Thursday, March 10, 2016
Well it's been a while since my last posting so let's get right into it.
Chris Edwards, a photographer and spotter at Everett got a lot of great detailed photos (which you can view on his Flickr page) of the movements of many of the early build 787-8s around Paine Field in the last couple of days. A couple of 787s went to the new 777X static test building 45-12 that was just completed and from the photographs that Chris took, it appears that scaffolding and work platforms have been erected around ZD007 (LN 16) which is destined for Ethiopian and ZD009 (LN 17) which will go to Crystal Cruises. This indicates that the these airplanes will be spending sometime in that building for the change incorporation and re-work that they need to have done. It's interesting to note that none of the early build aircraft have engines on them but one early build 787-8 for Air Austral just returned from Victorville in a new color scheme for the Reunion-based carrier. Still this aircraft is not expected to be delivered until May and is in fact just now getting its interior installed on the flightline at Everett.
Boeing is moving 787s out of the EMC (mostly) in order to create room for incoming KC-46 tankers to under go change incorporation and re-wok to get them up to USAF standards. This is something I allude to in a post late last year. I had also expected that Boeing would be reducing the number of 787 that are stored on the runway storage area (RWY11/29) but the number of aircraft has actually grown from 3 787-8 to now include 2 747-8s and a 787-9. The latter is an aircraft for British Airways that is one of 2 787-9s that are being delayed to the British carrier due to supply issues with seat manufacturer Zodiac (yes, again). ZB368 (LN 386, G-ZBKG) and ZB369 (LN 404, G-ZBKH) are both being delayed due to manufacturing issues with seats though ZB370 (LN 406, G-ZBKI) will be delivered on time according to sources. I'm still trying to ascertain the length of delay to the other two British Airways 787-9s.
In some what related news, because of the engine fire on ZB036 (LN 377, G-VDIA) for Virgin Atlantic that I had reported earlier, Boeing and Rolls Royce are now going through all Trent-1000 powered 787s and replacing a part. It is not known what the part is or how the engine fire started. The fact that the Trent powered 787s are still flying seems to indicate that both firms feel confident about the root cause and the solution of the fire.
It appears that United is now taking more 787-9s as they now have stated that they are pulling some 787 orders forward from 2020 to 2017. If so it seems that they have converted some 787-10 orders to the 787-9. This explains why we see more 787-9 for United on the firing order than what they have ordered. They also converted some 787 orders into an order for 4 777-300ER. What I'm not sure of is if they have exercised any 787 options but more will be revealed when Boeing updates their order and delivery web page in the first week of April but it is interesting to note that with this change in 787 orders, United has 27 787s left to be delivered. That is 2 more than what they is currently shown on Boeing's site. I'm thinking that United now has 21 787-9 on order of which they have 5 yet to be delivered while they have 22 787-10s still on order. Interestingly, Boeing's weekly O&D update shows an addition of 25 737NGs and 4 777s which is corresponds to the order that United recently announced but there was also a decrease of 4 787s which I don't believe is attributable to United. We'll see where the 787 cancellation came from in early April.
So far in March, Boeing has delivered 2 787s but according to sources they are planning to deliver 11 more 787s this month including 2 in Charleston that have yet to have their first flight and receive its paint job. Still if they are able to deliver 13 787s this month it'll be a nice recovery for 787 deliveries after 3 months of slow delivery rates.
787 Full Production Table