777 (today’s model) Program Update: Boeing briefing

We’re at Boeing today getting Paris Air Show briefings. The following is exempt from the embargo.

Elizabeth Lund, VP and GM (EL)

Jason Clark, Director 777 Operations (JC)

Lund:

  • 5 years ago started laying out and implementation of Lean. It was part of larger strategy of continual improvement and investment of 777. The 777 is really a huge part of the Boeing franchise and strategy. We are interested in the continual improvement of the 777 for years to come. Reliability is 99.4%, the highest of any twin aisle aircraft today.
  • There are many more investments in aircraft and production that you can’t see. In the last couple of years we’ve added connectivity to the airplane to stay connected over oceans.
  • Certified to 330 ETOPS. We’re the only twin-engined aircraft so certified. Air New Zealand is the only customer so far using 330 ETOPS.
  • You won’t see that the empty weight of the airplane is 1,000 lbs lower than three years ago instead of weight creeping up.
  • We’ve improved navigation links.
  • We’ve reduced maintenance costs. Have real-time tracking.
  • We don’t have a fixed amount of money to invest annually. We evaluate technologies that might go into 777X and implement early; customer benefit; reducing costs. Guided more by this that than by budget.

Clark:

  • In 2005-2006 we started transition to moving line, kind of a craftsman approach with >3,000 employees. We’re now at 8.3 per month, highest we’ve ever done with twin aisle airplane.
  • When we moved to current method of final assembly, out of slants to moving configuration, every year we’ve seen improvements to that system.
  • Rate up 67% in last three years from 5/mo. We at 3/mo when shifted to moving line.
  • If were to have rate flexibility the market demanded of us, we needed to look at a shift in the production system. This gives us a competitive edge.
  • Reduced OT by 38%, parts shortage by 57%, improved quality by 27%.
  • We’re looking at how to take to the next level of Lean.
  • We’re now at a third or fourth generation of automated drilling on the production floor. It allows to produce three-four times than existing technology. Used on 50 airplanes now.
  • A technology called Flex Track to drill holes reduced defects by 93% out of the box, now at 98%. Using only on 777 right now but plans to apply to 767, 747.
  • New painting technique for painting wings reduced time from 4 1/2 hours to 24 minutes. Quality control almost 100% right out of the box.
  • This is a transition of workforce from 5-6 people on paint towers to automated. The workforce is now focused on maintaining system and related roles. No layoffs occurred with this method. Transferred employees to other jobs. 60-65% unit hour reduction in production for this part of the airplane.

Lund:

  • Investment of automated spray paint method is one thing that allowed us to go from 7/mo to 8.3/mo. This investment allowed us to go to 100 deliveries a year, dramatically improving Return on Investment.

Clark:

  • We have far better control over thickness of the airplane. We now save about 70 lbs on airplane in paint because we can control the thickness to a mil.
  • We’ve had a 33% reduction in unit hours to produce the airplanes since implementation of Lean.

Lund:

  • We didn’t lay people off with Lean, we went up in rate. We hire fewer people with Lean.
  • We’re doing roughly 34 more wings a year–fewer people per wing.

Clark:

  • Wing work is much more software-based, which gives us flexibility and which enables ability to apply to 767.
  • If it takes 18-24 months to adjust rates, the market adjusts in 6-8 months, so we need to become more flexible.
  • Most importantly is overall Lean productivity.
  • What happens behind the interior is extremely stable.

Lund:

  • Everything that the customer sees needs differentiation. Other things can be baseline: Maintenance panels, crew rest areas, [etc]. We want to provide ability for customers to provide differentiation.

31 Comments on “777 (today’s model) Program Update: Boeing briefing

    • What, so they’re not allowed to brief typical things? Give the sniping a rest for once, that can’t be good for your blood pressure.

    • Well probably something should be highligthed, that is not sensitive to an embargo, to get some company news out in the press before the air show.. Especially when having to fight against all the news of pending first flight(s)

  1. These comments are the same as Airbus saying developmental improvements in the A330 have been significant as well. Evolution has caused both programs to make major strides impacting lower operating and ownership costs. The 777 and A330 are some tough nuts to crack!!

  2. solid lean improvements on the line, B is doing well here.

  3. The report about the 777 productivity increase makes me think about a past post http://wp.me/piMZI-2iE

    Boeing has only one choice: increase its efficiency and productivity.

  4. “what happens behind the interior is extremely stable”.

    or, to paraphrase W.C. Fields “Airplanes are easy; interiors are hard.”

    It’s the interior itself that drives Boeing crazy. Probably Airbus also. Seats, galleys, galley inserts, and video [IFE] are all buyer-furnished with each having their own challenges. Seat technology is changing plus airlines are updating their business and first class seating. All that has long lead times and it all has to pass 16G dynamic testing. Every time the airline moves seats around or changes the class mix the galley requirements change – more galleys, fewer galleys, different locations, plus there may be changes in galley equipment. Then there’s IFE – everyone needs the latest and greatest with more flexibility and more features and it all has to be integrated into those long-lead time 16G seats.

    By the way Mr/Ms Boeing or M/Mme Airbus we want the airplane on the original schedule agreed to before we made all these changes because we did sign up for that very large delivery stream and you wouldn’t want us to change our order would you?

  5. Problem for future technology: smoothly running production kills business case for better aircraft. See B787. From a 10-year horizon business man perspective, it was an utter failure. 20 year perspective looks far brighter, but what was the longest time a CEO sad on his chair?

  6. It was revealing, at least it was for me, that the 777 is the only twin certified for ETOPS 330, more so that only Air New Zealand uses it for that.

  7. I thought the definition of ETOPS was “Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards”. so perhaps it does apply only to twin engined aircraft. Im sure there are standards for 3 or 4 engined aircarft as well.

    • ETOPS initially only applied to twins, leaving divert, etc, for quads largely unrestricted. DOT/FAA/Etc believe that was an oversight and moved to require ETOPS qual for any airplane operating greater than 180 minutes from a diversion.

  8. Big News

    Boeing-Airbus Split $17 Billion Singapore Wide-Body Jet Purchase

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-30/singapore-air-to-order-17-billion-of-airbus-boeing-aircraft.html

    Congratulation to Boeing for having a 787-10 launch customer!

    The airline plans to order 30 more Airbus A350-900s and 30 Boeing 787-10X planes
    ……
    Airbus was granted an option for 20 additional A350-900s, which Singapore said it may convert into orders for the larger -1000.

    Congratulation too for Airbus! That’s a lot of A350s for SQ.

    • Those 787-10s will in all likelihood go to Scoot. I doubt we’ll see 787s at SQ mainline.

      70 A350-900s for SQ mainline and options for 20 more (Dash-1000s?).

    • I guess this means that the 787-10 is real? So when will SQ announce the 20 unit 777X order?

      • The 787-10 (order) is not yet for real. It has not been launched so can’t be ordered yet. It’s more of a “commitment” of some sort.
        “Boeing welcomes Singapore Airlines’ interest in the 787-10X, and we look forward to continuing discussions to satisfy their fleet requirements,” the company said by e-mail.

      • I’m not sure if SQ will order the 777X. Too tight at 10 across in Y.

  9. Perhaps you owe Keesje an apology. You are using the US definition as the “universal standard”. AFAIK, ETOPS is an acronym for ExTendedOPerationS, as redefined by the FAA in 2007, but for only US-registered passenger aircraft. After the FAA issued the new rules on ETOPS on February 15, 2007, EASA also updated their rules but only for the twins. The ICAO defines ETOPS as Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO), while EASA uses the term Long-Range OPerationS (LROPS).

    http://www.mexico.icao.int/Meetings/RASGPA/RASGPA4/Presentation1Airbus.pdf

  10. I have been following the ETOPS issues since many-many years. It is a subject that is very close to my heart as you can notice it in several posts in my blog.

    I also invite all the people here to read Mr Mohan Pandey’s book mentioned in this entry http://wp.me/siMZI-stops

    It is interesting to note that ETÙOPS would have not been as safe as it is today without Airbus’ contribution during the discussions to the final ETOPS rules published in 2007. Airbus and other organizations contributed much to the level of safety that has been achieved by ETOPS today. It would be a huge mistake if EASA issues rules that are not as stringent as the ones issued by FAA.

    Please let me close this comment by this following anecdote. Upon Airbus’ request, four engined freighters are exempted from ETOPS “However, all-cargo operations in airplanes with more than two engines of both part 121 and part 135 are exempted from the majority of this rule.”
    https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2007/01/16/07-39/extended-operations-etops-of-multi-engine-airplanes

    Guess which four engined freighter is in production today? And yes, you understand it very well, Airbus contributed to the 747-8 freighter’s success.

    • “I have been following the ETOPS issues since many-many years”

      You may very well have, but that’s not the point.

      Keesje said that ”Aircraft like the A340, 747 and A380 flying long flights don’t require any ETOPS.”

      Which is true according to EASA’s definitions of ETOPS and LROPS.

      Yet you managed to say that “some people need to read a little bit more before posting comments.” Maybe, just maybe, you should take a long, hard look in the mirror. 😉

  11. OV-099 :
    “I have been following the ETOPS issues since many-many years”
    You may very well have, but that’s not the point.
    Keesje said that ”Aircraft like the A340, 747 and A380 flying long flights don’t require any ETOPS.”
    Which is true according to EASA’s definitions of ETOPS and LROPS.
    Yet you managed to say that “some people need to read a little bit more before posting comments.” Maybe, just maybe, you should take a long, hard look in the mirror.

    They are required to fly under ETOPS rules. Someone else for obvious reasons does not want to make a distinction of naming between ETOPS for twind and for quads while the rules are almost the same. It is their problem. The issue is probably strong lobbying from some European aircraft manufacturer or just because they want to be perceived as “important”.

    It would be a mistake if EASA issues a set of rules that is not as stringent as FAA’s rules for the quads. There is not any reason to define a “less” safe rules for quads.
    If EASA defines rules that are less stringent for quads, then I would say that they does it on purpose to offer operational advantages to European airline such that they operate more quads. The LROPS push was clearly an effort to slow down FAA ETOPS works in early 2000.

    Unfortunately, the only passenger quads in production are the A380 and 747-8. Therefore in my opinion they are wasting their time. Both remaining quads are dinosaurs from the past and the won’t be many more A380 operated by European carriers.

    Very cost conscious European carriers will prefer much more cost effective A350-1000XWB that offer double digit seat-mile-cost advantage compared to the A380.

    LROPS is truly a waste of European taxpayers’ money.

    • Again, this was about your reaction to Keesje, not the issue of ETOPS being supplanted by EDTO (Extended Diversion Time Operations).

      While trying to change the topic, you somehow manage to go on an anti EASA and A380 diatribe.

      I’m a bit surprised though, that for someone who “has been following the ETOPS issues since many-many years”, is not being more up to date.

      4.7.2 Requirements for Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO).

      NB: Replaces ETOPS

      Now applies to both twins and higher. No operation on a route with two or more engines if it exceeds the threshold flying time established by the State. Diversion times for twins are calculated at ISA and still air at one engine speed for twins, and at all-engine speed for aeroplanes with more than twin engines.

      Maximum diversion times will be approved by the State of the Operator, and will consider EDTO significant aeroplane systems, which are the most limiting, and twin engine aeroplanes must be EDTO certified.

      However, operations that exceed these limits can be approved by State of the Operator with a specific safety risk assessment which ensures an equivalent level of safety.

      http://ebookbrowse.com/ifalda-report-on-the-new-icao-annex-6-fuel-edto-doc-d330891490

    • IFALDA Report on the New ICAO Annex 6 Fuel, Alternate and EDTO Operations Amendment

      By Allan Rossmore, Director, Special Projects, IFALDA

      ICAO has now published its planned changes to Fuel, Alternate and Extended Diversion Time Operations. This amendment has been incorporated in an ICAO State Letter SP 59/4.1-11/8 which was issued on June 30, 2011. Comments deadline by States were by September 30, 2011. It is expected that it will become effective by next summer. Note that there may still be some changes, but it is expected that it will remain largely in its present form. Also, please refer to the original document. This is simply a summary of what is to be expected and is not all-inclusive.

      Significant Changes.

      There are very significant changes in the way different issues are addressed. There are prescriptive requirements, but in many areas there are now performance-based alternatives available for Operators that will save fuel. Also, the ETOPS regime has changed to EDTO (Extended Diversion Time Operations), which applies to all aircraft, not just twins, but there are still specific twin requirements in certain areas.

      There are also specifics about dispatch and operational control, as well as requirements for re-evaluating alternate aerodromes before flights can proceed beyond certain threshold times.

      In addition there is now a requirement for the PIC to declare a minimum fuel state and a Mayday-fuel when the situation is at a certain point.

      From an IFALDA IATA/IOSA perspective, we will now have to make significant changes to the IOSA standards, and it will provide an opportunity to incorporate language that should make them more effective from a dispatch point of view.

      Definitions.

      ETOPS (Extended Twin Operations) is eliminated. It is replaced with EDTO (Extended Diversion Time Operations) which applies to all aircraft, not just twins.

      A number of new definitions, as follows:

      Extended diversion time operation (EDTO). Any operation by an aeroplane with two or more turbine engines where the diversion time to an en-route alternate aerodrome is greater than the threshold time established by the State of the Operator.

      EDTO critical fuel. The fuel quantity necessary to fly to an en-route alternate aerodrome considering, at the most critical point on the route, the most limiting system failure.

      <B<EDTO-significant system. An aeroplane system whose failure or degradation could adversely affect the safety of an EDTO flight, or whose continued functioning is important to the safe flight and landing of an aeroplane during an EDTO diversion.

      Isolated aerodrome. A destination aerodrome for which there is no destination alternate aerodrome suitable for a given aeroplane type.

      Maximum diversion time. Maximum allowable range, expressed in time, from a point on a route to an en-route alternate aerodrome.

      Point of no return. The last possible geographic point at which an aeroplane can proceed to the destination aerodrome as well as to an available en route alternate aerodrome for a given flight.

      Threshold time. The range, expressed in time, established by the State of the Operator to an en-route alternate aerodrome, whereby any time beyond requires an EDTO approval from the State of the Operator.

      Note that the term “suitable” alternate is being eliminated. It will simply be “alternate”.

      The term “weather conditions” is replaced by “meteorological conditions”.

      4.3.4.1. Takeoff Alternates.

      The term “distance” is replaced by “flying time”.

      For a two-engine airplane, one hour flying time with one engine inoperative, which must be calculated at the actual takeoff mass (weight) of the aircraft.(The weight requirement is new).

      For three or more engines, not more than two hours flying time, one engine inoperative, also at actual takeoff mass.

      A new provision allows for EDTO aircraft to use their approved maximum diversion time for flying time to a takeoff alternate. (ie if they have a 207 minute rule, they can use it for takeoff alternates.).

      4.3.4.3 Destination Alternates.

      Destination alternate is required unless there will be visual conditions at destination at time of intended use, or two runways with at least one instrument approach procedure, or it can be an isolated airport with no alternate for destination but must have a decision point at the point of no return which assures that conditions at destination at estimated time of use will allow a safe landing. (This is new).

      Also new is the allowance of operation to a destination airport when it is below operating minimums or when meteorological information is not available, as long as two alternate airports for the destination are specified.

      New “performance based safety risk assessments” are incorporated in the annexes to allow deviation from Annexes when an “equivalent level of safety” can be demonstrated to the State of the Operator.

      4.3.5 Meteorological Conditions

      This has a provision for VFR, but for IFR it requires that at “the time of use” (new term) for the departure aerodrome, or the aerodrome of intended landing (new term) or each alternate aerodrome will be at or above the operator’s established aerodrome operating minima.

      For alternates, it requires that the State of the Operator specify appropriate incremental values of cloud base and visibility be added to the base minima. Also, a margin of time will also have to be established for the use of an aerodrome.

      <b<4.3.6 Fuel Requirements. This is all new. The Operator must allow for deviations from planned conditions. (how this is to be done, it doesn’t say). Sufficient amount of fuel is required to complete the planned flight safely. It requires a wide variety of considerations, including operating conditions, aircraft mass, NOTAMs, meteorological conditions, air traffic services. Useable fuel to include, taxi fuel, trip fuel, contingency fuel of 5% or never lower than 5 minutes at holding speed above the destination aerodrome at 1500 feet, alternate fuel, which specifies missed approach, routing and descent, and expected approach and landing (in other words, realistic). Final reserve fuel (new term) 30 minutes at 1500 feet. Additional fuel, ie including EDTO fuel requirements when applicable. Also for depressurization and engine out requirements. Discretionary fuel – at discretion of the PIC. It also addresses points of in-flight re-planning to ensure minimum requirements for those types of operations. It also allows the requirements to be modified based on a performance based safety risk assessment equivalent level of safety model.

      4.3.7 In-Flight Fuel Management

      A totally new requirement for stringent fuel management by the PIC. Requires the PIC to ensure that the amount of useable fuel never gets less than required for proceeding to an aerodrome and still have the reserve remaining. It also has a requirement for declaring minimum fuel when any change may result in landing with less than reserve fuel. If the PIC calculates that the flight will arrive with less than reserve fuel, then it is required to declare a Mayday-fuel.

      4.7 Requirements for Operations by aeroplanes with turbine engines beyond 60 minutes to an en route aerodrome. (The previous language about 2 engine aeroplanes has been eliminated).

      Operators must ensure that from a point on a route to an en-route alternate that they provide an overall level of safety required by Annex Six by:

      Operational control and flight dispatch procedures, operating procedures and training programmes. (Note the requirement for operational control and flight dispatch procedures).

      En route alternates have to be identified and the most up to date information provided to the crew on identified en-route alternate aerodromes, including operational status and meteorological conditions. (This should be very important for dispatch).

      Special requirement for twin engine aircraft that en-route alternates must have meteorological conditions at or above the aerodrome operating minimums at estimated time of use.

      4.7.2 Requirements for Extended Diversion Time Operations (EDTO).

      NB: Replaces ETOPS

      Now applies to both twins and higher. No operation on a route with two or more engines if it exceeds the threshold flying time established by the State. Diversion times for twins are calculated at ISA and still air at one engine speed for twins, and at all-engine speed for aeroplanes with more than twin engines.

      Maximum diversion times will be approved by the State of the Operator, and will consider EDTO significant aeroplane systems, which are the most limiting, and twin engine aeroplanes must be EDTO certified.

      However, operations that exceed these limits can be approved by State of the Operator with a specific safety risk assessment which ensures an equivalent level of safety.

      4.7.2.5 Monitoring of EDTO alternates required.

      En-route alternates will have to be monitored and re-evaluated to ensure that the conditions will be above operating minima. If they do not meet requirements, than an alternate course of action would be required.

      Twin Certification for EDTO.

      Twins will still require special certification of reliability of powerplants, certification of the aeroplane type and special maintenance programs.

      Conclusion. Each Operator must look at these new requirements and determine how their operations will be effected. It is the most significant change to fuel and extended range operations in decades. Those Operators who can take advantage of safety risk assessments and equivalent level of safety provisions, should be able to operate more efficiently. There are opportunities here for flight dispatch and operational control personnel to play a key role to make the implementation of these new provisions both safe and effective.

      This type of work is one of IFALDA’s important contributions to the dispatch profession. It is important that our membership continue their support to enable this work to continue.

  12. i have traveled by PIA boeing 777 241 from peshawar to jeddah but the performance of aircraft was unsatisfactory and seats were uncomfortable as compare to A310

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.