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April 18, 2024

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The well-telegraphed order has, at last, been announced. Today, Boeing and Thai Airways announced that the carrier placed an order for 45 787 as the airline looks to modernize and grow its widebody fleet and international network. Thai Airways selected the 787-9 to support its long-term strategy of renewing and expanding its fleet with more efficient jets and opening new routes to support the high demand for air travel across Southeast Asia. The aircraft will be powered by GEnx engines.

The order finalized in December 2023 was listed as unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website. This order comes at a crucial time for Boeing. The company has been beset with MAx problems.  But other programs like the 787 and 777X have also had hiccups.

This order was announced at the Singapore Air Show.  Boeing has no commercial aircraft on show at the event.  This lack of visible product is highly unusual and rather startling.  The situation reflects Boeing’s need to, once again, refocus on production quality. We say once again because this need has been clear for some time.  Even the New York Times had something to say about this.

The order from Thai is, therefore, important to Boeing.  This is the boost it needs as it works through its worst crisis.  Customer confidence is not what it used to be.  The number of customers openly questioning Boeing’s leadership is a growing concern.  These statements beget more of the same.  Turning around the wave of negativity is not easy or quick.  Hence, the importance of the Thai order for 45 aircraft.

But there is another aspect that bears repeating. Boeing needs to work harder to restabilize the duopoly.  That means fixing its quality problems, supporting its labor, trying to get the work done, and delivering on time.  An unstable duopoly is hurting the entire industry supply chain. It is putting pressure on Airbus that it does not need or want.  And it drives operators and lessors nuts as they scramble to find the lift to meet published schedules and sold seats.

Today’s news deserves a quick but short round of applause for Boeing.  Then, right back to work because there’s a lot to do.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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