October 2012 Archives

Riders on the storm

I’m often asked “just how tough is the 787’s composite skin?” The answer is “very tough.” And here’s proof.

One of our customers recently had a lightning strike that was so intense—it probably would have punched through an aluminum airplane and required a bolted-on repair. But the damage on the 787 was just a small square on the outer layer that was quickly patched with nothing more than speed tape before it was later repaired. That’s exactly the way we designed the airplane to react to a lightning strike.

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Our employees in Everett and South Carolina recently streamlined the testing involved with our lightning protection system. To test the system, teams now use special suitcases outfitted with sophisticated test equipment to measure electrical bonding. The automated test equipment replaces manual testing operations. With the new system, employees hook up equipment to an electrical path on the airplane and the test validates whether the joint or connection can successfully carry the current that results from a lightning strike.

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787 mechanic Howard Bailey (center), hooks up test equipment to check electrical bonding on the Dreamliner in Everett. He’s flanked here by Jillian Cross (left), project manager, and Bryan Durr, Production Test Manufacturing Engineering manager. (Gail Hanusa photo)

Testing is performed on every 787 prior to flight to ensure all protection components are installed in accordance with type design. The Dreamliner’s design ensures that currents are safely carried away from the airplane during a storm so they don’t impact the structure or the systems. This new automated testing significantly cuts down on the previous manual testing and will play a key role as we continue to ramp up production on the 787.

The voyage together

Normally this journal is an opportunity for me to share my thoughts with you. But to mark the anniversary of the start of 787 revenue service one year ago today (Tokyo to Hong Kong), we received a letter from Shinichiro Ito, president and CEO of ANA, that really says it all. Here’s some of what he told us:

“As I said at the launch event last year, I believe that a true partnership will flourish only through enduring difficult times and overcoming obstacles—and doing so together.

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ANA president and CEO Shinichiro Ito with the ceremonial key to his first 787.

You and I, Boeing and ANA, have achieved this kind of partnership despite the fact that we come from different cultures and speak different languages. We have successfully forged a bond through our passion of flying, our ability to inspire creativity in one another, and our desire to produce excellence.

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The first Dreamliner revenue flight, ANA Flight 7871, takes off from Tokyo on its way to Hong Kong on October 26, 2011.

We are truly proud of all that we have accomplished together, and move forward confidently as we embark on a journey to establish ourselves as a global entity.

For this Team Boeing, we can’t thank you enough.

Our voyage together has just started. We will inevitably experience turbulences and some stormy weather. That’s just the nature of the game, though.

Working together, we are ready to fill the skies with this superb aircraft.”

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A large crowd gathered at Tokyo-Narita International Airport to cheer ANA’s 787 first ever revenue flight in October 2011.

Speaking for the entire Boeing team, Ito-san, we feel the same way and gladly pledge our ongoing support and more importantly— friendship— to you and all the men and women of ANA. Congratulations on flying our dream.

The third quarter

Strong performance is once again paying off. Boeing’s third-quarter earnings have again beaten the street, with net income of $1.0 billion, or $1.35 per share, on continued strong core performance and revenue of $20.0 billion. On the commercial side, we booked 369 net orders and delivered 149 airplanes during the quarter. Our backlog of approximately 4,100 airplanes is valued at $307 billion. Our delivery guidance for the year is for 585 to 600 airplanes, including an expected 70 to 85 787 and 747-8 deliveries, of which approximately half are 787 deliveries.

As we head down the home stretch of 2012, it’s important that we stay focused on executing our rate increases and delivering on our promises to customers. That commitment was very clear from every one of our programs during the third-quarter, as evidenced by the list of accomplishments below— in photos and video.

737

The 737 became the first commercial jet to surpass 10,000 orders with the United Airlines order of 100 MAX 9s and 50 Next Generation 737-900ERs. The 737-900ER also surpassed 500 total orders during the quarter. Virgin Australia ordered 23 737 MAXs, Air Lease Corp. became the first leasing company to order the MAX, and Avolon finalized an order for 10 MAX 8s, five MAX 9s and 10 737-800s. We also announced confirmed that the MAX will fly farther and offer more revenue potential than its predecessor and future competition.

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Employees in Renton celebrate the 10,000th order for the 737.

747

Nippon Cargo Airlines became the first Japanese carrier to take delivery of the 747-8 Freighter. Korean Air’s 747-8 Freighter performed a spectacular flyover at the Boeing Classic golf tournament - a first for a 747-8. Air China firmed up an order for five 747-8 Intercontinentals and Lufthansa launched a new India route, from Frankfurt to Bangalore, served by the 747-8I. By the end of third quarter, the 747-8 fleet had logged 50,000-plus fleet hours serving 80 airports around the world.

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The 747-8 Freighter for Korean Air performs a flyover at the Boeing Classic.

767

LAN took delivery of the first four 767s of the 13 it ordered. The first KC-46 Tanker System Integration Lab opened three weeks early at Boeing Field to support testing during development of the U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tanker.

777

Ethiopian Airlines became the first African carrier to operate the 777 Freighter. The program hired and trained hundreds of new employees to prepare for the increased rate production of 8.3 per month. To accommodate the rate increases, four specially designed rail cars were added to 16-car fleet to carry flight decks from Wichita to Everett.

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Adding more rail cars to help boost 777 production.

787

The Dreamliner makes history with several deliveries: LAN (first in the Americas), Ethiopian (first in Africa) and United (first in North America). Deliveries began from Boeing South Carolina’s delivery center as Air India took its first two 787s assembled in Everett. ANA ordered 11 787-9s, raising its total Dreamliner orders to 66. The first 787 assemblies were loaded onto the Temporary Surge Line in Everett to support higher production rates. Major assembly began on the 787-9.

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The 787-9 is the second member of the 787 family.

Commercial Aviation Services

Norwegian Air Shuttle became the largest Boeing landing gear exchange customer. Boeing forecasted a $2.4 trillion commercial aviation services market over next two decades with the need for a million new pilots and technicians by 2031. TUI Travel PLC signed a long-term flight training agreement for 787s and Qantas launched a new onboard performance solution for the iPad.

Higher ground

When you look at the size of a 777, it’s almost hard to believe that our team in Everett can build seven of them in a single month. So imagine going even higher! A lot of planning went into another great feat today— as we started building the first 777 at the increased rate of 8.3 airplanes per month (100 per year). The first part, the lower lobe of the aft fuselage, was loaded into position this morning.

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Flex-track drilling machines will help the program go up to the 8.3 rate. Bob Ferguson photo.

Thanks to people power and new technologies, we’re increasing our 777 production rate to the highest ever for a Boeing twin-aisle airplane. We’ve hired and trained hundreds of new employees to reach this production level. We’ve also incoporated automated spray-painting equipment and flex-track drilling machines to improve quality and safety.

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Bob Ferguson photo.

With more than 300 777s in our backlog, the rate hike is necessary to make sure we get this wildly popular airplane into the hands of our customers as soon as possible.

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This new crane will lift and carry up to 40 tons of 777 parts and sections. Ed Turner photo.

The first airplane at the new rate, a 777 Freighter, will be delivered to Korean Air. It’s the second piece of great news the 777 program has received this week. Yesterday, Turkish Airlines announced a commitment to order 15 777-300ERs. I know the entire team looks forward to staying busy for many years to come. Enjoy the video below that takes a closer look at how 777 employees play a key role in our rate hike.

First flight for LOT's first 787

I always enjoy sharing photos and video of our customer milestones. So here’s a look at the first flight of LOT’s first 787. The airplane’s livery looked beautiful during the flight out of Everett last week. LOT Polish Airlines will be the first European carrier to operate the Dreamliner and is scheduled to take delivery of their first airplane next month. We can’t wait to celebrate with them. We’ve added video to the end of this post.

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Stand and deliver

Just seven months after breaking ground, Boeing’s new Everett Delivery Center is quickly taking shape. The new 180,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art delivery center will focus on the airline customer experience. It’s set to open in first quarter of 2013. Enjoy the photos below showing the future home of where we’ll stand and deliver our 747s, 767s, 777s and 787s. (All photos by Gail Hanusa).

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Class of its own

It’s not very often that you can celebrate the anniversary of a new airplane’s first delivery and entry into service on the same day. But that’s exactly what the 747 program is doing today. One year ago, we delivered the first 747-8 Freighter to Cargolux. Later that same day, Cargolux flew the airplane to Sea-Tac Airport and immediately put it into service with a full load of cargo.

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Cargolux Interim President and CEO Richard Forson said it best: “I am happy to say that the 747-8 freighter is proving its worth…I believe this aircraft is in a class of its own and will continue to play a pivotal role in the air freight industry for decades to come.”

Since October 12, 2011, we’ve seen many milestones. The Freighter is now being flown with six more liveries— and continues to meet or exceed expectations in service reliability, fuel burn, and payload capacity. We’ve delivered 30 747-8 airplanes to date, including 23 Freighters and 7 Intercontinentals. The airplanes have served more than 80 airports around the world.

Congratulations to the 747-8 team for an anniversary we can all be proud of. Here’s a photo gallery showing the rest of the Freighter fleet.

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"Proudly All Boeing"

It’s always great when we get to team up with Seattle’s hometown airline. And today, we made some history in the process. We’re thrilled that Alaska Airlines placed an order for 50 of our 737s, including 20 MAX 8s, 17 MAX 9s, and 13 737-900ERs. The $5 billion list price order is the largest in Alaska’s history.

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The 737 MAX and 737-900ER in Alaska livery.

The Next-Generation 737 and now the MAX will allow Alaska to dramatically expand the reach of their network, opening new markets profitably. What makes this order even more special for us is that Alaska will continue to be “proudly all Boeing” for many years to come.

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With today’s announcement, total orders for the 737 MAX now stand at 858. I’ve been calling 2012 “The Year of the MAX” well before the year even started—and it definitely seems to be shaping up that way.

I thought you’d enjoy the pictures and video below showing how Alaska surprised its employees with the big news.

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Alaska employees gather for a special meeting to learn about the big order.

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A piece of Alaska history hauling a logo of the “Salmon Thirty Salmon”.

Good Times

It was only fitting that I returned home today from a week-long business trip to Japan on board one of ANA’s 787s. While I’ve flown on the Dreamliner several times during the recent Dream Tour, this was the first time I had the pleasure of taking a ride on the airplane in commercial service. The flight was just as I expected — a beautiful airplane inside and out with fantastic service from ANA.

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A beautiful wing. On my way home from Japan on board one of ANA’s 787s.

It’s no secret that thanks to ANA and JAL, Japan is the single biggest customer for the 787. I spent the past week in Japan meeting with the media and some of the key players in our success in this country. From our customers to our suppliers, Japan plays an incredibly important role for Boeing.

If you look out over the next 20 years, we’re forecasting that Japan and Northeast Asia will need 1,270 new airplanes valued at $220 billion. Half of that will be for growth. With the recent expansion at both Haneda and Narita airports, the upcoming deliveries of 787s and expansion of low cost carriers, we expect some good times ahead.

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Presenting the Current Market Outlook in Tokyo.

If you look short term, the outlook in Japan is just as impressive. A total of 111 787s have been ordered by Japanese carriers - 18 are already in service with over 40 flights per day. New Dreamliner routes out of Japan serving Singapore, San Diego, San Jose and Helsinki are on the way. A huge thanks to all of our friends in Japan for continuing to push the envelope—and for helping us do the same. I’ll leave you with a couple photos from my time there.

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A memorable dinner in Tokyo.

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The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu).

Signed, sealed, delivered

I thought I’d end the week with some beautiful pictures from a history making day at Boeing South Carolina. Today, the first 787 built at our North Charleston factory was officially delivered to Air India.

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Marking a milestone in South Carolina.

The delivery comes within three years of breaking ground in South Carolina and serves as an incredible source of pride for every employee there. One North Charleston employee said it best: “I get chills when I think how big an impact Boeing has had on the local community. And here I am, right in the middle of it, seeing history being made every day.”

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Cutting the ribbon. Left to right: Capt. Amitabh Singh, Air India Pilot; Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; K. M. Unni, Air India Board Member; Jack Jones, vice president and general manager, Boeing South Carolina.

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Today’s delivery also brings us to a total of 28 Dreamliners delivered to customers around the world. Congratulations to the team in South Carolina for their very first 787 to be signed, sealed and delivered.

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Leasing to the MAX

This morning we announced that GECAS finalized an order for 75 of our 737 MAX 8s. The order continues the momentum the 737 MAX has established in the leasing industry. Since the Farnborough Airshow, leading lessors like ALC, Avolon and now GECAS all have finalized orders for the MAX— helping reinforce the importance of this airplane in the leasing industry.

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The 737 MAX in GECAS livery.

The leasing industry has been an early adopter for the MAX. The airplane represents several value propositions that make it attractive. The single-source engine offers commonality among the MAX fleet making it easier for lessors to shift the airplane between operators. The MAX will also retain similar maintenance and operation as the Next-Generation 737, building on the already historical high lease rate advantage of the 737 family. Additionally, the 737 MAX’s fuel efficiency provides more value in higher lease rates.

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Combine all that with the huge market demand for more than 23,000 single-aisle airplanes over the next 20 years, and it’s no surprise that leasing companies are lining up for an early delivery position for this new airplane.

Fun with numbers

What’s in a number? When that number involves something at our Renton factory, the answer is quite a lot.

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The number 4238 on the 737 fuselage pictured above is significant because it will eventually become the 7370th 737 built in Renton. The number is almost mind boggling. In fact, it was just 10 months ago that we were talking about the 7000th 737 being delivered.

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Congrats to everyone in Renton for reaching the very fitting 7370 mark.

Double vision

I obviously see a lot of Boeing airplanes while on business travel. But I wasn’t expecting to have double vision during a visit to Wichita last week.

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Two Dreamlifters in Wichita.

I managed to snap a photo of not one, but two Dreamlifters on the ground in Wichita. I was there to visit our partners at Spirit, which produces the fuselage, pylons, and moveable and fixed leading edge for the 787. It just goes to show you that our fleet of four Dreamlifters is always on the move— sometimes ending up in the same place at the same time.

 

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