December 2012 Archives

Signing off for 2012

This is the last day before the annual Boeing holiday break, so I wanted to say a huge thanks to all of you for reading this blog during 2012. And my, what a year it has been.

It started with the 787 Dream Tour—and ended with a flurry of deliveries that was truly remarkable. Yesterday, the 787 program set a new record by delivering 7 airplanes in less than 24 hours. That included deliveries to United, ANA, JAL, LOT, Air India (from Boeing South Carolina) and two 787s to Qatar.

Obviously, it was a big year for Boeing in terms of both orders and deliveries. Final totals will be released in January. We couldn’t have had this success without our employees, partners and customers. Thanks to all of you.

As I head off to spend some quality time with my family, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite photos from 2012. Here’s wishing you the best in the New Year, and I’ll see you right back here in January.

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A little creative marketing during the Dream Tour stop in the UK.

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The Dream Tour wows the crowd in Manchester.

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

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Qatar’s 787 makes doing a spectacular “touch and go” at the Farnborough Airshow.

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“Mind your head.” Low ceilings in a pub near the Farnborough Airshow.

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It’s hard to spot me—but I had the pleasure of joining the Renton team to celebrate the 10,000th 737 order.

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Hanging out with Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson during his visit to the 747-8 simulator.

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I had to end with a food pic! This is me enjoying spicy prawns in Hong Kong.

MAX right on track

Just a few weeks after announcing that the 737 MAX reached “Firm Concept,” the program has released the first design drawing on the program of the thrust reverser actuation system, or TRAS.

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Here’s a brand new image of the 737 MAX. While you can’t see the TRAS, this does show the cowling where the thrust reverser is stowed.

As a key part of the propulsion system, the TRAS opens up the nacelle when applying reverse thrust and, when the pilot is finished, stows back into place. The plan is to keep the TRAS design on the MAX mostly common with the Next-Generation 737.

The bulk of design releases will happen after the program begins the official design phase in mid-2013. But by finalizing the propulsion system first, the program stays on schedule. That’s good news for us—and our customers.

Travelin' band

Here’s a trivia question for you. What’s the only airplane that doesn’t roll out the south doors of our Everett factory? The answer is— the 767.

You may remember that back in January 2011, the 767 line moved to a smaller, more efficient factory on the north side of the building to make way for the 787 temporary surge line.

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Crews prepare airplane No. 1044 to leave the 767 factory in Everett.

Since the move to its new home, moving a 767 to the flight line has become a tightly choreographed dance. Once the tool and door stands are removed, the airplane’s struts are inflated with nitrogen to lift the airplane. Then a tug is connected to the airplane with a tow bar before being moved along the back of the factory and finally to the flight line.

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767 No. 1044 is towed carefully out the north door of the Everett factory. The 767 is the only airplane that exits from that side of the Everett complex.

Speaking of rollouts, the 767 program accomplished one of its main goals this year when Line Number 1044 came out of the factory a few days ago. The team wanted to cut down on the number of unfinished jobs, or “travelers” (jobs that travel with the airplane) left to be completed once the airplanes leave the factory.

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Line Number 1044 heads out to the flight line with the fewest active jobs remaining of any 767 to date.

With Line 1044, only five jobs were still open. Getting those travelers into the single digits cuts down on both time and expense. The program credits its employee involvement teams for driving this efficiency. Congrats to the 767 team on another great year!

My favorite things

Our airplanes have been doing a lot of fun things recently, while bringing a lot of joy to everyone who flies. In keeping with the holiday season, I wanted to share a few of my favorite things.

Cool Runnings

In what has been a year of “firsts” for Boeing, the 737 just added another “first” to its long list. A Next-Generation 737-700 BBJ flown by PrivatAir touched down at the Norwegian Polar Institute - an outpost dedicated to environmental and climate monitoring in Antarctica. The airplane was the first 737 flight to be operated to commercial standards on the southernmost continent.

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The goal of the flight from Cape Town, South Africa was to prove that a commercial airline could operate a service to Antarctica and maintain industry safety standards, while improving efficiency and minimizing environmental impact.

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The 737-700 BBJ was specially configured for polar operations, which included landing on blue ice. By the way, PrivatAir is a Geneva-based business aviation and private scheduled-service operator.

Queen of the Skies in the City of Angels

From icy weather to sunny skies— in a city full of celebrities, the 747-8 Intercontinental was the star this week as Lufthansa launched service between LAX and Frankfurt using the Queen of the Skies. The airplane received a water cannon salute as it arrived at LAX.

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Los Angeles is the second U.S. destination, and fourth in the world, for Lufthansa’s new 747-8 Intercontinentals. Lufthansa uses its other three Intercontinentals on routes between Frankfurt and Washington D.C., Delhi and Bangalore, India.

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Meanwhile, Boeing will be honored tonight by Global Traveler after its readers named the 747 the Best Aircraft for the sixth year in a row.

777 Racking Up

Speaking of awards, Business Traveler has announced its “2012 Best in Business Travel Awards.” And the winner for best aircraft type is— the 777. It’s just one of the awards the 777 has racked up this year. It was named best aircraft by Executive Travel Magazine in August (the fifth year in a row) and by Premiere Travel Magazine in November.

Dream Pass

I finally got around to trying out our new 787 Dream Pass. If you haven’t logged on yet, do yourself a favor and check out this virtual flight experience. You won’t be disappointed—but be warned you could spend hours enjoying it.

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My favorite part was the takeoff. You really get the feel for what it’s like inside the flight deck of this incredible airplane thanks to 360-degree tour.

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Six cameras were used to show off all the features of the Dreamliner—from the inside to the exterior. The footage was shot on the final leg of the Dream Tour from Portland, Oregon to Seattle—as well as inside a Boeing paint hangar.

Kudos to all the people involved for pulling off the Dream Pass!

The Glamorous Life

We always knew the 787 would be a favorite of photographers. But I’m pretty sure no one ever thought the Dreamliner would be used in a fashion shoot.

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Caras Magazine, one of the top publications in Chile, ran a fashion spread this past week with LAN’s 787 serving as the backdrop. You can see more of the photos here.

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Thanks to Caras for allowing us to share these images— and to LAN for bringing the glamorous photo shoot to our attention.

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Our other market outlook

Occasionally you see me write about aircraft financing. As an engineer by trade, it’s not an area where I spend much time. But I know that our ability to deliver products -as great as they are - is only as good as our customers’ ability to have their financing in hand at turnover time.

My colleagues at our financing and leasing unit, Boeing Capital Corporation, make sure our customers are aligned with financing for every airplane we deliver. It doesn’t hurt that they’re part of our sales team with every customer and they keep in close touch as each airplane moves through the factory to ensure dollars are in hand on delivery day.

Starting with the financial crisis that began in 2008, Boeing Capital began sharing publicly its extensive monitoring of financing conditions and related data gathered from its conversations with bankers, financiers and other sources in an annual forecast of expected aircraft financing conditions. Think of it like Boeing’s Current Market Outlook but written for a financial audience and shorter in its perspective - a year or two, as opposed to 20 years - to better fit the horizon of aircraft investors.

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From the dollar to the yen, financing plays a huge role in aviation.

Last year it predicted that our industry would find sufficient delivery financing in 2012 even as the major manufacturers were increasing production to meet what we believe is a real and stable demand. Fortunately, our predictions bore out.

What about the year ahead? According to our latest finance market outlook released this week, the global commercial aircraft builders in 2013 are expected to produce a record level of new airplanes, somewhere north of $100 billion. At the same time, we know that new global bank regulations taking effect will put more requirements on lenders which will affect borrowers. Also, airlines eligible for export credit financing— whether associated with sales by us or our competitors— will see higher prices for accessing those loan guarantees made by countries to benefit customers of their exporters.

Despite these challenges, BCC forecasts that airlines will be able to attract sufficient funding for deliveries in 2013. It really speaks to the health of aviation globally.

If you’re an airplane fan but not a financier, you can see a video summary of the new Current Aircraft Finance Market Outlook, or check out the entire report.

Just the facts

This week, our 737 team set a new record for both orders and deliveries in a single year. A 737-900ER for United Airlines was the 377th single-aisle we’ve delivered in 2012. Total year to date net orders for both the Next-Generation and the 737 MAX currently stand at 1,031.

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Here’s the 377th 737 we’ve delivered so far this year.

It’s understandable that with all the orders we keep racking up, the competition would get more than a little nervous. Some recent ads clearly show just how nervous they are. We currently have 969 total orders for the MAX. 13 customers have publicly announced their orders, and we’re more than grateful for their confidence in our performance numbers regarding fuel efficiency and operating cost.

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The 737 MAX family.

While history has shown that our performance claims hold up, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just look at our solid 737 customer base and a backlog of more than 3,000 airplanes— with about 2,000 of those airplanes being Next-Generation 737s.

And no, we aren’t resting on our laurels. We continue to improve the performance of the Next-Generation 737 every year. Those improvements will translate directly to the 737 MAX. From fuel and engine efficiency to aerodynamic improvements to the gorgeous Boeing Sky Interior— our commitment is to invest in technology to make sure we’re building the best single-aisle airplane in the industry— period. Our road map for the future includes radial tires, updated lavatory configuration and enhanced connectivity.

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The Boeing Sky Interior.

The competition worries that “less sophisticated airlines” might be swayed by our claims on the MAX. We have full faith in the airlines and believe they’ll continue to make the best choice for their business needs. We stand behind our claims, and our airplanes, 100 percent.

Celebrating in San Diego

It’s been an exciting weekend for Japan Airlines as they launched the first ever nonstop service between San Diego and Asia with the 787 Dreamliner. The airplane landed in San Diego this morning. This is just one more example of how the 787 is opening up new markets. (Photos from San Diego below by Bill Sandke)

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Since you know I love food, I also wanted to share JAL’s special menu to celebrate today’s flights. The flight from Tokyo to San Diego included prawn ceviche, roasted lamb and the JAL Original Hamburger in Sasebo Style - inspired by Sasebo, the sister port of San Diego in Nagasaki.

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On the flight from San Diego to Tokyo, passengers are enjoying US Prime Beef Wellington and lobster. The special menu will remain on the San Diego-Tokyo route through the end of February. Sounds like my kind of flight. Congratulations to JAL!

 

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