January 2013 Archives

100,000 reasons to celebrate the 747-8

The 747-8 program has 100,000 reasons to celebrate. On January 27, the fleet surpassed 100,000 hours in the air. Each and every 747-8 customer currently flying the airplane played a role in reaching that milestone, and we’re excited to see so many different liveries in the air.

The 747-8 fleet is currently made up of 32 airplanes (28 Freighters and 4 Intercontinentals). The most recent addition is an NCA Freighter which began service this month.

The fleet has touched down in 92 airports around the world carrying passengers and some pretty unique cargo including flowers, race cars and helicopters.

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A chopper is loaded into a Cargolux 747-8 Freighter.

Lufthansa now has four routes with their fleet of Intercontinentals— all to and from Frankfurt (Washington, DC, LAX, Delhi and Bangalore).

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Inside one of Lufthansa’s 747-8 Intercontinentals.

We’re proud that our customers are happy with the airplane’s performance. This year, we’re focused on improving production processes and program profitability— while keeping a close eye on the cargo market. In the meantime, keep an eye out for some of these beauties at an airport near you.

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Focused on the future

Today, we took one final look back at 2012 as Boeing released its fourth-quarter and full year earnings report. We finished 2012 with record revenue and a record backlog—while restoring our market share leadership in orders and deliveries.

Now, we turn our full attention to 2013. As our Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said, our first order of business is to resolve the 787 battery issue and return the airplanes safely to service with our customers. Our teams continue to work the issue day and night.

In the meantime, 787 production continues and we remain confident in the future of the program—as well as the integrity, safety and performance of the airplane. The company says guidance for 2013 deliveries is expected to be between 635 and 645 airplanes across all programs, which includes greater than 60 787 deliveries.

Going forward this year, we’re focused on meeting our commitments through higher production rates and improved efficiency. The 737 MAX and 787-9 remain on schedule. And we’ll keep moving ahead with the 777X and the 787-10X.

Today, we also released a video recapping the highlights of 2012. Enjoy!

Keep on rolling

Boeing’s best-selling 737 just keeps on rolling. The program has just started building its first airplane at the new, increased rate of 38 per month.

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737 wing mechanics Jon Powell, Jared Sanchez, Ron Doleman, Mike Graham and Ron McNabb lift a 737 wing spar part into the automated spar assembly tool. Jim Anderson photo.

Over the past two years, production of the 737 has jumped more than 20 percent. And we still aren’t finished with our rate increases. In 2014, we’ll go up to 42 airplanes per month.

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Jared Sanchez of 737 Wings fastens a piece of a 737 wing spar into the automated spar assembly machine. Jim Anderson photo.

Mechanics have been loading initial parts of the spars for the first airplane at the new rate into an automated spar-assembly machine. The spar is the first step in building the wings and marks the start of major manufacturing for an airplane.

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A look inside the 737 factory in Renton today.

As always, employee teams have been instrumental in helping the program step up to the new rate—- developing and implementing innovative efficiency improvements.

Congrats to the team in Renton for another amazing achievement.

A few days in Dublin

DUBLIN - I always look forward to the annual Airfinance Journal Conference. It’s the chance to catch up with all my aviation colleagues in Dublin, look back at 2012, and look ahead to 2013.

I heard from the airlines, leasing companies and banks—and I have to tell you that everyone was very optimistic for what the future holds.

I was on a panel regarding airplane economic life, airplane residual value and the secondary market—and also got the chance to make a presentation on the market, our forecast, our new products and our product strategy.

Obviously, the 787 was top of mind. We’ve received incredible support from our 787 customers—many represented in Dublin— and we can’t thank them enough. We deeply regret the impact that recent events have had on their operating schedules, as well as the inconvenience to their passengers. We have hundreds of experts from around The Boeing Company, from all of our divisions, working together around the clock to resolve the issue.

Boeing welcomes the progress being made in the 787 investigation discussed today by the NTSB. We’re eager to see the investigative groups continue their efforts and determine the cause of these events, and we’ll be there every step of the way to support them. The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes will always be at the top of our list.

787 questions and answers

I know a lot of you have questions about the status of the 787 as we continue to work with our customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. Our team has answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. We’ll continue to update you here as things develop.

Q: What actions are you taking to ensure the safety of the 787?

A: There is no higher priority than the safety of passengers and crew members flying onboard our airplanes. Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist. We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787’s safety and to return the airplanes to service.

Q: What is an airworthiness directive?

A: Airworthiness Directives (ADs) are rules issued by the FAA to mandate actions such as inspections, repairs, data collection, and other operational changes.

Q: How long will 787s be grounded?

A: According to the FAA’s recent announcement, operations can resume once airlines have demonstrated the batteries are safe. Boeing is working with the FAA to define that process and timeline.

Q: What are you doing to help your customers?

A: We are in ongoing conversations with our customers - those who operate the airplane as well as those who have not yet received their first 787 - to ensure they understand the progress being made to define the plan to return to flight. Once that plan is defined we will assist in completing the actions required.

Q: What is the issue with the batteries?

A: We are supporting the investigations that will determine the cause of the recent incidents involving 787 batteries. Until those investigations conclude, we can’t speculate on what the results might be.

Q: What protections do you apply for the lithium ion batteries on the 787?

A: There are multiple backups to ensure the system is safe. These include protections against over-charging and over-discharging.

Q: Why didn’t this battery issue show up in the flight test?

A. We are supporting the investigations that will determine the cause of the recent incidents involving 787 batteries. Until those investigations conclude, we can’t speculate on what the results might be.

Q: The 787 uses electric motors and electric controls in places where earlier designs used mechanical linkages and hydraulic systems, does this have anything to do with batteries?

A: No. All modern jetliners have batteries. The 787’s more-electric architecture has very little to do with batteries. The key innovation that enables the improved efficiency is the generation of more electrical power and the elimination of the high-pressure bleed air (pneumatic) system. The functions that were formerly powered pneumatically are now powered electrically

787 update

This afternoon, our Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney provided a statement after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive that requires U.S. 787 operators to temporarily cease operations and recommends other regulatory agencies to follow suit. I wanted to share his comments with you.

The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist.

We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787’s safety and to return the airplanes to service.

Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers.

Success stories

I’ve always said that Boeing’s success is owed to our people, our products and our customers. And our customers are sharing some 787 success stories of their own.

This week, Qatar Airways launched the first-ever commercial flight of a 787 to Switzerland. It’s part of the airline’s European expansion of its Dreamliner service to Zurich, Munich and Frankfurt.

“In addition to introducing new routes, we are also relentlessly focused on improving the passenger experience when travelling with Qatar Airways. This is why there is so much hype around our Boeing 787 - it offers the travelling public a second-to-none flying experience straight through from comfort, to entertainment to gastronomy,” said Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar.

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One of Qatar’s 787s during a test flight.

Just last week, ANA launched its new 787 service between Tokyo and San Jose. ANA Chairman of the Board Yoji Ohashi said: “We are confident about the Dreamliner. We still believe this is a good aircraft. As the launch carrier, we believe this is our destiny.” More photos from the event are here.

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A crowd gathers in San Jose to celebrate ANA’s new 787 service.

And tomorrow, LOT begins 787 service into Chicago— marking the first 787 transatlantic flight by a European carrier.

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First 787 delivery to LOT.

Demand for 787 service at Norwegian Air Shuttle is so high, the airline’s website was overwhelmed when it started taking reservations for flights out of Oslo and Stockholm to New York’s JFK Airport.

“When we opened for sale, our website crashed,” said Norwegian Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Kjos.

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Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos in the flight deck of the 787 during last year’s Dream Tour stop in Oslo.

Since its first 787 delivery in August of last year, Ethiopian Airlines has logged 5,560 flight hours with its fleet of four Dreamliners. They tell us they’re pleased with the airplane’s performance—and passengers love it too.

“The Dreamliner is a highly capable and safe aircraft, which has enabled Ethiopian to enhance its service. The feedback from our passengers has been overwhelmingly positive and in some instances contributed to higher than expected passenger load factors on routes it has been deployed,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

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First 787 delivery to Ethiopian.

We thank all of our customers for standing behind the 787. We’re proud of your success and can’t wait to add more Dreamliners to your fleet.

The Power of 12

As one incredible season comes to an end for the Seattle Seahawks, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate them. Prior to yesterday’s game, a giant 12th Man flag was draped over our 737 factory in Renton—just part of the amazing energy that had all of Western Washington (and beyond) cheering.

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Our Renton factory proudly shows its colors.

I’m a huge fan of the team and got the chance to enjoy a game in person this season with my son Joel.

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My son Joel enjoying a game at CenturyLink Field.

All of us at Boeing are proud of what the Seahawks accomplished this season, but even more proud of what we’ve achieved together as partners — corporate leaders, dedicated volunteers, exemplary players and generous employees coming together to make the places we call home healthy, vibrant and safe.

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Boeing employees celebrate after draping the Seahawks flag from the roof of the 737 factory. Jim Anderson photo.

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Marian Lockhart photo.

Thanks for a great ride Hawks! We can’t wait until next season and look forward to working together in 2013.

Absolute commitment

Back in December 2011, I had an experience I’ll never forget. I was lucky enough to be on board a 787 flight from Seattle to Beijing on what would be the very first stop of the Dream Tour. Even more special—it was my very first flight on a Dreamliner.

Since that time, I’ve flown on the 787 during many other legs of the Dream Tour—as well as commercially after the airplane went into revenue service. It remains special each and every time. That’s why I can personally tell you that I’m incredibly confident in this airplane.

As more customers have taken delivery of the 787, we’ve experienced some issues with the in-service performance as commonly occurs with a new program. Rest assured that we won’t ever be satisfied until the airplane is performing perfectly. That’s why today, Boeing jointly announced with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the start of a review of the 787’s recent issues and critical systems. We welcome this review because of our confidence in the airplane’s design and production system.

Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said it best today.

“I’m certain that I speak for all the men and women of Boeing, and I express our absolute commitment to the safety and integrity of all our products. And with the 787, the FAA has conducted the most robust certification process ever in the world. We view this as a complement to this historic effort, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with the FAA in this.”

Our own practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our products. We’re committed to making sure Boeing airplanes bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers and the flying public. And we stand behind the Dreamliner 100 percent.

Ramping up

One of the key things that drove our success last year was executing our rate increases. That will be just as important this year. Another sign that we’re right on track for 2013 came this week as the first 777 at the new 8.3 per month rate (100 per year) rolled out of the factory.

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The first 777 built at the new 8.3 rate rolls out of the Everett factory earlier this week. All photos by Matt Thompson.

This airplane is a 777 Freighter that will be delivered next month to Korean Air. But it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that offers the most exciting news.

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The 777 factory is a well-oiled machine with some of the best production metrics it’s ever seen. We’re turning over our inventory more than twice a month as airplanes go down the line. Employee teams helped develop some time saving ideas that have been instrumental in the rate ramp. When you combine that with some new technology, it really is a game changer for the program.

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Update on 787 event in Boston

The 787 has been in the headlines quite a bit this week, and I wanted to take this opportunity to address the incidents at Boston Logan Airport.

First, today’s issue with one of Japan Airlines’ 787s (a different airplane than the one involved in Monday’s incident) was resolved after a four hour delay and the airplane took off for Tokyo.

As for Monday’s incident involving another JAL 787, we’ve been working closely with the airline, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other government agencies. JAL tells us that after the airplane landed and all passengers had disembarked, smoke was detected. The smoke was later traced to the battery used to start the auxiliary power unit.

We can’t talk about any specific details while the investigation is ongoing. But I can tell you that nothing we’ve seen in this case indicates a relationship to any previous 787 power system events, which involved power panel faults elsewhere in the aft electrical equipment bay. We’ve shared the information about those prior events with the NTSB and they’re aware of the details. Since we want to deal in facts rather than speculation, we’re giving our technical teams time to look over everything. Our full statement is here.

In the meantime, 787s continue to fly all over the world. The airplanes are in service with eight customers— having logged more than 18,000 flight cycles and flown more than 50,000 hours. We have complete confidence in the 787 and vow to take care of any issues our customers are experiencing— day or night.

More than a feeling

I had a feeling that 2012 was going to be a banner year for Boeing. But I had no idea just how good. Today’s final tally of orders and deliveries proves we all have something to be proud of.

We recorded the second-largest net order total in company history with 1,203. And with 601 deliveries, the most since 1999, our employees stepped up and met the challenge of several production rate increases. One more impressive note— with 4,373 unfilled orders— we’ve set a new company record.

2012 also lived up to its billing as “The Year of the MAX” as the new engine variant of the best-selling 737 recorded 914 orders, bringing its total orders to date to 1,064.

As we move into the new year, 2013 isn’t a time to rest on our laurels. The competition will come out swinging— and we have to step up our game even more. It should be a lot of fun and I invite you to watch it all play out right here on this blog.

But in the meantime, enjoy a recap of our 2012 highlights in photos!

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737 program achieves rate of 35 airplanes per month. The first airplane delivered at the new rate went to AWAS Aviation Services, Inc., and was leased by Norwegian Air Shuttle.

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Lion Air finalizes historic order for up to 380 737s.

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Boeing Edge sets new standard for aviation services and support.

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First 747-8 Intercontinental delivered to VIP customer.

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1,000th 777 delivered to Emirates.

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First P-8A Poseidon production aircraft delivered to US Navy.

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787 Dreamliner wins 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

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ANA conducts first 787 biofuel flight.

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747-8 Intercontinental delivered to Lufthansa.

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Rollout of the first 787 built in South Carolina.

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The Advanced Technology Winglet is introduced for the 737 MAX. Here’s me posing with a model at the Farnborough Airshow.

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KC-46 Tanker completes preliminary design review.

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787 Dream Tour comes to a close after stopping in five continents. Here’s a view from the Dreamliner as it flew over the White Cliffs of Dover during the UK stop.

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Celebrating the 10,000th 737 order with the team in Renton.

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Qatar’s 787 stole the show during the flying display at the Farnborough Airshow.

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The ecoDemonstrator completes its first phase of testing.

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First 787 built in South Carolina is delivered to Air India.

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777 begins production at rate of 8.3 airplanes per month— the highest rate ever for a Boeing twin-aisle airplane.

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The 500th 737 with Boeing Sky Interior is delivered.

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787 program increases rate to five airplanes per month.

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737 MAX reaches “Firm Concept,” defining in broad terms our newest single-aisle airplane.

Hitting 1,000

What a great way to start 2013! This morning, we announced an order from Aviation Capital Group that officially pushed our 737 MAX orders to date to more than 1,000 (1,029 to be exact).

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ACG’s order, consisting of 50 737 MAX 8s and 10 737 MAX 9s, was finalized in December 2012.

ACG and Boeing have a long relationship and this order, booked in December, shows the continued strong demand for the MAX in the leasing industry. It also once again proves that 2012 was indeed the Year of the MAX.

We’re incredibly pleased with the market acceptance of this airplane. Our customers really like what they’re seeing and hearing so far. And there’s no doubt we’ve done a better job than our competition in building the bridge between the Next-Generation 737 and the MAX to make a smooth and successful transition.

I’ll leave you with some brand new images of the 737 MAX. Enjoy!

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