Monday, December 31, 2012

787 Looking Back and Looking Forward: Part 1, 2012 Year in Review

2012 787 Year in Review

2012 was a year highs and lows for the 787 program.  While Boeing executed very well on it plan to increase production and work through the back log of airplanes sitting around Everett waiting to be modified and delivered, the program was bedeviled by teething problems while in customer service. 

The Bad
These problems were magnified by the media spotlight that this airplane had to contend with since 2007.  Every new squawk that appeared was magnified by the media despite the benign nature of most of these issues.  The most notable was the diversion of a scheduled United 787 flight from Houston to Newark, NJ.  The aircraft landed in New Orleans without incident as the pilot noticed irregular indications on the cockpit displays related to the electrical system.  United stated that the issue was traced to a starter generator supplied by Hamilton Sundstrand.

The Good
Despite all this many customers reported that they were very happy with the performance of the aircraft.  Air India was able to turn a money losing route (Delhi to Frankfurt) into a profitable one. ANA itself reported that the aircraft was more fuel efficient than they had expected.  As Boeing works out the excess weight of the aircraft in subsequent block numbers and GE & Rolls Royce brings their respective engines closer to promised fuel burn specs the 787-8 will only get better.

During 2012 Boeing had delivered 46 787s to 8 different customers.  7 of these customers received their first 787s this year.  The airlines that Boeing delivered these aircraft to represented every continent on the world except Antarctica (still waiting for Penguin Air to order, I guess).  Of the 46 airplanes delivered, 31 airplanes had to under go some amount of change incorporation through the Everett Modification Center while 15 were delivered straight from the the final assembly lines at Everett and Charleston. Over all Boeing has delivered 49 787s since deliveries began in September 2011.

I was expecting Boeing to deliver 50 787s this year and they fell short of this number quite narrowly by 4 airframes.  This is attributable to the failure of the Chinese and Air India to take delivery of 787s that are ready for service.

On the 787-9 development front, Boeing, at last report, had completed over 90% of the detailed engineering design work for this variant of the aircraft (this was accomplished back in September, 2012) and work started on the first major fuselage assemblies in the last couple of months.  Boeing is reporting that the aircraft is meeting weight expectations and does expect that they will deliver and aircraft that will come in well under the contractual weight made to customers.

Boeing has seemed to have executed well on its plan for 2012.  They had estimated that they would deliver between 35 and 43 787s in the year and they exceeded that delivery plan. 2013 will be a crucial year in terms of the production and delivery ramp up as well as the start of testing on Boeing newest 787 variant. However there are looming problems that can derail those plans in a significant way. These will be explored in the 787 2013 year look ahead.


Andrew Munsell said...

New 787 loaded, great end to 2012. We are one closer to ZB001

Andrew Boydston said...

Thank you for 2012 brief and 2013 outlook. I am encouraged that Boeing is getting its arms around the supply chain, subcontractors and its owns assembly ballet. Some much has been accomplished and so much to do. My optimism is based on unknowns are largely retired from the -8 program as it enters the tweaking stage for production and delivery optimization. Last year from 2011 through 3rd quarter 2012 there where a plethora of resolving problems throughout all concerned contributing to the 787-8. The ship has been righted and the rocks around the harbor are illuminated. 2013 promises to put 2008-2012 problems in the rear view mirror as it rolls out a complete nine, lighter than advertised ready to fly. which is a far cry from 7-7-07, when the first shell had to pushed out in front of an eagerly awaiting team to celebrate just a shell. 2013 will see the 100th 787 flying, the -9 Flying and run up for the -10 to begin. Happy New year Boeing team, use deserve a small celebration for a big effort in 2012 before you are back to work. When the -9 I will definitely be watching you all from the cheap seats rooting you on. Thanks for a great ride in 2012.

TurtleLuv said...

looks like there are only 6 frames on runway 11-29 now. The chart still shows 8. Line 18 is definitely elsewhere, and line 15 appears to be either gone or moved forward.

787-838 said...

Hi Uresh,

I enjoy your blog and appreciate your efforts.

I do have to ask though which airline represented the Australian continent with 787 deliveries?


Kevin Flanagan said...

Wow, from Matt's latest flight line picture, it appears that Boeing has moved all of ANA's frames in storage out to the flight line. Very bold!

Uresh said...

That picture was taken 2 years ago.

Jo Antosz said...

Hi Uresh;
Any info why LOT (SP-LRA) is grounding or canceling flights? seem like half the flights for the 787 were canceled and different (737) was used on that route?

Also with the reported budget problems (LOT asking government for help) what are the plans for the other 3 delivers?

Uresh said...

I'm not aware of any issues regarding LOTs operation of the 787. LOT should be taking the 3 787s that are on the Flightline.

Andrew Munsell said...

Finally for the first time in months are all the Ready For Delivery Air India aircraft owned by AI.

TexanInArkansas said...

Any significance in that the Chinese frames are no longer marked as storage in the spreadsheet?

Uresh said...

Yes, they're not in storage anymore.

Andrew Munsell said...

Uresh, I was looking at the table and I just want to confirm that LN1 through LN 3 will never get an owner and LN's 4 and 5 are looking for one.

Uresh said...

That's correct.