Thursday, September 18, 2014

Al Jazeera's 787 expose: How To Make Dogshit From Nothing

The Al Jazeera produced documentary "Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787" is a biased hatchet job which delivers little new information and rehashes years old information to make it appear that the 787 is unsafe. In short, this shoddy journalism is a piece of dogshit.  The documentary ignores basic common sense and blindly takes a one sided view, with out a shred of proof, that the 787 is unsafe.  The truth and reality of the 787 program is inconvenient to the fictional story line in the documentary so Producer Marc Shaffer and Reporter Will Jordan ignores it in order to sell a bad story to an unknowing public.

So let's take apart the Al Jazeera "story" piece by piece.

Review of the 787 program - Al Jazeera goes into a quick and dirty review of the 787 program but highlights that it was built for...hold your noses and cover your eyes....PROFIT. Cue ominous music in the background hinting at some evil lurking around the corner as they roll out their "witnesses" who basically bash the aircraft and Boeing without give any details.

Old story different day - Al Jazeera starts its desperate attempt to call out the 787 as an unsafe aircraft.  It goes through old news particularly the well known and often reported lithium ion battery issue that grounded the 787 for several months last year.  Because Al Jazeera was unable to dig up any new damning information that proves the 787 unsafe, they decided to rehash old information to make it appear that it's unsafe.  In other words, Shaffer and Jordan pulled the old bait and switch. They are also dismissive of the the new containment system that Boeing had designed despite the testing by Boeing and approval by the FAA.

They claim that "leading scientist" don't believe that the aircraft is safe with the new battery containment system.  Al Jazeera doesn't present any evidence that the containment system will prevent an uncontained fire in the case of thermal runaway of the LION battery system.  All they do is present Don Sadoway saying that he doesn't think it is a sufficient fix but doesn't even give a reason why he doesn't think it's not a good fix.  The fix has to be judged in terms of the purpose.  The purpose of the containment box and the battery redesign is to prevent the a LION battery that is experiencing thermal runaway from ever progressing to a fire and to vent noxious fumes overboard.  Dr. Sadoway never said in the the Al Jazeera piece whether it was a good fix or not for containing a battery fire or not.  He only said that that it doesn't address the root cause of the thermal runaway.  There is a big difference.  While the root cause remains unknown, Boeing and the battery manufacturer have developed a system to make sure a fire does not develop.

Airplanes fly around the world with systems that are not perfect and that can break down or cause an accident.  That has been true in the field of aviation since the Wright Brothers.  That is why industrial projects such as the 787 have safety systems and redundancies in order to make the aircraft safe from failing systems such as an advanced battery like the LiCoO2 batteries on the 787.

Moving on Al Jazeera again rehashes old news, this time the merger of Boeing with McDonnell Douglas in 1997.  They state that McD's culture and business model (which they judge unsuccessful despite being one of the largest aerospace companies in the world at that time) is what changed Boeing and made it all about profits and "maximizing Wall Street returns."  It seems that Al Jazeera is equating profit with a lack of safety in this program and nothing can be more ass backwards.  If the journalists at Al Jazeera had any common sense they would realize that no aerospace company would cut corners especially in terms of safety to maximize profitability. No airline would accept or even entertain the thought of buying an aircraft that is inherently unsafe.  No company in their right mind would increase a company's liability risk for short term profits.

Cue more dark and ominous music and cue the disgruntle Boeing workers who call management thugs.  Clearly the agendas of these former employees and Al Jazeera's journalists are aligned. In fact Al Jazeera uses these former employees to denigrate the Boeing Company.

The documentary then proceeds to talk about the roll out of ZA001, the first 787 on July 8, 2007. They call it the fake rollout (or the "big lie" as one of Al Jazeera's stooges calls it) because the aircraft, as we all know today SEVEN YEARS later, was not anywhere near complete.  Yet Al Jazeera thinks it's newsworthy to rehash SEVEN YEAR OLD news.  Yes it was an empty shell, yes it lead to the first of many delays that would stretch to over 3 years but Boeing worked to ensure that the entire aircraft was complete and safe before it flew, a process that took over 2 years.

In July 2009 Boeing had finally gotten ZA001 completely ready, had engines runs and taxi runs in preparation for the first 787 flight.  Soon after the conclusion of the Paris Airshow that month Boeing announced that there was a structural flaw in the side of body where the wing connects to the center wing box.  Boeing could have flown the aircraft under very limiting restrictions.  Instead of risking a flight for the sake of schedule or PR they delayed the first flight another 5 months to December 2009.

Al Jazeera drags out a memo where they try to make a case that "schedule may require deviations to the quality control process."  They also said the memo was supplied by an engineer who said that "They changed basic engineering principles to meet schedule" and rhetorically asks "Would you fly on a plane that you knew was built with major flaws?"  Al Jazeera states that the engineer believes that deviating from the quality control process compromised safety.  However, Al Jazeera stops there.  They made a charge that Boeing ignored quality control to meet schedule but offered no details and no other evidence.  We don't know anything about the source other than what Al Jazeera tells the audience.  We don't know what parts or sections of the aircraft may be affected. We don't know how safety was compromised if at all.  All we have is to go on the word of Al Jazeera and its anonymous "engineering" source and we are offered no other proof of lack of quality control.

Al Jazeera introduces Cynthia Cole who is a former president of SPEEA at Boeing.  Given the bad relations between the union and management you know that Cynthia Cole's assessment is going to be biased against the company. Al Jazeera admits she never did work on the 787 so already there is doubts about her judgement of the 787 program. She adds drama when reviewing the memo and states point blank that Boeing isn't allowing quality control to do their job.  How would she know based on a vague memo especially if she's never worked on the 787 program? She states flat out that she would never fly on a 787. In a press release issued by Boeing prior to the release of the report, Boeing states: "Even on-the-record sources seem to have changed their stories for the producers. For example, former Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) President Cynthia Cole said this about the 787’s first flight in 2009: “Today’s flight is a testament to the skill, hard work and diligence Boeing employees put in to get this airplane ready to fly,” SPEEA President Cynthia Cole said in a news release. “Boeing returned to engineering, and that’s what made today possible and successful.” Now, she states in the documentary trailer that Boeing “shortchanged the engineering process.”  So which is it Cynthia?  It seems that she's two faced when it comes to the 787.

Back to the statement that was in the Boeing memo offered up as proof: "schedule may require deviations to the quality control process."  Examining the statement indicates that there would be deviations to the process and that they are not eliminating the quality control process at all which is what Al Jazeera and Cynthia Cole would have the audience believe.

Moving on, Al Jazeera connects with a Boeing worker at the North Charleston, SC plant whom I suspect is an Everett employee deployed to Boeing South Carolina to help the plant work through the issues they were experiencing.  He alleges that there is poor workmanship in the plant and that the plant staff are uneducated and ill equipped to handle the job and agrees to wear a hidden camera to get "proof." The rogue employee with the camera doesn't present any solid evidence of safety issues, only sound bites about it being unsafe and that they would not fly on the aircraft.

While there is some truth to poor workmanship that had slowed the production of the aircraft and had caused some airlines angst, it's not a threat to safety of flight.  According to my sources while they have seen poor workmanship such as cracked wing components (wing ribs), batteries, failed windscreens, brake issues, incomplete fuselage sections the aircraft is not allowed to be delivered to the customer in that condition.  Furthermore, my sources have seen a huge improvement in the build quality. Additionally my sources have stated that "Some employees that I know have also expressed a lack of confidence in the 787, and have stated that they would not fly on it because of piss-poor quality, particularly with regard to components and/or line numbers produced at BSC but not limited to just them."

From my sources:

"With regard to the allegation that "They’re short-changing the engineering process to meet a schedule" as it were, we see a lot of managers striving to "sell" jobs in order to meet their commitments to upper management, regardless of whether or not it makes sense both from a production and a safety standpoint. We on the floor refer to it as "bean counting" or "bean selling". Having said that much, I also believe that some of our engineers are complete idiots in planning the build of this airplane. Things out of logical sequence, nonsensical processes...I've had to personally overhaul some aspects of a work package myself just to make it flow where we are now, production-wise.  Now, do I believe this is a problem that cannot be fixed? Absolutely not. The problem is getting upper management to stop pretending to care about everything else above production, and to actually do so.  Having said that however, I don't think that the scope of things is terribly out of the ordinary. Boeing has had problems with the 787, and some of its management procedures are lacking, but overall I'm still proud to be a part of the 787.

A lot of what is being said IS based on testimony of some disgruntled folks. I personally despise much of Boeing leadership and many of the processes we have here as they are lacking. However again, it's not permanent. In my opinion, things have improved over the years, particularly in the last three.

And FOR the record, yes I would fly on a 787, and am hoping to do so someday." 


Al Jazeera then presents John Woods a former Boeing engineer that specializes in composites.  Again they throw out allegations compromised and lax safety standards by Boeing managers who forced or threatened people to ignore substandard work.  Again there is no proof other than the allegations that are made by John Woods along with the potentially frightening line that there may be a structural failure of a 787.  Mr. Ford, like the other former or current Boeing workers that Al Jazeera talked to, doesn't go into any detail about what what parts are affected or instances of bad parts or workmanship.

Probably the only serious allegation that came up in the 48 minute report is that of drug use on the Boeing South Carolina campus.  While it is unknown if it is true or not Boeing will probably make a fuller investigation of the allegation.  It is also unknown if this would lead to a safety issue because no one knows the who, what and when.  However drug use in a world wide societal problem and not one that is limited to one industrial company in one town.  I am willing to wager that there is drug use on the final assembly lines at Toulouse, France, the newsrooms of Al Jazeera and in almost any other industrial plant all over the world.

Al Jazeera also seems to suggest a mafia like relationship between Boeing and the government with Boeing pulling the proverbial strings.  They imply (they don't make an out right accusation) that the FAA basically rubber stamped the 787 certification and that the Ali Bahrami who leads the FAA Aircraft Certification Service was too close to Boeing.  They go on to list politicians who have helped secure sales for Boeing including Hillary Clinton and President Obama.  This should be of no surprise that government tries to help sell products and services of domestic firms to other countries and companies.  It's not just Boeing or the 787 but it is a common business practice done everywhere around the world.  Al Jazeera implies there is something sinister with the Boeing-government relationship but ignores the fact that even companies like Airbus have a close relationship with the governments of their home country.  Airbus is even partly owned by the French government but of course it's these inconvenient facts that Al Jazeera chooses to ignore as it dilutes the story line.

Lastly, Al Jazeera employed what I call sucker punch journalism when they interviewed 787 program manager Larry Loftis under false pretenses.  They pulled out the memos which were written before Mr. Loftis took over the 787 program thus ambushing him as well as to assert that he has to explain the comments of the few South Carolina workers who claim shoddy workmanship, lax oversight by unqualified workers.  Boeing promptly ends the interview and later says that "the reporting team appears to have chosen to take advantage of our trust and openness and abused their position from the outset by deliberately misrepresenting the purpose, objective and scope of their planned coverage."

In the final analysis, Al Jazeera set out to use heavy handed practices to weave a false and distorted picture of the 787.  They ignored facts or did not report them as it would disprove their claim that the aircraft is unsafe. They present no proof to back it up.  They use witnesses of questionable character or who have contradicted themselves like Cynthia Cole.  Again they were not going to let the truth get in the way of a good story and they're not above using sucker punch journalism and deception to take the narrative in the direction that they want.

Some people may dismiss me as a "Boeing Fanboy", whatever.  There has been other commentaries critical of Al Jazeera from people who have been much harsher on Boeing than I.  These include AirInsight, Leeham, and Forbes.  Additionally, the Seattle Times reviewed the same memo that Al Jazeera had reviewed and determined that it was not proof that safety of flight was being compromised for the sake of schedule. Let's look at the performance of the 787 since entering service 3 years ago.  Yes we know about the batteries ad nauseam and we all know about the reliability issues that have affect performance ad nauseam but there hasn't been a an incident that put the safety of passengers in danger. Of the over 180 787s in operation around the world we have not seen them falling out of the sky in the almost 5 years that they have been flying including the test flights.  The 787-9 was just certified on time and had a trouble free flight test program.  Of course Al Jazeera won't mention any of this as the truth in inconvenient to their story.  Yes there are issues with production and with traveled work but none of these are safety issues but rather a production system that is in the middle of being stabilized.  One has to question why Al Jazeera is putting out a hatchet piece using questionable methods in order to try to prove something that is obviously and blatantly false.

Boeing's Statement:

Boeing Responds to Al Jazeera English Documentary on 787
Boeing issued the following statement prior to the airing of the television program on Al Jazeera English. The company will not be providing any further comment. 
We have not been afforded the opportunity to view the full program, but the promotional trailer and published media reviews suggest that what has been produced is as biased a production as we have seen in some time. It is unfortunate that the producers of this television program appear to have fallen into the trap of distorting facts, relying on claims rejected by courts of law, breathlessly rehashing as “news” stories that have been covered exhaustively in the past and relying on anonymous sources who appear intent only on harming The Boeing Company. 
When first contacted by the producers, we accommodated them in order for them to produce a fair and objective report including facilitating factory access, interviews and providing full and open responses to their questions. The 787 is an outstanding airplane delivering value to our customers, but we have also talked candidly in public about its challenging development process. There are no tougher critics about our early performance than Boeing. Unfortunately, the reporting team appears to have chosen to take advantage of our trust and openness and abused their position from the outset by deliberately misrepresenting the purpose, objective and scope of their planned coverage. 
This specious production appears to have ignored the factual information provided by Boeing and instead based the majority of its reporting on unnamed sources pursuing their own agendas and a disgruntled former employee engaged in a legal dispute with Boeing. In one instance, the producers resorted to ambush tactics normally seen only in tabloid-style TV news. The anonymous sources the TV program depends on are clearly working with those who seek to harm Boeing and its workers. They appear to have no real interest in truth, safety or better informing the public. 
Even on-the-record sources seem to have changed their stories for the producers. For example, former Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) President Cynthia Cole said this about the 787’s first flight in 2009: “Today’s flight is a testament to the skill, hard work and diligence Boeing employees put in to get this airplane ready to fly,” SPEEA President Cynthia Cole said in a news release. “Boeing returned to engineering, and that’s what made today possible and successful.” Now, she states in the documentary trailer that Boeing “shortchanged the engineering process.” 
Instead of an objective view of the 787’s development, viewers and our employees will see a television program that is neither balanced nor accurate in its portrayal of the airplane, our employees, or our suppliers. This program and those involved with it do a disservice to the hard-working men and women of Boeing and our supplier partners who designed and build the 787. 
Furthermore, the program presents a false impression of Boeing South Carolina and the quality of work performed there. Airplanes, whether delivered from South Carolina or Washington, meet the highest safety and quality standards that are verified through robust test, verification and inspection processes. Our data of the current 787 fleet in service show parity in the quality and performance of airplanes manufactured in both locations.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mexican Air Force to take delivery of test 787 at the end of September

As previously reported here on All Things 787, the Mexican Air Force had purchased ZA006 for use as a government transport.  when delivered it will mark the first 787 to be purchased by a government armed services.

Currently the aircraft is in New Iberia, LA. where it is probably getting a paint job and having some other work performed on it in preparation to convert it into a government transport.It is scheduled to fly to Charleston on September 22nd where it will be in stall A4 for a few days.  It will then transfer over to the delivery center at Charleston on the 25th of September and will be there until it flies away around September 28th.  It's been reported that Mexico paid $127mm for the aircraft which performed flight testing duties with the GEnX-1B engines.

Spotters at CHS, please be on the look out for this aircraft.  I'm sure a lot of people would like to see what kind of livery it will have.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

787 Report - August, 2014 Month End



With four months left in the year, Boeing is making a push to meet its 2014 787 delivery guidance.  Through the end of August, Boeing has delivered 69 787s in 2014.

Deliveries totaled 13 for August. but Boeing only rolled out only 8 787s to the flightlines in Everett and North Charleston.  That puts the 787 production efficiency at 0.62 (the 787 production efficiency is arrived at by dividing the number of 787s rolled out by the number of 787s delivered during the month).  Overall efficiency in 2014 is 1.27 which indicates that Boeing is rolling out more 787s in 2014 then they are delivering. Notable deliveries included the first 787-8 to Xiamen Airlines, Royal Jordanian and the last -8 to British Airways.

Boeing has delivered 183 787s through the end of August since deliveries began 3 years ago and it does look like they will break 200 deliveries in early October.  It is unknown who the lucky customer is that will take delivery of the 200th 787.

Production was slow in August as Boeing is starting the process of transitioning the 40-24 production over to 40-26.  However, sources have also told me that they are still dealing with some traveled work which is causing the completion of work either at the EMC or on the flightline.  With four months remaining, Boeing needs to deliver at least 10 787s a month if they are to meet their guidance of 110 deliveries in 2014. Internally Boeing hopes it can exceed that number and try to deliver about 120 787s including at least 2 early build 787s to customers this year.

In terms of production in September, it looks as if Boeing will start final assembly on 9 Dreamliners in this month.  These will include some of the last 787s that will be delivered in 2014.  The time it takes Everett to build, test and deliver a 787 is about 100 to 120 days.  It takes Charleston about 110 to 120 to do the same.  If this trends holds up then Boeing will be hard pressed to deliver 110 787s this year.  Clearly traveled work has to trend down and both assembly lines need to get more efficient if they are to hit the target.  Clearly taking 4 months to build and deliver a 787 is not going to cut it

Looking ahead to September deliveries, it appears that Boeing will try to finish the 3rd quarter with a bang similar to what they did in June.  That month they delivered 15 787s.  They could deliver anywhere from 13 to 15 787s depending on how flight testing progresses.  Deliveries in September should include the 1st 787-9 to Virgin Atlantic Airways and the first 787-8 delivered to Avianca.  I expect 3 787-9s to be delivered including one each to ANA and Air New Zealand.  Ethiopian should take delivery of its 10 787-8 from their direct order of 10 Dreamliners from Boeing.  This will not be Ethiopian's last 787 though as they will be taking several more on lease from AerCap.

While Boeing has been delivering aircraft at a very good pace there is still clouds that hang over the program.  Last month, there were two cancellations for the 787 totaling 9 aircraft.  It is widely believed that the first one is Lion Air (Batik Air) which had ordered 5 787s.  The second one is Transaero which announced that they had cancelled their order for 4 aircraft.

Boeing's Press Release on delivering United's 1st 787-9:
Delivery of UA's 1st 787-9. Photo Courtesy of the Boeing Co.

Boeing Delivers First North American 787-9 Dreamliner to United Airlines

787-9 joins 11 787-8s already in United's fleet

SEATTLE, Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE:BA) and United Airlines are celebrating the delivery of the airline's first 787-9 Dreamliner. United will become the first airline in North America to operate both the 787-8 and 787-9 variants of the Dreamliner family when the airline launches 787-9 service later this month. 
"We're proud that United has become the North America launch customer for both the 787-8 and 787-9, marking another important milestone in the successful history of Boeing and United working together," said Brad McMullen, vice president of North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 

Earlier this year, United announced it will fly the airplane on what will become the longest 787 route -- nonstop service between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia. 

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 kilometers) with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes. The airplane leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

United operates 11 787 Dreamliners with an additional 54 on order, including the 787-10.

787 Full Production Table

Friday, August 22, 2014

GE powered 787-9 receives Amended Type Certificate clearing way for first delivery next week.



The FAA granted Boeing the amended type certificate for the GE powered version of the 787-9 clearing the way for deliveries to begin later next week with the first aircraft going to United Airlines.  That delivery should occur in the middle to late next week.

Boeing is slowly ramping up 787-9 production this year and is on track to deliver 10 to 12 this year though I'm in favor of the higher number.  The airplanes that are coming off the production line still have to go through some change incorporation at the EMC but I believe this should start to tail off by the middle of the fourth quarter (November).  2015 might prove to be a big year for deliveries of the larger 787 model.  I believe that Boeing can deliver around 50 to 55 787-9 which would be almost 50% of their 2015 deliveries.  If they are able to accomplish that coupled with a successful drive to reduce production and assembly costs, then the 787-9 can be extremely profitable for Boeing in 2015.

It could also help if Boeing can convert more customers from the 787-8 to either the 787-9 and/or the 787-10.  Already some airlines are getting out the 787-8 like Air Berlin which still has to confirm their conversion from the -8 to the -9.  This can only help the overall profitability of the 787 program in the long run.  Yesterday, Boeing showed a cancellation of 5 787s from it's weekly order report.  Speculation immediately fell on Lion Air/Batik as the source as they have been talking about converting that order into 10 737s.  There was also an unidentified order for 10 737s posted along with the cancellation thus Lion Air does seem to be the logical choice.

Thus far in August, Boeing has delivered 8 787s but I do expect 5 more to be delivered in the next 9 days. I'll give a fuller report at the end of the month along with a preview of September's deliveries around Labor Day.
787 Full Production Table

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

787 Update - August 19, 2014


787 deliveries picked up the first two and half weeks into August with 7 deliveries thus far including British Airways 8th and final 787-8.  They are second customer to have its 787-8 completely fulfilled this year (China Southern being the other).  In the next 12 days I do see Boeing delivering 7 more Dreamliners between the 20th and the 31st.  Currently they have delivered 177 787 since deliveries began, 63 this year, 15 thus far in the quarter and 7 so far this month.

The upcoming deliveries would include United's first 787-9 though Boeing is still waiting for the final FAA Type Certification for the GE powered aircraft.  We should also see the first deliveries to Royal Jordanian and Xiamen this month when they take 1 787-8 each.  Deliveries should also be made to Qatar, Jetstar (QANTAS), Kenya Airways and ANA.

For September, Boeing is looking to end the 3rd quarter 787s delivery on a bang with about 18 (maybe 19) deliveries.  The preliminary plan is for Boeing to deliver up to 4 787-9s including the first to Virgin Atlantic as well as one more each to ANA, Air New Zealand and United.  Also we can see the 10th and final delivery to Ethiopian of their order of 10 787-8s though they are going to be taking more on lease from AerCap. Both Avianca and CIT Leasing will take ownership of their 1st 787s.  In the case of CIT, these aircraft are being leased to Royal Jordanian.

While deliveries look promising this month, Boeing will start final assembly on only 7 787s this month.  It appears that there will be delay in the start of final assembly of LN 240 and LN 241 while Boeing South Carolina will continue producing at 3/month.  The word I've heard is that this to allow the start of transitioning of work from the surge line in 40-24 to 40-26 and the eventual shut down (in 2016) of the 787 surge line in 40-24.  Right now the surge is producing 3 787s while the main line is producing 4.  It'll be interesting to see how Boeing handles the transition over the next couple of years.

In September, Boeing should start final assembly on aircraft destined for American Airlines (2), Scoot and Royal Air Maroc.  If they are to deliver 26 airplanes by the end of September then Boeing can potentially have 203 total deliveries, 89 this year, and 41 in the third quarter.  They will have to put the pedal to the metal in terms of production flight testing however.  The next couple of leading up to the Labor Day holiday will probably be very slow as people go on vacation but come September 2nd the pace should quick substantially.  If they are able to deliver a substantial number of 787 in the next month and half then Boeing could potentially deliver closer to 120 787s this year.  Please note that there are a lot that can happen that would cause this estimation to go out the window but it does appear that Boeing is on a good track to deliver the delivery guidance.

787 Full Production Table

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ZA006 flying again

ZA006, one of the 6 787-8 that was part of the test flight program appears to be flying according to both Flightaware and Flightradar24.  The aircraft has been at Lackland Air Force Base for about 2 years first being stored and then undergoing change incorporation and refurbishment in preparation to delivery to the Mexican Air Force for use as a VIP transport.  There's no word on delivery though it is thought that it will be delivered towards the end of the year.  Right now it appears the aircraft is doing engineering flights to verify and test the aircraft after the refurbishment.

Friday, August 8, 2014

787 update - August 8, 2014




787 Deliveries in July
Boeing had a so-so delivery month in July with deliveries of only 8 Dreamliners.  They could have done better but I do think they are set up to deliver upwards of 15 787s in August.  July deliveries included ANA's first 787-9 which they are planning to press into service in early august n domestic routes in Japan.  In terms of production efficiency, Boeing delivered 8 aircraft rolled out 11 787s from all assembly lines.  That translates to an efficiency rating of 1.38 (11 rollouts/8 deliveries).  The lower the number the more efficient the program.  The Charleston plant delivered 3 and rolled out 3 for an efficiency of 1 while Everett delivered 5 aircraft and rolled out 8 giving it a an efficiency of 1.6.  Currently it does appear that Charleston is producing more efficiently given this metric but it doesn't take into account unforeseen circumstances that would not be in the control of Boeing or at either plant (i.e. customer difficulties, etc.). Eight days into August and thus far there have been 3 deliveries.  There has also been a noticeable pick up in flight testing tempo.  I do project that in addition to the 3 already delivered in August, Boeing can deliver 12 more of which 10 have flown and 2 more are awaiting their B-1 flights.







787 Production
The production pace at both plants continue as before with several more -9 entering final assembly in Everett.  Boeing is gradually shifting Everett 787 production from 40-24 where the surge line is located to 40-26 which is the main production line to a point where the surge line will shut down in 2016.  This will allow 40-24 to be freed up for 777X production that should start around 2017 after the surge line undergoes re-construction to prepare it for 777X production.  The build rate in 40-26 appears to be about 6 manufacturing days while in 40-24 it appears to be about 7 manufacturing day.  Over the next 18 months I expect the manufacturing days in 40-26 will decrease to about 3 days as Boeing slowly transfer the surge production to the main line.  During August we should seeing a couple of first: the 1st 787-9 for Scoot and the 1 787-8 for American Airlines should start final assembly during the 3rd week of August and both aircraft should deliver around November.
In Charleston the expansion continues as Boeing continues construction in the 88-30 line in order to prepare it to handle 7 airplanes/month by 2019. Work continues on a new paint facility and firefighting station but the expansion will not likely stop there. Currently the build rate is about 7 days at Charleston which will have that team pulling 3 787s out per month and delivering the same number in August.
The one big news for Charleston came out at the end of July.  Boeing announced that they will build the 787-10 exclusively in Charleston. The reason that was given that the fuselage can't fit into the Dreamlifter for transport to Everett.  According to some information that I received that is technically not true.  The fuselage can fit into the Dreamlifter but the FAA has set a limit as to the length of an object that can be carried by the aircraft.  The mid body fuselage for the 787-10 exceed the maximum length allowed by the FAA. For some time this decision was anticipated to go to Charleston and frankly was not a surprise. Neither was it a surprise that Charleston will taken on the additional rate increase that Boeing has planned for 2016 and around 2018-2019 to take the rate up to 14 aircraft per month.  Boeing has announced that they will build the -10 in Charleston but it remains to be seen if they will conduct certification flight testing in Charleston or if the 787-10 will conduct all it's testing out of Boeing Field where Boeing Flight Test team is headquartered.  It is conceivable that they can set up the facilities necessary to conduct certification tests in Charleston but I doubt that Boeing would take the expense to do that just for one derivative.  Most likely the test flight fleet will be flown to Boeing Field and testing will be based out of Seattle.  The location of the -10 shouldn't change the employment outlook at Charleston but the increase in work as well as the increase of the Boeing foot print in the Charleston area will drive the employment at the Boeing facility.
Here's Boeing's Statement on the 787-10:
Boeing to Assemble 787-10 Dreamliner in South Carolina

EVERETT, Wash., July 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that final assembly of the 787-10, the newest and longest member of the 787 Dreamliner family of airplanes, will take place exclusively in North Charleston, S.C. 
Boeing will continue to assemble both 787-8s and 787-9s in Everett, Wash., and North Charleston. Design of the 787-10 is underway in Everett, with final assembly of the first 787-10 scheduled to begin in South Carolina in 2017. 
"We looked at all our options and found the most efficient and effective solution is to build the 787-10 at Boeing South Carolina," said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager, 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This will allow us to balance 787 production across the North Charleston and Everett sites as we increase production rates. We're happy with our growth and success in South Carolina, and the continued success at both sites gives us confidence in our plan going forward." 
The 787-10 will be 18 feet (5.5 meters) longer than the 787-9. With 10 feet (3 meters) of that increase in the midbody section, the 787-10 midbody is too long to be transported efficiently from North Charleston, where systems integration work is performed, to the Everett facility for final assembly. In addition, introducing the 787-10 in North Charleston takes advantage of that facility's capacity while allowing the Everett facility to continue improving productivity as it focuses on the 787-8 and 787-9. 
The 787 production system includes three production lines: two in Everett (including a temporary surge line) and one in South Carolina. The integrated production system currently operates at a production rate of 10 airplanes per month. As announced last year, the 787 production rate will increase to 12 airplanes per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade.  
The Everett facility will continue to assemble seven airplanes per month, while Boeing South Carolina final assembly will gradually increase from three 787s per month today to five per month in 2016 and seven per month by the end of the decade.  
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner family of airplanes offers airlines unmatched fuel efficiencies and environmental performance, while providing a new level of comfort for passengers through the thoughtful application of new technologies. To date, the 787 family has won more than 1,000 orders and more than 165 airplanes have been delivered to 21 customers worldwide.  
The 787-10 will leverage 787 technology to provide more passenger and cargo capacity along with unparalleled seat-mile economics in the medium twin-aisle market. Since its launch in June 2013, the 787-10 has won 132 orders from six global customers.

A couple other notes of interest.  Boeing has stored a 787 that is supposed to be delivered to Azerbaijan Airlines from their order of 2 aircraft.  Rumor has it that the airline now wants to cancel the order though it is just rumor and the airline can also be delaying delivery.  It is unknown if this aircraft has an interior installed already but 2nd aircraft is scheduled to be assembled in Charleston around September for delivery in December.  This situation seems similar to the one Airbus faced with Skymark Airlines when they cancelled their A380 order after two aircraft had already been built.  For now this aircraft is in storage until there is a resolution to the situation with the customer and they will be building the 2nd aircraft as the parts are already in the supply chain. If they do agree to the cancellation then I don't think Boeing will have a problem placing these aircraft with another customer though it may take a few months depending on the interior.

Lastly, the assembly of the 787-9 is starting to hit it stride though the airplanes produced are still going through change incorporation at the Everett Modification Center.  This will continue because when the aircraft was certified there were part manufactured by Boeing or suppliers that had to be bought up to the FAA certification standards.  Many of these parts were deep within the supply chain. when the FAA issued the amended type certificate thus these parts need to be bought up to standard before the FAA certifies each aircraft as being in compliance.  This is the reason why Boeing is deliberately keeping the 787-9 assembly rate slow until the changes are reflected throughout the supply chain.  I believe that Boeing will start assembling aircraft that will not need change incorporation around the time that Charleston starts building it's first 787-9 in November for united Airlines.

787 Full Production Table