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Perspective

Earlier this year we officially launched Boeing Airplane Services, a new business dedicated to retrofit engineering and modification services. It was a busy start; in the first six weeks of operation, we received almost 800 customer inquiries, which included engineering requests for in-flight video upgrades, gross-weight increases, interior reconfigurations, and avionics upgrades. To support these requests, we brought 150 engineers and other people on board in the Seattle area. These people join our staff at modification sites in Long Beach, Calif., and Wichita, Kan., to serve operators of Boeing- and Douglas-designed airplanes.

Our philosophy is simple: We listen to our customers. And once we’ve done that, we listen some more. Our ability to add value to a customer’s airplane through a retrofit package depends on whether we understand our customers’ needs. If we understand these needs, we can transform them into revenue-generating improvements.

Here’s how we do it. First, Boeing Airplane Services has its own dedicated resources. In the past, Boeing engineers had to balance in-production work with retrofit requests. Naturally, new airplanes for our customers were their priority. Today, though, we can devote more time to master change kit proposals, and our turnaround times for those are dropping. We can still do better in other areas, however. My personal goal is for Boeing Airplane Services to give customers a definitive answer to their questions within 72 hours, depending on project size and complexity.

Second, we have the right people to properly and quickly complete the job. Engineers in Puget Sound, Long Beach, and Wichita are already working on customer projects. Program management engineers oversee all our engineering operations and bring a special focus to the business. Their job is to quickly move a customer’s request from inquiry to contract to final product. We have organized this business to be fast and still provide high-quality airplane improvements. Our engineers can access all proprietary test and flight data collected during and after the airplane’s production. We use these data to ensure that airplane improvements meet Boeing standards and qualify for prompt regulatory certification.

Finally, we’re focused on adding value to each airplane. We want to turn a customer’s $100,000 retrofit investment with Boeing Airplane Services into a $200,000 payoff. We also offer customers multiple conversion and upgrade activities concurrently, reducing the total downtime. The success of our business depends on whether customers benefit from our products and services. If they do, we know they will come back.

We are excited to be in business and look forward to the potential growth this market shows. We have talented, dedicated people and the engineering and technical resources of The Boeing Company behind us. For you, our customers, we are confident that Boeing Airplane Services will provide the world’s finest and most competitive engineering and modification capability.


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