Boeing activated the temporary surge line on Aug. 24 by loading the first airplane into final body join. The 787 program is making steady progress toward increasing the production rate from the current 3.5 airplanes per month to 10 per month by the end of 2013.
Boeing has finally activated the 787 surge line for the final assembly of the 787. The surge line allows Boeing to increase production of the 787 sooner while Boeing Charleston ramps up over the next 16 months to 3 airplanes per month. Thus far, Boeing plans to deactivate the surge line after Charleston reaches the 3/month output but there are rumblings that the surge line may remain to further push the total 787 output to beyond 10/month. The surge line was ready early this summer but Boeing opted to use the three position line to conduct change incorporation on the existing assembled 787 inventory. This allowed Boeing to get more 787s prepared for delivery during this past summer.
The surge line will have three positions each will mirror its counterpart in the existing final assembly line in 40-26 in terms of funcions though it's not exact mirror in terms of the layout, so the work that is done on the airframe in position 1 in 40-26 will be the same that is done in position 1 in 40-24, etc. The main exception that both lines will share the use of position 4 in 40-26 and position 3 in 40-24 is slanted while the other two positions are in line.
On Friday, ZA538 (LN 80) was loaded into the position 1 in the 40-24 building after ZA500 (LN 11) was cleared from that position and taken to the 40-51 ramp. There are two other positions in the line for production but currently those spots are being occupied by two other 787s that are undergoing change incorporation. It is thought that when ZA538 is done with position 1 then ZA505 (LN18) which is currently in position 2 will be moved out to allow final assembly to continue. The same will be true for position 3 which is currently occupied by ZA285 (LN 45). After this last plane is cleared from 40-24 the surge line will be a dedicated final assembly line with no change incorporation activities planned to be done on it. All those activities will continue at the Everett Modification Center.