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Old News – “Boeing CEO Jim McNerney apologized Friday in a company-wide message for telling analysts this week that he won’t retire after turning 65 next month because “the heart will still be beating, the employees will still be cowering.” Despite having reached the company’s customary retirement age, analysts say, McNerney has privately expressed his wish to remain at the helm until Boeing’s 100th anniversary in 2016.”

New News – “Boeing Co. said Chief Executive Jim McNerney will step aside next week after a tumultuous decade at the aerospace giant and hand over the top job to one of his lieutenants. Mr. Muilenburg’s appointment also returns an engineer to the company’s top management position. Mr. Muilenburg holds a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. The outgoing Mr. McNerney was often criticized for not having a classical technical background when running the aerospace giant. Mr. McNerney holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a master’s of business administration form Harvard University. Tuesday’s appointment, however, came sooner than many analysts had expected. Boeing fell 1 percent to $143.01 at 4:59 p.m. in New York in extended trading.”

Newest News –  “Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said that Boeing’s “toxic labor relations” are worse now than any he’s seen in 26 years in the industry. And he’s concerned about “an erosion of Boeing’s core capabilities” if Puget Sound-area engineers leave the company when it transfers work to new design centers around the country. “This is an engineering company. That’s been forgotten,” said Aboulafia. “A ruthless focus on cost is not a very good long-term vision for an engineering company.”

The SITA Airline IT Trends Survey is available now. The connected passenger is a reality. But are airlines focused on the best areas to meet their demands? This year’s Airline IT Trends Survey focuses on the key needs of the connected passenger and outlines how airline IT deployments fit with the latest passenger trends.
The survey provides key insights into how airlines are making life easier by:

• Enabling a wider range of passenger choice through personalization
• Easing passenger anxiety at journey pinch points
• Keeping passengers up to date with the latest information
• Empowering staff with mobile devices

For the first time the survey asks airlines about their intentions for the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s still early days, but the IoT is fast becoming a reality and airlines are already planning for the dawn of this game-changing technology across the Air Transport Industry.

You can get it here

Looking for the good article on the Paris Air Show about Airbus/Boeing? Look no further

Today, Global Eagle sent out the following press release… but we had a few questions: Global Eagle Entertainment and flydubai Sign Groundbreaking Agreement to Deploy Fully-Integrated Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFE&C) System

Los Angeles, CA | June 23, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (“GEE”) (Nasdaq:ENT), a market-leading media and connectivity provider to the travel industry, today announced that it will equip Dubai-based airline flydubai’s current and future fleet of Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft with GEE’s broadband AIRCONNECT satellite connectivity system. The comprehensive agreement provides flydubai with a unique offering and technical capabilities that will continue to differentiate the airline from its peers. The deployment on flydubai will be the industry’s first to provide a bundled solution of inflight connectivity, in-seat IFE content and a provision for operations data, all from a single provider.  GEE will also introduce a new capability, which updates the media content on the in-seat IFE system already in place on flydubai aircraft via the AIRCONNECT connectivity system. This is expected to be the industry’s first use of broadband connectivity to routinely update the media content on embedded IFE systems. flydubai is already a GEE customer for inflight media content, and this new agreement greatly expands the relationship between the two companies.  GEE’s integrated IFE&C solution will offer wifi-enabled internet connectivity, an extensive library of stored content, such as local and international movies and TV shows, and other media delivered to passenger’s handheld devices. GEE will support the generation of ancillary revenue through the sale of advertising and sponsorships, and will manage billing and payment processing. “This is a ground-breaking opportunity for both companies and will provide flydubai with the industry’s broadest and most integrated inflight entertainment and connectivity solution.  GEE is excited to partner with one of the world’s most innovative airlines,” commented Dave Davis, CEO of GEE. “We’re eager to help flydubai further enhance its award-winning IFE&C strategy.” “GEE’s solution, which we are deploying across our fleet, will bring a new level of connectivity to our passengers,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai. “With an integrated inflight entertainment, connectivity and digital media system, we are able to provide the highest standards and latest innovations of inflight services to our passengers and enhance their onboard experience.” So here are our our IFExpress questions:

  • Does every flydubai 737 (existing and future) get equipped with GEE’s AIRCONNECT (Row 44’s satellite connectivity)?
  • They are calling it “a bundled solution of inflight connectivity, in-seat IFE content and a provision for operations data, all from a single provider.” (what about Lumexis?)
  • Will flydubai use AIRCONNECT to routinely update the media content on the embedded IFE system? (Remember the size of media loads, isn’t that going to be expensive?)
  • GEE’s integrated IFE&C solution includes Wi-Fi-enabled internet connectivity and an extensive library of stored content, such as local and international movies and TV shows, and other media delivered to passenger’s handheld devices… isn’t that going to be expensive as well?
  • GEE is going to help flydubai generate revenue via sales of ads, sponsorships — who also will manage billing and payment?

If we get some answers, we will keep you posted.

SITA OnAir’s Tracker just announced 3 new carriers – Singapore, Royal Brunei, and Norwegian Air Shuttle  – Read about it here

Now Available: TripCase Apple Watch Travel App.  With the TripCase Apple Watch travel app, you’ll be able to see your upcoming trip items on your wrist.  You can use handoff to easily open the TripCase app on your iPhone, use their convenient “Remember This Place” feature, or even immediately access the new TripTime widget, right on your watch. You can also view a map of your destination, and they’ve hidden a few other great features in the experience for you to discover, as well. The TripCase Apple Watch travel app now includes Glance support! To access, simply swipe to the Glances section on your watch and you’ll be able to see information about your next upcoming trip item. Tap the watch to load the full TripCase Apple Watch app to view more details about your trip.

And don’t worry – you’ll also continue to receive the real-time travel notifications that you already expect on your iPhone, delivered straight to your Apple Watch.

… Of course, you do have an Apple Watch right?!

– McNerney remains board chairman; Muilenburg joins board
– Conner continues as vice chairman
– Succession rigor, timeline to aid smooth transition

Chicago, IL | June 23, 2015– The Boeing board of directors has elected Dennis A. Muilenburg the company’s 10th chief executive, succeeding W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr., who held the position for the past 10 years. Muilenburg, who has served as Boeing president and chief operating officer since 2013, becomes president and CEO on July 1.

McNerney, who joined Boeing’s board of directors in 2001, continues as its chairman. To ensure a smooth transition of his CEO responsibilities to Muilenburg, he will continue working as a company employee until retiring at the end of February 2016, and continue advocating on issues important to Boeing’s U.S. and global customers, partners and stakeholders, including ongoing Washington, D.C., engagement. Kenneth M. Duberstein, Boeing’s independent lead director, continues in that capacity, and Muilenburg has been elected a member of the board.

“Dennis is an extremely capable, experienced and respected leader with an immense passion for our company, our people, and our products and services,” said McNerney, who made priorities of succession planning and leadership development at the outset of his tenure. “As CEO, Dennis will bring a rich combination of management skills, customer focus, business and engineering acumen, a can-do spirit and the will to win. With a deep appreciation of our past accomplishments, and the energy and skill to drive those to come, he is well suited to lead our very talented Boeing team into its second century,” he added.

Muilenburg, 51, is a 30-year company veteran. Along with Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Raymond L. Conner, he also has served since 2013 as company vice chairman. Conner, 60, remains in charge of the $60 billion Commercial Airplanes unit and will serve as sole company vice chairman, where he will continue working closely with Muilenburg on key corporate processes and integrating cross-enterprise strategies and efficiencies.

“The opportunity to lead the people of Boeing in service to our commercial and government customers is a tremendous honor and responsibility,” said Muilenburg. “Our company is financially strong and well positioned in our markets. As we continue to drive the benefits of integrating our enterprise skills, capabilities and experience – what we call operating as ‘One Boeing’ – we will find new and better ways to engage and inspire employees, deliver innovation that drives customer success, and produce results to fuel future growth and prosperity for all our stakeholders.”

On behalf of the company’s board of directors, Duberstein saluted both Muilenburg and McNerney. “We have high confidence in Dennis, who has distinguished his career by taking on tough challenges and delivering results,” said Duberstein. “In a decade as CEO, Jim restored the vitality, focus and reputation of a storied American company, and we thank him for his extraordinary leadership and congratulate him on his success,” he said.

McNerney, 65, was elected Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer in 2005. During his tenure, the company recaptured the global lead in commercial airplane deliveries with steady increases in production and a comprehensive update of its product line; maintained a strong position in defense markets despite a downturn in U.S. military spending; restored Boeing’s historic leadership in human spaceflight with major new program wins; and expanded its engineering and manufacturing footprint inside and outside the United States.

Also, with a relentless focus on internal productivity to fund investments in innovation and growth, Boeing’s financial performance steadily improved under McNerney, with revenue rising 73 percent to a record $90.8 billion last year from $52.5 billion in 2004, the year before he became CEO. Backlog and earnings per share tripled over the period, also to record levels.

In his most recent role, Muilenburg shared with McNerney oversight of day-to-day business operations with a focus on the company’s growth and productivity initiatives, key customer relationships and leadership-development programs. Prior to that he served since 2009 as president and CEO of Boeing Defense Space & Security, the company’s $31 billion, 53,000-person business unit headquartered in St. Louis. Previously, he was president of the unit’s Global Services & Support business, and before that, he led Boeing’s Combat Systems division.

Muilenburg joined Boeing’s engineering ranks as an intern in Seattle in 1985. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. He held numerous program management and engineering positions of increasing responsibility early in his career, including on the company’s High Speed Civil Transport, F-22, Airborne Laser and Condor reconnaissance aircraft.

Chicago, IL | January 8, 2015– Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney released the following statement today:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Bill Boeing, Jr.

“Bill’s impact on the social and economic development of the Puget Sound has greatly benefited generations in the community.

“We are especially grateful for his efforts to preserve our largest home community’s history of aerospace innovation by helping secure and renew the legendary Red Barn, our first factory, a special place that he visited as a boy. Then, as a leading light in the creation and expansion of the Museum of Flight, he helped showcase our heritage and inspire generations to join in and further advance the science and business of aerospace.

“As a successful businessman and a model for citizenship, Bill positively shaped the region around Seattle, not least through his family support for the Seattle Children’s Hospital, and all the while sharing his passion for education and history wherever he could.

“Bill continued his family’s great heritage with grace, energy and goodwill. As we cherish his memory, we will also continue to see his works through the institutions he left us and the people who were helped and inspired by his leadership.”

As we all expected, Airbus pulled out a new plane solution to the B787 “problem” at Farnborough,  and announced that the company is launching the A330neo. It will provide 14% fuel savings per seat and first delivery is expected within 42 months (end of 2017).  The A330neo will not only have new engines, but a larger wingspan. Over-all weight reduction will be at least 800 kg. Kiran Rao, Airbus Executive Vice President, Strategy and Marketing said that the passengers will be the big winners alongside the airlines as they will see a “new look” and an even more comfortable cabin on the A330neo. He said: “Today we are announcing the A330neo. The A330neo is, of course, taken from the A330. The A330 has been one of our most successful aircraft in the Airbus wide-body family. We have sold over 1300 airplanes, and have nearly 100 customers worldwide. This is one of the most successful aircraft in the wide-body category that Airbus has produced; in fact the world has produced. And what we are doing is making this aircraft which is already great, we are making it better.”

Mr. Rao went on; “Fuel is extremely important when it comes to operating an aircraft. Because of the fuel prices that we have today, the cost of fuel represents half of the total cost of operating an aircraft. So any advantage that we can bring, the airlines have of course put the pressure on us to make sure we deliver fuel efficiency and with over 14% fuel efficiency per seat improvement, the A330neo will quickly be a great success. We have learned a lot of lessons of course in building the A320neo that is why we are able to do the A330neo in a shorter period of time. And what the airlines are asking us for is an A330neo as soon as they can get it. So with a 42-month program we will be able to deliver the first A330neo at the end of 2017. The A330 has a very comfortable cabin. Every passenger in economy class has an 18″ seat, that is much more than you get in an 787. So if we take the cabin, you take the improvements that we will give to the lighting, the improvements we will give to the sidewalls and the larger overhead bins, we will improve the crew rest areas for the pilots and cockpit crew. Well, put all that together and we will deliver an airplane where the passenger is the real winner.”

Here is the point… he went on to say, “The A330neo delivers a 14% improvement in fuel per seat. 14% improvement will make us as efficient as today’s 787. If we couple that with the lower maintenance costs and the higher passenger count of the A330 we have an airplane that will deliver lower cash operating costs than that of the 787 and lets not talk about price. But I can tell you that if we put everything together we will have a much better proposition to the airlines than the 787 has.”

For our readers Airbus noted: “Cabin evolution through an innovative use of the cabin space, the A330-900neo will accommodate up to 10 additional seats (from 300 to 310), while the A330-800neo will seat up to six additional passengers (from 246 to 252) – and retain the same high comfort standard as today’s A330, with 18-inch wide seats in economy class. Moreover, all passengers will enjoy a 21st century on-board experience, including fourth-generation high-definition in-flight entertainment (IFE), full connectivity plus the same full-LED mood lighting as in the A330’s big brother – the A350 XWB. The LED cabin lighting will be lighter and cheaper to maintain than traditional illumination while offering unlimited mood-lighting customization scenarios.”

We wondered about the IFE statement and note that Airbus also referred to the IFE on the A350 as fourth generation. So what they’re saying is that they expect AVANT and Panasonic’s eX3, which is what delivers on today’s A330s, to carry over to the A330neo, possibly with some new features and capabilities being developed in the meantime.

There have been a lot of orders for newer Boeing and Airbus wide-bodies and backlogs could push out deliveries for those planes for five or six years. Airbus says they can deliver the “modified” A330 in less than four years. The expected price is in the category as the $250+ million dollar Boeing B787 plane price range. Since the A350 (300 – 350 pax) runs around $295 million dollars and seats 300 to 250 passengers, it makes an interesting playing field in the years to come. Luckily, Boeing and Airbus “own” this large, wide-body market but we predict the real competition will be with future, narrow-body planes as there are at least five manufacturers in that one.

Editors Note 1: Air Lease Corp. agreed to order 25 A330neo-900s for delivery beginning in 2018, and noted that, “at $275m for -900, the A330neo has a “compelling price difference” compared to any other widebody”.

Editors Note 2: When interviewed by an Aviation Week reporter, Jim McNerney, Boeing CEO backtracked on his “No more moon shots…” statement. He went on to explain – “What I would like to have done is pursued 70 percent of the technology that still would have satisfied 95 percent of [customer desires]. It would have gotten to them quicker, and it would have cost us less. I can think of five or six specific examples of things we did that didn’t add much to the performance or the efficiency of the airplane. We’ve just got to be a little more careful.” Naturally, Aviation Week next asked, if the B787 was a mistake and Mr. McNerney noted, “That’s not the point I was trying to make—the 787 is a wild success. We built a very compelling airplane, but we could have gotten it into the field a couple of years earlier. It would have cost us less, and our customers would have had 95 percent of the performance sooner. You get excited about these projects, and things creep into the design and you lose discipline sometimes. We just need to be reminded about that.” Looks like a confession to us!

Editors Note 3: The 2014 APEX EXPO (Sept. 15 – 18) in Anaheim registration can be found here and the Aircraft Exteriors Expo Americas (Seattle, WA Oct. 14- 16) free registration can be found here.