UPDATE: ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR) and ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) both made their first flights today (9/12/12)
During the past few day, flight test activity at Everett has picked up with 787s destined for ANA, JAL and United all taking to the air to continue Boeing/customer test flights. This is being done with eyeing deliveries of these airplanes later this month.
Additionally re-work activity looks to be increasing as two more 787s, one for Qatar and one for ANA have just moved into the paint hangar, signalling their readiness to start the pre-flight program. There are now 6 787s outside of the EMC hangar that are in various phases of re-work with another 5 aircraft inside the hangar. Among these 11 airplanes at the EMC include 4 airplanes for United Airlines. All assembled 787s are now out of the 40-24 surge line and are either parked outside or are at the EMC.
Speaking of production, interestingly the last two positions in 40-26 are unoccupied while there is only the one position in the 40-24 surge line occupied (position 1). The next 787 won't be loaded into position 1 in 40-26 until Sept. 17th...next Monday. I'm not sure of the reason but it might be due to a short break before Boeing starts production at the higher rate of 5/month during September. They also may want to ease the bottleneck on the flightline with many of the positions already full with 787s waiting to be delivered.
Lastly, the first 787 for Hainan Airlines finally broke cover and is now at the Everett fuel dock. No doubt it is waiting for a spot to open up which should happen in the next few days.
Looking at the 787 production and disposition chart, Boeing strategy is obvious. Get the late build 787s out the door and into customer hands while at the same time assembly and delivering post LN 65 airplanes thus increasing the delivery rate. As time goes on deliveries should hold steady as the increase in the production rate from 3.5 to 10 offsets the decrease in the number of 787 airframes that need change incorporation and pre LN 65 airplanes are delivered with increasing frequency in the next 12 to 18 months. There are about 18 787s that are still in storage around Everett but that is quite an improvement as many airplanes are going through change incorporation or are in various stages of pre-flight or Boeing/customer pre-delivery test flights.
However, the key to this strategy is clearing the bottleneck of airplanes that are complete and ready to be delivered both in Everett and at Charleston. So far two have been delivered this month but at least 5 more should be delivered this month possibly reaching as high as 8 more including 787s for Air India at Charleston. Another question mark is deliveries to Qatar Airways which seemed stalled. There has not been a test flight of any of the 2 787s for Qatar recently though a 3rd one is now in paint. There could be slippage of this into October.