Saturday, November 15, 2014

Boeing looks to deliver fewer than 10 787s in November



With November more than half over Boeing has recorded only 1 delivery of a 787 this month but more troubling is the continuous shifting of the delivery schedule to the right setting up what may be a very un-happy holiday season for the Boeing workers who would have to put in overtime to get these aircraft completed, tested and delivered.

Boeing can deliver 8 more aircraft this month but one of them, a 787-9 for Air New Zealand, hasn't had its first flight yet and is tentatively scheduled to be delivered around Nov. 24th.  It appears that this aircraft may fall into the December delivery time frame thus I see Boeing only delivering only a total of 8 787s this month.

Notably there are 4 787s for Avianca all of who are ready for delivery or are close to being ready for delivery but these deliveries are now not scheduled to start until December due to some unspecified issue.  Rumor has it that the 1st class seats are not FAA certified though I doubt that as all the customer supplied options such as seats come from the Boeing catalog which are FAA certified.

Also many of the 787s have yet to take their first customer flights and that schedule is also slipping to the right.

This can leave a large number of 787s hanging around Everett (not so much Charleston due to the low production output) as the Holidays come up.  This can serve to continue to increase Boeing's deferred production costs well past the $25.2bn mark as Boeing will have to pay a tremendous amount of over time to catch up in December.  If Boeing only delivers 8 total 787s in November, their YTD total would be 98 and 12 short of their goal of 110.  It is certainly possible for them to deliver 12 787s in one month; they demonstrated they can deliver a significant number of 787s in 1 month but it will come at a cost.

Additionally, they have undertaken very few B-1 flights for aircraft that are due to be delivered in December and there a re still a number of 787s that are at the EMC or on the 40-51 ramp that are finishing up traveled work.

All the while production continues at the 10/month pace though with continued traveled work issues.  Thus far they've rolled out 4 787s with a 5th due to roll out on Sunday night and they've started final assembly on 5 other air frames.  Clearly the backlog in increasing so much that Boeing will be sending 787s to Charleston for final delivery as the ramp space at Everett is shrinking.

It is plainly obvious that Boeing production issues on the 787 are far from over and I do think the only way for them to be resolved is to through more resources and money now before the issues continue to snowball.

We'll see for December brings but right now I  think it's safe to say that Boeing 787 deliveries for this month will be terrible at best.

787 Full Production Table

6 comments:

1coolguy1 said...

They have delivered over 200 planes and still have traveled work, which runs up costs dramatically. Given the continued traveled work, it sure seems Boeing should have been able to solve this by now. Maybe they have it reversed: Work that Charleston is shipping to Everett: Possibly they should reverse the process, so that Charleston gets the finished units from Everett. It's a huge change yet the present system is proving a failure.

Vab Andleigh said...

Flightglobal has an article talking about the current and planned reliability of 787's, with detailed info about reliability improvements to specific parts and systems at

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-after-three-years-in-service-how-is-787-performing-405814/

TravelingMan said...

Yeah, I read that article. It's pretty interesting and seems to be fairly objective, though I sometimes feel that Flightglobal favors Airbus over Boeing. I could be wrong but I think their main offices are in the UK, so that could explain it. Or maybe it's just my imagination.

The part where the pilots talk about the 787 "glider" characteristics are especially interesting. I've never flown on a Dreamliner but I've imagined that it would be a lot like that, given the lighter frame.

ce said...

Four -9s in the sky:
* Air New Zealand x 2
* United x 1
* Virgin Atlantic x 1

Vab Andleigh said...

@TravelingMan

I've flown a half dozen 12-14 hour Pacific trips on the 787-8 now (Boston-Tokyo), and in my experience, you don't really "feel" the glider effect. However, the engines sure are very quiet on descent and approach so it can definitely glide.

I did do a missed approach in Tokyo/Narita in a 787 two years ago during extremely heavy downpours (we came in too low), and the surge in power as the Captain dialed up the engines only about 100 feet off the ground was amazing -- it pinned you back in the seat! And then we did dogbones over the Pacific for 45 minutes until the airport runways re-opened after the storm cleared.

On a side note, the biggest thing you really notice looking out the window is how "bendy" the wings are -- by mid-flight, the wings bend upward almost as high as the tail. The wings also absorb a lot of turbulence, making for a pretty smooth ride.

Pete Templin said...

Honestly, the 787 delivery process feels a lot like the sales process at several companies where I used to work: the sales people would spend the final 7-10 days of the month chasing down the deals they knew they could get signed, while ignoring other customers who weren't as much of a sure thing. Then they'd spend the first 10 days of the month apologizing to their other good customers for ignoring them the last 10 days, and another 10+ days working a variety of leads before getting back to crunch time. 787s seem to be the same: for the final 10-15 days of any given month, there's a rush to see which planes they can deliver, and as the calendar page turns, they go back to randomized progress across the lot.