Thursday, May 8, 2014

Boeing ends April with strong 787 deliveries but still behind planned delivery pace

What was appearing to be an anemic month for 787 deliveries was actually a strong one for the aircraft program.  I was expecting about 5 to  deliveries but Boeing finished strong with 8 deliveries, 5 on the last day of the month.  That is the good news, the bad news is that to keep pace for 110 deliveries in 2014, Boeing needed to have delivered 37 787s in the first 4 months of the year.  They have delivered 26 through April 30th. In order to hit the 110 delivery mark, Boeing will have to average 10.5 deliveries per month for the remainder of the year.  Certainly this is an attainable goal but the pace thus far hasn't really looked promising. There are a number of 787s at both Everett and Charleston that have been waiting, patiently for their B-1 flight.  Thus far there has been only 2 B-1 flights though it is early in the month.  However to keep pace with 10.5 deliveries per month, Boeing does need to conduct far more B-1 flights and get these aircraft into production flight testing.

A bit of good news is that it appears that build quality is improving as there are far fewer test flights that need to be conducted (including customer flights) before the planes are formally delivered.  In April, of the 8 planes that were delivered 6 airplanes required an average of 3.5 flights before they were delivered.  I purposely excluded the two Qatar deliveries as they are considered outliers compared to the rest of the customer base.  This certainly bodes well for the 787 delivery rate if Boeing can keep the build quality high and thus get the aircraft into customer's hands faster.

For deliveries in May, Boeing has already delivered one 787 to Ethiopian, the airlines' 6th Dreamliner.  I can see the deliveries shaking out as follows:

Air Canada - 2
Air India - 2
ANA - 1
British Airways - 2
Ethiopian - 2 (1 delivered already)
Hainan - 1
ILFC/Norwegian - 1
QANTAS (Jetstar) - 1

Of course, many of there deliveries are predicated on several of these aircraft starting the flight test program soon (there's only 23 days left in this month).  Already, a British Airways' 787 (ZA454, LN 173, G-ZBJE) has conducted (or is conducting at press time) its C-1 flight. The next one week will help further understand what delivery rate Boeing will achieve this month.

A Word About the 787-9

Boeing continues to execute well on the 787-9 flight test and certification program.  Last month Boeing started F&R and ETOPs testing on a production 787-9 eventually destined for ANA.  ZB197 has been flying regularly in order to have certification ready by next month and delivery of Air New Zealand's for 787-9 to be made around mid July.  Word is that because of Boeing strict disciplined approach to designing and testing this aircraft, that delivery should be made on time.  Boeing will also probably fly ZB167 (LN 181, N19951) which will conduct the same F&R/ETOPs testing though on the GE engines.  This aircraft is currently in paint and should fly by the end of this month to support 1st delivery of the GEnx-1B powered 787-9 later this year.  It is rumored that ZB167 should deliver to United in July as well.


As stated in my previous post, Boeing looks to be putting the Mitsubishi wing issues behind it as at this point should not be a show stopper for deliveries.  Great progress was also made on reducing the travelled work from the Charleston mid-body fuselage plant (88-20) to point that there are no more than 150 minor JBS (jobs behind schedule) that need to be completed on the 787s coming out of final assembly.  To underscore this point, Boeing is doesn't appear to be sending 787s coming off the two lines in Everett to the EMC but instead are going to the 40-51 ramp where the remaining JBS are completed and then the aircraft is taken to paint and then to the flightline where it will be prepared to enter the flight testing program.  This is huge news and it appears the hard work has figuratively and literally paid off as the Boeing workers in Charleston will be paid a nice bonus in a few days for bringing down the JBS from about 8,000.  It will now be up to Boeing's managers to make sure that the JBS doesn't become unmanageable while the production rate steadies at 10/month.

Lastly, some of you have noticed that ZA436 (LN 151, B-2738) for Hainan has been flying a lot out of Boeing Field in Seattle.  While I do not have confirmation, I suspect that this aircraft is performing flight and certification tests on the revised software for the 787 in order to reduce the number of false warnings and improve flight dispatch reliability through out the 787 fleet.  Some earlier testing was done on the 787-9 but it does appear that Boeing is doing these tests on a production standard aircraft.  The fact that the airplane is flying out of Boeing Field where Boeing Test Flight is based lends some more credence to my theory.

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

Projected 2014 787 Deliveries



David Cummings said...

AZAL Azerbaijan Hava Yollari (Azerbaijan Airlines ) appear to not be taking up the two 787s does anyone have any more information on this?

Fedupjohn said...

Just speculation, but can this backup on B-1 flights be due to anticipation of the certification of the software update that the Hainan 787 is now testing?

Uresh said...