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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: A350

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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 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

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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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 777X, 787-10, A350

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