.

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The gorgeous wing on the LAN 787.

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Congratulations to LAN!

Surging ahead

The temporary surge line for the 787 is now up and running in our Everett factory. And today, I wanted to give you the first look inside.

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Employees position 787 fuselage sections into place on the temporary surge line in Everett. Gail Hanusa photo.

As some of you know, this is a final assembly line designed to help the program steadily increase its production rate from the current 3.5 airplanes per month to 10 per month by the end of 2013, as well as help facilitate the introduction of the 787-9 into the production system next year.

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The main transportation aisle in the Everett factory on moving day to the temporary surge line. Gail Hanusa photo.

The first airplane on the temporary surge line will begin final body join and then go through the remaining steps of the production process. But this line isn’t a mirror image of the original 787 production line. Instead of moving down the line in a nose-to-door configuration, airplanes will be staged in a slanted arrangement at Position 3. After completing interior installations, the airplane will move to Position 4 over on the original line. That’s because work in Position 4 can occur at a faster rate so we can accommodate airplanes from both the original line and the temporary surge line.

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Another view of the aft fuselage section making its way to the temporary surge line last week. Gail Hanusa photo.

This is yet another major sign of progress allowing us to get more and more airplanes into the hands of our customers.

Time flies

Has it really been a year? It’s hard to believe, but this weekend marks one year since the 787 was certified. I still look back on that day with tremendous admiration for all the work that went into what is essentially a small stack of papers that cleared the way for a new chapter in aviation history.

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A moment I wouldn’t have missed. The original Dreamliner made the perfect backdrop at the 787 certification ceremony in August 2011.

Certification offered us a unique vantage point. We could look back on all of the hard work that started with a small team of people in the 2001 time frame and grew to include tens of thousands of people all around the world. And at the same time, we could see the future with more certainty because we had cleared the way for deliveries and operations to begin.

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What a picture! The second 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, made a special fly-by during last year’s event.

We have other 787 anniversaries coming in the months ahead - a year since delivery and a year since the start of revenue service. While those dates will likely get more attention, certification was a turning point that will always stick in my mind. Let me be the first to say “happy anniversary” to the entire team.

Absolutely committed

The front page headline in today’s Seattle Times had some people scratching their heads. The story’s premise is that we’ve slowed down the development process for our 777X. The fact is— our timing on a 777X decision hasn’t changed one bit.

Our new president and CEO Ray Conner said it best today: “We are absolutely committed to the 777X.” He said the same thing at the Farnborough Airshow—and also made it clear that he feels the same way about the 787-10X.

Let’s talk about where things stand right now with both airplanes. We’re engaging our customers to make sure we understand their specific needs while continuing to invest both the time and the resources to make sure we bring the absolute best products to the market. The plan is to have the airplanes enter the market late this decade. When we’re confident with all the factors, we’ll act. As Ray said “my position is that when we are ready, we will go.”

In my travels across the world to meet with customers, stakeholders and media, I know there’s a huge interest in our future products. And our dedication to bring those products to the market remains just as strong today as it did before the newspaper headlines. Ray’s full message to Boeing employees is below.

While the Seattle Times reported this morning that we have slowed down the development process for the 777X, our timing on a decision to offer that airplane has not changed. We are absolutely committed to the 777X and continue to invest the necessary time and resources to ensure we produce a superior airplane for our customers. That’s what they expect of us.

The 787-10X product development effort continues as well. As with the 777X, we want to make sure that we respond to our customers’ business needs and that we develop a plan that is well defined and leads to success.

Boeing teams are working the many variables of a complex, integrated product development process, and we continue to work with a number of customers on their unique requirements. To that end, we’ve held formal and informal meetings with customers designed to facilitate a two-way conversation about our plans for these products. These are robust conversations which have always been part of what we do to create the best products and services for our customers.

As we’ve consistently said, when we are satisfied with the risks, costs and schedule, as well as many other important factors, we intend to present a plan for offering these wide-body airplanes to customers. The airplanes would enter the market late this decade. My position is that when we are ready, we will go.

All of these efforts are tied to a clear objective to execute on existing programs, which will enable us to invest in our future. These two concepts are tightly linked - we must execute today to be successful tomorrow. Our future depends on it.

What’s most important here is that we are aligned as one team working toward a common goal. Your hard work, commitment and enthusiasm are critical to getting us where we need to go. Thank you for everything you do to contribute to our success and our customers’ success.

Ray

Gold on the Ceiling

The installation of a new crane is giving me the chance to share some dramatic views of our 777 factory. Boeing photographer Ed Turner captured the images below as crews work to finish the new crane that will eventually lift and carry up to 40 tons of 777 parts and sections. This additional crane will be another key part in our 777 rate increase to 8.3 airplanes per month (100 airplanes per year with first delivery at the new rate set for first quarter 2013). Thanks to Ed for climbing to new heights to bring us these great pictures from the ceiling.

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Long Train Runnin'

Getting ready to go up in rate on the 777 program involves many moving parts. But here’s one you may not have thought about.

Our 777 flight decks travel about 2,000 miles by rail from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to our Everett factory. Those flight decks are packed in specially designed railcars—very large railcars—measuring 60 feet long by 12 feet, 8 inches wide. Right now, we have 16 of those railcars but need four more to handle the rate increase from 7 per month to 8.3.

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The specialized railcars for the 777 are called “deep-well” because of their unique design. (Dan Ecker photo)

The company that designed the first railcars back in 1993 has since gone out of business. But Dan Ecker, a facilities equipment engineer in Boeing’s Shared Services Group, still had the original car drawings.

“No Federal Railroad Administration or Association of American Railroads testing was required on these railcars, as we were able to build to existing drawings,” Ecker said. “We also found the original acceptance paperwork showing the case file of these railcars and when they were blessed for service.”

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Here’s what goes inside the railcars. (Dan Ecker photo)

Two of the four new cars have already been completed by Ebenezer Railcar of Buffalo, N.Y. All four new cars should be in service by this November.

This October, we start building at the new 8.3 rate on the 777 line. That airplane will be line number 1074, a 777 Freighter set for delivery in first quarter 2013. We’ll continue to track things for you—whether by train or airplane.

Africa First

Blue skies over Everett today set the stage for a delivery ceremony to remember. Ethiopian Airlines became our third customer, and the first customer in Africa, to take delivery of the 787 Dreamliner. It was incredibly appropriate that the airline decided to name their first 787 “Africa First.” Congratulations to Ethiopian Airlines and everyone on the 787 team for making this dream a reality. Enjoy the photos.

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Perfect day for a delivery ceremony.

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The ceremonial keys to Ethiopian Airlines’ first 787.

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The signing ceremony makes it official. Gail Hanusa photo.

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Ribbon cutting for “Africa First.” Gail Hanusa photo.

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Ethiopian Airlines’ first 787 will take off on its delivery flight Wednesday. This photo shows one of the airplane’s test flights last week.

Rocking the 747-8 simulator

My friends in the 747-8 program certainly know how to get me excited. Last fall, they brought in Steve Miller Band to help employees celebrate the delivery of the first 747-8 Freighter. So when they invited me to meet the lead singer of Iron Maiden during his recent visit to the 747-8 simulator, I jumped at the chance.

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Hanging out with Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. Gail Hanusa photo.

While you may know Bruce Dickinson for his music, you may not know that he's a huge aviation buff--and a huge fan of Boeing. Dickinson is a pilot with a commercial rating and recently launched an aviation services firm in the UK. He's also flown Iron Maiden in a Boeing 757 named 'Ed Force One' during their world tour.

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Bruce with 'Ed Force One' (c) 2011 John McMurtrie. Iron Maiden LLP

Bruce has visited us before, and we love him for his aviation passion. But the 747 program also loves him for the fact that he shares his name with the 747-8 vice president and chief program engineer -- a Bruce Dickinson of our own (all these Bruces remind me of the great SNL skit). Since our engineer Bruce always wanted to meet his singer namesake-- and since the singer Bruce always enjoys talking about airplanes-- we brought the two together.

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Getting ready to fly the 747-8 simulator. Gail Hanusa photo.

The two Bruce Dickinsons met up at our 747-8 simulator just outside Seattle and quickly learned they have a lot in common. They're both pilots--and Boeing's Bruce Dickinson even plays the drums.

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The two Bruce Dickinsons inside the 747-8 simulator. Gail Hanusa photo.

Seated in the pilot's chair, the Iron Maiden star was more than comfortable as he flew the 747-8 flight simulator.

"I think it is a sensational airplane. It's truly the Queen of the Skies," said the Iron Maiden singer.

747-8 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein sat next to Dickinson in the flight deck.

"Bruce was right at home in the left seat of the 747-8," said Feuerstein.

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Iron Maiden's lead singer with 747-8 chief pilot Mark Feuerstein. Gail Hanusa photo.

"The thing about aviation that I love, like music, is that it's about the people," said Dickinson. "The airplanes are wonderful but they're built by people, designed by people, flown by people."

Thanks to Bruce and Bruce for a fun afternoon that I'll always remember. We've also captured this special visit in the YouTube video below.

 

All down the line

Anyone who has been inside our 737 factory in Renton is always impressed at how quickly the airplanes roll down the line. Demand from our customers is the reason we’re increasing our rates to get those airplanes into their hands.

Case in point— Lion Air from Indonesia. Today, the airline took delivery of its 70th Next-Generation 737. The 737-900ER features a special livery commemorating the milestone.

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A special livery for Lion Air. Photo by Jessica Oyanagi.

Tomorrow, Lion Air will take delivery of its 71st Next-Generation 737. It shows the amazing growth the airline is experiencing as it flies more passengers at lower costs. You may remember that back in February, Lion ordered 29 737s and 201 737 MAXs worth $22.4 billion at list prices, making it the largest commercial airplane order in Boeing’s history. They’ve also ordered five 787s for its newly launched premium carrier Batik Air.

Congratulations to Lion for today’s milestone—and thanks for keeping all of us very busy here at Boeing.

Delhi Debut

Even though I'm on vacation this week, I couldn't pass up the chance to share some beautiful images of the 747-8 Intercontinental and to congratulate our customer Lufthansa. Yesterday, the airline launched 747-8 service from Frankfurt to Delhi. This is Lufthansa's second global destination with the Intercontinental. The airplane received a water cannon salute upon arrival in Delhi and looked gorgeous even under the cover of darkness. Enjoy the photo from Lufthansa and the video from the folks at Delhi Airport.

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The 747-8 Intercontinental lands in Delhi. Photo from Lufthansa.

 

700 and counting

Now that we’re more than halfway through 2012, I thought it would be a good time to look at where things stand. This week, our total net orders for the year hit 700. It’s a great spot for us to be in as we continue our push to turn 737 MAX commitments into orders.

Just today, SilkAir committed to buy 31 737 MAXs and 23 Next-Generation 737-800s. The airline is the regional wing of Singapore Airlines. When it becomes official, the order will be the largest in SilkAir’s history.

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A 737 MAX in SilkAir livery.

In a news release, SilkAir Chief Executive Marvin Tan said the new airplanes will help maintain the airline’s annual double-digit percentage growth rates through the end of this decade and beyond.

“The selection of the B737 follows detailed evaluations and extensive negotiations with both Airbus and Boeing. The order will enable us to maintain a young and modern fleet, with an aircraft that has a proven track record of strong customer appeal, excellent reliability and low operating costs.”

We thank SilkAir for their confidence in our products and look forward to partnering with them as they grow their fleet for the future.

"Worth the wait"

It was a party-like atmosphere in Everett today as United officially unveiled its new 787 to employees and the media. United’s Senior Vice President for Sales Dave Hilfman summed it up best— “The 787 was worth the wait.”

United even invited one of its very frequent fliers to the event. Dave Dawe told the crowd “I’ll travel thousands of miles out of my way to get on the Dreamliner.”

I want to share some photos from today’s event— including a surprise appearance by the Dreamlifter— and once again congratulate our long-time partner United on a day that made us all proud.

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Starting off the big celebration. Gail Hanusa photo.

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A United family photo — employees and retirees celebrate their Dreamliner.

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United flight attendants pose in front of the 787.

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The Dreamlifter makes a surprise appearance during United’s event. Gail Hanusa photo.

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United frequent flier Dave Dawe talks up the 787. Gail Hanusa photo.

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BusinessFirst in United’s 787.

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Economy Plus.

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Looking forward to delivery set for September!

Heart of Gold

As the Olympics roll on in London, I’m happy to report that Boeing is taking home some gold, silver and bronze of its own. For the fifth year in a row, the 777 has won the Gold Award for the Best Aircraft in Executive Travel magazine’s annual readers’ poll.

The 747 took second place with the Silver Award. And for the first time, the 787 Dreamliner made the list by winning the Bronze Award.

The clean sweep for Boeing airplanes is especially sweet since these awards are voted on by the traveling public. We spend a lot of time and attention to make sure the flying experience is as comfortable and satisfying as possible. It’s good to know the people who fly the most say we’re getting it right.

Congratulations to our 777, 747 and 787 teams for making the best airplanes for our customers—and everyone who loves to travel.

 

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