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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: 787

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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 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 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Ahead of Farnborough, Boeing touts progress in 787 Dreamliner production

Ahead of the Air Show, Boeing sought to demonstrate that its widebody jet plant in Everett is firing on all cylinders.

Last Tuesday, Pat Shanahan, Boeing senior vice president in charge of airplane programs, gave photographer Mike Siegel and me a guided tour of the 787 assembly lines in Everett.

Shanahan described remarkable progress in Dreamliner production since the years of problems and delays when, he said, “We were really struggling to get out of the ditch.”

A Machinist screws fasteners onto the underside of a Dreamliner 787 wing at the 787 final assembly factory in Everett. Photo: Mike Siegel

A Machinist screws fasteners onto the underside of a Dreamliner 787 wing at the 787 final assembly factory in Everett. Photo: Mike Siegel

He also cited specific improvement this year in the work coming to Everett out of South Carolina.

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Comments | More in 787, Boeing, Farnborough Air Show 2014, Washington state | Topics: 787, Boeing, Charleston

June 14, 2013 at 2:01 AM

En route to France for the 50th Paris Air Show

I’m writing this in advance of leaving Seattle Thursday for Paris to cover the 50th Paris Air Show, the world’s oldest and largest aviation show.

Highlights this year are expected to include Boeing’s launch of its largest Dreamliner model, the 787-10, and a possible fly-by of Airbus’s all-new, all-composite twinjet, the A350.

50th Paris Air Show logoI’ll use this blog to deliver the news daily, starting in earnest on Sunday, the eve of the Show. That day, I’ll participate in a media roundtable in central Paris with Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner, then later attend a reception hosted by Washington state to attract aerospace business.

I’ve written two stories ahead of time, based on pre-Paris briefings and tours at Boeing. Sunday’s paper will have a preview of what’s ahead. But first, Friday’s paper delivers good news from Renton:

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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 737 MAX, 787, A350