January 2015 Archives

No looking back

As we continue to push into 2015, the numbers from today’s earnings report show that Boeing is in one its strongest positions ever. As our Chairman pointed out, we’ve “de-risked a decade” of new product development while expanding the performance and efficiency of our airplanes.

Our record backlog of nearly 5,800 airplanes is equal to approximately eight years of production at current rates. That’s one of the main reasons we have five more production rate increases scheduled over the remainder of the decade.

Of course, the proof is in the deliveries. Last year, we delivered an industry record 723 airplanes. This year’s guidance calls for between 750 and 755 commercial deliveries. 787 deliveries for 2015 are expected to be in line with the 10 per month production rate, as well as a few early-build deliveries.

Now we turn our focus on 2015 priorities including the start of final assembly for the 737 MAX, continued production efficiencies on the 787 and our sales campaigns to support the successful transition from the 777 to the 777X.

While 2014 was indeed a great year, there’s no looking back in this business.

Celebrating 100

If you need proof of just what a workhorse the 747-8 Freighter is, all you have to do is look at Cargolux. Over the weekend, Manaus Airport in Brazil became the 100th airport Cargolux operates to with the airplane.


The pilots received a water cannon salute as they arrived with a full load of machinery spare parts and telecommunications equipment from Luxembourg.


Cargolux currently operates 11 of the airplanes, and has another three on order.


In total, the 747-8 Freighter is now serving 164 airports worldwide— giving our customers the lowest operating costs and best economics in its class.

Time flies

Ten years ago this month, we launched a bold experiment with the very first post in Randy’s Journal. My predecessor, Randy Baseler, started blogging around the time of the A380 rollout. There was a lot going on in our industry at the time—and a lot to talk about. This blog became the perfect outlet to share our view of the world while hoping to engage you in a conversation.

When Randy B. handed the blog over to me in May of 2007, final assembly of the 787 was just getting started. In the time since then, we’ve been on the aviation roller coaster together following the highs and lows of this crazy business.


Randy Baseler (left) with me at the Starbucks in the Forbidden City, September 2004.

I never imagined we’d be able to keep up a steady stream of posts all these years, but we’ve somehow managed to pull it off. Along the way, we’ve sparked conversations—and pushed a few people’s buttons. But most of all, I hope we’ve connected you to Boeing in ways that weren’t possible a decade ago.

Thanks to Randy Baseler for leading the way. Here’s to 10 more years!

Passenger preferred

We take pride in every airplane we build. But the best compliments about our products come from our customers and the flying public. That’s why I was happy to see that two of Boeing’s twin-aisle airplanes led the industry in passenger preference in 2014.


The 777-300ER has been selected by business travelers as the Best Aircraft Type year after year.

The 777 was named “Best Aircraft Type” by readers of both Premier Traveler, a three-peat for the program, and Business Traveler - for the fourth year in a row.

And in a first for the 787 Dreamliner family, the 787 was voted “Best Aircraft Type for 2014” by readers of Global Traveler.


Boeing designed the 787 Dreamliner with passengers in mind, a fact not lost on readers of Global Traveler magazine.

With features that help promote passenger comfort, our customers are able to stand out in a highly competitive global market.

Congratulations to the 777 and 787 teams. You can learn more about the 777 here, and more about the 787 here.


Fierce competition

Now that the competition is out with its 2014 numbers for orders and deliveries, it gives us a clear picture of just how amazing last year was for Boeing.

First and foremost, we retained our place as the world’s largest airplane manufacturer for the third year in a row by delivering an industry record 723 airplanes. In fact, we delivered 63 percent of all twin-aisle airplanes while outselling the competition by almost three to one on widebodies. When you also consider that we also captured half the market for single-aisle airplanes, it’s clear that our market position is stronger than ever.

While Airbus sold a few more airplanes last year, the value of our order book is second to none. Thanks to a mix of single aisle and widebody orders, our net orders totaled $232.7 billion at list prices. Airbus’ net orders totaled $174.6 billion.

The bottom line is that we’ve filled our skyline for years to come thanks to the dedication of our employees and the confidence shown by our customers.

Looking ahead to this year, passenger traffic should grow at or above 6 percent. We expect another good year for cargo. And with lower fuel prices, we expect a continued tailwind for our customers in terms of profitability.

We know the competition will be fierce again in 2015, but we’re up for the challenge.

Successful run

The Boeing ecoDemonstrator Program is a terrific example of our investment to continually improve product efficiency for our customers and the environmental performance of our industry. In the program, we use airplanes as flying testbeds to accelerate the development of new technologies, from hardware and software to new types of aviation biofuel.


The ecoDemonstrator 787 takes off from Boeing Field.

We completed a very successful ecoDemonstrator run late last year using ZA004, the 4th 787 Dreamliner.

In November and December, we tested more than 25 technologies during 21 ecoDemonstrator 787 flights. Our engineers spend years designing and planning for these tests, and it’s exciting to see their ideas literally fly.


Mike Carriker, chief pilot for Airplane Development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, checks out a new wireless tablet on the ecoDemonstrator 787 flight deck.

Ten of our ecoDemonstrator 787 flights used “green diesel,” which is made from vegetable oil and waste animal fat and is widely used as a biofuel for trucks.


Filling up with green diesel.

We believe green diesel can become a significant new supply of biofuel for jets and used the ecoDemonstrator 787 to prove its capability. Our first green diesel flight used a blend of 15 percent biofuel and 85 percent petroleum in the airplane’s left engine, followed by 9 more flights using the blend in both engines.

The airplane performed just as it does with conventional jet fuel, supporting efforts to approve this fuel for commercial aviation and help meet our industry’s environmental goals.


The ecoDemonstrator 787 taking off on its green diesel flight.

The 787 also tested NASA’s Airborne Spacing for Terminal Arrival Routes (ASTAR) to improve landing efficiency, new greenhouse gas sensors evaluated in collaboration with Japan Airlines, and real-time turbulence reports generated in collaboration with Delta Air Lines to mitigate turbulence.

Later this year, our ecoDemonstrator program will start testing more environmental technologies on a 757 in collaboration with TUI Travel and NASA.

We look forward to breaking new ground in 2015 as we continue to grow our industry while shrinking our footprint.

Breaking records in 2014

If you asked me this time last year whether Boeing would sell more than 1,400 airplanes in 2014, I would have smiled. While we always hope for strong sales, no one could have predicted that we’d have a record year in more ways than one.

Thanks to our customers—we managed to sell the most airplanes in a single year (1,432 net). And thanks to our employees, we managed to deliver the most airplanes in a single year (723). That’s a tribute to the products we make and the people who make them.

We also surpassed our 787 delivery guidance by putting 114 Dreamliners into the hands of our customers. The 737 program set a record for most deliveries in a single year with 485—and the 777 program also hit a yearly record of 99 airplanes.

Perhaps the most telling statistic from 2014 is the strength of our order book by value. At list prices, we recorded sales of $232.7 billion— an order book that is second to none.

Along with high demand for the 737 MAX and Next-Generation 737, we’re proud to see the finalization of 777X orders, as well as more orders for the 787, the 777-300ER and the 777 Freighter. In fact, the 777-300ER and 777 Freighter combined for 63 orders— exactly where we wanted to be as we bridge production to the 777X.

As we kick off 2015, we have plenty of things to look forward to like the start of 737 MAX final assembly, final configuration of the 777X and the Paris Air Show. As always, I look forward to the ride.


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