A contract for 30 of the new 737 Max airliners placed by an undisclosed customer on Tuesday has pushed Boeing passed 2,000 orders for the new generation narrowbody. According to the U.S. airframer, the Max has reached the 2,000-order mark faster than any other Boeing aircraft. Boeing now holds 2,010 orders from 39 customers worldwide, with a collective value of $209 billion at list prices, plus commitments for more than 250 additional aircraft.
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Statistics released this week by Airbus showed that commercial aircraft bookings for 78 airplanes in April increased its net order total for the year to 142, while Boeing’s order total for the month stood at 70, raising its 2014 net total as of May 6 to 291.
Boeing likes to refer to “discipline” when it describes the approach it has taken with the 787-9, discipline in defining the firm configuration of the airplane and discipline related to the program’s engineering plan.
Calling this the year of design execution for the Boeing 737 Max, program chief Keith Leverkuhn finds himself immersed in the challenges of orchestrating the re-engined narrowbody project to support a factory production rate due to rise to 47 a month around the time the first Max 8 enters service in 2017.
Characterizing the Boeing 777X program as “stable” and the 787-9 as “lighter than projected,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of airplane development Scott Fancher issued an upbeat assessment of virtually all he surveys during press briefings at the company’s Everett, Washington, facilities on Tuesday.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney seized the chance to impress upon securities analysts on Wednesday his confidence in the company’s ability to execute a smooth transition between production of the current 777 line and the 777X around the turn of the decade. Now delivering 8.3 of its flagship widebodies a month, Boeing expects some “feathering” of production once it approaches the point at which it fully integrates the 777X, said McNerney.
Airbus has added Recaro and Sogerma passenger seats to the A350 supplier-furnished equipment catalog, which includes seats, galleys, cabin “monuments” and other items, but hopes to limit furnishing options to keep assembly lines flowing, officials said at the company’s unveiling of the airplane’s interior in Hamburg on April 7. It also emphasized increased width in the A350’s twin-aisle fuselage–thus boosting a claimed advantage over the competing Boeing 787–and confirmed that the twinjet will accommodate 10-abreast seating.
Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines plans to take advantage of more aggressive Chinese aviation reforms with the formation of a new low-cost carrier called Jiuyuan Airlines. Plans call for the new joint venture between Juneyao and three private investors to start operations in August. Privately held Juneyao holds a 69-percent stake in the new carrier, whose registered capital base totals $96 million. Based in Guangzhou, Jiuyuan translates in English to “Nine Yuan,” reflecting starting fares of $1.46.
While Asiana Airlines acknowledged the culpability of its pilots in the loss of airspeed that ultimately caused the July 6 crash of one of the carrier’s Boeing 777-200ERs on approach to San Francisco International Airport, it also blamed the design of the airplane itself, describing as “inadequate” the warning system to alert the flight crew that the autothrottle had stopped maintaining airspeed.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration recommended that Boeing address four “issues” related to manufacturing and supplier quality in a new report released on March 19. The report details the results of a joint review of the Boeing 787’s design manufacturing and assembly processes ordered after the January 2013 lithium battery fire aboard a Dreamliner parked at Boston Logan Airport. The review team also made recommendations for improved, “risk-based” FAA oversight to account for new business models.