I have updated my 787 tracking spreadsheet to reflect the firing order from L/N 131 to L/N 160.
A couple of interesting things stand out. All three flight test 787-9s will be assembled on the Everett surge line in 40-24 and during the final assembly of these 3 test flight aircraft, no other 787s for customers will be assembled. This is not too surprising as Boeing needs to retire risk associated with assembling the newest version of the 787 and doesn't want to run the chance of unforeseen issues with assembly of the 787-9 to hold up assembling the 787-8 for customers.
Another interesting item is the increasing number of airframes being built at Boeing Charleston. The current monthly assembly rate is 1/month but with this firing order Boeing is looking to go to 1.5/month.
Back to the 787-9, the list also shows ZB197 (LN 146) a 787-9 going to ANA. Why Boeing is building this aircraft for ANA before Air New Zealand, which is to take the first 787-9, is a mystery.
There are some notable airlines whose first 787s are on this list including: Air Canada (ZA610, LN 160), Kenya Airways (ZA655, LN 157) and Norwegian Air Shuttle will be getting its first non-leased 787 (ZA650, LN 136).
There are a couple of airplanes being leased from ILFC but I don't have the customers yet. The Boeing customer codes is ABD (Air Berlin perhaps) and KBL (absolutely no idea who this is).
There is also one 787 whose identity is completely unknown and I'm working to try and figure out who the customer is for ZA778 (LN 149).
In this batch of 30 aircraft here is the breakdown:
5 for ANA
1 for Air Canada
1 for Air India
1 for China Southern Airlines
2 for Hainan Airlines
4 for ILFC (various customers)
2 for JAL
1 for Kenya Airways
1 for Norwegian Air Shuttle
3 for Qatar Airways
2 for QANTAS (Jet Star)
1 for Royal Brunei Airlines
1 for Thomson
2 for Boeing (2 787-9 for flight test)
2 for United Airlines
All this would be meaningless if there isn't any progress on the 787 lithium ion battery issue. In an article in the Seattle Times, reporter Dominic Gates reported that Boeing is prepared to propose a short term interim fix to the FAA for the battery which encompasses a titanium or steel enclosure for the battery with high pressure venting for gas and electrolytes which would be released in the case of the thermal runaway. Also included is enhanced monitoring.
All this would allow (if the FAA approved) for Boeing and its partners to completely redesign and re-certify a new lithium ion battery for use on the 787. However, it seems that the FAA is going to prolong this and will grill Boeing very hard on this interim measure. Boeing is aiming to get the 787s flying again by end of May as they will need time to refine the short term fix, test it and certify it for airline use. The FAA will have a lot to say about what kind of test results they want to see from Boeing.