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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: Airbus

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July 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Behind the scenes at Farnborough, Boeing lobbies to save the Ex-Im Bank

Tim Keating, Boeing’s chief political operator in the halls of Congress, this week is frequenting the company chalet at the Farnborough Air Show and the related aviation industry dinners and receptions in central London.

He’s offering reassurance to Boeing’s foreign airline customers, some of whom are worried that the controversy in Congress around the Export-Import Bank could end the financing they need to buy jets. And he’s hosting the many U.S. political delegations here as part of Boeing’s intense lobbying effort to save the bank, whose authority to operate expires in September.

Tim Keating, Boeing senior vice president of Government Operations  (company photo)

Tim Keating, Boeing senior vice president of Government Operations (company photo)

In an interview at the Air Show, Keating sharply blamed the Tea Party movement within the Republican party for the current impasse.

His message to the visiting U.S. politicians is to listen to their own stump speeches, where a constant refrain is: “We want to grow jobs in the U.S. We want to grow manufacturing in the U.S.”

“We are what America should be: manufactured here and sold overseas,” Keating said of Boeing.

He warned that killing the Ex-Im Bank “is a policy that would actually punish companies that choose to build in the United States.”

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Comments | Topics: Airbus, Boeing, Export-Import Bank

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

July 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Farnborough 2014: Boeing chief talks A330neo, Ex-Im Bank and a new MAX

On the eve of the Farnborough Air Show in London, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner announced a new high-density version of the forthcoming 737 MAX family, something long requested by leading 737 customer Ryanair.

He also talked down the threat from the expected announcement by Airbus Monday that it will launch an update of its A330 mid-size twinjet with new fuel-efficient engines.

And Conner flatly rejected any compromise in the current political controversy over the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

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Comments | Topics: 737 MAX, A330neo, Airbus

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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July 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

To London for the Farnborough Air Show

I’m writing this in advance of leaving Seattle Thursday to cover the Farnborough Air Show. FIA 2014 logoIt’ll publish just about the time I arrive in London. Ten years ago I went to Farnborough for the first time. This will be my eleventh European Air Show for the Seattle Times.

I’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 London with Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner. I’ll go from there to a reception hosted by Washington state to attract aerospace business.

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