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Boeing Blog

Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

Category: Uncategorized
July 16, 2014 at 5:53 AM

Farnborough Air Show bans thrilling maneuver as Airbus and Boeing jets aim to impress

787-9 climbs sharply during fly-by on Monday July 14 at Farnborough Air Show. SIMON DAWSON / BLOOMBERG

Boeing 787-9 climbs sharply during fly-by on Monday July 14 at Farnborough Air Show. SIMON DAWSON / BLOOMBERG

On the opening day of the Farnborough Air Show, the Boeing 787-9 did a spectacular touch-and-go in the afternoon flying display, coming down and touching the tarmac as if to land, then powering up and climbing steeply away.

A350 test plane No. 4, Wednesday at Farnborough

A350 test plane No. 4, Wednesday at Farnborough

On the second day, the Air Show authorities banned that maneuver.

“They got red-carded,” said Airbus test pilot Frank Chapman, speaking on a tour of his A350 flight test jet on Wednesday.

He said the airport authority won’t allow either Airbus or Boeing to do it again this week.

“We can all climb steeply,” said Chapman. “What you mustn’t do is turn straight away (on take-off). If the wing hits the ground, it’s over. Their wingtip was 15 feet off the ground. They don’t like you being close to the ground.”

Tuesday, the Boeing communications team here had a decidedly conspiratorial explanation: That Airbus had whispered to the Air Show authorities and spiked such displays so as not to be shown up.

Not so, according to Chapman. “We can do the same,” he said.

(See Monday’s 787-9 flying display on YouTube. The touch-and-go starts at 1:10)

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Comments | Topics: 787, A350, Airbus

July 15, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Norwegian’s 787s “going better and better”

Bjorn Kjos, chief executive of an airline that had a nightmare experience with its first two 787s last year, could now moonlight as a salesman for the Dreamliner.

Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian, with his Skytrax award at Farnborough

Bjorn Kjos, CEO of Norwegian, with his Skytrax award at Farnborough

Norwegian Air, his new international low-cost carrier, now has a fleet of seven Dreamliners that he’s flying on very long routes such as London to Bangkok and back. With minimal down time at each end, that’s up to 18 hours flying in a day.

“The Dreamliner is the first airplane built to fly such high utilization. It’s performing to it,” said Kjos. “It’s going better and better actually.”

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Comments | Topics: 787, A330neo, Boeing

July 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Farnborough 2014: Aviation seer Udvar-Hazy analyzes Boeing’s 787-9

A day after he gave Airbus its launch order for the A330neo as the Farnborough Air Show opened, Steve Udvar-Hazy was given his usual welcome to the Boeing chalet.

John Plueger, left, president of ALC, confers with Steve Udvar Hazy at the Boeing order announcement.

John Plueger, left, president of ALC, confers with Steve Udvar Hazy at the Boeing order announcement.

Chief executive of Air Lease Corp. (ALC), Hazy has a reputation in the industry as the foremost judge of the aviation market. He was at Boeing on Tuesday to announce a big order for the U.S. jetmaker: six 777-300ERs and 20 single aisle 737 MAXs, which based on blue book values from consulting firm Avitas is worth around $2 billion after standard discounts.

While there, he had high praise for the 787-9 Dreamliner, a star of the flying display at Farnborough.

He also took the opportunity at  at a press conference to offer Boeing public advice on selling the 787 in competition with that new Airbus A330neo.

Boeing executives, confident in their airplane, seemed content to wait and see just how big a threat the Airbus jet will prove.

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July 15, 2014 at 7:49 AM

Deals of the day, sealed with a kiss

The biggest deal announced on Day 2 of the  Air Show came from AirAsia, whose ebullient CEO Tony Fernandes agreed to a $13 billion order for Airbus’s A330neo. As Bloomberg News described it: Business reserve gave way to raw emotion when AirAsia Bhd. signed Airbus’s biggest deal yet at this year’s Farnborough Air Show, with the executives…

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July 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Deals of the day

Boeing has won over Airbus operator Monarch Airlines, which today announced it is working on a purchase agreement for 30 737 MAX 8s. When finalized, the order “marking the start of a fleet transition for Monarch to Boeing single-aisle airplanes” will be worth $3.1 billion at list priced, the companies said.   As Airbus unveiled plans…

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July 14, 2014 at 7:24 AM

UPDATED: Boeing says new robotic system for building 777X fuselage is nearly ready

At the Farnborough Air Show Monday, Boeing said the secretive automation process it’s been developing over more than a year for building the fuselage of the  777, which has been undergoing testing inside a facility in Anacortes, is in the final phase of testing and production readiness.

Boeing said the 777X fuselage, which will be assembled in a new building now under construction in Everett, “will be built using automated, guided robots that will fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the more than approximately 60,000 fasteners that are today installed by hand.”

Boeing spokeswoman Elizabeth Fischtziur said the new robotic system “will be implemented first on today’s 777” and once its high rate production capabilities are validated it “is expected to be baseline to 777X fuselage production.”

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Comments | Topics: 777X, Boeing, Everett

July 14, 2014 at 6:35 AM

UPDATED: Airbus launches A330neo and firmly answers the looming strategic questions

On the first day of the Farnborough Air Show Monday, Airbus answered all the big strategic questions hanging over its widebody jet line-up.

As expected, the European jetmaker launched a new model of its A330 mid-size widebody jet, the A330neo. Predictably, sales chief John Leahy made confident claims that it will best Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus CEO Fabric Bregier and sales chief John Leahy talk with airplane leasing guru Steve udvar-Hazy, now launch customer for the A330neo

Airbus CEO Fabric Bregier and sales chief John Leahy talk with airplane leasing guru Steve udvar-Hazy, now launch customer for the A330neo

More surprisingly, Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier at the press conference here gave clear, firm answers to the other two outstanding strategic issues.

Airbus’s widebody jet line-up, like Boeing’s, is now firmly set.

Yes to an A330neo, with an investment of between $1.4 billion and $2.7 billion. Consequently, the similar-sized A350-800 model that wasn’t selling will fade away.

In addition, Bregier gave a definite no to any near-term re-engining of the A380 superjumbo, which Gulf carrier Emirates had requested.

And more importantly for the rivalry with Boeing, Bregier said Airbus will not launch a new larger widebody with 400+ seats to go head-to-head with the 777-9X.

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Comments | Topics: 777X, 787, A330neo

July 14, 2014 at 6:28 AM

New aerospace work here: Flight-testing the MRJ

Engines from Pratt & Whitney are mounted on MRJ’s first flight-test aircraft, shown last month in Nagoya, Japan. Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft will create a flight test center at Moses Lake for its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), bringing dozens of pilots, engineers and technicians to the Central Washington town. Grant County International Airport, an Air Force…

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July 13, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Air Show tidbits: F-35, CSeries, Russians

In other news ahead of Monday’s formal start of the Farnborough Air Show: Organizers of the Air Show said Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter won’t be appearing at the show Monday. An engine fire last month temporarily grounded the entire F-53 fleet.  “The aircraft is still awaiting US DoD clearance but we are hopeful that it…

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