Friday, August 31, 2012

Boeing delivers 4 787s in August

Boeing delivered a total of 4 787s during the month of August.  This is the first time that deliveries exceeded 3 in any one month and the first time when deliveries outpaced the production output which is very important in reducing the 787 inventory backlog that is parked around Paine Field.

Earlier this month Boeing delivered the first 787 to Ethiopian as well as the first 787 to enter final assembly in 2009 (ZA100, LN 7, JA803A).  During this past week Boeing delivered aircraft to LAN as the fourth operator of the aircraft as well as to ANA.  Both aircraft delivered this week did not require change incorporation.

Looking forward we can look forward to deliveries in September to United, Qatar, China Southern as well as to current operators ANA, JAL, Ethopian and possibly LAN.  Air India is TBD due to the different ministries that have to sign off on the compensation deal despite the AI staff that is in Charleston ready to complete delivery and fly the airplane to India.  ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) is still sitting at the Charleston Delivery Center waiting to be flown.  Boeing was expecting to make delivery this week but it turns out some obscure Indian Government bureaucrat may be holding up the delivery.  This is, unfortunately, the reality of doing business with the Indian Government and Air India.  Something that many in the aerospace industry will be taking a note of when doing business with them.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boeing planning to increase 787 production to 5/month in September

Boeing execs revealed to reporters that the company is planning to increase the production rate of the 787 from the current 3.5/month to the planned 5/month starting in September. Flightglobal reporter Ghim Lay Yeo promptly Tweeted the comments about the production rate increase. It is not known which plant would see the increase but given that Boeing has activated the surge line in Everett and that some suppliers are are already producing at the higher rate, it's not too much of a surprise that Boeing can increase the rate now that the production system has stabilized. It is not known how Boeing will split the 5/month production between the different facilities but I can see 1/month coming from the surge line, 3/month coming from the main final assembly line in 40-26 and finally a firm rate of 1/month coming from the Charleston assembly line. It is also not known when in September when the rate increase will take effect but I wouldn't be surprised of it happen in the middle to late September.

Boeing spokesperson Scott Lefeber gave this statement without confirming the rate increase:

We plan to complete the next production system rate increase to 5 airplanes per month by the end of the year, tracking as expected to the planned 10 per month program production rate by late 2013.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Updated 787 delivery information - August 29, 2012

With just a few days left in the month there's looking to be more changes for 787 deliveries this month and next.

Again please take this information with a grain of salt (a big one) as circumstances always change which alter the delivery dates.

August deliveries.

Supposedly contractual deliveries were made on ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) for Air India and ZA536 (LN 68, CC-BBA) for LAN both being done yesterday (August 28, 2012) BUT there is no confirmation of either of these deliveries actually having been executed. Indications are that ZA236 should fly away today for New Delhi but again this is unconfirmed. I would take the AI delivery with a healthy dose of skepticism though the LAN bird should certainly deliver on August 30th and leave on Aug. 31st.

Additional deliveries are being planned on August 30th for ZA118 (LN 67, JA813A) for ANA and ZA182 (LN 70, JA828J) for JAL.  The later might be hard to make as it has only had two test flights and thus far nothing scheduled for today (August 29).  A notable delay is to that of Qatar Airways' first 787 which is now scheduled for mid September.  The reason is unknown for the delay.  If the above holds true then Boeing wold have delivered 6 787s in August.  We all have reason to be dubious of deliveries claims being made to Air India still it is entirely possible as Boeing has said that delivery is to be made this week.

September Deliveries.

This is where things get interesting.  According to sources, there are now 11 787s that are potentially have the ability to be delivered next month.  Here's the run down according to airline:

Air India
ZA233 (LN 29, VT-AND) - Sept. 4
ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) - Sept. 17
ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) - Sept. 28 (B-1 tentatively scheduled for Sept. 1).

ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A) - Sept. 12
ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) - Sept. 25 - conducted B-1 on August 29

China Southern Airlines
ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727) - Sept. 27

ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR) - Sept. 18

Japan Airlines
ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J) - Sept. 20

Qatar Airways
ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) - Sept. 14 (another source told me Sept. 10)
ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCL) - Sept. 25

United Airlines
ZA288 (LN 53, N20904) - Sept. 18

Again please take this with a grain of salt, especially any deliveries that are to Air India given the unreliability of the airline and the GoI to follow through on their commitments.  If the total number of deliveries, as outlined above, do occur then for the months of August and September Boeing would have delivered 17 Dreamliners, that's 29 for 2012 and 32 over all.  There are additional 787s waiting in the wings including the 3rd 787 built at Boeing Charleston, as well as 787s for Hainan, LAN and Ethiopian that have just recently been pulled out of final assembly and are either finishing up assembly tasks or are being painted.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Sigh, another Air India 787 delivery delay...again

Getting word that there is another delay in delivering the first 787 to Air India, yet again.  This time the issue is being held up by an unspecified "paperwork" issue...perhaps someone forgot to bring their corporate credit card to pay for the airplane.

Sources are saying that delivery could occur around lunchtime tomorrow but we'll see.  In the meantime I'm revering the delivery entry on my spreadsheet as I'm not sure if contractual delivery actually took place or not in the light of this information and the uncertainty it causes.

I'll update this post with more information, if and when it becomes available.

UPDATE (2:35PM):  Susanna Ray of Bloomberg has an article out saying that the delivery will take place no earlier than tomorrow as there is a bank holiday today (Monday) in the UK and the financing bank, Standard Chartered is a London based bank which is doing the financing of the first 2 airplanes being delivered to Air India.

Here's Susanna Ray's article in Bloomberg:

(BN) Boeing Sets Air India 787 Delivery as Wait Ends After Talks

Susanna Ray | U.S. aerospace reporter | Bloomberg News
O: +1-206-913-4541 | M: +1-312-607-0747 | E:


Boeing Sets Air India 787 Delivery as Wait Ends After Talks (1)
2012-08-24 19:08:01.69 GMT

     (Adds background on compensation in sixth paragraph.)

By Karthikeyan Sundaram and Susanna Ray
     Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. said it expects to hand
over its first 787 Dreamliner to Air India next week, ending
months of waiting while several of the jets sat ready during
talks over compensation for delivery delays.
     A team of about 20 Air India pilots, flight attendants,
engineers and operations personnel arrived yesterday in
Charleston, South Carolina, to prepare to receive the plane,
Boeing India President Dinesh Keskar said in an interview.
     Air India may take delivery as early as Aug. 28, according
to an official with the state-owned carrier who asked not to be
identified because the plan hasn’t been announced. The airline,
which has 27 Dreamliners on order, received government
permission Aug. 3 to pay for its initial 787 after Chicago-based
Boeing agreed to compensation.
     “Friday is already over in India, Monday is a bank holiday
in London, and that’s where the money comes from, so Tuesday
would be the earliest,” Keskar said of the first delivery.
     Air India’s first two Dreamliners are being funded by a
$195 million loan from Standard Chartered Plc. Three of the jets
are ready and parked at Boeing’s South Carolina factory, and a
fourth was preparing for its maiden flight when its General
Electric Co. engine blew out during a July 28 taxi test.

                        Compensation Plan

     The 787 was more than three years behind schedule when it
entered service in late 2011. While Air India had asked for $840
million in compensation for delays to its order, India’s
government didn’t give a figure this month when it approved an
agreement between Boeing and the airline. Boeing has declined to
give any financial specifics.
     Last month’s engine failure remains under investigation by
the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, and Boeing and
Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE have said the defect was limited
to the power plant on that jet. Keskar declined to discuss the
engine incident.
     Air India ordered the 787 in 2005 and was initially due to
start receiving the planes in 2008. Boeing struggled with new
materials and manufacturing processes for the world’s first
jetliner made from composite materials, delaying the first Air
India jet until this year.
     The delivery was further hampered by compensation talks,
the government approval process and a two-month strike by pilots
over the right to fly the new plane.
     All Nippon Airways Co., Japan Airlines Co. and Ethiopian
Airlines are the only carriers to fly the 787 so far. Qantas
Airways Ltd. canceled an order for 35 of the jets this week,
still leaving Boeing with a backlog for more than 800

For Related News and Information:
Top Stories:TOP
Industry dashboard: BI AIRM
Top transportation stories: TRNT
Boeing financials: {BA US FA IS ]

--Editors: Ed Dufner, Cecile Daurat

To contact the reporters on this story:
Karthikeyan Sundaram in New Delhi at +91-11-4179-2009 or;
Susanna Ray in Seattle at +1-206-913-4541 or

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Ed Dufner at +1-214-954-9453 or

787 Everett surge line activated

UPDATE: I just got this from Scott Lefeber at Boeing:

Boeing activated the temporary surge line on Aug. 24 by loading the first airplane into final body join. The 787 program is making steady progress toward increasing the production rate from the current 3.5 airplanes per month to 10 per month by the end of 2013.

Boeing has finally activated the 787 surge line for the final assembly of the 787.  The surge line allows Boeing to increase production of the 787 sooner while Boeing Charleston ramps up over the next 16 months to 3 airplanes per month.  Thus far, Boeing plans to deactivate the surge line after Charleston reaches the 3/month output but there are rumblings that the surge line may remain to further push the total 787 output to beyond 10/month.  The surge line was ready early this summer but Boeing opted to use the three position line to conduct change incorporation on the existing assembled 787 inventory.  This allowed Boeing to get more 787s prepared for delivery during this past summer.

The surge line will have three positions each will mirror its counterpart in the existing final assembly line in 40-26 in terms of funcions though it's not exact mirror in terms of the layout, so the work that is done on the airframe in position 1 in 40-26 will be the same that is done in position 1 in 40-24, etc.  The main exception that both lines will share the use of position 4 in 40-26 and position 3 in 40-24 is slanted while the other two positions are in line.

On Friday, ZA538 (LN 80) was loaded into the position 1 in the 40-24 building after ZA500 (LN 11) was cleared from that position and taken to the 40-51 ramp.  There are two other positions in the line for production but currently those spots are being occupied by two other 787s that are undergoing change incorporation.  It is thought that when ZA538 is done with position 1 then ZA505 (LN18) which is currently in position 2 will be moved out to allow final assembly to continue.  The same will be true for position 3 which is currently occupied by ZA285 (LN 45).  After this last plane is cleared from 40-24 the surge line will be a dedicated final assembly line with no change incorporation activities planned to be done on it.  All those activities will continue at the Everett Modification Center.

Friday, August 24, 2012

787 deliveries on tap for the last week of August

Today, according to sources, Boeing may have made a contractual delivery of Air India's first 787.  ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) was seen at the Boeing Charleston Delivery Center today and a source did say that the aircraft may be delivering today (contractually). The contractual delivery date is the date that the paperwork is signed and the final delivery payment is made to Boeing by the customer. When asked if this was the case, Boeing spokesperson, Candy Eslinger, replied: "The Air India delivery team is in South Carolina for the delivery scheduled next week."  This is confirmation that Boeing will be delivering at least one if not two 787s to Air India this month.  I have heard that ZA236 would deliver on Aug. 27 (ceremonial delivery perhaps) and fly away that afternoon/evening for New Delhi.  For now there isn't any confirmation about the contractual delivery being made though I suspect that this event may have taken place today (Aug. 24th). In addition to ZA236 being delivered this month, a source has told me that the following deliveries may take place during the next week.  Please take this information with a grain of salt as we have seen that some may not materialize due to different circumstances.

ZA536 (LN 68, CC-BBA) to LAN on Aug. 27
ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) to Qatar Airways on Aug. 30
ZA118 (LN 67, JA813A) to ANA on Aug. 30
ZA182 (LN 70, JA828J) to Japan Airlines on Aug. 30 (this airplane has had only one test flight)
ZA233 (LN 29, VT-AND) to Air India on Aug. 31

Additionally ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) is almost ready for delivery but doesn't have a delivery date as of yet.  It appears that Air India is trying to pick up one delivery ready 787 each week so it could be that ZA237 could deliver in September.  There are two other 787s for Air India both built at Charleston that have yet to take their B-1 flights so I anticipate that those deliveries may happen in late September but more likely in October.

There is also further information on September deliveries which, once again, should be taken with a grain of salt.

ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A) to ANA on Sept. 12
ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR) to Ethiopian on Sept. 18 (hasn't taken its B-1 yet)
ZA288 (LN 53, N20904) to United on Sept. 18
ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J) to Japan Airlines on Sept. 20 (hasn't taken its B-1 yet)
ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCL) to Qatar Airways on Sept. 25 (hasn't taken its B-1 yet)
ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) to ANA on Sept. 25 (hasn't taken its B-1 yet)
ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727) to China Southern on Sept. 27 (hasn't taken its B-1 yet)

All told the total number of deliveries in August and September may total 16, IF this scheduled is kept.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Busy day for 787s at Everett

Boeing sent up 4 customer ready 787s for test flights including an aircraft for Air India that is currently at Boeing Charleston.  The four airplanes that flew were:

ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI)
ZA118 (LN 67, JA813A) - making a C-1 flight
ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A) - making a B-1 flight
ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) - making a Boeing test flight and then later a C-1 flight

Given the ZA461 and ZA118 both have customer flights, both these airplanes are very, very close to being ready for delivery, perhaps being delivered this month.  ZA119 for ANA made its first flight but had to return to Everett early due to an unspecified problem during the test flight.  ZA237 did a flight that lasted a couple of hours but it is not known if it was customer flight or a Boeing flight. Air India's 787 though are ready for delivery but the airline isn't ready.  Still now word on when the airline will take delivery but I don't think that anything should be read into this one test flight just yet.  IF there are more test flights (customer flights) with the other 2 787s that are ready as well as B-1 flights of the other two Charleston built Dreamliners then that may be an indication of something happening.

Finally the first production Dreamliner to enter assembly is finally being flown to Japan tonight.  ZA100 (LN 7, JA803A) was temporarily grounded by an unknown maintenance issue.  The issue has been resolved and this aircraft which needed the most work is finally being sent home.  ANA accepted delivery on August 20th.

Qatar's first 787 may be delivered on Aug. 25th

I've gotten info that Qatar's first 787 MAY be delivered on August 25, this Saturday. The aircraft continues to fly test flight with a temporary US registration though I don't know why. I am trying to confirm.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Qatar Airways not taking delivery of 787 on Aug. 22, LAN appears to be next delivery.

Saj Ahmad of Strategic Aero Research told me that Qatar Airways will not be taking delivery of their first 787 today. This news coupled with LAN's announcement that they will accept their first 787 on Aug. 30/31 and that they will be the fourth worldwide operator of the Dreamliner indicates that 1) Qatar Airways won't take delivery until around September (though that could always change) and 2) given that the other 787s that are in test flight will not be ready for delivery within the next one week. Boeing may end up with only four aircraft delivered this month.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 787 deliveries appears to be slipping

Looks like Boeing won't be delivering as many 787s as we all thought in August as sources tell me that there looks to be slips in some deliveries from August to September.  I'm not sure about any knock on effect, if any, would be to downstream deliveries.  Earlier I reported that Boeing could deliver as many as 7 Dreamliners this month.  One has already been delivered and it does appear that there could be as many as two this coming week, one to ANA and one to Qatar. There has been some slowdown in 787 flight test activity and not as many B-1 flights as I thought would have taken place by now in order to make 7 deliveries by the end of August.  At this point I'm not sure which 787 deliveries are being pushed to September and as always delivery information should always be taken with a grain of salt due to nature of the 787 program and customer preferences.

As far as Air India and the 787, everyones' favorite topic, I've been hearing new estimates for first delivery ranging from this week to sometime in mid to late September.  This is one that I've stopped believing in any estimates not that the people who gave the information are wrong but that Air India is so disorganized and mismanaged that it's not possible to figure when they'll take actual delivery. This airline has the ability to come to the table and at the very last minute pulled the rug out at the delivery ceremony and refuse to take delivery and make the final payment.  One thing is for sure...Boeing is ready to turn the aircraft over to the airline, three of them with a fourth waiting in the proverbial wings.  So what is the problem?  Though no one has spoken publicly about it in definitive terms, the fact that Air India is actively (read: desperately) trying to arrange financing to pay for the deliveries. The Ministry of Finance has put the hold on the deliveries though they haven't made publicly why they put the hold on after the Indian Cabinet itself had approved for the deliveries to take place in accordance with the compensation agreement hammered out between the airline and Boeing.  Air India financial health is in a very precarious situation that banks aren't exactly lining up to extend any financing even if the 787s were used as collateral.  The management of Air India and the GoI has taken pains to being down this airline and to frag its once stellar reputation through the mud.  The drama continues.

Friday, August 17, 2012

No 787 delivery to Air India today

Sources have confirmed to me that Boeing did not deliver a 787 to Air India today and further revealed that the company was not expecting to make a delivery from the Boeing Charleston facility today.  There is still no confirmed date as to when Air India will allow a delivery to take place.  Boeing is ready to deliver the three 787s parked at Charleston and is awaiting word from Air India.  It was close, it seems, as of last Wednesday when ZA236 took a test flight but then rumors started to come out that the Indian Ministry of Finance as not signed off on the transfer of the final payment to Boeing.  Again this further erodes any confidence that these airplanes will be delivered anytime soon.  This entire episode is further proof of the incompetence and mismanagement at Air India and the Government of India itself.
In the meantime there are 4 787s (3 with Air India livery) that are parked at Charleston.  The fourth aircraft is widely believed to be ZA238 which experienced the engine issue last month and now has a replacement engine.  I anticipate that this airplane can make its first flight in about two weeks.

Lastly there was a line move in Everett and ZA537 (LN 74, CC-BBB) for LAN has been pushed out onto the 40-51 ramp to finish off minor assembly tasks before being sent over to the paint hangar. I anticipate that this airplane can deliver sometime in early to mid October since Boeing has a very full ramp of 787s that they need to deliver ahead of this particular aircraft.

Meanwhile ANA will be gearing up to take ownership of its 12th 787 as ZA100 conducts it customer test flights.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

787 delivery to Air India may be off....again

In the never ending drama between Air India, the Indian Government and Boeing over the 787 the first delivery scheduled for tomorrow may be off....again.  This time the issue may reside with the GoI's Ministry of Finance who, reportedly, hasn't signed off on the delivery payment that needs to be made by the GoI to Boeing for the delivery.  Why they're objecting is not known since the Council of Ministers and the GoI CCEA both approved the compensation deal between Boeing and Air India.  Yesterday ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) conducted a customer test flight so that is good news.  Stay tuned for news on this on going saga. 

In related news, the flightline in Charleston now is back to 787s on the flightline.  The airplane that was just moved outside is ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) which suffered the engine failure in July.  Brendan Kearney a reporter for the Charleston newspaper Post and Courier sent a Tweet with a picture of the 4 787s on the flightline and has told me that the aircraft that was just moved outside is indeed ZA238.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Boeing delivers 787 to Ethiopian, Air India may be next

China Southern B-2727 Boeing 787
Photo by MoonM

Boeing now has delivered a 787 to its third customer, Ethiopian Airlines.  ZA262 (LN 49, ET-AOQ) was officially handed over to the airline yesterday and flew away to Washington Dulles International Airport early this morning.  This is good news for Boeing as it not only frees up another spot on the flightline but should kick off a large number of deliveries over the next couple of months.  It is rumored that Air India is to take the next 787, ZA 236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) on Friday and flyaway on Saturday to New Delhi.  Air India is expected to take the three service ready 787s over a two week period starting on Aug. 17.  What should follow is a gaggle of deliveries to Qatar Airways, LAN as well as to current operators ANA and JA during the month of August.

Since yesterday more airplanes have actually shown up on the flightline at Everett including China Southern's first 787, ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727) and another for JAL, ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J) both of which are at the fuel dock. The flightline is getting ever more crowded with completed 787s that are ready for pre-flight or are currently in pre-delivery test flights.  Boeing continues to work down the accumulated 787 inventory with a couple more 787s entering change incorporation including those for Qatar and ANA.

I do anticipate that by the end of September, Boeing would have delivered a total of 27 - 30 787s since deliveries began almost a year ago.  This will include anywhere from 8 to 10 in August and about 7 more in September.  This includes deliveries to Air India.

September should see deliveries to Qatar, Air India, ANA, JAL, United and China Southern.  The 787 Production and Disposition Table has been updated as of August 15, 2012.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Updated 787 delivery information

Activity around Everett has increased in recent days as far as the 787 is concerned.  ZA100 (LN 7, JA803A) continues pre-delivery test flight, ZA262 (LN 49, ET-AOQ) performed a customer test flight and ZA118 (LN 67, JA813A) conducted its B-1 flight).  Even though August is almost one half over a posting on says that there will be 7 Dreamliner deliveries made this month not including deliveries to Air India.  The delivery train starts this Monday (August 14th) with first delivery to Ethiopian of ZA262.  Less than a week later ZA100 will deliver to ANA on the 20th.Qatar Airways is scheduled to be the 4th carrier to take the 787 (ZA461) around August 22nd followed by LAN (ZA536) on August 27th.  ANA takes one on August 28th (ZA119). Both JAL (ZA182) and ANA (ZA118) take one each on August 30th.  Again this schedule is subject to change and many of these deliveries can move to a later date.  If this schedule holds then it would be the most 787s delivered by Boeing in one month and will add 3 new airlines flying the 787. 

It is possible that Air India could be added this month but they are having a very hard time arranging financing to pay for the jets that are ready for delivery and is reflective of their financial distress.  It is unknown if Boeing will penalize them for not taking delivery in a timely manner but Air India has been aware that these airplanes are ready for delivery but chose not to pursue financing until after they got approval to take delivery from the GoI.  This reinforces the view of many that this is a very poorly managed airline.  The Air India -787 saga continues, unfortunately.

September is also promising to be just as good as August was in terms of '87 deliveries with United and China Southern both taking their first airplanes.  All September deliveries are tentatively scheduled for the second half of September and kcks off with Ethiopian taking delivery of ZA264 (LN 71, ET-AOR) on Sept. 18th as well as United (ZA288, LN 53, N20904) also signing for its first 787 on the same day.  Two days later Japan Airlines will take its 6th 787 which is an early build Dreamliner, ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J).  ANA takes a 787 which is the first 787 to be rolled out without needing to go to the EMC.  ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) should deliver around September 25th.  Qatar Airways will take its second 787, ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCD) on September 27 but also delivering on that date will be the first '87 for China Southern.  This airplane is ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727). 

All together this is 13 787s that is scheduled to be delivered over the next 6 weeks and will take Boeing to 25 787 delivered in 2012 not including tentative deliveries to Air India if and when that happens.  By the end of September, if all goes according that what I laid out in this post, then there will be 7 customers flying the 787 by the end of the third quarter possibly 8 with Air India.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

NTSB narrows down GEnx-1B engine issue to fan mid shaft fracture on Air India 787

In a press release issued today, the NTSB said that a fan mid shaft had fractured at the forward end of the shaft.  The NTSB is still trying to understand the root cause of the fracture which led to parts being ejected from the rear of the engine.  The cause can be either a manufacturing flaw in this particular engine or (and highly unlikely) a design flaw. 

Currently there are about 80 GEnx engines that are in service on both the 747-8 and the 787.  Boeing is going to deliver another GEnx powered 787 to Ethiopian Airlines on Monday and thus far there is no indication that those plans have been or are going to change.  This is the first time that there has been a failure of significance on the GEnx engine and given the operating (albeit short) history of the engine, there is no reason to believe that there is a safety risk of using the engine in commercial use at this point.  I believe Boeing will continue deliveries of the GEnx powered 787 going forward with deliveries this month to Qatar Airways, Ethiopian and Air India. Here is the test of the NTSB press release:

NTSB provides factual update on Boeing 787 engine failure in South Carolina

August 8, 2012

WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation of the July 28, 2012 contained engine failure that occurred on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner during a pre-delivery taxi test in Charleston, South Carolina. A contained engine failure is a specific engine design feature in which components might separate inside the engine but either remain within the engine's cases or exit the engine through the tail pipe. This design feature generally does not pose immediate safety risks.

Last week, the NTSB sent an investigator to the scene to gather information on the incident and subsequently launched a full investigation into the cause of the failure, led by NTSB Investigator-in-Charge, Mr. David Helson.

On August 1, 2012, a team of experts from the NTSB, FAA, Boeing and GE Aviation specializing in engine systems and metallurgy traveled to a GE facility in Cincinnati, OH to disassemble and examine the failed GEnx engine. GE is the manufacturer of the GEnx engine. The parties to the investigation have been extremely cooperative in assisting NTSB personnel in its review and assessment.

As a result of the investigative work to date, the NTSB has determined that a fan mid-shaft on the failed GEnx engine fractured at the forward end of the shaft, rear of the threads where the retaining nut is installed. The fan mid-shaft is undergoing several detailed examinations including dimensional and metallurgical inspections.

The GEnx engine is a newly designed aircraft engine. It is a "dual shaft" engine, meaning that one shaft connects the compressor spool at one end to the high pressure turbine spool at the other end. A longer "fan shaft" connects the fan and booster in the front of the engine to the low pressure turbine in the back.

The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, which is a combined unit on the 787 Dreamliner, was transported to the agency's Recorders Laboratory in Washington, DC for processing and readout. Both recordings captured the event and analysis is ongoing.

Moving forward, investigators will continue the detailed examination of the engine and metallurgical analysis of its components. The investigators have also begun reviewing the engine manufacturing and assembly records.

This investigation is ongoing. The information released today is factual in nature and does not include any analysis. Additional factual information may be released as it is developed.

On a semi-related matter, MAtt Cawby got a picture of ZA288 (LN 53, N20904) for United Airlines at Everett's compass rose.  He says that first fligth of this airplane is imminent.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Air India, Ethiopian moving towards first 787 deliveries

Despite Friday's announcement that Air India has now been cleared to accept 787 deliveries from Boeng, it looks more likely that the first non-Japanese carrier to take ownership of a 787 will be Ethiopian.  In a press release, Ethiopian says that they will take delivery of their first 787 on August 14th and fly away on August 15th to Washington Dulles.  Air India is still trying to decide when to take formal ownership of the three 787s that are currently ready for delivery at Boeing Charleston.  The delivery is clouded by the failure of the GEnx engine in late July though the carrier is still taking delivery.  Neither the FAA or the NTSB as ordered a grounding of GEnx equipped aircraft and deliveries are continuing and are going to continue unless a significant issue is discovered by the parties investigating the incident.  Because of this Air India is obligated to take delivery of the airplanes or they can face storage fees and other costs.  The GEnx issue will nto be an impediment to delivery at this point unless there is something seriously wrong with the engine.  Air India still has to communicate to Boeing when they plan on taking the aircraft and rumors say that it could be as early as the end of this week.  I'm counting on a low key delivery ceremony given the tortuous path to delivery to Air India.  In the Wall Street Journal article, Jon Ostrower says that the three aircraft would be delivered one at a time spaced by 7 to 10 days which means that the three deliveries would take about a month to complete due to the need to send the Air India personnel back to Charleston to pick up each aircraft.

In the meantime, LAN's frst airplane, ZA536 (LN 68, CC-BBA) has taken its first flight today and is moving towards a late August to early September delivery to the airline. I do anticipate further first flights of the 787s that are in preflight including a gaggle of 787s for ANA and JAL that are on the flightline.

Here's the text of Ethiopian's Press Release:
Ethiopian Airlines to Receive its first Boeing 787 on August 14

Press Release

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:
Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing airline in Africa, is pleased to announce that it will take delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on August 14, 2012, in Seattle, Washington.

Ethiopian is proud to be the first airline from Africa, Europe, Americas and Middle East to take delivery of the Dreamliner, and to be able to offer its passengers the ultimate travel experience on-board this game changing aircraft before other carriers. “The fact that we are the first airline outside Japan to receive this ultra modern aircraft is an affirmation of our continuing pioneering role in African aviation. It is also a testimony of our commitment to give our passengers the best possible travel experience, with the best industry products and services.,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian.

After taking delivery, Ethiopian will fly its Dreamliner to Washington D.C. the next day, where the aircraft will be on display. During the exhibition, Ethiopian Dreamliner is expected to be visited by US Senators and House Representatives as well as Ambassadors, Executives from the World Bank and IMF, members of the Ethiopian community, the media and other invited guests.
Ethiopian Dreamliner, the first to be received by a non-Japanese carrier, will make its historic trip to Africa and will touchdown at Bole Addis Ababa International Airport on August 16, 2012. The airline will hold celebrations in Addis Ababa for the arrival of the aircraft and will soon announce its first Dream destinations.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Boeing to get replacement GE engine for 787

Boeing said that they are talking to GE about getting a replacement engine for the one that failed last weekend on ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ). As to impact on deliveries, Boeing is saying that no determination has been made that would impact their ability to deliver airplanes with GEnx engines. 

So obviously the engine is going to be replaced but when is not yet known.  Also Boeing is still trying to figure out (along with the NTSB and GE) what went wrong so they can determine the impact, if any, to deliveries of airplanes with GEnx engines.  I'm presuming that this will include not just the 787 but also the 747-8.  Here's a text of what Boeing sent me:

We continue to work closely with the NTSB and its party members, including GE and FAA, on the investigation. The engine will be replaced, and we're working with GE on that. Regarding deliveries, at this time, there has been no determination made that would impact our ability to deliver airplanes with GEnx engines. Of course, if at any time during the investigation it is determined that there is a need to take action, we will not hesitate to do so.

Air India to be allowed to take delivery of 787s...sort of

BREAKING...Air India's agreement with Boeing (the Delay Compensation Settlement Agreement) has been approved by to GoI's CCEA permitting Air India to take delivery of the 787s.  Further the issue of performance shortfalls and any compensation relating to that issue has been de-linked from the delay compensation issue and will be negotiated at a later date by the GoI with Boeing.

This is all good news for Boeing but Air India is stil not going to take delivery because of the GEnx-1B engine issue that arose last week.  Air India Maintenance Department wants to be sure of the safety of the engine before inducting the aircraft into AI's fleet.  There's no telling how long that will take but the GEnx engine is still flying on the 747-8 and the JAL 787s without an issue so this is another delaying tactic on Air India part...again.

Here's the text of the GoI's decision (thanks to HK Expat for the link):

Delivery of Boeing 787 Approved
CCEA Decision

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal of Ministry of Civil Aviation as per following:

(i) Air India be allowed to take the delivery of 27 numbers of B-787 aircraft after signing the Delay Compensation Settlement Agreement.

(ii) The issue relating to compensation for failure to meet performance guarantees has been delinked from the Delay Compensation Settlement Agreement, which shall be negotiated separately by an Empowered Group of Officers after actual evaluation of the performance of the delivered/inducted B-787 aircraft. The Ministry of Law & Justice would examine and endorse the enabling legal provisions / aspects of the negotiations.

Air India would derive the benefits on account of the induction of the latest state-of-art technology Boeing aircraft which are more fuel efficient than its’ competitors.


Air India is planning to induct 27 numbers 787 aircrafts in its fleet as part of the contracted deliveries of the aircraft from M/s. Boeing. These aircrafts were scheduled to be delivered from September, 2008 to October 2011. However, due to certain design / production issues these aircraft have been delayed and are now scheduled to be delivered between June, 2012 to March, 2016.