Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.
June 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM
At the Paris Air Show, the best pitchman at Boeing sells the MAX
Joe Ozimek is bald on top, with a monk-like fringe of white hair. His extraordinary bushy eyebrows form perfect quotation marks that frame his face. Only his expensive suits and snappy ties betray the fact that Boeing has transformed this former aerodynamicist and engineer into a vice president of marketing.
This morning, he proved himself Boeing’s best pitchman in Paris.
At Air Shows, Boeing executives can come across as stiff and guarded compared to their looser, brasher peers at Airbus. Not Joe. (And everyone calls him Joe.) He is folksy in his conversation and combative when he needs to be, ready to slash back at barbs from Airbus sales chief John Leahy.
At Le Bourget Wednesday, Ozimek pitched the 737 MAX to journalists, entertainingly making the case that the 737 MAX will retain an 8 percent fuel burn advantage over the rival Airbus A320.
He announced that the proposed new 737 program will accelerate six months, with the first model, the 737 MAX 8, entering service not at the end of 2017 but in July that year. (Corrected) He announced that Boeing is accelerating the program’s delivery schedule: The first 737 MAX 8 will enter service not in the fourth quarter of 2017 but in the third quarter. (Vice president of airplane development Scott Fancher said earlier that the plane would be delivered six months earlier than previously planned, but Boeing later corrected that.)
He showed off new upgrades to the cockpit, which will now feature large dashboard displays like those on the 787 Dreamliner.
Deploying U.S. Department of Transportation data, he scoffed at the Airbus claim of parity on fuel burn. “No way that is so,” said Joe. “The data will set you free.”
And using a model 737 MAX, he savored the chance to talk about the aerodynamics of the new split winglets. His explanation included a digression to explain why geese fly in a V formation and how that relates to Boeing’s winglet.
(See the video of Joe in action, after the jump.)
I didn’t have my iPhone in the conference room to capture Joe’s presentation as it happened, but afterwards I asked him to repeat his winglet explanation just for my audience.
It’s not as freewheeling as when he was playing to a roomful of journalists and the backdrop is all wrong, but it will give you an idea of the man’s style.