My story in the Sunday paper previews the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, where most of the interest will be in the big widebody jets now in development.
The story draws on pre-Paris briefings from Boeing and a tour of the Everett widebody jet plant, where I saw the first 787-9 under assembly. That jet will fly later this summer.
I also saw that the 787 assembly line has had some kinks removed by taking out a large tooling fixture previously used to attach the tail. (Once touted as the Mother of All Tooling Towers, it’s now demoted, perhaps to Big Expensive Mistake.)
What will happen to the tons of steel in the MOATT?
“Want it?” said Jeff Klemann, vice president of 787 final assembly. “I’ll sell it to you cheap.”
And a top Boeing exec seemed to be offering reassurance that the giant 777X composite wing will be built by Boeing, not Mitsubishi.
“Throughout our history, the efficiency of our wings has been a big differentiator. So that’s going to be a factor in the decision,” said Kent Fisher, vice president of supplier management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
At the Air Show, starting Monday, Boeing is expected to launch the next and largest version of its Dreamliner, the 787-10 and to give customers more detail on its forthcoming 777X derivative.
But Airbus may steal the Show by staging a fly-by of its all-new A350 widebody jet. The plane, built from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic composites, made its first flight only on Friday.
Below is a Boeing slide showing its proposed future jet line-up. The A350 will compete directly against the 777-8X, 787-10, and 787-9.