Saturday, September 29, 2012

787 production update

Not much has changed in the last few weeks.  Boeing seems to working the change incorporation program in reverse numerical order with airplanes 10 to 19 seemingly slated to be be the last batch to go through the EMC.

Boeing did get one 787 (for Ethiopian) done with change incorporation but that aircraft, ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP), is now back at the EMC. Over the last couple of days, media reports said that there is a second 787 that had a cracked fan mid-shaft. I believe that this Ethiopian Dreamliner is that aircraft and is back at the EMC to have a replacement engine fitted.  Once this airplane has cleared out I expect that ZA381 (LN 36) for China Southern will take its place to begin change incorporation.

Boeing did move ZA260 (LN 39, ET-AOO) to the EMC to start the change incorporation process in the meantime. Also a litle interesting is that two airplanes on the final assembly line seemed to have switched places.  ZA432 (LN 79) for Hainan Airlines and ZA271 (LN 78) for LOT Polish Airlines were in positions 3 and 4 respectively in building 40-26.  Now they seemed to have reversed positions.  The only reason I can think of is that Boeing may not have space and wanted to complete work on the Hainan Dreamliner before rolling both airplanes out to the flightline to start pre-flight.  Currently in 40-26 there are 4 airplanes occupying all four assembly positions as well as one 787 in 40-24 occupying the first assembly position on the surge line in that building. I do expect to see a line move early next week.

Lastly, I can't confirm if any more 787s have been delivered in the last couple of days but evidence does point to Air India taking delivery either tomorrow (Sunday, Sept. 30) or Monday (Oct. 1) of ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) which is the 1st 787 built by the Boeing Charleston team.  Rumor has it that Jim McNerney will be there to celebrate the first 787 (really the first Boeing commercial airplane) built outside of the Puget Sound region.  It will be more of a celebration of that fact rather than a celebration of Air India receiving another 787.  A second Charleston built 787 left this afternoon for Ft. Worth to be painted joining an Everett built 787 for Ethiopian already there. I expect the Ethiopian Dremaliner to fly back in the next 2-3 days and the Air India 787 to return to Charleston in the next 10-14 days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated 787 Delivery Information for September and October

According to a posting on (huge thanks and props to RobK), Boeing is looking to finish off September with four more deliveries over the next three days.  The usual suspects are targetted for September:

Air India - ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI)
ANA - ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A)
Ethiopian - ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR)
Qatar Airways - ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB)

I think that ANA and Air India should deliver tomorrow with Ethiopian dleivering around Friday and Qatar on Saturday.  This is mearly speculation on my part. As always take this information with a grain of salt.  If the above does occur and they're all delivered by September 30, then Boeing would have achieved 10 787 deliveries this month.

However Boeing is looking to at least try to equal that number in October. Boeing is attempting to deliver 10 787s next month as well:

Air India - ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ)
ANA - ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A)
China Southern Airlines - ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727) - This is a big maybe for October
Ethiopian - ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP) and ZA264 (LN 75, ET-AOS)
Hainan Airlines - ZA430 (LN 73, B-2728)
LAN - ZA537 (LN 74, CC-BBB)
Qatar Airways - ZA460 (LN 57, A7-BCA) and ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCL)
United Airlines - ZA2990 (LN 77, N26906)

Again take this information with a grain of salt as circumstances do change.

Boeing 787 firing order updated

I've been able to update the firing order for the 787. Not too much of a surprise but two new customers will be getting aircraft from this batch including the first lessor, ILFC.  Here's the round up but please keep in mind that this firing order can change.

The Charleston plant will be building 3 Dreamliners including one  for Air India (ZA243) and 2 for China Southern (ZA384 and ZA385).  These are existing customers.

With the surge line now operational we'll be seeing an increase in output from Everett.  First delivery customers are ILFC (being leased to Aeromexico) (ZA560) and Thomson Airways (ZA317) and (ZA318).  Current customers include China Southern (ZA383), ANA (ZA513), Japan Airlines (ZA185), and Qatar Airways (ZA465).

In the meantime two more 787s have gone into the paint Hangar including the first 787 for LOT Polish Airlines, ZA270 (LN 61, SP-LRA) and the 4th 787 for Ethiopian ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boeing up to 22 787 deliveries in 2012 more to follow

Boeing has delivered it 25 787 overall and 22nd of this year.  Boeing has also surpassed the most deliveries for one month and is now up to 6 787s delivered this month with the potential for 3 to 4 more by the end of this week.  ZA178, (LN 27, JA824J) was delivered yesterday afternoon and I believe it should fly away tonight.  There aren't any deliveries planned for today but I do believe we can see the first Charleston built 787 delivered this week to Air India, ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) as well as one more to ANA, ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) and one more to Ethiopian ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR).  It is possible for Qatar first 787, ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) to be delivered but there is still no word on this. If all four aforementioned aircraft are delivered then Boeing would have achieved 10 deliveries in one month and would have delivered 29 787s to 7 customers.  The 2012 total would be 26 and they would need to deliver 8 airplanes per month over the next quarter to achieve 50 787 deliveries.. a doable but challenging task.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Can Boeing deliver 50 787s this year?

Boeing has delivered 21 787s this year but how many more can they expect to deliver by the end of the year?  Boeing stated goal is to deliver between 30 and 42 787s this year.  They'll certainly make the lower end of their estimate but can they deliver 50 787s by the end of the year?  Assuming that Boeing delivers 4 more 787s by the end of September (9 deliveries in September) then they would have delivered 25 787s through the 3rd quarter of 2012.

Here's a look at what the airlines are expecting in the last quarter:

Air India - 4
ANA - 3
China Southern - 2
JAL - 2
Ethiopian - 3
Hainan - 3
LAN - 2
Polish LOT - 2
Qatar Airways - 5
United - 4

This adds up to 30 airplanes in total but does not include airplanes that I expect to be delivered in the remainder of September.  So this is what I think will be the final number:

Delivered (through 9/23/2012) - 21
Remaining September Deliveries - 4
Projected 4th quarter deliveries - 30

Total - 55

Of course this is my best efforts guesstimate and it all depends on how well Boeing can work through the backlog of airplanes sitting at Charleston and Everett that have finish all assembly activities.

Boeing delivers 14th 787 to ANA

Yesterday Boeing delivered the 14th 787 to ANA.  This comes on top of ANA exercising 11 787-9 options increasing their planned 787 fleet to 66 from 55.  Boeing delivered ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A).  Boeing now has delivered 24 total 787s and 21 in 2012 alone.  Thus far this month, Boeing has delivered 5 787s with 4 more (possibly 5) planned for delivery in the next few days.

Boeing confirms 787 delivery to United Airlines

This morning Boeing confirmed that they had indeed delivered the first 787 to United airlines.  United is the first US-based airline to operate the Dreamliner.  It was delivered from Everett and was taken on a flight to Moses Lake and then flew to Boeing Field.  It is not known when it will be flown to Houston.  United is the 6th global airline to receive the 787 and will be placed into domestic service starting in November before rolling out to international service around the December/January time frame. United will take delivery of one more 787 in October, 2 in November and one more in December.  Through today, September 24, 2012, Boeing has delivered 23 787 and 20 of them have delivered this year.

Here's Boeing Statement:

Boeing Delivers United Airlines' First 787 Dreamliner

- United is the first North American carrier to fly the 787

- Dreamliner opens new routes for United

EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) and United Airlines announced today the delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner. United is the first airline in North America to take delivery of the 787.
Jeff Smisek, president and CEO of United, said, "As the North American launch customer, we are delighted to be getting our first 787 Dreamliner. As we continue to build the world's leading airline, we are excited for our customers and co-workers to experience this game-changing aircraft."
United has announced it will initially use the 787 on international routes to Africa, Asia and Europe. The airline will conduct temporary domestic flights before transitioning its 787 fleet to international service in late 2012.
"This 787 delivery represents the continuation in the more than 80-year partnership between our two companies," said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "United now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner, the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built. It reinforces United's commitment to be the world's leading airline by providing unmatched fuel efficiency and passenger comfort."
Made from composite materials, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes and will allow airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. In addition to providing airlines with unprecedented fuel economy and low operating costs, the 787 features a host of new technologies that greatly enhance the passenger experience.
This delivery marks the first of 50 Dreamliners that United has on order. The airline's 787 cabin is configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy. Customers will be more comfortable with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other features.
United's first Dreamliner is expected to arrive in Houston later this week to begin a month-long training and certification program including non-commercial flights to each of United's domestic hubs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

United's 1st 787 could be delivered very soon

UPDATE (9/23/12, 1:33PM EDT): For real this time, This popped up on Flightaware not too long ago: this suggests that United took delivery but it's interesting to note that this is a test flight to Grant Co. where Boeing conducts a lot of test flights.

UPDATE (9/22/12, 12:55PM EDT): Now getting word that it's still in Seattle.  Trying to get a confirmation on departure.

UPDATE (9/22/12, 9:55AM EDT): Several sources are saying that ZA288 (LN 53, N20904) delivered yesterday, went to Boeign Field and this morning is flyingto Houston as UA 6864.  It doesn't show up on Flightaware.  Delivery ceremony might be taking place in Houston.

Right now a rumor but the first 787 for United is rumored to be ready for delivery and could be delivered anytime between now and the end of this weekend.  Noting solid yet but I'm watching Flightaware for movement.  Earlier today United's pilots took ZA288 (LN 53, N20904) for a spin around Washington State.  The aircraft is rumored to be ready for delivery and may go to Boeing Field either before or for the delivery ceremony.

Qatar Airways 787 delivery delayed due to IFE, internet connectivity issues

The expected delivery of Qatar Airways' first 787 is being delayed because of issues with the IFE and specifically the Internet connectivity that the airline is equipping on its 787 fleet.  They continue to test the aircraft even as far as flying it to Yuma Arizona on Sept. 20th and back.  The Qatar Airways' delivery team from Doha is in Seattle right now so there must be hope that the issues would be resolved soon.  No date has been set for delivery at this time.  In related news, Strategic Aero has an interesting article about 777X and Qatar pushing Boeing to offer the aircraft for sale.

Boeing does continue to fly several Dreamliners that are slated for delivery soon including those for United, ANA (2), JAL and Ethiopian.  These airplanes maybe delivered this week into next week and it is rumored that United pilots took out the 1st 787 for it's final customer test flight today prior to delivery.  It does seem that Boeing is making a big push to get many of the 787s out the door as possible before the end of the month (and end of quarter).  Here are the planes that I see possibly being delivered in the last 10 days of September:

Air India
ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI)

ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A)
ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A)

ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J)

ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR)

United Airlines
ZA288 (LN 53, N20904)

Qatar Airways (tentative)
ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB)

If Boeing can get these seven airplanes delivered (they're very close) then they would have delivered 10 787s this month.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Short post on 787 deliveries

UPDATE (9/18/2012): It appears that Boeign has delivered another 787 to Air India yesterday.  Flightaware is showing a delivery flight from Charleston to Frankfurt for AI 170 leaving at 3PM EST. 

Media reports has British Airways receiving it's first 787 in May 2013 while LOT Polish Airlines is expecting its first 787 on November 15, 2012.

Lastly, I'm hearing Qatar Airways should be taking delivery of their first 787 sometime around Thursday September 18 and fly away the following day for arrival on Saturday in Doha.  The aircraft that will be delivered will be ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB).  This information has not been confirmed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Boeing continues to fly GEnx engines on 787 and 747

Boeing, after having performed the necessary ultrasound inspections on the GEnx engines on the airplanes they have in pre-flight, flew three GE engined aircraft today (out of 4 airplanes).  This does give some reassurance that deliveries of these airplanes (a least to specific customers) are moving forward.  Again I don't expect Air India to take any more airplanes until at least the NTSB, GE and Boeing discover the root cause of the crack in the Fan Midshaft and implement corrective actions and/or a re-design.  There would be considerable amount time added as the fan midshaft of the these engines will all have to be replaced once the root cause and a solution is found.  Today ZA263 and ZA264 both for Ethiopian flew test flights.  Both these flights were the B-2 flights though ZA264 still has to be painted and will probably be painted in Ft. Worth.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

GEnx problems slow down 787 deliveries

Another set back for GE powered 787s and 747-8s as the NTSB is recommmending that operators of the 787 and 747-8 (F and I) conduct ultrasound inspection of the GEnx-1B and GEnx-2B Fan Midshaft as possible corrosion issue may produce cracks that would eventually lead to fractures of this vital part.  In the short term the NTSB is recommending that the FAA issue an emergency airworthiness directive requiring that operators do the ultrasound before the flying the aircraft and then at regular frequent intervals thereafter to catch any possible cracks before they become a problem.

The NTSB has identified one 787 at Everett that has one engine with a cracks in the Fan Midshaft. They along with GE and Boeing are trying to discover the root cause of the cracks and with the failure of a 2nd GEnx engine and discovery of cracks in a third, the investigation has taken on more urgency.  So far it looks like many of the 787s and 747-8s have been inspected and Boeing continues to conduct test flights of both airplanes with the GE engine but this issue already is affecting deliveries. Air India has already said that they will not take anymore 787s until a root cause is discovered.  It is rumored that Qatar Airways may follow suit while other carriers that have ordered the GE engine have yet to make their intentions known.  So far GEnx engines have been delivered to Air India, Ethiopian and JAL.  JAL and Ethipian continue to fly the 787s as is Lufthansa with the 747-8I and thus far there hasn't been any word on these airlines pulling the aircraft from service.

Here's the full text of the NTSB statement:

In this letter, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) take urgent action to address safety issues that have been identified in the NTSB’s ongoing investigation of a fan midshaft (FMS) fracture and crack in zero-time General Electric (GE) GEnx-1B engines on Boeing 787 airplanes and a possible FMS fracture on a low-time GEnx-2B engine on a Boeing 747-8F airplane.

On July 28, 2012, a Boeing 787-8 airplane experienced a loss of thrust in the right engine—a General Electric (GE) GEnx-1B turbofan, engine serial number (ESN) 956-121—during a pre-first flight, low-speed taxi test at Charleston International Airport, Charleston, South Carolina. As the airplane was accelerating through 40 knots, the No. 2 engine’s N12 speed rolled back and the pilots retarded the throttles to abort the test. The airplane taxied back to the ramp, where the engines were shut down. A visual inspection of the engine during the NTSB’s investigation revealed the low pressure turbine (LPT) rotor had shifted aft and extensive damage to the LPT blades and vanes. Further examination of the engine revealed the forward end of the FMS was separated at the rear of the threads. The fractured end of the FMS with the retaining nut still in place was removed from the engine and sent to GE, Cincinnati, Ohio, for dimensional inspection and metallurgical examination. The engine was subsequently removed from the airplane and also sent to GE in Cincinnati for disassembly and examination. The engine had not yet been operated in flight, having only been operated during post-production tests at GE and post-installation ground runs at Boeing in Charleston.

As a result of the ongoing investigation into the FMS separation that occurred on ESN 956-121 at Charleston, GE developed an ultrasonic inspection to scan the forward end of the FMS under the threads where the fracture occurred. On August 13, 2012, a GEnx-1B engine, ESN 956-175, installed on a 787-8 airplane that had not yet flown was found to have an indication of a similar crack on the FMS. Like ESN 956-121, this engine had not been operated in flight and had only operated during post-production tests at GE and post-installation ground runs at Boeing in Seattle, Washington. The engine was removed from the airplane and shipped to GE, Durham, North Carolina, for disassembly and further ultrasonic tests that confirmed the crack. The FMS was removed from the engine and shipped to GE in Cincinnati for further inspection and examination.

Examination of the FMS from ESNs 956-121 and 956-175 revealed that they conformed with the engineering drawing’s requirements. Metallurgical examination of the FMS from ESN 956-121 revealed a progressive fracture that had initiated from multiple origins around the outer circumference of the FMS at the root of the rearmost thread. The progressive fracture covered about half of the fracture face.

Although the fracture in the ESN 956-121 FMS was progressive in nature, the examination of the fracture surface in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) did not reveal any striations that would be typical of a fatigue fracture. Rather, the SEM examination revealed a faceted, quasi-cleavage fracture morphology that is typical of environmentally assisted cracking4 of certain high strength steel alloys such as that used on the GEnx FMS. The metallurgical examination of the FMS from ESN 956-175 revealed several progressive cracks that had initiated around the outer circumference at the root of the rearmost thread. The morphology of these fracture surfaces was consistent with what had been observed on the FMS from ESN 956-121. The investigation into the cause of the environmentally assisted cracking that occurred in the ESN 956-121 and -175 FMSs is continuing.

On September 11, 2012, a Boeing 747-8F (operated by Air Bridge Cargo, a Russian certificated air cargo carrier) equipped with GE GEnx-2B turbofan engines experienced a loss of power in the No. 1 engine, ESN 959-228, during the takeoff roll at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, China. The pilots reported that as the airplane was accelerating through 50 knots, the No. 1 engine’s N1 indication dropped. The pilots rejected the takeoff and returned to the ramp, where an inspection of the No. 1 engine’s LPT revealed extensive damage. Further examination of the engine is pending, but photographs of the LPT show damage that is similar to that which was observed on GEnx-1B engine ESN 956-121 at Boeing in Charleston. Although other failure modes could cause an N1 rollback and broken blades, the damage noted on the photographs of ESN 959-228 is consistent with that observed on the engine that failed at Charleston. ESN 959-228 is reported to have accumulated approximately 1,200 hours and 240 cycles since new.  
GEnx-1B engines are used on Boeing 787 airplanes and GEnx-2B engines are used on Boeing 747-8 airplanes. The GEnx-1B FMS is slightly longer than that in the -2B engine. However, the threaded end of the FMS; the manner in which it is clamped with the retaining nut;
and the assembly procedures, material specifications, and operating environment are similar between the two models. Therefore, the FMS in GEnx-2B engines may be susceptible to the same type of failure observed with the GEnX-1B FMS.

Because of the short time to failure and the fact that all of the engines on any single airplane, whether the 787 or the 747-8, have all operated for the same period of time, the NTSB is not only concerned about the potential for further fractures occurring, but also the possibility that multiple engines on the same airplane could experience an FMS failure. Although the FMS fracture that occurred on the 787 at Charleston and the incident that occurred on the 747-8 at Shanghai both happened on the runway and the pilots were able, respectively, to abort the test and the takeoff, the NTSB is concerned about the possibility of an FMS fracture occurring in flight at the limits of an airplane’s extended twin-engine overwater operations, or ETOPS, range and the airplane having to operate with one engine inoperative for up to 5 1/2 hours.

The NTSB notes that, after the FMS fracture at Charleston, GE was very expeditious in assisting 787 operators with inspecting their GEnx-1B engines using the newly developed ultrasonic inspection, which is capable of detecting cracks once they reach 0.050 inch in length. To date, all in-service and spare GEnx-1B engines have been inspected. In addition, all GEnx-2B engines on passenger airplanes and spares have been inspected. The NTSB is aware that about 47 on-wing GEnx-2B engines remain uninspected and is concerned that they continue to operate while potentially susceptible to FMS failure. Because of the immediate threat of multiple engine failures on a single aircraft and the availability of an appropriate inspection procedure, there is an urgent need for the FAA to act immediately. Therefore, the NTSB recommends that the FAA issue an airworthiness directive to require, before further flight, the ultrasonic inspection of the FMS in all GE GEnx-1B and -2B engines that have not yet undergone inspection.

In addition, the nature of the cracking that was noted on the FMS from ESNs 956-121 and 956-175 did not provide a predictable crack propagation rate that a typical fatigue crack would have. The NTSB believes that repetitive inspections are necessary to ensure that, once an initial inspection has been performed, new or sub-detection-level cracks do not propagate and cause additional failures. Therefore, the NTSB recommends that the FAA require operators to accomplish repetitive inspections of the FMS in all (on-wing and spare) GE GEnx-1B and -2B engines at a sufficiently short interval that would permit multiple inspections and the detection of a crack before it could reach critical length and the FMS fractures. 
Therefore, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration:

Issue an airworthiness directive to require, before further flight, the ultrasonic inspection of the fan midshaft in all General Electric GEnx-1B and -2B engines that have not yet undergone inspection. (A-12-52) Urgent

Require operators to accomplish repetitive inspectionsmidshaft (FMS) in all (on-wing and spare) General Electric GEnx-1B and -2B engines at a sufficiently short interval that would permit multiple inspections and the detection of a crack before it could reach critical length and the FMS fractures. (A-12-53) Urgent

Thursday, September 13, 2012

787 delivery estimates for this fall


Update, first flight of ZA238 was indeed yesterday.

That said, I just got information on potential Sept., Oct. and possibly Nov. deliveries.  This list is incomplete and aircraft that are in final assembly or in  change incorporation may be added.


9/18 - United Airlines - ZA288 (LN 53, N20904)
9/20 - ANA - ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A)
9/20 - Qatar Airways - ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB)
9/23 - JAL - ZA178 (LN 27, JA824J)
9/25 - ANA - ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A)
9/26 - Ethiopian - ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR)

Air India (I put this in separate category because of the uncertainty of deliveries to this airline)

9/12 - ZA233 (LN 29, VT-AND) already past and expected sometime next week
9/19 - ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) indications are it will be TBD
9/28 - ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) indications expect that this will also be TBD, unconfirmed that it had its first flight on 9/4.
10/26 - ZA239 (LN 60, VT-ANK) this may slip to TBD


10/18 - Ethiopian - ZA264 (LN 75, ET-AOS)
10/18 - Qatar Airways - ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCL)
10/18 - LAN - ZA537 (LN 74, CC-BBB)
10/24 - Hainan Airlines - ZA430 (LN 73, B-2728)


All dates are TBD for the following:

China Southern - ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727)
ANA - ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A)
Ethiopian - ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP)
United Airlines - ZA290 (LN 77, N26906)
Qatar Airways - ZA460 (LN 57, A7-BCA)
LOT Polish Airlines - ZA270 (LN 61, SP-LRA)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

787 flight test activity picks up speed

UPDATE: ZA263 (LN 71, ET-AOR) and ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) both made their first flights today (9/12/12)

During the past few day, flight test activity at Everett has picked up with 787s destined for ANA, JAL and United all taking to the air to continue Boeing/customer test flights. This is being done with eyeing deliveries of these airplanes later this month.

Additionally re-work activity looks to be increasing as two more 787s, one for Qatar and one for ANA have just moved into the paint hangar, signalling their readiness to start the pre-flight program.  There are now 6 787s outside of the EMC hangar that are in various phases of re-work with another 5 aircraft inside the hangar.  Among these 11 airplanes at the EMC include 4 airplanes for United Airlines.  All assembled 787s are now out of the 40-24 surge line and are either parked outside or are at the EMC.

Speaking of production, interestingly the last two positions in 40-26 are unoccupied while there is only the one position in the 40-24 surge line occupied (position 1).  The next 787 won't be loaded into position 1 in 40-26 until Sept. Monday.  I'm not sure of the reason but it might be due to a short break before Boeing starts production at the higher rate of 5/month during September.  They also may want to ease the bottleneck on the flightline with many of the positions already full with 787s waiting to be delivered.

Lastly, the first 787 for Hainan Airlines finally broke cover and is now at the Everett fuel dock.  No doubt it is waiting for a spot to open up which should happen in the next few days.

Looking at the 787 production and disposition chart, Boeing strategy is obvious.  Get the late build 787s out the door and into customer hands while at the same time assembly and delivering post LN 65 airplanes thus increasing the delivery rate.  As time goes on deliveries should hold steady as the increase in the production rate from 3.5 to 10 offsets the decrease in the number of 787 airframes that need change incorporation and pre LN 65 airplanes are delivered with increasing frequency in the next 12 to 18 months. There are about 18 787s that are still in storage around Everett but that is quite an improvement as many airplanes are going through change incorporation or are in various stages of pre-flight or Boeing/customer pre-delivery test flights.

However, the key to this strategy is clearing the bottleneck of airplanes that are complete and ready to be delivered both in Everett and at Charleston.  So far two have been delivered this month but at least 5 more should be delivered this month possibly reaching as high as 8 more including 787s for Air India at Charleston.  Another question mark is deliveries to Qatar Airways which seemed stalled.  There has not been a test flight of any of the 2 787s for Qatar recently though a 3rd one is now in paint.  There could be slippage of this into October.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Finally! Boeing delivers 1st 787 to Air India

After months of negotiating and waiting accompanied with a lot of hand wringing, Boeing has finally delivered the 1st 787 to Air India.  The "ceremony" is decidedly low key compared to other 1st deliveries of the 787 to other customers and rightlfully so.  Air India and the Indian Government has shown itself to be either utterly incompetent or very childish-like in its behavior towards Boeign in this matter.  It started in May when Boeing was prepared to make delivery of the aircraft to Air India after having agreed to compensation for the delays incured during development and production of the 787.  With days to go before delivery, Air India (probably urged on by the Indian Government) demanded more compensation than originally agreed upon.  This led to protracted negotiations after which there was a protracted approval process by the GoI.  The situation wasn't helped much with the contained failure on a GEnx-1B engine on a 787 destined for Air India in late July.  While the root cause is still under investigation the failure was in a fan blade shaft that ruptured. There have been no other instances of this failure occuring indicating that it may be a one off event but Air India mainteneance wanted to hold up deliveries because of it.  In the meantime 787s (and 747s) with the GEnx engine continued to fly and Ethiopian was the third airline to fly the Dreamliner and the 2nd one with the GEnx engines. Delivery of ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) was made on the morning of Sept. 6th in avery low key ceremony with out any great fanfare, perhaps reflecting the tortured path inflicted by Air India on Boeing had to take to get to this moment.  This was in total contrast to the delivery of LAN's first 787 last week which was a 2 day party.

It seemed that all was ready for delivery and Boeing had pulled the first 787 to the delviery center at Charleston when word came that there were yet more approvals needed from the GoI on the compensation agreement even after the Indian Cabinet had given its approval.  It does seem that all the hurdles are cleared but one would still have to be cautious as this is the Indian Government that is entirely unpredictable.  The aircraft is to flyaway on September 7th and land in India on the morning of September 8th. The plan is for Air India to take delivery of the next two service ready 787s at Charleston over the next 2 weeks.  There are other 787s that have yet to be flight tested but those flights should come soon.  Hopefully there won't be other roadblocks put up by Air India that would prolong these deliveries.  He's the text of Boeig's announcement of the 787 delivery to Air India this morning:

Boeing celebrates delivery of Air India's first 787 Dreamliner

- First Indian airline to fly the 787

- The Dreamliner's range, capability allows for routes to Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Australia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Air India today celebrated the delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner.
"Today is a great day for Air India as the most technologically advanced and fuel efficient airplane in the world joins our fleet," said Rohit Nandan, Air India Chairman & Managing Director. "The 787 will allow Air India to open new routes in a dynamic marketplace and provide the best in-flight experience for our passengers."
Air India is only the fifth airline in the world to take delivery of a 787 Dreamliner.
This delivery is the first of 27 Dreamliners for Air India. The airplane is equipped with 18 business class seats and 238 economy class seats.
The 787 has the range and capability to allow Air India to deploy the Dreamliner on many routes including the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Australia.
"We are pleased to celebrate another historic moment in our nearly seven-decade long relationship," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "I am sure Air India and their customers will be thrilled to experience the revolutionary features on the 787, an airplane that will be the key focus of the airline's turnaround plan."
Air India's first 787 Dreamliner was assembled in Everett, Wash. and delivered today from Boeing's South Carolina delivery center. The airplane is scheduled to fly to Delhi on Friday.
The 787 Dreamliner is an all-new airplane featuring a host of technologies that provide exceptional value to airlines and unparalleled levels of comfort to passengers. It is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes, enabling airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Some slippage seen in September 787 deliveries

Sources are indicating some slips in 787 deliveries for September but so far it doesn't seem that any of the slips are into October....yet.  The first for Qatar Airways, ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) and ZA119 (LN 69, JA814A) bot hare now tentatively scheduled to deliver around September 20th.  Additionally Boeing is working some unknown issues with ZA182 (LN 70, JA828J) and delivery may take place around September 5th but may be even later.

The information thus far hasn't indicated any slide of September deliveries into October just as yet but one has to wonder what are the issues that are causing the delivery slide.

Still no word on the deliveries to Air India though there is a rumor that contractual delivery was made on ZA233 (LN 29, VT-AND) and ZA236 (LN 35, VT-ANH) on Aug. 31st.  This is yet unconfirmed and we may not know until Boeing releases its monthly orders and deliveries report for August within the next 10 days.  The airplanes are being held in Charleston over some unspecified engine issue is resolved.  I don't know if it has anything to do with the GEnx engine failure from July or not.  I'll keep an eye on it.