Geoff Thomas/DUBAI

Boeing is back... at least according to executive vice-president sales and marketing Seddick Belyamani. Speaking at the show yesterday he said that the Seattle-based company was back on course toward convincing its shareholders that the ills of the past decade are behind them.

"Our goal is to support the Boeing Company's goal of total shareholder returns in the top quartile of the Standard & Poors 500," he says.

He also re-opened the trans-Atlantic skirmish between Seattle and Toulouse, claiming that Boeing has 70% of deliveries between 1996 and 2000 and also that he could see no point in Airbus developing the A-3XX as it wouldn't help to reduce congestion as the European company claims.

"Only a relatively small percentage of departures are in the 400+ seater category, so there's no excuse to build the aircraft on environmental or congestion grounds," he says.

On the subject of the proposed B-747X and B-747X Stretch, Belyamani says Boeing wouldn't proceed past the 'paper aircraft' stage until the market's ready. "There's no great sense of urgency right now from our customers," he says.

Boeing believes that the de-regulation of the worldwide airline business has had a positive result in terms of passenger choice and Belyamani sees the future as rosy for Boeing.

"In 1997", he says, "there was only one flight a day between Chicago and London - a TWA B-747. Now there are 21 US flights daily from Chicago to Europe - split between American and United - using B-767s and B-777s.

"The same thing will happen in the Pacific region using our Boeing 777-200ER ETOPS aircraft as the airlines will realise that Airbus doesn't have a competitor aircraft in that marketplace. It appears that Airbus was caught out by the speed of ETOPS development and so they developed the A-340 with its four powerplants."

Boeing statistics show that its aircraft are now undertaking 20,000 ETOPS flights a month and it won't be long before the range of the B-777-300X - if it is build - has the same range as the B-747-400.

Source: Flight Daily News