WBEZ | Boeing http://www.wbez.org/tags/boeing Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Boeing's 787 has another manufacturing glitch http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-787-has-another-manufacturing-glitch-96156 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-06/5544913580_a649e9dff2.jpg.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-based Boeing is inspecting its new 787 Dreamliner airplanes after the company discovered a manufacturing flaw. It's the latest setback for the Dreamliner, which Boeing started delivering last fall, three years late.<br> <br> The latest manufacturing glitch was first reported by Jon Ostrower, editor of the web site Flightblogger. He says Boeing found three planes that had a problem in the way the skin was attached to the aircraft’s skeleton.<br> <br> Ostrower says it doesn’t pose a safety problem in the short term, but could over time.<br> <br> "As airplanes age and as they have thousands and thousands of takeoffs and landings during their lifetime, this kind of problem can be exacerbated," Ostrower said. &nbsp;<br> <br> Boeing spokesman Scott Lefeber wouldn’t say how many planes were affected, but did say that the problem occurred at the company’s South Carolina plant. He also says there’s no immediate safety issue.</p><p>"We have the issue well defined and are making progress on the repair plan," Lefeber said in an emailed statement.</p><p>Boeing delivered its first 787 to the Japanese airline ANA last September.</p></p> Mon, 06 Feb 2012 19:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-787-has-another-manufacturing-glitch-96156 Boeing aims to surpass Airbus this year http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-aims-surpass-airbus-year-95805 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-25/dreamliner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-based Boeing aims to reclaim its crown as the world’s top commercial airplane maker this year. In its epic race against European rival Airbus, Boeing has come up short since 2003, according to Bloomberg News.<br> <br> But this year, Boeing says it will deliver as many as 600 commercial planes, topping Airbus, with its forecast for 570 planes.<br> <br> For that to happen, Oppenheimer &amp; Co. analyst Yair Reiner says, Boeing needs to get better and quicker at producing its new 787 Dreamliner, the fuel-efficient, lightweight plane that was first delivered last fall after years of delays. The planemaker says it will deliver about 35 to 42 Dreamliners this year, up from three last year.<br> <br> "Can they get the 787 production cleaned up, both in terms of getting these planes out the door and doing so in an increasingly profitable way?" Reiner said.<br> <br> Boeing aims to boost production of its Dreamliner to 10 per month by the end of next year. Right now it produces 2 and a half per month.<br> <br> Boeing says profit this year will drop as much as 24 percent from last year as it copes with higher pension expenses. Spokesman Chaz Bickers said the increased pension expense stems from lower interest rates, which force the company to increase contributions to the pension fund.<br> <br> But the aerospace giant has a record backlog of planes to make. It has orders for more than 3,700 commercial airplanes – more than seven years’ worth at the current rate. Last year, Airbus delivered 534 commercial planes compared with 477 from Boeing.<br> <br> Boeing said 2011 profit rose 21 percent to $4.0 billion from $3.3 billion in 2010. Revenue climbed 7 percent to $68.7 billion, even as military and defense revenue slowed.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Jan 2012 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-aims-surpass-airbus-year-95805 Boeing's 2011 deliveries less than expected http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-2011-deliveries-less-expected-95321 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-05/dreamliner.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Boeing says it delivered 477 planes last year, a number that one analyst calls disappointing. Chicago-based Boeing delivered three fewer planes than it had forecast in October - and that October forecast was already lowered from earlier in the year.</p><p>Three aircraft may not sound like a big deal, but when planes cost tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, each one is significant. Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora says what really stood out is how few of the brand-new 787 Dreamliners Boeing delivered.</p><p>"They had three months to deliver more than two planes, and they only did two planes in the quarter, so what happened?" Dihora said.</p><p>Boeing spokesman Doug Alder says deliveries were delayed as the company worked to make some changes to the planes. But he said the company is pleased to have orders to deliver 25 more Dreamliners.</p><p>Alder says Boeing’s priority now is to make sure production of the new planes is reliable and stable.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 19:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-2011-deliveries-less-expected-95321 Labor board drops charge against Boeing http://www.wbez.org/story/labor-board-drops-charge-against-boeing-94782 <p><p>The National Labor Relations Board has dropped its challenge against Chicago-based Boeing.</p><p>Boeing's machinists in Washington state went on strike in 2005 and again in 2008.&nbsp;And when Boeing decided to set up a factory in a right-to-work state, the labor relations board accused the company of breaking a federal labor law by retaliating against its union workers.&nbsp;The NLRB has decided to officially drop that challenge, after the company and the union came to a settlement earlier this week.</p><p>The machinists approved a four-year contract extension with Boeing with a plan to build the new version of the 737 in Washington state.</p><p>The union also agreed to withdraw its charge that the company violated labor laws.</p><p>Lafe Solomon, the agency's acting general counsel, said settlement is the outcome he had always preferred. The agency&nbsp;settles about 90 percent of its cases.</p><p>Despite intense criticism of the case, Solomon says he was&nbsp;following the law and would do it again.</p><p>In a statement, Boeing maintains its stance that the complaint was without merit and that it was the company's right to make business decisions.</p></p> Fri, 09 Dec 2011 21:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/labor-board-drops-charge-against-boeing-94782 Emirates to purchase 50 in Boeing 777 sale http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-announces-sale-50-777s-emirates-94017 <p><P>DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai's fast-growing airline, Emirates, is kicking off the Mideast city's airshow with an order for 50 Boeing 777s.</P> <P>The list price for the deal is $18 billion, but airlines typically negotiate discounts for large orders. The announcement was made Sunday by Emirates chairman and CEO Sheik Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.</P> <P>Emirates is the Middle East's largest carrier. It is owned by the government of Dubai, which is recovering from a debt-fueled financial crisis that came to a head two years ago.</P> <P>The carrier is Boeing's largest customer for the wide-body 777. Its young fleet also includes Airbus A330s and A340s, and the double-decker A380.</P> <P>Boeing competitor Airbus predicted the Middle East will require some 1,920 new planes worth more than $347 billion through 2030. But Boeing thinks the potential market is even bigger: Its forecast puts Mideast demand at 2,520 planes worth $450 billion by the end of next decade.</P> <P>Monday Boeing said that Oman Air has ordered six 787-8 planes, although that won't translate into additional business for Boeing because Oman Air is taking over orders previously placed by another firm.</P> <P>Dr. Joe Schwieterman is an airline expert expert at Depaul University.&nbsp;&nbsp;He said Boeing’s new order shows that it has a real leg up on its European rival, Airbus.</P> <P>"We are hoping &nbsp;this is a sign that the general aircraft market is going to really pick up. You know fuel prices are down a bit so Boeing’s opting for a bit of the older technology with the 777 the sort of the high tech 787 this selling quiet as fast right now," Schwieterman said.</P></p> Mon, 14 Nov 2011 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-announces-sale-50-777s-emirates-94017 Boeing to build more space crafts http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-build-more-space-crafts-93639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-31/AP Photo NASA, File.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-based Boeing announced new plans on Monday to build space shuttles for people and cargo. Boeing will build reusable capsules that can take up to seven people into space.</p><p>Ever since NASA's space shuttle program ended, the U.S. has been relying on Russia to get to the International Space Station. Boeing's new program is expected to provide another way to get there.</p><p>Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora said Boeing's space technology accounts for about 13 percent of the company's sales this year.</p><p>"With the space shuttle shut down, they were going to see some exits or decreases in revenue and this actually helps them over a longer time frame," Dihora said. "But it's not really that big of a material difference for the entire company as a whole."</p><p>Boeing will lease a former shuttle hangar at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.</p><p>The project is expected to create more than 500 jobs by 2015. More than 4,000 space-related jobs have been lost in the Cape Canaveral area.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 17:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-build-more-space-crafts-93639 Boeing 787 makes first flight http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-787-makes-first-flight-93491 <p><p>ABOARD ANA FLIGHT 7871 — Boeing's much-anticipated 787 carried its first passengers Wednesday on a four-hour, 8-minute flight filled with cheers, picture-taking and swapping of aviation stories.</p><p>The new long-haul jet aims to change the way passengers think about flying with larger windows, improved lighting and air pressure and humidity that more closely resembles that on the ground.</p><p>It's not the fastest jet or the largest jet, but the plane built by Chicago-based Boeing Co. is made of lightweight materials that promise to dramatically improve fuel efficiency. The first flight, from Tokyo to Hong Kong, was filled with 240 aviation reporters and enthusiasts — some of whom paid thousands of dollars for the privilege.</p><p>"It's silly, but it's a little piece of history. New cars come out all the time but how often do new planes come out?" said Stephanie Wood. She and her husband Dean, of Davie, Fla., won a charity auction, paying nearly $18,700 for two business-class seats. Another passenger paid $32,000.</p><p>The most noticeable feature of the plane is its windows, which are 30 percent larger than those on older jets. Passengers no longer need to hunch forward to see the ground. Those in the middle of the plane can even glance out part of the windows. The shades are replaced with a glare-reducing, electrical dimming system that adds tint to the window within 30 seconds.</p><p>"The windows are absolutely amazing. You're not confined. You've got the outside inside," Wood said.</p><p>The $193.5 million plane's debut was delayed more than three years because of manufacturing problems. But that didn't bother the fans who broke out in applause at every opportunity.</p><p>The highlight for many was a rainbow-colored light show that transformed the sedate white interior into something closer to the Las Vegas strip.</p><p>Many of the 106 enthusiasts on board the flight by Japan's All Nippon Airways were carrying memorabilia from past inaugural flights and snapping photos of everything from the overhead bins to the bathroom with a window and bidet.</p><p>Thomas Lee of Los Angeles handed out his own press release and biography. There was his first inaugural flight — the Boeing 747 as a 17-year-old boy in 1970 — and then the Airbus A380 four years ago.</p><p>"I'm not crazy," he said. "For an aviation enthusiast, this is as high as it gets. It's like going to a movie on opening day."</p><p>He and the rest of the coach passengers paid the apt sum of 78,700 yen, about $1,035, to be part of the inaugural flight.</p><p>The 787 has been sold by Boeing as a "game changer," promising to revolutionize air travel just as its 707 did by allowing nonstop trans-Atlantic service and the 747 did by ushering in an age of mass travel.</p><p>The 787 is designed to connect cities that might otherwise not have nonstop flights. Planes like the Boeing 747 and 777 and the Airbus A380 can fly most long-haul routes but finding enough daily passengers to fill the massive jets is a challenge. The A380 typically has 525 passengers but can hold up to 853.</p><p>The 787 only carries 210 to 250 passengers. That means it can fly nonstop routes that larger planes can't profitably support like San Francisco to Manchester, England or Boston to Athens, Greece.</p><p>"It's going to be a hub-avoiding machine," said Ernie Arvai, partner with aviation consulting firm AirInsight. "You'd pay extra not to go to (London's) Heathrow."</p><p>Connecting such smaller cities is the "holy grail" of air travel, said Richard Aboulafia, analyst with the Teal Group. That's why the plane is the fastest-selling new jet in aviation history. There were 821 orders for the 787 before its first flight, although 24 were recently canceled by China Eastern Airlines because of delays. Now, the industry is waiting to see if the plane meets Boeing's 20 percent fuel-savings claims.</p><p>"If it performs as promised, it's the iPod of the aircraft world. If it doesn't, it's just another CD player," Aboulafia said.</p><p>ANA is the first airline to fly the plane and expects to have seven of them by the end of the year. United Continental Holdings Inc. will be the first U.S. carrier to fly the 787, sometime in the second half of 2012. It's planning to use the plane between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand.</p><p>There will probably be a short period when United — which ordered 50 of the jets — uses its first 787 on domestic or short trans-Atlantic flights. To make the Auckland route work, it will need a second 787 flying in the other direction.</p><p>For passengers, the changes start with boarding. They enter into a wide-open area with sweeping arches. Eyes instinctively move up. There's an impression of more space. Claustrophobia is reduced just a bit, even if seats are as cramped as ever.</p><p>Another physiological trick: lights gradually change color during long flights to reduce jet lag.</p><p>But the biggest changes come thanks to the stronger composite shell, which is less susceptible to corrosion than aluminum. Air won't be as dry, with humidity doubled to 16 percent. The cabin will be pressurized at the equivalent of 6,000 feet — 2,000 less than most planes. That should lead to fewer headaches and leave passengers with more energy during long trips. A number of passengers said Wednesday's flight was too short to notice any improvement.</p><p>Other changes for passengers include:</p><p>— The largest overhead bins ever. They are designed at an angle to make the cabin feel significantly larger. Boeing says there's enough room overhead for every passenger to have one carry-on bag; however, the only way that seemed feasible was with identically rectangle bags, stacked in the optimal order.</p><p>— Less noise. New engines with a wave pattern around the exhaust reduce interior and exterior noise, although Boeing won't say by how much. Since the plane is lighter, additional sound and vibration padding can be added. Wednesday's flight appeared quieter, but a handheld sound meter registered noise levels similar to Boeing's 777.</p><p>— Later models will have a turbulence dampening system. Accelerometers in the nose register a sudden drop. A signal is sent in nano seconds via fiber-optic cables to the wings. Adjustments are made and what would have been a 9-foot drop is cut to 3 feet.</p><p>Most passengers don't know the make or model of their plane, unless they read the safety instruction card. The 787's interior is likely to change that. Even those who don't fly it, are likely to notice.</p><p>Hundreds of employees at Hong Kong airport stopped working to watch — and take photos — of Wednesday's arrival.</p><p>"We're celebrities," said passenger Lee Simonetta of Atlanta. "We ought to just taxi around for an hour."</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 13:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-787-makes-first-flight-93491 Mayor Emanuel schedules Monday meeting with airline CEOs http://www.wbez.org/story/mayor-emanuel-schedules-monday-meeting-airline-ceos-92711 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to meet with some airline executives on Monday.</p><p>The mayor says he wants to discuss potential improvements to the city workforce and infrastructure that could help Chicago build its airline industry.</p><p>"We [the city] have all the basic assets," said the mayor in a press conference on Friday. "We have to think through and constantly ask questions, because I don't want to just sit on the lead, I want to expand it."</p><p>The mayor says he invited all major airline CEOs to the meeting.</p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 22:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/mayor-emanuel-schedules-monday-meeting-airline-ceos-92711 Boeing's long-awaited Dreamliner boosts Rockford economy http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-long-awaited-dreamliner-boosts-rockford-economy-92475 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/boeing 787 pic.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Boeing’s first 787 Dreamliner jet is flying to Japan today to begin commercial service. That’s good news for Chicago-based Boeing, but also for a growing aerospace industry based in Rockford, Illinois.</p><p>Rockford’s unemployment rate is 13 percent, but if those people out of work knew how to make airplane parts, they might be able to find a job.</p><p>Take Kaney Aerospace, for example. President Ron Soave says the company plans to hire 20 to 50 people in the next three years, mostly engineers. Kaney tests the electrical systems for the plane.</p><p>There’s a whole industry in Rockford depending on the Dreamliner.&nbsp; Hamilton Sundstrand has a $50 million testing lab for the plane there.</p><p>Soave of Kaney Aerospace says now that production is ramping up, Rockford’s economy could benefit.</p><p>"People are realizing how important it is to get that message out as a community to attract bright engineers and bring high-paying jobs to the area," Soave said.</p><p>And as people in Seattle and Chicago pop champagne corks, folks in Rockford are also watching the first Dreamliner with pride. Soave says they're planning a celebratory dinner tonight to mark the occasion.</p><p>"It’s definitely a milestone worth celebrating," Soave said.</p></p> Tue, 27 Sep 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeings-long-awaited-dreamliner-boosts-rockford-economy-92475 Boeing to deliver first 787 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-deliver-first-787-92459 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/AP110925063015(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-26/AP110925063015%282%29.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 190px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="The second Boeing Co. 787 to be delivered to All Nippon Airways outside the assembly plant in Everett, Wash. on Sunday. (AP/John Froschauer)">The first customer for Boeing’s new 787 is scheduled to fly away with the plane on Tuesday. It's a long-awaited milestone for Boeing after three years of delays for the all-new model.</p><p>All Nippon Airways signed delivery documents on Sunday, and Boeing planned to hold a delivery ceremony Monday. The airline plans to put the plane into service in November in Japan.</p><p>Boeing dreamed up the plane about a decade ago. They wanted something that could save on fuel – 20 percent – and go really far.&nbsp;</p><p>Boeing says a high-tech plastic fuselage makes the long-range wide-body airplane lighter than planes it will replace, saving fuel. It promises passengers more comfort with features such as bigger windows and larger luggage bins.</p><p>Morningstar analyst Neal Dihora says airlines are excited to have a medium-sized plane that can fly longer, direct routes instead of having to stop to gas up.</p><p>"That’s really the dream of the Dreamliner is that we can go from point to point, because I don’t think passengers really want to do hub and spoke," Dihora said. "Customers don’t want to sit around and save $20 or $50 and take six different connections."</p><p>Chicago-based Boeing has been locked in an international competition with its European rival, Airbus.&nbsp; Airbus' A350 model is designed to compete with the Dreamliner.&nbsp; The company expects the A350 to enter commercial service in 2013.</p><p>Boeing’s gotten 821 orders for the plane so far. But the company has sunk so much money into developing the Dreamliner that Dihora thinks it won’t be until 2015 that the plane starts to generate profits.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 14:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/boeing-deliver-first-787-92459