As we approach the Holiday week, Boeing will be going into a slow down mode as is the custom around this time of the year. There have been moves of late which I'll highlight here.
Boeing has moved out ZA274 (LN 88, SP-LRE) for LOT and ZA184 (LN 89, JA830J) for Japan Airlines. They moved ZA513 (LN97, JA819A) for ANA into the body-wing join in 40-24 to start final assembly. This is the last aircraft that will start final assembly in 2012. I expect it to be delivered sometime around middle to late February 2013.
Boeing also moved ZA232 (LN 28, VT-ANC) to the EMC to begin the change incorporation process for this airframe prior to delivery to Air India sometime next year.
I have also updated the tables to reflect the firing order for airplanes 116 to 130. The highlight of this list is ZB001 (LN126) which is the first 787-9 to go into final assembly.
There are a couple of things that caught my attention when I saw the list. Boeing is assembling this aircraft on the 40-24 surge line and not on the main assembly line in 40-26. Second, Boeing has diverted the final assembly of the 787-8s from 40-24 and is concentrating the production of customer aircraft in 40-26 and 88-03 in Charleston. This is obviously in case they run into issues during final assembly of the first 787-9 that there aren't any bottlenecks in 787-8 production. They are leaving themselves enough margin, it seems, to address issues with assembling the 787-9. There will be a 3 airframe margin in front of the ZB001 and at least a 4 frame margin behind the aircraft as it makes it way through the final assembly stations in 40-24.
I don't have any information on follow on 787-9 frames just as yet but Boeing is believed to be planning for a 3 aircraft test fleet for the 787-9 with the test program lasting about 6 months. I roughly estimate that ZB001 should enter the final assembly building around June 13, 2013. Boeing has said the aircraft will start final assembly during the summer. Since this is a brand new variant, I am assuming at least 6 weeks for final assembly and another 6 weeks for ground testing before first flight. This would mean that this airplane can be flying around the middle of September, 2013.
On the firing order nothing stands out though we do get to see the first 787 for JetStar going through final assembly as well as the first 2 787s for Royal Brunei Airlines. The Royal Brunei Order is listed as unidentified on Boeing's Order and Delivery website but they did order 787-8s with Trent-100 engines. The airlines says that they are expecting to take delivery of the 1st 787 in early September 2013. This list as it stands now would cover deliveries through early September, 2013.