Tuesday, March 4, 2014

787 February Production and Delivery Report

With the first 2 months of 2014 officially in the books, the 787 program is starting to show some new signs of life but there are still some dark clouds hanging over the program but the darkest one of all is the continued travel work from Charleston's mid-body fuselage assembly. I still do not expect that the issue will be resolved until next month.

It does appear that Boeing has changed the production system a bit in light of the traveled work.  Instead of sending the aircraft out at regular intervals, regardless of completion, from final assembly to the EMC, Boeing seems to be keeping them in final assembly a bit longer than planned.  The only plausible reason is not only to finish off much if not all the traveled work but also to give more time to the Charleston team assembling the mid-body fuselage sections. I have noticed that Boeing is sending aircraft out of final assembly later compared to when these airplanes were expected out.  Just last night an Ethiopian 787 that I had expected to move out on Feb. 25th was rolled out to the EMC according to Matt Cawby. Even with the 6 day delay there is still more travelled work to be done on this aircraft. United's 1st 787-9 should load today.

Previously, it took Boeing 34 days to complete a 787 on either the main line in 40-26 or the surge line in 40-24. It appears, for now, that the number of days has increased to at least 40 days. We would have to see how long these frames stay at the EMC before being painted.

Additionally, Boeing is spacing out the time it loads a new frame into final assembly.  Previously, Boeing loaded a new air frame every one week into Position 1 on either assembly line in Everett.  Starting with LN 175, the time between loadings had grown to initially 9 and now about 11 days before a new air frame was loaded.

If this trend holds for the rest of March, then Boeing is effectively building 6 787/month out of Everett.  Along with 2 from Charleston, we then could see the total number of aircraft that starts final assembly in March dip to 8/month.  This would be a temporary dip in the rate but something that is not surprising given the trouble in Charleston. However it will allow Charleston time to get the the activities in 88-20 back on track and at rate.

Last month, Boeing delivered 4 787s, three to ANA. There has been a moderate uptick, in the 787 flight activity in the last few days. This includes ferrying Charleston built 787s for painting as well as continued production testing. In fact several Qatar aircraft have finally had their customer flights and appear to be ready for delivery. Kenya Airways 1st 787 is ready for its B-1 flight and I expect Air Canada 1st 787 to be ready for delivery before the end of this month.

This what I am expecting for deliveries in March:

Air India - 1

Qatar Airways - 2

United Airlines - 1

Japan Airlines - 2

ILFC - 2 (1 each to Aeromexico and Norwegian)

Hainan - 1

Royal Brunei - 1

Air Canada - 1

Kenya Airways - 1

This is a total of 12 for March but Boeing May be able to deliver 2 more air frames, one each to Qatar and LOT Polish.

787-9 flight testing continues a pace and I still expect that Boeing will finish all certification flight testing for this variant by May followed by formal FAA certification in June and 1st delivery to Air New Zealand in July. That aircraft is still in final assembly in Everett and should be rolled out sometime this week. ANA's first 787-9, ZB197 (LN 146, JA830A) was rolled out of paint and I expect this aircraft to join the flight test program where it would do functionality and reliability testing. This could start as early as late March but April is more realistic time frame.

I expect the Air New Zealand airframe, ZB003 (LN 169, ZB-NZE) to be transferred over to the EMC where it will finish off travelled work as well as start the change incorporation process where changes mandated by the FAA certification will be made to bring the aircraft up to standard.  Boeing will need to have this aircraft ready in June if it hopes to deliver it in July.


tommy said...

It might be a bit optimistic to see such a step change in deliveries but we will see. United has stated in their SEC filings that their next frame isn't due until the second quarter but it might be delivered this month and put into service next quarter. I also wonder if Qatar is delaying their deliveries until June. They have delayed their a380s until june while they wait for the new airport to open and suspect they might do the same with the next batch of 787s

Jack said...

Kenya will not take their first 787 until April.


bankelele said...

Waiting for the 787 in Kenya

1coolguy1 said...

Nice summary Uresh!

Still would like to know why McNerney has a job! Everyone on the 787 program below him has been "reassigned" or "retired", so I presume the board may wake up one of these days and give McNerney the boot.

If not, the shareholders should ask for ALL their resignations!

What a mess. I read the other day the estimated 787 program costs are now TWENTY BILLION!!!

Put that cost into the business plan and with a profit of what, $30m per unit, how many does that require delivered? 667.

Wow, what could have been.

Henry Craig said...

Rumour here is that the Air Canada 787's will be delayed due to a passenger seat certification issue. Any truth to that?

1coolguy1 said...


Uresh - Have any info other than the brief new clips?
None of them mention the extent of the cracks or the mods' needed to fix them, etc.

1coolguy1 said...

Wing crack article in 3.7.14 WSJ - This describes the problem and fix in adequate detail.


Vaibhav Andleigh said...

There's some more info on the wing inspections in the wall street journal. This may be partly why some aircraft spent longer in the EMC after coming out of the production line prior to paint.


"Boeing and its partner are inspecting 787s with line numbers running from 151 to 193, representing around a fifth of all Dreamliners built since 2007, according to the same person familiar with the issue.

The latest problem to affect the Dreamliner program stems from fasteners used to connect aluminum shear ties on the wing ribs to the carbon fiber composite wing panel, according to two people familiar with the situation.

The fasteners were over-tightened without the use of manufacturing fillers, compressing a gap in the structure and in some cases caused hairline cracks of less than an inch. If left unchecked can cause unintended stress on the jet's structure and could lead to further damage.

"We understand the issue, what must be done to correct it, and are completing inspections of potentially affected airplanes. We are addressing affected airplanes as required," said the Boeing spokesman.

The manufacturing defect is a rare significant quality defect for Mitsubishi, whose quality control has traditionally been a model for Boeing to emulate inside its own factories. The Japanese company wasn't immediately available for comment.

A Boeing supplier in Italy made a similar manufacturing error that was discovered in 2010 when assembling horizontal tails for the Dreamliner, requiring significant work on dozens of aircraft.

Mitsubishi builds the carbon fiber composite 787 wings at its Nagoya, Japan factory before they are shipped by a heavily-modified 747 jumbo jet to Boeing's final assembly lines in Everett, Wash. and North Charleston, S.C. Japanese suppliers build 35% of the Dreamliner, the first jetliner to be made from a majority of carbon fiber composites

Boeing said it expects each jet will take one to two weeks to inspect and correct, depending on its position in the production process. About 17 of the 42 aircraft are fully completed and seven have been undergoing pre-delivery flight tests, according to external sources tracking the program.

The rest of the 787s are in various states of assembly, or the wings are still in Japan and have yet to be shipped for final assembly."

thomas85225 said...

Boeing told investor it’s would assembly 10 787 a months
Boeing now has Class Action Lawsuits for not meeting rate of 10 per months and Boeing is writing checks to airlines, 500 millions to Air India and 33 million to POT airlines
Boeing Dream-liner Lawsuit Dismissal Upheld on Appeal - Bloomberg
www.bloomberg.com/.../boeing-class-action-case-dism...‎Bloomberg L.P.
the 787 was start on 3-28-2-2003 and only 122 787 has been delivery