Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Boeing considering a 2nd 787 assembly line?

I got an email this morning from a reliable source stating that the eventual plan for 787 production is to build on 10/month on two separate lines. The first line is obviously already up and running inside building 40-26. The second line would go in building 40-24 which is where the current 767 production line is.

767 production would move to a small bay on the north side of Boeing factory at Everett. There is as of now, no timetable for all this to happen but it does raise quite a few questions as well as possibilities.

Questions: What happens if Boeing wins the tanker re-bid with the 767? The answer is not clear but the tanker would account for one more 767/month. It is probably possible that the new 767 final assembly line location should be able to handle that.
Couldn't the existing 787 line handle the increase of output to 10/month? It probably can but they probably want to set up two lines for a couple reasons: 1) to increase production significantly and also to provide back up in case there are issues with the other production line.

Possibilities: Boeing can really up the production rates of the 787 in all it's variants which at one point will probably include the 787-10 and a 787F in addition to the 787-8, 787-9 and 787-3. Now with all that will be one huge questions: What can be the optimum supplier throughput to the final assembly line in Everett? And that's a question not only for the primary Boeing suppliers but the secondary and tertiary suppliers as well. Throughput, or the rate that the supplier can supply to the programs final assembly line, is going to be key in getting production going as well as catching up to the 12 to 30 month delays facing the 787 customers.

Lastly, Scott Hamilton and Leeham & Co. conducted a great interview with Pat Shanahan. You can read it here.


On the second final assembly line my source said that this action (moving the 767 line and replacing it with the 787 line) is more than likely to happen regardless of what happens to the KC-X re-bid decision. The 787 program needs the space. Already there has been some evidence of this as the fatigue test airframe was moved from 40-26 to 40-24 to finish up assembly prior to be taken out to the fatigue test site.


Check out the Flightblogger post.

Update 3

Qatar Airways CEO weighs in on Boeing opening a 2nd line for the 787. He basically says it's a no-brainer. Duh! Read the article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boeing has excess production capacity available at their Long Beach, California plant. The runway there is long enough to accomidate the dreamlifter as well.