Boeing considers 40/mo for 737 rate; Airbus ups A320 to 40

Update, July 30: Airbus announced today it will increase the production rate on its A320 family to 40 per month.

Original Post:

Boeing is considering going to a production rate of 40 737s per month, with a decision to come in September.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh gave us this number during our interview with him at the Farnborough Air Show.

The company is working with its supply chain to determine if and when this can be achieved.

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Boeing wide-open on 777 future: Albaugh

Update, Aug. 1: Dominic Gates  of The Seattle Times has a long article with the views on the 777 successor from Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates Airlines–which operates more 777s than any other airlines.

Original Post:

Boeing has a wide-open mind about how to meet the competition coming from the Airbus 350-1000 to its 777-300ER, says Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The possibilities include and entirely new aircraft; re-winging the -300ER; putting new engines on; and putting a composite fuselage on the airplane.

The latter point is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. Reskinning the 777 would be a massive undertaking and essentially amount to an entirely new airplane.

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Farnborough: Odds and Ends

Best One-Liner:

Airbus’ John Leahy is famous for his witty one-liners, but the best one at the show goes to Boeing’s Randy Tinseth. As we were waiting for the Boeing press briefing to begin on Day 1, we remarked how dirty the Airbus A380 test plane was. A regular at air shows, the plane was parked right outside the media center. It clearly hadn’t been scrubbed down for looks, with dirt streaks all over the fuselage. The logos of the A380 customers at the front of the airplane were equally covered in dirt. It stood in sharp contrast to the new Boeing 787 parked just yards away from the A380, in its shiney white paint.

Said Tinseth, virtually giggling: “They don’t wash it because they’re afraid one of the logos will come off,” suggesting a cancellation. “And you can quote me on that.”

We told the story to one of Airbus’ top PR people, who grudgenly acknowleged it was a great line. No slouch himself, he retorted the 787 was so clean because it hasn’t flown much.

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For all practical purposes for commercial aviation geeks, the air show is over. Even John Leahy left.

There was one significant order today, from Virgin America for 40+20 Airbus A320s with options to convert to A321 and to use sharklets.

Boeing announced a minor order swap involving three airplanes. Bombardier didn’t announce any CSeries orders, but then, we knew by July 12 this was unlikely.

Below are the orders through Day 4, minus a couple of minor ones due after we left the field to wrap up our reporting before going home. Over the course of the next week or so, we’ll pick write some additional stuff.

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Note: We have updated the Tuesday posting at the end of that column.

Update, 8:00 PM BST: Day 3 orders are now included toward the end of this post.

Another day, another set of aircraft orders are expected. From the buzz, it sounds like this could a Boeing day.

But the speculation continues hot-and-heavy about the failure of Bombardier to announce an order from Qatar. As many news stories report, Qatar’s Abkar Al Baker said there is an issue with Pratt & Whitney yet to be resolved and, from our discussions, we know there is and have a general idea what it’s about.

Alas, we were told off the record (damn!) and cannot share it here.

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Tanker face off at Farnborough

Boeing and EADS held tanker briefings this week–Monday for Boeing, Tuesday for EADS.

Boeing offered up top program officials while EADS offered up two American crewmen from its test flight program, a pilot and a boom operator. Boeing’s briefing was a standard presentation followed by Q&A; most of the briefing was taken up by the formal presentation.

EADS was an interactive briefing with reporters after a few brief remarks, with nearly the entire session devoted to Q&A.

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Updated, Wednesday 05:00 BST

We’ve updated this posting after all the text with orders completed through Day 2,

Original Post:

Tuesday will be another day where orders are expected to be announced. See our Monday posting, updated at 4pm for this information.

Pratt & Whitney

We will be attending a breakfast hosted by Pratt & Whitney; perhaps we can get some information about the issues Qatar reports in connection with its potential CSeries order. Or perhaps not. OEMs are loath to talk about customers. But we shall see.

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Updates throughout the post, 415PM BST.

Here is a look ahead for Monday at the Farnborough Air Show and what might be expected for news and orders in the coming week. We’ll update this post at the end of the day.


John Leahy on Saturday predicted at least 130 orders will be announced this week. Boeing thinks that if Leahy is predicting 130, he’s got a lot more up his sleeve. Leahy also predicted orders from leasing companies, signaling improving economies. See individual companies below.

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The Boeing 787 arrived today at the Farnborough Air Show, a day before the event actually begins.

The plane, #3–the so-called “interior airplane” equipped with an interior that is more suitable for testing operations than representative of the actual 787 customer interior–arrived at 9 am UK time, after a 9 hour flight from Paine Field at Everett (WA). At least 100 people lined Farnborough Road adjacent the airport with binoculars and telephoto cameras to watch the landing.

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We’re at the Farnborough Air Show and on Saturday attended the day-long EADS media briefings. We filed reports exclusively for KIRO TV (CBS) in Seattle. These stories are:

  • Airbus predicts 130+ orders at the air show;
  • Leahy says Airbus has to get current programs right before proceding with decision whether to re-engine the A320 family; decision due in 4th quarter;
  • Boeing Defense facing growing competition from EADS;
  • EADS sees “fair and open” competition for KC-X;
  • EADS chief raps “unfair” WTO.

These stories are below the jump.

Separately, word leaked from Farnborough that Boeing will get an order fo 20 777s, but this is a swap from the failing DAE Capital of Dubai. Here is this story.

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