Thursday, February 13, 2014

Boeing delivers 4 787 in January but still plauged with problems in Charleston

Boeing delivered a total of 4 787s in January a decrease of 7 month over month from December's 11 deliveries.  I expected that the number was going to be lower due to the holidays in December which is a time that production usually takes a break company wide.  However, I was forecasting 8 deliveries some of which were just recently delivered aircraft in early February.  I was expecting that Qatar would have taken deliveries last month but apparently they are not ready to take possession.  Qatar has been notoriously picky in their inspections of the aircraft.  There are 4 that are complete at Charleston and outside on the flightline. 

So far in February, Boeing has delivered 3 .  Almost midway through the month of February, Boeing hasn't conducted too many B-1 flights of the aircraft that have rolled out of the final assembly buildings.  In fact Boeing has conducted only 3 first flights of production 787s.  Many of the 787s coming out of 40-24 or 40-26 went to the flightline or the EMC without paint.  This is to finish any traveled work that was left un done due to the issues in Charleston's mid-body assembly building.  While those tasks that went uncompleted in Charleston were probably finished during final assembly, that meant pushing other final assembly tasks to a time after the aircraft rolled out.  This is probably the work that went on the flightline and at the EMC.  Some of those planes have finished the traveled work and have been or are currently being painted.  So far it looks like the 787s that are rolling out needs to spend one more week to finish the traveled work at the EMC before releasing the aircraft to go to paint and subsequent pre-delivery ground and flight tests.  Boeing is continuing to move the mid-body fuselages through each of the assembly cells in 88-20 and then deliver them to Everett of Charleston's 88-30 building for final assembly regardless of the shape that they're in and the amount of work that is left to be done.  Boeing is more intent on maintaining rate of 10/month and the traveled work will be done after the airplanes have moved out of final assembly.  While this may be all well and good in the short term it could have long lasting impacts if the issues in 88-20 are not corrected quickly.  Deliveries could certainly fall behind and the FAA may inquire as to what exactly in going on in Charleston and why. 

The key things to watch for is if Boeing is still sending airplanes that had just been rolled out to paint, the flightline or the EMC.  If it is the later, then we need to see how long they spend at the EMC before going to paint and then on to the flightline.

Boeing is attributing the flow issues in Charleston's 88-20 mid-body assembly building to the introduction of the 787-9 as well as the increase in rate to 10/month. However, Boeing should have also attributed the chaos in 88-20 to the laying off of the contract workers in Charleston months earlier.  Workers that they are now hiring back to get the mid-body assembly back on track. 

Given Boeing's plans for Charleston especially with the planned rate increases in the coming years and if the rumors of the plant taking on all 787-10 assembly is true, then Boeing will need to have these contract workers around for a very long time to come.

Given the unpredictability of the issues that Boeing with the program especially with regards to the mid-body fuselage and the knock on effects that the traveled work has caused to downstream planning of testing and delivery activities, it is hard to predict how many 787s will be eventually delivered this month...and we're already near mid-month. 

This may crimp Boeing's plan to deliver 110 aircraft this year though it is still yet too early to arrive at that conclusion definitively.  Boeing is struggling to get dispatch reliability to over 99% and currently they are at over 98% which is good but not satisfactory to Boeing or the 787 operators.

Full 787 List

Current 787 Production List

Delivered 787 List

787 Monthly Delivery Tracking

787 Customer Delivery

787-9 Flight Test Hours

Current 787 Operators



1coolguy1 said...

Sure wish I could find a job that pays like McNerney's, allows for Boeing's pathetic 787 performance and no one holds me accountable.

This guy is a miserable failure on all fronts, including the stock price which would have been where it is today at least 2-3 years ago if the 787 program was run correctly.

Oh, if only the foolish board had selected teh RIGHT guy, Mulally! Instead they chose one of their own.

Randy Austin said...

How wrong you are.

billmill said...

Do you know if there are any 787 sitting on the ramp with ballasts awaiting GE engines? I understand this was a temporary issue with RR sometime ago, but I heard today at work this is now happening with GE
Thank you.

larmeyers said...

Still curious why Air India ZA230 LN25 was moved from Everett to Charleston and has been there for over a week ready for delivery. Anyone have any knowledge on that?

richard barry said...

Agree with cool guy, appears the bean counter are influencing production decision. Why cut back on staffing while still climbing learning curve at Charleston? If there are production issue how come management didn't know? I have held of on buying stock for past 4 year because I think there are management issues.

Fedupjohn said...

If you not on the East Coast, we have been blasted by winter storm after winter storm for the last 10 days.
My Brother-in-Law has been stuck in Georgia for a week, trying to get a flight back to EWR. He is arriving tonight at 9 PM. and it is snowing here again.
John From New Jersey

Randy Austin said...

I don't think AIN ZA230 hasn't done their customer flight(s) yet, we'll see.

Sorry you didn't buy Boeing stock in the last 4 years -- you could have doubled your money.

TravelingMan said...

Interesting that Rolls Royce wasn't mentioned in the article.

1coolguy1 said...

Uresh: The 787-9 flight tests: Is there a set # of hours per plane by engine type they are predicting until the -9 is certified?
At what point, (total # hours, etc) will the -9 be certified, presuming no major anomalies?

1coolguy1 said...

Icing in the GENx engine: Haven't heard anything for some time: Has this issue been corrected?
If so, was it a software problem, a mechanical setting issue, etc, or have Boeing/GE disclosed the fix?

BTW: Thanks for changing the recaptcha to all numeric. Much easier!

Uresh said...

There probably is but I don't have that information.