Days after Boeing said it would look outside the Puget Sound area to build the 777X, the aerospace giant formally introduced the jetliner at the Dubai Airshow this weekend.
The unveiling went well – three Middle East airlines announced orders at the show. Including a previous order with Lufthansa, that brings advance sales of the 777X to $95 billion. Boeing called it the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history.
Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia, a vice president at the Teal Group, called it an impressive sale.
“The market definitely wants an aircraft in this class, the largest most capable twin jet yet designed,” Aboulafia said. “And particularly useful for the emerging fast growth carriers here in the Persian Gulf region that are trying to take advantage of their geography to become a global hub.”
But Aboulafia said that the Machinists’ rejection of Boeing’s proposed contract last week could encourage airlines to also buy Airbus jets, in case Boeing isn’t able to produce a reliable jet.
That’s because the machinists’ vote on Wednesday prompted Boeing to say it would consider moving the production of the 777X outside of the Puget Sound region. When Boeing moved large components of production of the 787 Dreamliner from the area, the jetliner was plagued with technical problems, including flammable batteries.
“The change from the Puget Sound area could produce an element of risk to the program,” Aboulafia said. “But right now it looks pretty straightforward. They’ve done an awful lot of advanced design work.”
He said that building the jet outside the area doesn’t make sense, but “the element of psychology is a completely different thing.”
“It could point to a situation where the company simply wants to get away from the union in Puget Sound and is willing to take the program risks,” he said.
Produced for the Web by Isolde Raftery.