Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Boeing delivers 5 787s in September, 787-9 finishes Initial Airworthiness Testing

There was high expectations that Boeing would have delivered quite a few 787s during September in an effort to improve quarterly results, however, Boeing managed only 5 deliveries during the past month.  On a bright note, it seems that there can be a good number of aircraft that should be delivered in early October as their delivery dates were pushed to the current month.  Boeing was very aggressive in production test flights in the effort to deliver many Dreamliners including the first aircraft to Jetstar (QANTAS) and Royal Brunei Airlines.   Additionally there were several 787s in Charleston that were expected to be delivered in September including aircraft for Air India, China Southern, Hainan, Qatar and LAN.  Hainan was delivered in September while China Southern was delivered on Oct. 1 and flew away on Oct. 2nd.  Boeing had to fly a lot of test flights on the 5 airplanes that they were trying to deliver from Charleston.  None of the aircraft for the above mentioned carriers flew fewer than 8 test flights with one 787 for LAN recording 13 flights. Two of these aircraft should deliver in early October with the Air India delivery on hold due to the usual financing issues with Air India.

Everett faired a little bit better but Boeing was planning to deliver the first 787s each to Jetstar and Royal Brunei.  These airplanes are still at Everett and I believe they should deliver in the early part of October as well.  All in all September was a very slow month for 787 deliveries and part of it may be due in part to customers being very picky during customer inspections (Qatar) as well as continued media reports about breakdown, cancellations and delays of the 787s in service with the customers.  Amongst the most vocal airlines regarding the teething issues are Norwegian, LOT Polish and Qatar.  However, it is a little disconcerting that aircraft built at Charleston had to fly more test flights (Boeing and customer) than those built at Everett though there were 787s that were assembled at Everett, especially the ones that were delivered in 2011 through mid 2012, that had to undertake numerous test flights.  Undoubtedly, as the Charleston team improves efficiency and their experience the number of test flights and squawks will trend downward.

So what should we expect for October?  This is difficult to say for several reasons: 1) Any issues at Charleston which currently has 8 787s waiting to be delivered and 9th that will be coming out soon. 2) Increase scrutiny by customers of their aircraft prior to deliveries which can lead to more customer flights 3) unpredictability of certain customers to take deliveries (Air India, China Southern, Hainan, and Qatar).  There is a fourth issue which may come up and that is the current government shutdown that can affect 787 production particularly with the 787-9 but also on changes with the 787-8.  Boeing has already spoken about this.  With the US Government shutdown there aren't any FAA inspectors to carry certification work and that could have a significant impact on deliveries.  I'll be watching this carefully.  I do think that we can see 9 to 10 787 deliveries mainly because of the spillover of missed September deliveries into October.

Lastly, Boeing announced that the 787-9 has completed Initial Airworthiness Testing which clears the way for Boeing 's engineers to fly aboard the aircraft in order to collect data.  Boeing has completed just under 50 hours of testing over the last two weeks.  The second test flight aircraft, ZB002 (LN 133, N789FT) was rolled out around Sept. 30th.  It spent 8- days in production vs. 86 for ZB001.  ZB001 flew 24 days after being rolled out.  If I apply the same metric to ZB002 then it should fly (barring any issues or unknown unknowns) by October 24th.  I believe it can fly by mid October.

Full 787 List

Current 787 Production List

Delivered 787 List

787 Monthly Delivery Tracking

787 Customer Delivery

787-9 Flight Test Hours



Frankies Filmecke said...

According to Boeing's O&D spreadsheet, they delivered 6 787s in September. VH-VKA was contractually delivered on September 30th.

Jozef said...
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BoredEngr1013 said...
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BoredEngr1013 said...

ZA243 just left Charleston for Delhi... finally AIN free for the time being

Emile Hendrik said...

The simple fact remains.. after visiting both delivery centers it is clear that the Charleston plant has few personal with Boeing experience and back ground, the time taken to clear any snags is much longer than the time it takes to address these same issues at Everett Field.
some customers are now approaching Boeing to have aircraft delivered from Everett only and not the lesser experienced personal at Charleston, which is resulting in longer delays and slower times to rectify technical issues.

Henman said...

Not that it's a completely relevant point, but 787 now just 19 deliveries behind the A380. It'll probably be just shy of moving ahead this year though.

larmeyers said...

6 of the last 14 deliveries to airlines from either China or India and 3 of last 5 from Charleston... progress.

Also, I saw that LN 20 (JAL) is in flight testing now... mathematically a "terrible teen." Nice to see the backlog of older frames starting to move.

TurtleLuv said...

I think of line 20 as the real line 1, and the frames before as experimental prototypes. 20 is where they had a block change removing a bunch of weight, and seeing as JA fly line 21 (and will fly line 20) on all of their long hauls, even their ultra long haul to Boston, it must have been a decent improvement.

and talking about early frames, both line 9 (JA804a) and line 24 (JA802a) for ANA have started flying long haul to Singapore and back in their rotations. line 9 was only doing local hops before, and line 24 was doing 3 hour hops to china (barely six hours a day in the air) so it's good to see these early frames get to stretch their wings a bit. I'm hoping lines 7 and 8 join them.

graeme77 said...

Are those "some customers" or just Qatar?
Perhaps you can elaborate why the Qatar aircraft has been held up with snags far longer than aircraft of other airlines?
(obviously the Air India payment issues are not relevant...)

Anonymous said...

Just seen JAL order the A350,i wonder if its partly because of the 787 issues which have mentioned before, or was it just a matter of not if but when,how heavy did Airbus discount this order just to get a foot in the door in japan. Still a blow for boeing

Steven Lau said...

Next time when you update the 787-9 flight test hour chart please check the monthly "number of flight hours total."

TurtleLuv said...

Interesting information here: Roll out dates for all delivered 787's

Interesting to see time from rollout to delivery, with line 21 at almost 3 years. Line 20 will be over 3 years when it delivers, and the terrible teens should stretch into 4+ years.

More here:

TurtleLuv said...

And that last article also show LAN line 113 as delivered last month.

Uresh said...

I guarantee that LN 113 has not been delivered. The list is flawed.

1coolguy1 said...

JAL A350 order - yet ANOTHER failure on McNerneys' watch.

When will the board wake up and replace this guy? He's been a train wreck.

Knowing him, he blew the JAL order by not showing the Japanese the level of interest and attention his predecessors did.

Japan is not a market that is only served by a top sales rep - it must be served by the president of Boeing Commercial and the CEO.

It has been time for this guy to leave and the board should step up to the plate and get a real "airplane guy" in there who also understands the culture and the customers.