Farnborough. From a three-and-a-half build rate per month currently to five-and-a-half by end 2012, and to 10 by end 2013, the new incumbent at the helm of affairs at Boeing Commercial Aircraft proudly said that the 787 Dreamliner will be a game changing aircraft for the times to come.
Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, also added that the company is hitting its stride on performance and making significant progress on new airplane programs. He indicated that Boeing will not rush into decisions about the prospective launch of the new 777X and 787-10X airliners.
Commenting on the status of Indian procurement of Dreamliners, he said that the aircraft are ready and Boeing can deliver them whenever Air India wants to take them. There are no tentative dates though.
South Korea’s first 787 is ready for delivery. Globally 13 Dreamliners had been delivered to date. The aircraft’s production rate is steadily being increased.
As for the new 737 MAX, which will be the most fuel-efficient airplane in its segment with the lowest operating costs, its first flight is scheduled in 2016 and the first delivery in 2017.
“We have time to make the right decisions when it comes to improving the 777 family, thanks to our strong market position,” said Conner.
“Meanwhile, the 787-10X will extend and complement the 787 family and be the best in its class. We are absolutely committed to both of these airplanes.”
Throwing light on the proposed 787-10X development, Conner informed that it will get a green light only when and if Boeing feels we have the right airplane. For engine selection, the company is in discussions with Rolls-Royce for a Trent turbofan derivative.
Even as airlines focus on profitability and risks, large and growing markets, economic uncertainty, complex geological landscape, Boeing Commercial has announced a robust backlog and increasing production rates. There is a backlog of 4000 aircraft worth $ 308 billion.
Boeing is hopeful of increasing the production rate by 30 percent in the next three years.
Boeing released the 2012 Pilot and Technician Outlook which indicated that by 2031, the world will require 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians. “In many regions of the world, our customers are facing challenges in recruiting personnel due to pilot and technician shortages,” said Sherry Carbary, vice president, Boeing Flight Services.
“Meeting this exponential demand requires increased reliance on new, digital technology such as online and mobile computing. Boeing is expanding its training technologies and the reach of our partnerships and working to develop a global flight school network to better supply aviation talent for the future,” he said.
Boeing clinched the first big deal of this year’s Farnborough Air Show with a firm order from Air Lease Corp. for 75 of its redesigned 737 aircraft worth $7.2 billion.
“They are an ideal partner to help establish the 737 MAX in the leasing market,” said Conner.
The Kuwaiti aircraft leasing company ALAFCO has also committed to buy 20 of the future single-aisle 737 MAX planes worth a combined $1.9 billion.
Boeing informed that there was a commitment by GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of GE, to purchase 75 737 MAX 8s and 25 Next-Generation 737-800s. Boeing is now working with GECAS to finalize the details of the agreement. “GECAS is a leader in the airplane leasing and financing industry with a successful track record of placing 737 with airlines worldwide,” Conner observed, adding: “The GECAS leadership team understands the importance of having advanced, fuel-efficient airplanes to meet their customers’ needs. This commitment confirms the value of the 737 MAX in today’s competitive marketplace.”
Korean Air Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range), featuring Boeing’s Sky Interior was on display at the show.
“We are proud to partner with industry-leading Korean Air to show off their 737-900ER here at the 2012 Farnborough International Air Show,” said Beverly Wyse, vice present and general manager of the 737 program,
“Boeing takes great pride in knowing Korean Air is using the Sky Interior to deliver a more comfortable travel experience for its customers. The 737 Boeing Sky Interior is helping airlines like Korean Air to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Passengers instantly see and feel the difference,” Wyse said.
Korean Air currently operates four 737-900ERs as well as a combination of 34 737-800s and -900s in its single-aisle fleet. The airline’s fleet consists of 87 Boeing commercial jetliners.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was joined by Ray Connor to witness the global debut of the airline’s new Dreamliner in Qatar Airways’ colours marking a significant milestone for the manufacturer’s 787 Middle East launch customer, which will take delivery of five 787s during 2012.
Connor stated that Asia-Pacific is the major growth region and Boeing is totally focused and committed to its expansion in the region.
© India Strategic