Wednesday, December 5, 2012

787 flight activity picking up. Is Boeing preparing to give a big Xmas present?

Boeing may be getting set to give AvGeeks and their shareholders a big Xmas gift in the form of several 787 deliveries before the end of the year.

There has a been a noticeable uptick in 787 flight activity both at Everett and Charleston since the first of the month. In the first four days of December, Boeing has conducted 3 B-1 flights on ZA271 (LN 78, SP-LRB), ZA464 (LN 82, A7-BCC) and ZA510 (LN 59, JA817A).  These three aircraft are for LOT Polish Airlines, Qatar Airways and ANA respectively. 

In addition to these first flights, Boeing has conducted a few follow on test flights of other 787s including two in Charleston.  Both ZA239 (LN 60, VT-ANK) and ZA240 (LN 65, VT-ANL) have flown out of Charleston in recent days. These aircraft were to have been delivered earlier in the fall but on going financing issues at Air India have prevented the carrier from taking delivery.  The fact that these two aircraft have flown on back-to-back days may raise the possibility that Air India has some how arranged the bridge financing needed to take delivery but this speculation is tempered by Air India complaining that their 787s are experiencing "electrical issues" and will not take anymore deliveries of 78s until these "issues" are corrected with a permanent fix.  Interestingly, none of the other 7 Dreamliner customers have reported (at least publicly) of any electrical issues with airplanes with the exception of yesterday's problem with United.

There are currently 7 787s that are in flight tests with another 6 that are making preparations for their B-1 flights.  Of the 6 preparing for 1st flight, I believe that 4 will eventually fly this month and fly fairly soon. There are 3 aircraft (all for Air India) that are ready for delivery but again it depends on the issues at Air India. Thus Boeing has the potential to deliver 14 though we know that they won't deliver that many.  For one thing Boeing hasn't conducted very many post B-1 test flights on these airplanes and some of the customers themselves may not be ready to take delivery by the end of the month.  Here's whom I believe will be able to take delivery this month:

ANA (2), Qatar Airways (2), United Airlines (2), LAN (1), Japan Airlines (1), Air India (2, maybe).

This is 8 (possibly going to 10) that can be delivered by the end of the month.  Since Boeing has taken the majority of these frames on a B-1 flight very early in the month, it leaves them enough time, prior to Boeing's Christmas break, to conduct further test flights and prepare the aircraft for delivery.

United had an incident with their third (and most recently delivered) 787.  This aircraft is N26902 which was delivered on Nov. 20th.  Thankfully, there wasn't any evidence fire or electrical arcing in the aft electrical bay of the 787 that made the emergency landing at New Orleans but preliminary reports say that one of the 6 starter generators on the aircraft failed.  The suspect part is being replaced and will be tested before the aircraft is placed back into service very soon. I believe the generators are made by Hamilton Sundstrand.








12 comments:

Kevin Flanagan said...

Uresh,

Great update as always. I really want to believe in Santa and 14 delivered 787's under Boeing's tree this Christmas.

Any idea what Air India is talking about with The Minister said the snag was reported to Boeing and "as per its advice, interim solution has been resorted to by Air India till modifications in the aircraft's electrical system is available in the first quarter of 2013," Venugopal said. An odd rewording for a repair?, a part redesign to meet Air India's operating environment?, Or just people taking the Al Baker approach to dealing with Boeing? Any ideas?

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/govt-rules-out-discontinuationboeing-dreamliner-delivery/198446/on

I like how the article ends with Air India planning to take a delivery this month!

Uresh said...

Oh you had to get me started on AI. I think they're posturing and making more noise over something that is pretty trivial. If it was a serious issue then they would have pulled the 3 airplanes from service and the problems are supposedly with one airplane that has since been returned to service. They're also trying to create a delay issue so they can buy more time to arrange further bridge financing but that's my opinion.

Andrew Boydston said...

If Air India has a genuine issue with its 787 airplanes then its the only airline with a genuine 787 issue. Everyone on else has experienced a few bumps along the way and moved past those rather quickly. The Marx Brothers pioneered incompetence with humor, Air India master's incompetence with unintelligible intelligent gibberish about some electronic issues. Read the aircraft manual slowly before attempting to fly an advance aircraft.

Randy Austin said...

Looks like it could be a busy week between Christmas and New Years for the flight line mechs and flight crews to get every airplane they can out the door before next year.

Uresh said...

During the week between Zmas and New Years is usually a time when Boeing closes down. They don't do too much during week.

Randy Austin said...

Actually although most of the Boeing Company shuts down, any airplanes that stand a chance of being delivered before the new year are worked and flown--been there, done that. The flight line mechanics make the big bucks that week.Contracts and engineering are also on hand, as necessary. If everything that can be delivered, is delivered before Xmas then nothing will fly -- probably.

Andrew Munsell said...

I believe the reason Boeing keeps pushing out Air India 787's is because if they did not Air India would want more compensation for delays. It seems like Boeing is working hard to finish the flight tests on the aircraft as in the last week 2 became ready for delivery. I believe LAN will take delivery soon and have the delivery flight before the end of the year, now that it is ready for delivery.

Uresh said...

It's not Boeing that's pushing out delivery but Air India. They don't have bridge financing in place and thus have no way of paying for the airplanes. This is all on Air India not Boeing.

Uresh said...

Boeing still has to produce the AI '87s for other reasons. It was already in the production system (including BFE - buyer furnished equipment) they haave other aircraft behind them that needs to be assembled and delivered.

Andrew Munsell said...

I know it is Air India's fault, I said that my theory Boeing keeps pushing them out is they are sick of Air India's Delay Compensation fees so they want to get as many out as ready. This would mean that mean AI wants one, BOE has one ready and therefore no risk of being charged with compensation fees

James Graham said...

Boeing is getting far along on the production run. LN90 is being built. A while back, you posted that LN90 would be the first aircraft to make the original stated weight. Is this still holding, or has it been met already, or did it get pushed back? Also, how much overweight are the current (LN 70 and above) aircraft?

Uresh said...

Rumor has it that LN 90 won't be at original weight specs and it has moved out. I currently don't have info on when the 787-8 will meet weight but I suspect that it'll be soon after the 787-9 rolls out as many of the parts in that aircraft are weight optimized.