Thursday, November 17, 2011

Boeing to deliver only 2 787s in December

According to sources, Boeing will deliver only two more 787s the rest of this year. The two aircraft are both destined for ANA and are late build 787s. L/N 31 is already out on the Everett flightline has had some ground test done but has yet to run its engines for the first time. Boeing plans to fly this airplane on its B-1 check flight sometime next week and deliver around the 2nd week of December.

The next airplane will be L/N 41 which is currently located in the Everett Modification Center. This is another late build airplane which should fly around early December and be delivered around the 3rd week of December. So far Boeing is not planning any deliveries of the GEnx-1B powered 787 next month. In their last earning release, Boeing said that they expect the number of 787 and 747s to be delivered in 2011 to be between 15 and 20 units with 747s accounting for 2/3 of that. If using the low range of that forecast then Boeing was giving delivery guidance at 5 787s and 10 747s for this year. Their well on their way to 10 747s and perhaps more but they will fall short on 787s deliveries for 2011 that they had given guidance on.

Unfortunately, the view of the Everett ramp seems to confirm this situation. ANA said in late September that they were expecting to take delivery of 5 more 787 by year end and have a total fleet of 7 by Dec. 31st. Currently there is only one airplane with Trent 1000 engines hanging from the wings (L/N 31) with two 787s with GE engines on the ramp. The GEnx-1B certification program is not complete yet so it is doubtful that those planes won't be delivered until sometime in the New Year. Boeing was expecting to deliver 6 by the end of 2011 but it's looking increasingly like it won't even make that number.

So what is the problem? Two things: 1) Too many jobs that need to be fixed, particularly on the early build 787s (L/N 7 to L/N 19). 2) Lack of adequate resources to finish the job in a timely manner. Boeing may have a plan to deal with the jobs that yet to be done on all these airplanes but it is time consuming and there is a need to try and get the airplanes that have the fewest re-work requirements into the hands of customers. It's no wonder that 3 of the 4 airplanes that would have been delivered are late build 787s. It looks like Boeing will be spending a lot of time getting those 12 other 787s ready for customers and the only way to do that is to assign more resources (i.e. workers) to tackle these airplanes and get them out.

On a bit of positive news, some of the suppliers are starting to ramp up production of their work share in order to support Boeing's ramp up of 787 production. Mitsubishi Heavy has added a 2nd autoclave to support increased 787 wing box output. Currently Boeing is at 2.5 airplanes per month and hopes to be at 3.5 by sometime next spring. Also on a brighter note, the backlog of 747 on the Everett ramp also seems to be diminishing as Boeing has delivered 5 of them thus far and has two more in flight tests. It does look like they can deliver 12 to 13 of the 747-8Fs by the end of this year. At least the 747 deliveries frees up more ramp space for the 787s coming out of final assembly.


Anonymous said...

For the life of me I don't see why Boeing doesn't allocate more resources to get those early built 787s out the door and out of the way. Put production of the new ones on hold if they have to just to unclog the lines. It would be worth it in the long run. This is getting ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

What's going on at Charleston? Any chance there'll be a "roll-out" of the first aircraft off the second line this year?

Uresh said...

Nope the airplane is still in position 1 so it'll be sometime before it moves out to the next spot. This plane isn't due to be delivered until around mid 2012 anyway. They're still learning how to build them in Charleston.

graeme77 said...

The reason for this would appear to be financial. Boeing needs to show the best possible billing (i.e. airplanes delivered) for the quarter and 2011. The 747 is worth more than a 787. It is also easier for Boeing to get the 747's out the door right now. Therefore the maximum possible resources appear to have been allocated to the 747 program. This will revert back to "normal" in January.