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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.

Topic: 777X

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July 15, 2014 at 3:42 AM

Air Show: 777X passenger cabin to mirror 787 comfort features

Boeing rendering of 777X interior

Boeing rendering of 777X interior

The forthcoming 777X large widebody jet will have an interior cabin with the same pleasant passenger features that have been a hit on the 787 Dreamliner: large windows, less dry air, and a lower cabin altitude pressurization.

All those features were introduced with the Dreamliner and touted as an advantage of the carbon fiber composite that’s used to make the fuselage. That material is stronger and lighter than aluminum and doesn’t corrode when the surface is wet.

The 777X will have a traditional aluminum fuselage, yet it will have the same features,


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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.”


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.


Comments | Topics: 777X, 787, A330neo

July 12, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Seattle Times preview of the Farnborough Air Show 2014

From today’s Seattle Times front page:

When the Farnborough Air Show opens Monday, “The eyes of the aviation world are on Airbus,” said Richard Aboulafia.

The European jetmaker is building airplanes at record rates and has been executing its new programs brilliantly. Unlike the 787, its A350 is on schedule. And it just rolled out its first narrowbody A320neo, at least a year ahead of Boeing’s 737 MAX.

Still, in London its executives face nagging decisions about their future widebody jet strategy.


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June 16, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Paris Air Show: Boeing undecided on whether Everett will build the 787-10

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner at a media roundtable  on the eve of the Paris Air Show

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner at a media roundtable on the eve of the Paris Air Show

The 787-10, the next and largest model of Boeing’s Dreamliner jet family that is likely to launched at the Paris Air Show this week, may be assembled exclusively in South Carolina.

Boeing faces a key decision on how to manufacture the 787-10, one that will determine whether a big section of the jet can be transported to Everett.

And though Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner is expected to formally launch the plane as early as Monday, he said Sunday the  company is still weighing what to do on that decision, leaving doubt as to whether Everett will get to build the jet.

Speaking to reporters in Paris on the eve of the Air Show, Conner was asked if Boeing will be able to fly the large mid-fuselage section of the 787-10, which is built in South Carolina, to Everett.

“We’re still looking at that,” Conner responded. “We haven’t made the determination on that yet.”

If the mid-section is too big to fit inside the Dreamlifter, the purpose-built modified 747 used to fly it to Everett, then the 787-10 will have to assembled exclusively in South Carolina.

It’s an issue that has been worrying political officials in Washington state, including Alex Pietsch, head of Gov. Jay Inslee’s aerospace office.

“We’ve been very curious as to whether assembly of (the 787-10) might take place exclusively in Charleston,” said Pietsch, just ahead of a reception in Paris hosted by Washington state. “We’re hopeful it can be built in Everett along with the 787-8 and 787-9. But we recognize, we may not get all of it.”


Comments | Topics: 777X, 787-10, Conner

June 15, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Paris Air Show 2013: Boeing, Airbus head for widebody showdown

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 vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer.

The vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer. Jeff Klemann, VP 787 final assembly, is on the left.                          My photo.

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.


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