Boeing Chairman, CEO and President Jim McNerney had a tough start to 2013 after battery fires forced the company to ground its 787 widebody jet. But his year is certainly looking up.
In the span of an hour at the Dubai Air Show on Nov. 17, orders and commitments were announced for well over $100 billion worth of Boeing jets and the company announced the launch of its 777X jet.
McNerney was in the front row of a press conference as Etihad announced an order for 56 widebody jets, including 25 777Xs "subject to program launch."
That didn't take long to finalize. Within a few minutes McNerney was on the other side of the air show exhbit hall for a joint Emirates-Qatar-FlyDubai press conference where he formally announced the launch of the 777X.
Offered in two variants -- the 777-8X and 777-9X-- the new jet has won orders and commitments from Lufthansa (34 jets), Etihad (25), Qatar (50) and Emirates (150). An upbeat but visably tired McNerney called it a "historic day," bragging that the 777X will have have the lowest operating cost of any commercial aircraft.
And it wasn't just the 777X -- Boeing also announced orders for 30 787-10s from Etihad and a "commitment" for up to 100 Boeing 737MAX 8's and 11 737-800s from FlyDubai.
Airbus CEO and President Fabrice Bregier also began the day on an upbeat note when Emirates announced an order for 50 A380 jets, firming up a shaky order book that had led to questions about whether the air framer could sell enough A380s to fill its production slots. Emirates took delivery of the first A380 in 2008 and now operates 39 of the jets.