August 2015 Archives

Firming things up

The 777X team reached a key milestone this week with the completion of firm configuration for the 777-9, the first member of the 777X family. The team reached this milestone after years of collaboration with customers and suppliers to make sure we had the optimal configuration for the airplane.

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777X can now be seen on the belly of the airplane.

You may have noticed that we dropped the “X” in our minor model designations. While it’s still the 777X family, we’ll now refer to the minor models as the 777-8 and 777-9. This naming convention keeps us consistent with minor model designations across the Boeing family.

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The 777X name has built tremendous equity and industry recognition since its launch in 2013. The 777 stands for efficiency, passenger appeal, flagship status for airlines and industry leading reliability. Combining 777 with the “X” means taking all of those great attributes to a new level.

Reaching firm configuration was truly a team effort—with our people setting up the 777X program for future success. Congrats to all involved.

On the move

Most people who drive along Highway 526 outside our Everett factory are used to seeing big airplanes. But probably not a giant autoclave.

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The first autoclave for 777X wings heads for home at our new Everett composite wing center. Tim McGuire photo.

The first of three huge autoclaves, measuring 28 feet wide by 120 feet long, was moved on Wednesday night from a site adjacent to Paine Field en route to our new 777X Composite Wing Center. As it crossed the bridge over Highway 526, crews shut down the road temporarily to avoid any distractions.

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It’s not officially on Boeing property until K9 officer Gizmo gives the all clear. Good dog Gizmo, good dog. Photo by Gail Hanusa.

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Crossing the Highway 526 bridge to our Everett factory. Tim Stake photo.

This first autoclave was initially built vertically in 13 sections, called cans. The cans were then assembled into three towers measuring 40 feet tall. All three autoclaves will be the centerpiece of our new Composite Wing Center, a 1.3-million square foot facility that will be roughly the size of 25 football fields. The autoclaves will help us bake sections of the composite wings for the new 777X.

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Talk about an oversize load! Gail Hanusa photo.

China outlook

We’re trying something new here on Randy’s Journal— our very first podcast (ok, it isn’t downloadable yet— but we’re working on that).

Our first topic is the China Current Market Outlook, which we released earlier today. Despite the current financial market volatility, we expect China to need 6,330 new airplanes over the next 20 years valued at nearly $1 trillion.

I sat down earlier with Darren Hulst, our regional marketing director for China, to talk about the things shaping that country’s very dynamic aviation sector. Click below to listen.

We’d love to get your ideas for future podcasts. Submit your topics or questions to: askrandy@boeing.com.

Also be sure to check out our full Asia outlook.

Fantastic Friday

It really was a fantastic way to end the week, with two great things happening on the same day. In Renton, the first 737 MAX fuselage arrived at our factory on Friday afternoon.

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A beautiful shot by Jim Anderson of the first 737 MAX fuselage arriving in Renton.

And earlier in the day, Korean Air’s first 747-8 Intercontinental took to the skies to perform a flyover at the Boeing Classic golf tournament at Snoqualmie Ridge, Wash.

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Crowds look up at the 747-8 during a flyover. Jessica Oyanagi photos.

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It’s the perfect way to start the weekend. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Star Wars fleet

ANA is unveiling more of its Star Wars themed jets today—all of them Boeing airplanes.

In addition to the 787-9 that will sport an R2-D2 livery, the airline also announced plans for a 777-300ER with BB-8 livery (BB-8 is a new droid in the film franchise) and a 767 with a combo livery of both R2-D2 and BB-8.

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The R2-D2 airplane is scheduled to go into service on October 18 between Haneda and Vancouver, BC and then move to other international routes.

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The R2-D2 787-9.

The 767 with the combo livery will take off toward the end of this year on domestic routes in Japan. And the 777 with BB-8 livery will start flying primarily North American routes in the spring of 2016.

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The BB-8 themed 777.

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This 767 will feature a combo R2-D2 and BB-8 livery.

Boeing congratulates ANA for this campaign. You can see more in the video below.

150 and counting

At Boeing we love to celebrate milestones—especially ones involving our airline customers. And with customers like Lion Air, we’ve had the privilege of celebrating a lot of them.

This week, we joined Lion Air in a special ribbon cutting for its 150th 737, which happens to be 737-800. And what would a milestone delivery be without a special livery?

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The 150th 737 for Lion Air. All photos by Jim Anderson.

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When Lion Air started in 1999, it had just one airplane - a 737-200. Today, the airline has grown into Indonesia’s largest private airline and is one of the largest operators of the 737-900ER in the world.

Each of Lion Air’s new 737s features the Boeing Sky Interior. And with every new airplane, the airline is gaining a competitive advantage in operating costs and passenger comfort.

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Congratulations to the entire Lion Air team. We look forward to even more reasons to celebrate.

World's longest flight

The 777-200LR is about to really live up to its name. Today, Emirates announced that it will launch service from Dubai to Panama City in February. The new route will become the world’s longest non-stop flight at 17 hours and 35 minutes going westbound.

The flight will also be Emirates’ first gateway in Central America, allowing connections to Latin America and South America.

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An Emirates 777-200LR.

The 777-200LR was built just for these kind of routes. In fact, the airplane set a world record for distance back in 2005 when it traveled nonstop between Hong Kong and London, flying 11,664 nautical miles during a 22-hour 42-minute journey. I’m proud to say I was on that very memorable flight.

Congrats to Emirates on launching this new route and putting the 777-200LR to work.

Plane view

If you’ve driven past our 737 factory in Renton lately, you probably noticed a big change on the factory doors. Just like we did at our Everett factory, we put up new murals—one of a 737 MAX and the other showing a 737-800.

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The new look at our 737 factory in Renton. Marian Lockhart photos.

Each mural is made up of 225 panels, and they stand 60 feet tall and 300 feet wide.

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So how did we do it? Consider it peel and stick at its most sophisticated. The images were printed on high tech vinyl film panels. They were delivered to the factory in numbered rolls coded to a location on a map of each door. Crews then peeled the backing off each piece and positioned them on the doors.

Check out this impressive time lapse video to see how it all came together (video takes just a couple of seconds to load).

The murals were voted on by more than 23,000 employees last year. The Everett factory door murals are seen below.

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The Everett murals show a 747-8, a 767-300, a 777-300ER and a 787-9. Gail Hanusa photo.

Updating the assumptions

If you visited our product-information web pages over the last couple of days, you may have noticed a few minor changes in how we portray the characteristics of our airplanes.

For the first time since the early 1990s, we’ve done an update to our generic seat-count and performance information. With these changes, the generic performance of our products is more aligned with how our customers configure and operate our airplanes.

As you know, every airline lays out the interior of its airplanes differently. Airlines use a wide variety of different seat designs; some choose to have fewer business-class passengers and more economy; others do the opposite. So whenever we speak with a specific customer and show them how our airplanes will perform for them, we use their seating layouts, their seats and their mission rules.

But since we can’t share airline-specific information in the public sphere, we develop generic numbers to explain the performance of our airplanes, numbers that try to give a general picture of how our airplanes are configured and how they perform. For that purpose, we use a single set of rules for our entire fleet.

Most noticeably, airlines are increasingly outfitting their long-haul airplanes in a two-class (business and economy) configuration rather than the old first/business/economy three-class. In fact, more than 90 percent of the 787s we’ve delivered have been two-class.

But even as first class has become less prevalent, business classes have become exponentially better. A seat that was like a living room recliner in 2000 is now a lie-flat bed. That’s been great for business class passengers, but it also means a weight increase of 100 pounds or more per seat.

That weight gain, coupled in a slight uptick in the average weight that airlines allocate for passengers and their luggage, means we’ve made slight adjustments in the average range figures for our products: about 600 nautical miles less on average for twin-aisle airplanes, and 100 or so nautical miles less for our single-aisles.

Despite those number shifts, what’s really important to remember is that there is no change to our airplanes. The capabilities they bring to our customers are still the same. And regardless of which set of rules you use, our airplanes continue to outperform the competition by flying farther, faster and more efficiently.

Seafair flyover

I wanted to share some photos from today’s flyover of the 747-8 Freighter in Seattle Seahawks livery. We were proud to once again sponsor the Boeing Seafair Air Show that took place in the skies over Seattle’s Lake Washington.

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The 747-8 Freighter in Seattle Seahawks livery performs a flyover during Seafair at Lake Washington. All photos from Seafair by Paul Gordon.

Seafair is a summer tradition and we hope everyone enjoyed seeing the Queen of the Skies.

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This is the second 747-8 we’ve painted in Seahawks livery. It rolled out of the paint hangar just a few weeks ago.

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Paint rollout of the latest 747-8 in Seahawks livery. Katie Lomax photos.

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