April 2013 Archives

Proving flight

Now that I’m back home after visiting 787 customers overseas, I wanted to congratulate ANA on a significant development over the weekend. Just a few hours after I flew on the first Dreamliner to resume commercial service with Ethiopian Airlines (separate blog entry below), ANA completed a 787 proving flight around Tokyo on Sunday.

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The first ANA 787 outfitted with the new battery system returns to Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport after a two-hour proving flight on Sunday.

The airline’s chairman Shinichiro Ito and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner were both on board. Ito said the flight had no issues and was a very big step forward in returning the ANA fleet to commercial service. Conner called it the perfect flight on a perfect day. We look forward to many more.

Flight to remember

I’ve taken countless flights during my career at Boeing. But I can tell you the one I took today may be the most special.

I had the privilege of being on the first 787 to return to commercial service with our new battery system. Ethiopian Airlines flight 801 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi landed earlier today.

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Here’s me just before takeoff from Addis Ababa.

The flight left on time, landed early and was truly perfect. Many of the passengers had no idea they’d be flying on the 787 until the bus dropped them off at the air stairs.

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Passengers board the first 787 to resume revenue service.

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Flight crew poses with Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam (middle).

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Passengers on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 801.

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I was able to conduct a few media interviews during the flight.

It was a fantastic, party-like atmosphere as we boarded. As one surprised passenger told me after realizing he’d be flying on the Dreamliner—“this is history.”

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The airplane sits under sunny skies after landing in Nairobi.

We got some hard questions about the battery system from the media who flew with us, but they were the right questions. And more than words could say— the most powerful statement came when the airplane made a flawless flight.

Congratulations to Ethiopian Airlines for another first. First to fly the 787 in Africa—and the first to return the 787 to service. You can always track the latest 787 updates at this link.

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Say cheese

Here’s a photo opportunity we just couldn’t resist. Earlier this week, ZA005—our 5th 787 flight test airplane—made a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Little did we know that a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and a North American Aviation T-28 Trojan would also be there.

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The 787 meets some of Boeing’s history. Pictured left to right are a B-17G, a T-28B and ZA005.

Our ground operations team in Albuquerque realized it was the perfect opportunity for a Boeing family photo (North American Aviation became a part of Boeing in 1996). The B-17 is owned by the Experimental Aircraft Association of Oshkosh, Wisconsin and was on its way to California to perform in air shows. The T-28 is a T-28B that was produced in 1955 and served as a Marine training aircraft. It is currently owned by Ronald Tarrson of Santa Fe, New Mexico and is operated by the North American Training Command LLC, a T-28 flight school in New Mexico.

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By the way, ZA005 made its way to Hawaii late this week. It’s all part of tests related to demonstrating the performance of engine improvements provided by General Electric.

Status report

As we announced some very strong first quarter earnings today, we also gave an update on our 787 battery system improvements. In fact, I’m currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia talking with our customer Ethiopian Airlines, the media and others about the current status of the Dreamliner.

We’ve started installation on 10 787s already in the customer fleet, as well as nine production airplanes. The bulk of the fleet retrofits should be wrapped up by mid-May. 787 deliveries are expected to resume in early May.

We still expect 787 deliveries to be greater than 60 this year. 15 to 20 percent of those deliveries are expected in the second quarter. Total commercial aircraft deliveries are still expected to be between 635 and 645 for the year.

As we work to get the 787 fleet back in the air, we also have to be laser focused on the rest of our business. That includes converting our record backlog— 4,445 airplanes valued at $324 billion—into deliveries and continuing to execute on our production rate increases. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2013 brings our way.

I’ll leave you with a look back at our first quarter highlights in video and photos.

737

• Program builds its first Next-Generation 737 at rate of 38 per month, marking a 20 percent production rise over the past two years.

• American Airlines finalizes orders for 100 737 MAXs, with options for another 60.

• Iceland Air finalizes an order for 16 737 MAXs.

• Ryanair announces commitment for 175 737-800s.

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Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary and Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner at a signing ceremony in New York City to mark Ryanair’s commitment for 175 737s.

• 737 MAX meets Design-to-Loads milestone, which defines what forces the airplane structure will experience in operation.

• Boeing delivers its 1,000th airplane to China. The Next-Generation 737-800, painted in a special peacock livery, goes to China Eastern Airlines. K65850-01_med.jpg Boeing delivers the 1,000th airplane to China.

• Leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) takes delivery of its 350th 737, becoming the third customer to reach that number.

• Boeing delivers the 7,500th 737 to come off the production line - to Malaysia-based Malindo Air.

747

• 747-8 fleet surpasses 100,000 flight hours. The milestone comes 15 months after first delivery to launch customer Cargolux.

• 747-8 serves its 100th airport, as a 747-8 Freighter operated by Cargolux arrives in Hanoi.

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A water cannon salute greets the Cargolux 747-8 Freighter in Hanoi, the 100th airport for the airplane.

• Cathay Pacific Airways of Hong Kong finalizes an order for three 747-8 Freighters.

• Cargolux takes delivery of its 25th 747 Freighter - the first 747-8 to be built.

• Korean Air takes delivery of its 150th airplane - a 747-8 Freighter.

767

• LAN Airlines, Chile’s largest commercial carrier, takes delivery of its 50th Boeing airplane, a 767-300ER.

• Program marks a 90 percent reduction in “traveled work” compared to the previous year, reducing the need to spend time and money completing jobs on the airplane after it leaves the factory for the flight line.

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A 767 leaves the Everett factory.

• Program marks two years since award of Air Force contract to build KC-46 Tanker. Boeing remains on plan to deliver 18 of the aerial refueling tankers.

• Tanker program partners with Digital Aviation, part of Commercial Aviation Services, to develop an Airplane Health Management (AHM) variant for the KC-46. AHM monitors, collects and analyzes airplane data to assist engineering and maintenance crews.

777

• First 777 built at increased rate of 8.3 airplanes per month, or 100 per year, rolls out of the factory in January. Korean Air takes delivery the following month.

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The first 777 built at the rate of 8.3 per month is delivered to Korean Air.

• American Airlines takes delivery of its third 777-300ER - its 50th 777 overall — and puts its first 777-300ER into revenue service.

• Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation finalizes an order for 10 777-300ERs.

• Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier, becomes the first airline in Russia to operate the 777-300ER.

• A 777-200ER is delivered to ANA only nine months after configuration by the customer - a first for that model. It’s the third 777 model to meet that time frame.

• GE is selected as the engine partner for the 777X.

• 777 Major Structure Delivery Center is rated the top “FOD-free” organization in Commercial Airplanes for its achievement in reducing foreign object debris.

787

• American Airlines finalizes orders for 42 787 Dreamliners, with purchase rights for 58 more.

• Boeing receives approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the company’s plan to test and certify improvements to the 787’s battery system. Approval of the certification plan marks an important step toward resuming commercial 787 flights.

Line 86 takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. on March 25, 2013. The airplane will be delivered to LOT.

• First 787-9 aftbody section is fabricated and begins assembly at Boeing South Carolina; first midbody sections arrive to begin assembly and integration.

• Construction begins at Boeing South Carolina on expansion of 787 aftbody paint facility and Dreamlifter Operations Center.

• Boeing South Carolina Midbody Assembly & Integration team captures the 2012 Fred Mitchell Award for showing unprecedented improvement in its Lean Manufacturing.

Commercial Aviation Services

• Boeing Shanghai begins 767 maintenance services for Russia-based Nordwind Airlines. The first 767-300ER “C-check,” an extensive inspection of the entire airplane, is completed on Feb. 9. Boeing Shanghai also delivers its first 737-300 passenger-to-freighter conversion - to Kenya Airways.

• Boeing announces that flight training simulators, including two 787 training suites, and some training operations in Seattle will be consolidated into the Miami training campus.

• Singapore’s SilkAir signs an exclusive, five-year agreement for Flight Services training.

Don't stop believin'

There’s no greater sense of accomplishment than completing a true technical challenge. The 787 battery issue was indeed a challenge, and having the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration give its approval of our improvements today is welcome news.

But we’re not taking time to celebrate just yet. That won’t happen until we get the fleet back up in the air. We’ve already deployed teams to install the battery improvements on our customers’ airplanes. More than 300 Boeing employees have been sent to assist our customers. They’ll be installing new battery systems on the airplanes we’ve already delivered.

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Joseph Gettings (left), team leader for kit assembly at the Boeing Spares Distribution Center, and Chad Howell, shipping facilitator, prepare a battery containment kit for shipping to a 787 customer. (Katie Lomax photo)

We’ll also begin installing the changes on new airplanes at our two 787 final assembly plants, with deliveries expected to resume soon. In fact, we expect to complete all of our planned 2013 deliveries by the end of the year as scheduled. You can learn more about our teams on the ground in this video.

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Mike Jeffries, a 787 flight line mechanic, secures a battery inside its stainless steel containment box in a 787 electronic equipment bay. The modification was performed on an airplane in Everett as part of the certification process. (Ed Turner photo)

We know this has been a challenging period for our customers as well. We can’t thank them enough for their support and look forward to getting their airplanes back in service as soon as possible.

The hard work isn’t done just yet—but the future of the 787 looks bright. We never stopped believing in this airplane and I can’t wait to get back on the Dreamliner.

Rare treat

The Boeing employees who build our airplanes usually get to see the results of their hard work at different stages of production. But it’s rare that anyone ever gets to see the finished product on the inside— if the airplane is one of our Boeing Business Jets (BBJ).

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A BBJ on display at Boeing Field. Jim Anderson photo.

Several employees got that chance a few days ago when a fully furnished BBJ, a modified 737-700 belonging to a private owner in the U.S., was opened for tours prior to departing for the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) in Shanghai

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BBJ President Capt. Steve Taylor (second from left) speaks with Boeing employees who received a special tour of the BBJ. Jim Anderson photo.

All of our BBJs are delivered from Boeing “green” with no paint or interior. The custom interior is put in at a completion center followed by re-delivery to the customer for their personal and business use.

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Plenty of room to work and lounge on this BBJ. Jim Anderson photo.

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The bedroom on a BBJ. Jim Anderson photo.

During the ABACE show in Shanghai, we also unveiled the latest private airplane for a Chinese customer.

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Lounge area of Nanshan Jet’s newest Boeing Business Jet.

Nanshan Jet’s modified 737-700 is the first BBJ for a Chinese customer designed with a traditional business jet interior, including a bedroom suite with a queen-size bed, plus seating for 28 passengers.

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Bedroom suite of Nanshan Jet’s newest Boeing Business Jet.

This is a big year for BBJ in Asia, with three of seven BBJs entering service with completed VIP interiors that are for customers in Asia. A key advantage BBJ offers is longer range, which is very important to buyers in China due to the distances from Asia to Europe and North America. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the great photos.

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Bathroom of Nanshan Jet’s newest Boeing Business Jet.

All things 747-8

Members of our 747-8 team just got back home from Hong Kong after celebrating some big news with Lufthansa. The airline recently launched 747-8 Intercontinental service between Frankfurt and Hong Kong. It’s another testament to our 50-plus year partnership with Lufthansa.

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The cameras were out in force as the 747-8 landed in Hong Kong.

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Guests line up for photos that make it appear they’re standing on the 747-8 flight deck.

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Celebrating the new Frankfurt to Hong Kong route.

During a special event to mark the new route, guests took part in several interactive activities including a green-screen photo booth displaying various backgrounds like the 747-8 flight deck. They were also the first to try out our new 747-8 Design Your Own Livery tool. I know a lot of you enjoyed the 787 version of this online tool, and I know you’ll get a kick out of the 747-8 version. Dozens of people have already posted their liveries like the ones below.

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One Boeing fan dubbed their creation the “Freedom Liner.”

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Here’s one called “Black Knight.”

By the way, Hong Kong joins four other worldwide destinations - Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New Delhi and Bangalore, India— served by Lufthansa’s Intercontinentals.

On a final note, a see-through 1/20th scale model of the 747-8 Intercontinental will be in Hong Kong this coming Saturday, April 20. We’ll have it set up for the public to take a look at what airlines can do with the interior. Anyone in Hong Kong can check it out as the Peak Galleria’s Green Terrace observation deck between 10am and 4pm.

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This may be the start of a mini world tour for this model— so stay tuned for details on our social media channels.

Reasons to celebrate

We were able to celebrate with Thai Airways this week for several reasons. The airline not only took delivery of its latest 777-300ER, but also became the first airline to fly away from our brand new Everett Delivery Center. The airplane touched down at 10:32 am Pacific today after a 14.5 hour direct flight from Everett to Bangkok!

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Thai Airways new 777-300ER was the first airplane to fly away from our new Everett Delivery Center. Gail Hanusa photo.

As we highlighted last week, the new delivery center is focused on enhancing the customer experience. It can accommodate three simultaneous deliveries and delivery events. I also wanted to let you know that we’ve turned one of the most impressive images of the delivery center into downloadable wallpaper.

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This photo is now available for download. Click on the link above.

Congrats again to our delivery center employees—and thanks to Thai Airways for helping us put this beautiful new facility into service.

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Representatives of Thai Airways, the first airline to be hosted by the new Everett Delivery Center, attended an executive open house and tour for Boeing customers during the grand opening events. Gail Hanusa photo.

Being bold

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines took a bold step for sustainable aviation last month by launching the first in a series of “Optimal Flights” using a 777 between New York and Amsterdam. And today, we have some numbers that show just how successful that first flight was.

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Boeing is proud to be their partner in this effort that combines renewable fuels with advanced technology. We’re not only using sustainable biofuels, but other smart technologies and concepts to improve the airplane’s operational efficiency while saving fuel and reducing carbon and noise emissions. Basically, we’re taking multiple Boeing flight efficiency projects and rolling them into one program to create the most environmentally progressive flight possible.

So how did the airplane fare? After analysis, our partners at KLM concluded that the first flight saved approximately 1,400 kg of fuel (in the neighborhood of 450 gallons) of which Boeing’s Wind Updates service made a substantial contribution. Wind Updates provides automated wind data customized in real time and helps reduce fuel consumption. Members of Boeing’s Environment & Aviation Policy team are also working with KLM and with sustainable biofuel provider SkyNRG to commercialize jet fuel sources, which will increase their supply and lower cost.

New flight services from Boeing are also being used to increase real-time situational awareness for pilots using advanced digital aviation and air traffic management concepts. They include applications that help the crew optimize the airplane’s speed variance, while providing real-time weather advisories in flight to save fuel and enable more accurate arrival predictions.

There will be a total of 26 “optimal flights” between New York City and Amsterdam. Boeing, KLM and their partners will then review the results and establish new operational procedures and recommendations for follow-on development programs.

Congratulations to everyone involved in this revolutionary series of flights.

The final test

While the 787 has had many milestones, the one today is something we’ve all been waiting for. With Captain Heather Ross at the controls, 787 Line Number 86 for LOT Polish Airlines completed the final certification test for our new battery system with a 1 hour and 49 minute flight out of Paine Field.

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Line Number 86 takes off today for the final certification test of our new battery system.

The crew tells us the certification demonstration plan was straightforward and the flight was uneventful. The purpose of the test was to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as we intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions.

We’ll now begin the process of turning in all the final certification materials to the FAA. If the FAA needs additional information, we stand ready to deliver it.

I want to once again thank our customers for their support during this process—as well as every member of the Boeing team for their tireless work to reach this very important point. Captain Ross perhaps said it best after today’s flight: “It feels great knowing that we are one step closer to helping our customers get their airplanes back in service.”

You can check out video of today’s takeoff below.

Celebrate me home

We have plenty of reasons to celebrate our new delivery home for the 747-8, 767, 777 and 787. The new 180,000 square foot Everett Delivery Center was officially debuted in front of thousands of employees yesterday.

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This is truly a showplace where our customers can experience the best of Boeing— from a Tully’s cafe to a spectacular events room that overlooks the flightline. We even have jetways!

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If you want to see what it took to build this new center, check out the time lapse video below that takes you from start to finish.

This new facility also allows us to continue ramping up deliveries as we go up in production rates. Enjoy the photo gallery below as well as this feature video. (All photos by Gail Hanusa)

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Warm welcome

I wanted to share some images of another first for the 747-8 and our customer Lufthansa. This week, Lufthansa became the first airline to bring the 747-8 to Hong Kong. The airline says Hong Kong is an important market that will stregthen its competitive position.

Congrats to Lufthansa— and thanks to Hong Kong for the warm welcome.

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