Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012 787 delivery watch and other 787 news

UPDATE (6/12/12, 8:45 PM):  There will be a line move tomorrow but on top of that there was some movement of several Qatar Airways 787s.

ZA118 (LN 67) will go straight from 40-26 to the paint hangar 45-01.  Sounds like there aren't very many jobs to do on this one and can go to preflight. 
ZA461 (LN 58) has gone from Stall 106 to the paint hangar 45-04 sounds like we'll finally see a 787 in Qatar Airways color scheme.
ZA460 (LN 57) went to EMC position Z
ZA511 (LN 63) went to EMC position 3
ZA463 (LN 64) went to EMC position E replacing ZA100 (LN 7)
ZA100 (LN 7) went to paint hangar 45-03 for painting seems this one is done

Lots of news out today.

ZA509 flies

ZA509 (LN 56, JA812A) flew for the first time this afternoon. This is the first 787 to conduct a a B-1 flight in over three weeks.  Boeing had filed numerous flight plans over the past few days but it finally took off this afternoon. If there aren't too many issues then it should deliver by the end of this month.  it is still unknown why it has taken so long between B-1 flights for the787 and why ZA506 (LN 47, JA809A) and ZA509 (LN 48, JA810A) have not been delivered to ANA.  ZA506 did have an experimental sticker and an N registration on it but those have since been removed.  I can speculate that this airplane conducted some certification activities, possibly connected to software upgrades, and Boeing is waiting on final FAA approval before signing the airplanes over to ANA.  The fact that ZA509 finally took flight might be an encouraging sign that is approval is close or already in hand.

United to take 787 delivery in September

Jeff Smisek, the CEO of United said today at a shareholder meeting that the airline will take delivery of the first Dreamliner in September and will have 5 to 6 787s by the end of the year.  Currently there are 5 787s that are assembled and two of the five that are currently undergoing change incorporation.  ZA290 (LN 77) will be assembled in Everett and I expect that this airplane will enter final assembly sometime around early September.  Boeing can certainly deliver all these 787s to UAL by the end of the year as they probably don't have much change incorporation to be done.

Air India

The word is the the GoI will take up the compensation agreement between Air India and Boeing this week and that first delivery should take place next week.  Though this is India and they do love their little drama so I'm not going to believe it until all three 787s, ZA 233 (LN 29, VT-AND), ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) and ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI), are all on Indian soil.

Qatar Airways

Of all the 787 that would make a lot of noise I was expecting Qatar Airways, not Air India but some how Air India was able to supplant Akbar Al-Baker as the most annoying (and most dislike) customer in the airline industry.  I know I'm comparing an individual with a company but you get the idea.  Anyway we've heard not a peep from one of the most vocal airlines in the world.  I did get word that delivery of Qatar's first 787 should take place by the end of the month.  Further I got confirmation of the following piece of information that was in a Qatar Airways press release:
The Doha-based airline is preparing to take delivery of five 787s during 2012, with the first set to arrive in Qatar this summer.
The carrier will initially operate the aircraft on intra-Gulf routes to provide flight crew with training hours before Qatar Airways’ 787 is scheduled to appear on static display at the Farnborough Air Show in July and then enter its first long-haul commercial service on the Doha – London Heathrow route.
If so then Boeing will need to deliver Qatar's first 787 by the end of this month if it is to conduct inter-Gulf flights for a week and then go to Farnborough for the air show which starts July 9th.  It is entirely possible that the airline can take delivery by the end of the first week of July and then fly it to Farnborough for the show.  I say this because as of today the plane is still in a flightline stall and there is still work being done on the aircraft and has yet to run its engines for the first time let alone make a B-1 flight.  If ZA461 (LN 58) isn't on the ramp at Farnborough a 777-300ER would be in its place) then you can expect U-Turn Al to be back to his normally bombastic self thus regaining his title over Air India.


I expect there to be another line move if not today then by Thursday at the latest.  LN 67 should be pushed out and should be in a similar condition as LN 66.  This airplane is also for ANA and should most certainly deliver next month.  Related to production, Flightglobal writer Steven Trimble came out with an article saying that Boeing is pushing the activation of the surge line to the end of September, ostensibly the start of the 4th quarter.  The reason being is that Boeing wants to use the line for chane incorporation for the 39 787s that are out on the Everett ramp.  According to Trimble the line is completely ready to support production of the 787s but Boeing wants to use it for change incorporation during the summer.  This may make sense as it have two positive effects...1) it allows Boeing to work through the 39 planes that are still need to be finished that more faster thus reducing inventory on the balance sheet and boking revenues on the income statement and 2) it allows Boeing to refine and double check it plans for the surge line and for the rate increase to 5/month that will come this fall.  Boeing and its supplies cannot fail on this rate increase and must make sure that it occurs seamlessly across the supply chain.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of the 787s that are currently in final assembly are moved to the surge line to finish off some of the minor assembly tasks.


Jim Albaugh speaking yesterday said that the 787-10 would be launched before a 777X as it is the derivative that is the most further along.  According to Scott Hamilton who cites a Bernstein Research note, the 787-10 launch is almost a certainty.  The 787-9 development is proceeding well and will go into production on the surge line next year. 

The same Bernstein Research note also raised Boeing outlook based on improvement in the 787 program and in particular the production.  It cites supplier performance as a huge factor in the improved production outlook.  See the Reuters article that talks about the Bernstein note here.

Performance of ANA 787s

Word is coming out that the performance of ANA 787s on long haul flights is 21% better compared to the 767-300ER that they're replacing.  This is compared to the 20% that Boeing was aiming for when they started marketing the 787 to the airlines. These are the overweight aircraft that are equipped with the Trent 1000 package "B" engines that have SFC bought to within 1% of Rolls Royce's performance guarantees.  One can only imagine what the performance will be like on the later 787s which are delivered at the promise weight (Boeing is getting there) along with the improved engines coming out from both GE (PIP2) and Rolls Royce (package "C").


HK Expat said...

Thanks for the update!
Any word on Ethiopian?
They've loaded flights in the system that would mean 1 aircraft flying on Aug 1, a second aircraft on Aug 16 and a third on Sep 16. That would mean July delivery of the first aircraft which would slot them between Qatar and LAN.
Seems unlikely given the movements on the line???

Uresh said...

There is one Ethiopian 787 that is undergoing change incorp so that will probably be the one that is delivered.

Joostdg said...

Thanks for this massive update!!! I'm very much looking forward to the 787 in qatar colors!!

Anonymous said...

Well done on your news updates, keep it going

Henman said...

Great update! Looking forward to Matt's pics. And I guess we'll see LN66 head for paint soon after.

Someone said...

Thanks for the new colour feature in the overview. Makes it easier to read

Al T. said...

Awesome article. Thanks so much.

I was wondering if anyone had a good guesstimate on how much the 21% performance improvement is due to the low density configuration of ANA's planes. How much would that performance improvement decrease with dense configuration like Air India's?

Still, the improvement is impressive, since it allows ANA to still make a profit and make the cabin roomier for the average passenger.

Karl Perez said...

@ AI T.

A denser configuration for any a given airplane would normally make that airplane more efficient if full to capacity. It is basically carrying more profit generating customers for a marginally more fuel consumed for a given trip.
I suppose too that ANA is comparing their B787 with 250 seats or so to their B676 also configure with the same seat count. Also, since the B787 is such a new plane with more room in its cabin and more features that a B767, ANA could charge a premium for tickets bought for a B787 flight compare a B767 flight to the same destination. I guess they could do this till this novelty wears off.