Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2 more JAL 787s to deliver tomorrow

Boeing is set for another 787 double delivery to customer Japan Airlines.  This time two more late built 787s will be delivered on April 25th.  Fly away to Japan is expected around the 26th or 27th, in time for JAL to start 787 service to Moscow and Delhi in May.  Japan Airlines is expecting to have 10 787s in its fleet by March 31, 2013.  There are still 3 more JAL 787s at Everett that have yet to finish change incorporation.  The two 787s that will be delivered are ZA180 (LN 37, JA826J) and ZA181 (LN38, JA827J).

Boeing is preparing ZA506 (LN47, JA809A) for delivery to ANA.  This is probably not going to happen until May with it's first flight sometime in the first two weeks of May.  This will be ANA's 8th 787. Again Boeing is still clearing out the late and very late built aircraft but clearing out the first 23 787s built has been very slow (LN7 - LN29)

Additionally, it's expected that Boeing will finally deliver Air India's first Dreamliner though the first one ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) is still in San Antonio.  It's sister, ZA233 (LN29, VT-AND) has been flying around San Antonio and may be flying to Paine Field right now.  This airplane will still need to have its interior installed when it gets back to Everett so it won't be ready for delivery until late May at the earliest.

Finally on Friday Boeing will roll out the first 787 to be built at Boeing Charleston.  This airplane, ZA237 (LN46) is destined for Air India and should be delivered around June.  Given that this is the first 787 to be built at Charleston, Boeing will probably take its time doing the needed gauntlet testing before conducting its first flight.  Boeing will then send the plane to Amarillo, Texas where Leading Edge Aviation Services is contracted to paint the Charleston built Dreamliners.  Boeing Charleston doesn't have a paint hangar unlike Everett but I can see that changing with Boeing's acquisition of more land near the plant.  The airplanes will then be flown back to Charleston where the interiors will be fitted and further Boeing and customer test flights will be completed.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tornadoes hit Boeing Defense plant and Spirit's plants in Wichita, production of 787 and 737 uncertain

Boeing was dealt a body blow on Saturday when tornadoes ripped through Wichita and severely damaged Boeing's BDS plants as well as the plants for Spirit AeroSystems 737 and 787 operations.

Thankfully there weren't any injuries or fatalities but production of 737 and the forward fuselage of the 787 may be severely impacted due to the power outage and damage caused by the storm.

Right now Spirit is telling employees not to report for work through Tuesday as they are still conducting damage assessments. Spirit is just one of a handful of Boeing 787 suppliers that have had very little issues with producing their work share of the 787. This could set Boeing back though if it does and by how much is still uncertain though Spirit is saying most of their capabilities are still intact. I don't know what they mean by capabilities.

From the photos that Spirit had posted on Flickr, the damage at least externally, looks to be pretty severe. I will try to follow this and report what impact, if any, these tornadoes have on 787 production.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First SC built 787 to roll out at end of April, 787 production update

Boeing announced that the first 787 built in North Charleston will roll out of final assembly on April 27th. This aircraft, ZA237 (L/N46), is destined for Air India and should be delivered this summer. Even though it is rolling out it will probably go through a more extensive battery of ground and gauntlet testing as this is the first 787 built outside of Everett where most of the assembly technicians are new to building this aircraft. After gauntlet testing Boeing will conduct a B-1 test flight and then fly the aircraft to Texas where it will be painted. It will return to North Charleston to finish pre-delivery Boeing and customer test flights. I don't know if it already has the customer interior installed but that could happen just before painting but after flying the initial test flight. In case the test flight has uncovered any issues that need to be corrected, Boeing techs will probably want unrestricted access to any areas. Interior fittings like seats, galleys, and restrooms can get in the way.

Lastly, I updated the 787 production firing order with LN71-LN75. One slight change is that LN 63 which was going to be for Hainan Airlines is now going to ANA with Hainan now getting LN 73. I was able to get some information on where these particular airplanes will be built as well. These 5 frames are, for now, scheduled to go to Ethiopian (2 frames), Air India, Hainan, and LAN. Interesting no new first delivery frames in this lot.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Boeing delivers 3 787s in March, three more on tap for April

Boeing was able to deliver three 787s to customers in March, 2 to Japan Airlines and 1 to ANA. It's looking like Boeing will be able to deliver 3 more in April. Again two to JAL and one more to ANA. In fact ZA105 (L/N 42, JA808A) is schedule to make its first flight today (April 1)...hopefully it's not an April Fool's joke by Boeing. Both ZA180 (L/N 37, JA826J) and ZA181 (L/N 38, JA827J) had their first engine runs though JAL's CEO was a little vague at the delivery ceremony for its first two 787s if the airline will take delivery in April. I still have no further information on their delivery timelines or for other 787s deliveries beyond ZA105.

Who's next?

So who else will be receiving 787s this year? Well in addition to ANA and JAL the known customers who have given updated delivery guidance will include:

Air India (May)
Qatar Airways (June just before Farnborough)
United (Fall, 2012)
LAN (Fall, 2012)
Polish LOT (Late 2012)

Other first deliveries may/should include Ethiopian and China Southern both airlines should receive them around late summer to fall though there hasn't bee any updated delivery guidance given by those two carriers. The first 787 for Hainan Airlines is supposed to start final assembly within the next couple of weeks though again there is no guidance on when this airplane will be delivered so it might be early next year as resources are used to get the earlier airplanes ready for delivery. Royal Air Maroc has two 787s out on the flightline though I am not sure when those are to be delivered and there has been no recent delivery guidance given by the airline. RAM was expected to take their first 787 in late 2011 but that is most assuredly pushed to late this year at the earliest if not sometime in early 2013.


On the production line airplanes 58, 59, 61 and 62 are in positions 4 though 1 respectively in building 40-26. Airplane 60 will be built on the North Charleston line though I don't have a final assembly start date yet. This is an airplane for Qatar Airways. Boeing is closing on the start of assembly for airplane 66 which will be the first airplane that will go straight from the assembly line to flight testing and will have no need for change incorporation or any other work. This airplane is destined for ANA when it is complete. I can see this airplane being delivered around June of this year.

Boeing has delivered 5 787s so far this year and are expecting to deliver anwhere from 30 to 37 more 787s this year. That means they need to deliver more than 3 airplanes perr month for teh rest of this year if they are to attain that goal. If they deliver only 3 787s in April then they would have to deliver almost 4 airplanes a month for the remainder of the year to attain their goal.