Tuesday, March 11, 2014

787 testing and deliveries slow in March

On the heels of the revelation of the wing crack on certain 787s and the inspection and repair program that Boeing has implemented, the testing and deliveries of 787s to customers has slowed considerably through the first 10 days of March. This is certainly attributable to the ramp up of inspection of the block of Dreamliners that have been identified (LN 151 to LN 193 inclusive) as possibly having the cracks.  It should be noted that not all of these airplanes may have the cracks as the aircraft has to be inspected for them. 

Reminiscent of the last years grounding as well as the delays to program prior to FAA certification, the Everett ramp is filling up with 787s once again. There 13 production 787s that are out on the Everett flightline.  Boeing continues to build 787s at the same rate of 10/month.

The wing problems already exacerbate the existing issues revolving around the production of the 787 mid-body fuselage section which has been slowed due to the introduction of the higher production rate and the start of 787-9 assembly.  Boeing certainly didn't do themselves any favors when they let go of hundreds of contractors last year.

In terms of production flights, the trend, of late, is that there would be a flight made by 1 or 2 787s a day but this included a 787-8 B-1 flight made by ZA275 (LN 161, SP-LRF) for LOT.  There hasn't been a flight made by airplanes that flew last month as these aircraft are either going through inspections or are having repairs made to them.  Reports in the media say that deliveries would be delayed a few weeks with some reports saying this would be 1 to 2 weeks.

Certainly the repairs shouldn't take that much time as well as any post repair inspections but the large number of aircraft that are potentially affected may make this a longer project than most anticipate.
Boeing has delivered 1 787, ZA230 (LN 25, VT-ANA) to Air India and they could potentially deliver 2-3 787s to Qatar Airways and possibly 1 to United Airlines.  All these aircraft are pre-L/N 151 aircraft and is not subject to the wing inspections.  If they can get their act together they could still deliver 1 to 2 aircraft that are in the lot of 43 aircraft.  Most likely Boeing can deliver a total of 5 to 6 787s this month and try to catch up to deliveries during April and May.  I think they should be back on their regular delivery schedule by June but until then, 787s will continue to stack up on the flightlines at Everett and North Charleston.

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



johnv777 said...

Uresh, I think you mean LN151-LN193. "Dreamliners that have been identified (LN 51 to LN 93 inclusive) as possibly having the cracks. "

1coolguy1 said...

IBT has published a timeline of 787 troubles - not a positive list.

How McNerney has his job is beyond me.

What I believe is the biggest problem Boeing's mismanagement of the 787 is the planes first delivery was 3 years late. This meant their incredible jump on the A350 was been lessened, sales have gone to Airbus that would have been to the 787 and with an additional 3 years, the manufacturing process would be so advanced the lead over Airbus would be insurmountable.

If the BILLIONS in lost cash flow from delayed/lesser sales and increased startup costs isn't enough to get the maangement fired, then what does it take?

McNerney makes the errors of Secretary Sebelius a mere trifle.

1coolguy1 said...

Uresh -
The last 8 flights of the 787-9 ended in ZB have lasted only 25-37 minutes.
Reviewing the other (2) 787-9's I did not see similar flights in this quantity.

Any idea as to what these short duration flights were for?

Uresh said...

Don't know. It's not untypical for
Them to do a flight to Grant County Airport, stay a few hours then fly back. I get all my info from Flightaware.

1coolguy1 said...

With 11 and 9 test flights for the 2 Qatar planes ready for delivery, the customer must have some issues with the quality of work out of Charleston.

These were listed as ready for delivery when each had fewer test flights, so they have kept flying them.

It seems most planes out of Everett are accepted after 3 to 6 test flights.

Uresh - any insight here?

graeme77 said...

It would be interesting to learn why the ANA 789 (JA830A) has spent so long in the EMC. Surely three and a half months would be enough to install flight test equipment?

1coolguy1 said...

Interesting Boeing is having such an issue selling the "terrible teens", which are all overweight.
I would imagine the loss of mileage due to the weight would be very simply for Boeing and customer to negotiate, so it would indicate to me there are other unresolved issues with these airplanes.
The engines and the rest of the airplanes would presumably be the same as those rolling out today and to get this 787 technology into a fleet TODAY would more than offset any weight issues, I would think.
Those airlines whose deliveries are not until 2018 or beyond, I would think, would want to jump to the front of the line.
So there must be issues other than weight.
After all, Boeing states the fuel savings are 20%, so what is it for these? 17%? 18%?
What do others think?