The Boeing slight of hand announcing of an additional two units a month on top of its consistent 12 a month 787 production, signals something big is going on with Boeing in the back rooms. A long standing Randy's Journal has been quiet for almost five months and he is Boeing's VP of marketing. This other flag raised signals Randy is really busy. Increased production and a silent Boeing VP Randy Tinseth indicates something big will be breaking soon. It maybe in small chunks or a large mega order.
It is known that several 787 small orders are floating about. One with six Egypt Air and another 10 coming into a "mention" by a quietly reported airline emergence. These don't represent a mega order but signals a high level of activity is going on behind the scenes and Boeing is winning some small but important battles against its competitor, Airbus.
The 14 a month 787 production announcement tells a story that Boeing's teamwork is paying out order dividends at the least. The production research, pending orders and accounting have all come together and it is agreed fourteen 787 a month is sustainable and needed. The sustainable word becomes important as it is a direct reference link to its marketing arm. Boeing has more 787 sales going into 2018. Teamwork from top to bottom analyses everything before a production announcement like this is made. All the corporate cogs and wheels are turning smoothly.
Keeping a closely held hand private keeps the press guessing on what will happen next for the wide bodied industry. The Boeing emphasis is about the 787-10 and 777X programs. It is an often repeated comment by Boeing there will be more 787-10 sales after it enters into service with Singapore Airlines. Even though it will not fly as far as the A-350-900 or -1000, it will fly more efficiently within its market segment. The segment is high density passenger load under 6,000 miles. It will do that better than an A-350-900 which is always carrying along its long distance capability when flying within the highly lucrative under 6,000 mile market. That is why more 787-10's will be ordered.
The 777X is another big deal Boeing will churn out in the next couple of years. Boeing has dialed up its new plane development recipe since the 787-8 early days. Boeing now knows how run a program for success while using its all new technology at its disposal. The Everett wing plant was not a show stopper but a game changer for the 777X program. It had the equipment subcontractor just down the street and it had proprietary carbon fiber technology in its grasp. Hence the wing plant, is now making 100' wing spars with automated equipment. The assembly plant is next door by only several dozen feet. Sounds efficient.
Boeing's new theme is to control what you can control and hire out those things which would be inefficient for it to do for itself. Boeing has pulled back in some of its airplane related build constructs as contractors did not meet Boeing's expectations of a supplier partner. The fourteen a month 787 announcement is an indicator Boeing has control over its wide body programs.
Another mention for the 777X is a note where the 777-9X replaces the 747 and the 777-8X replaces the 777-300-ER. Considering the A-380 dismal order numbers during the last three years having 777-9X orders could effectively kill the A-380 program.
However, in a A-380 make-over developing new suites and luxurious seats will make the A-380 a desirable frame for those who can afford the ticket to cruise in the air like an Ocean going vessel it so wants to be. So far the A-380 in twelve years, has sold about 317 flying cruise ships and delivered about 216 of its type. The 777X program in the last four years sold 326 777-X's before its first delivery.
A philosophy for the 777X program is that it has a bigger market for people who need to get there in comfort at a lower price allowing them to spend their resources at the destination. The A-380 is selling the journey is better than what the destination offers. If flying from London to Hawaii and watching TV in Bed is a must, then the A-380 suite is for you. Boeing is betting more people will book a flight having substantial amenities exceeding those found on most other aircraft at a price most other people can afford.
Using an old American football metaphor, Boeing is dinking and dunking its way down the field with its array of wide body types and Airbus is throwing long on every down with its A-350's and A-380's. Boeing has a very good prevent defense.