Typically when I'm out talking about commercial airplanes, what seems to get all the attention is our strategies and our newest products.
But another big piece of the story is services and support. I haven't talked much about this side of the business here in the blog, but I think it's a very important part of what we do. And it's a key to helping our customers operate their airplanes as efficiently as possible.
I often talk about how liberalization has caused airlines to change their strategies - as new competition intensifies the focus on serving passengers. This has also caused airlines to look inwardly, at the efficiency and viability of their whole business models.
And what we've seen over time is the industry going from a "vertically-oriented" model - where an airline did everything itself - to a more "horizontal" model, with things being outsourced. Or in some cases an airline deciding to stay in the maintenance business while also looking to provide that service to other airlines.
All of this means that airlines are looking more closely at what we call life-cycle issues. They're striving to streamline their maintenance and services on a global basis, as they move away from an inefficient system that often duplicated maintenance facilities and spares inventory.
So where am I going with this, you ask?
Well, we think that the life-cycle area is a realm where Boeing can help airlines be more and more efficient. We've been involved in this process for a number of years, but as you may have read, the Boeing 787 program is taking this kind of service a step further with GoldCare.
GoldCare can help any 787 operator become a lower-cost carrier.

Airline CEOs are looking for ways to maximize the "horizontal shift." And that's why we came up with GoldCare. The idea is that from Day One, Boeing's global team will maintain customer airplanes in a ready-to-fly condition at a predictable cost.
A GoldCare customer will know exactly what the maintenance bill and the level of airplane availability will be. And the airline CEO can then focus his or her team on adding value in areas such as passenger service.
Bottom line: our relationship with our customers and our airplanes doesn't end at delivery time. GoldCare provides experienced people, IT, infrastructure, and training for maintenance and parts support. That all reduces cost and complexity, especially when you're introducing a new airplane type to the fleet.
Right now we're talking with customers, leasing companies and financiers about GoldCare and we've signed on four initial partners - SR Technics, Smiths Aerospace, Hamilton Sundstrand and Rockwell Collins.
Since, say, a 787 Dreamliner under GoldCare will be closely monitored and maintained by Boeing and its team of specialists, we think GoldCare planes will be more valuable, and potentially more attractive to finance. And that's a business model we think helps any customer become a lower-cost carrier.
The 787 is breakthrough technology for sure. And ultimately we think that GoldCare is going to be just as innovative as the Dreamliner itself. Put them together and I think you have a truly compelling competitive advantage. You might say, a new "gold standard!"