Home' Asian Aviation : AAV March 2011. Contents 32 AsianAviation | MARCH 2011
short circuit in an electrical panel, but the failure of
systems to respond as predicted spurred Boeing to
carry out a major review and rewrite of the so ware.
Deputy FAA Administrator (Aviation Safety)
John Hickey reportedly told programme o cials in
December that ETOPS approval could not be given
in the 787's state of readiness at that time.
"We are confident we will work through
any [ETOPS] issues or concerns the FAA has
in a cooperative and constructive manner," the
e new, third-quarter 2011 delivery schedule includes
time to test updated so ware and new electrical-power
distribution panels. Before returning to ight, four
modi ed aircra were extensively ground-tested. e
revised timetable was not expected to hurt Boeing's
2010 nancial results, on which guidance was reported
in late January, when the manufacturer also discussed
initial 787 deliveries. e company expects to deliver
up to 20 aircraft to ANA and other undisclosed
customers during 2011.
Air India expects to receive its rst aircra this year,
on a date that was scheduled to be announced at the
Aero India show in Bangalore in the second week of
February. In late January, McNerney said he was "pretty
close" to knowing which 787s would be available for
delivery, with 10-22 airframes understood to need
signi cant rework before handover.
Early delivery candidates are thought to include
Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787s number seven,
eight, and nine, which would go to ANA, and General
Electric GEnx-1B-powered airframe number 23,
which would go to Japan Airlines ( JAL).
At a likely 87 months from the programme's April
2004 launch to rst delivery, the 787 certi cation
and delivery schedule is easily Boeing's longest ever
-- by comparison, the 777 required 55 months from
initiation to rst delivery.
ANA welcomed the latest delivery schedule
announcement, but sought assurance that Boeing
could meet the target date.
"We will be seeking a full schedule for all 55 aircra
on order to allow us to plan our route network and
eet-expansion strategy," ANA said. e Japanese
carrier had prepared for delays by postponing the
retirement of some Airbus A320s and Boeing 767s and
considering purchase of additional 767s as a stop-gap.
A er a long wait for information about deliveries,
Australia's Qantas Air ways has been told its previously
promised mid-2012 date will not be met, with the rst
of 50 aircra now expected to arrive up to six months
later. Initial Qantas 787s will go to the company's
Jetstar low-cost subsidiary, replacing Airbus A330-
200s, which will go to the parent airline to substitute
for its ageing 767s.
Boeing has assured Air India that it will receive
"proper settlement" in compensation for delayed
delivery of its 787s. e Asian operator has been
seeking a reported US$850 million settlement. Its 27
aircra were originally expected to arrive at monthly
intervals from September 2008 and 18 should have
been delivered by March 2011.
Last December, the manufacturer agreed to pay
compensation to nose and for ward-fuselage supplier
Spirit AeroSystems, covering additional costs arising
from programmedelays. At that time, Boeing was
understood to be negotiating settlements with
Japanese major 787 partners Fuji, Kawasaki, and
Another supplier feeling the pinch is Goodrich,
which says that prospective increased evenue from
aircra replacement parts will be almost balanced
by a likely decrease in income derived from lower
production rates of new 787 parts.
It remains unclear how successful Boeing will be
in establishing series production and delivery to the
extent that customers will be able con dently to
con rm their eet-expansion and route-development
plans for 787 ser vices without fear of further delays.
Early in February, BCA president Jim Albaugh
suggested that demand for the 787 might require
assembly of as many as 15 airframes a month,
higher than previously expected and meaning that
a temporary "surge" line set up at Everett next year
could become permanent. Albaugh concedes that
such a production escalation would require an
"investment on the part of the supply chain".
For his part, McNerney wants to avoid any repeat
of the production problems that arose when Boeing
over-accelerated 737 nal-assembly rates in the 1990s,
which led to the dismissal of BCA Chief Executive
Ron Woodard: "We're mindful of the supply chain,
and we don't want to relive the experiences of 1997."
Boeing had hoped to be assembling almost three
787s per month by the end of 2010, but output has
settled at about two a month. Current plans cover
the assembly of ten 787s monthly by the end of 2013,
with the Everett "surge" line intended for use until
a second line is established at North Charleston in
South Carolina in mid-2011.
A deciding factor in any decision to accelerate
output will be the capacity of 787 partners. "It's more
of a supply-chain issue than a nal-assembly issue,"
McNerney says the planned rate is achievable but will
not be reached until later than originally envisaged
because of the 787-8's delayed ser vice entry. "We had
a very conser vative view and a signi cant amount
of margin in our production ramp-up plans, and a
lot of that has now been eaten up by the latest delay.
Everything slid to the right."
Boeing seems to have made a lot of progress towards
eliminating the volume of fabrication remaining to be
done when large 787 airframe elements arrive from
partners. By February, the US manufacturer had
embarked upon nal assembly of the 31st 787, and
was catching up on completion of so-called "travelled
work" on structures and sub-assemblies coming from
"We are now through a lot of the issues that caused
some of the backed-up work," said McNerney, noting
that, in February, about 20-25 airframes required
signi cant reworking following delivery. Even so, he
said new 787s have been arriving in a "very, very high"
state of completion.
According to Boeing chief nancial o cer James
Bell, the 787 remains in the black when measured
against accounting points covering a number of
aircraft it declines to quantify publicly. Still, he
acknowledges that the repeated delays have put
pressure on programme's pro tability. n
By the end of 2013, Boeing will be producing ten 787s a month.
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