The next five weeks should be pretty exciting for Boeing–and significant.
Last week, the company received certification of the 747-8F from the FAA.
Before the end of the month, the Board of Directors is to receive from Boeing Commercial Aircraft the details of the 737 re-engine program (we sure hope marketing comes up with something better than “NE737”)**; we actually have learned the date of the BOD meeting, but will honor Boeing’s policy of not revealing the date). At this meeting, Authority to Offer the 737RE is expected, with details of just what the airplane is to follow to customers and the public (not sure of the timing).
At that point, we’ll be able to see just how well the 737RE stacks up against the A320neo and how creative Boeing’s engineers have been in taking a 1960s-generation airframe and bringing it forward to the 21st Century.
Certification of the 787 is still expected this month.
Then beginning in September, we should see delivery of the 747-8F to launch customer Cargolux. We expect this in the first half of September. Then, in the second half, we anticipate the first delivery of the 787 to launch customer ANA.
At long last, Boeing can then start to see some incoming cash flow from the 747 and 787 programs rather than only outflow. It will be well into 2012 before substantial inflow will be realized, of course, and ramp of of 787 production still worries Wall Street. But after years of little else but negative news from the 747 and 787 programs, we look forward to Boeing Commercial Aircraft making some real progress in its airplane programs.
While we were disappointed Boeing in the end elected to proceed with the 737RE instead of a New Small Airplane, the decision allows Boeing to concentrate on the development of the 787-9 and the potential 787-10; as well as 777 enhancements.
**One of our friends on Wall Street points out that “ne” is accepted in Scrabble for “nee,” the description often associated with the maiden name of a married woman (as in Mrs. Smith, nee Jones). New name, same person, our friend noted. The inference, of course, is that the NE737 is just a new name for the same airplane. Another reason for Boeing to come up with something more creative.