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.
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