Sunday, October 28, 2012

787 deliveries may be done for October, November looks to be a big month

Boeing looks to be done with making 787 deliveries for the month of October but November is potentially looking to be a very big month with 16 aircraft already in test flight or pre-flight.  Certainly not all those will be delivered in November but several planes coming out of the assembly line would be ready to deliver by the end of November.  The main reason of the low number in October is the bad weather which prevented Boeing from conducting first flights within their established guidlines governing 1st flights of production aircraft.  Of particular note, the low ceiling levels as well as precipitation that violated Boeing's first flight rules.

Boeing may still be able to deliver one or two more 787s by Wednesday (Oct. 31st) though it is highly doubtful.  I can see many deliveries taking place in the first two weeks of November but some may be delayed due to certain customer issues.

Air India - This customer was to have one 787 delivered from Charleston (2nd Charleston built 787) at the end of October but this is now looking like it will deliver in the first two weeks of November.  A third CHS built 787 is currently at Fort Worth being painted and should fly back to Charleston by next weekend.  A fourth CHS 787 for Air India took its first flight today and I would expect that it can go to Ft. Worth by the end of this week or early next week for painting.  I am still not sure on whether the issues surrounding Air India are resolved as these have been the major factors to the delays in delivering the 787s in recent months but if they are then it should be relatively smooth sailing in November. My prediction for November:

Air India - 2 787s will be delivered.

ANA - One 787 still in flight test and this aircraft has taken its 3rd test flight today.  It is possible that it can deliver by Wednesday Oct. 31st but I think the odds are not good.  It will certainly deliver in the first 2 weeks of November.  A second 787 for ANA is at the EMC undergoing change incorporation but this is a late build 787 which doesn't need much change incorporation so I believe it should be out on the flightline shortly and ready to go through the pre-flight program and deliver by the end of November. My prediction for November:

ANA - 2 787s will be delivered.

China Southern Airlines - There is currently one aircraft that is out on the flightline and has had only one test flight. I am still unsure if China's civil aviation authorities have certified the 787 for use by Chinese carriers or not and this uncertainty makes it difficult to say with any confidence if this aircraft (or any 787s for Chinese airlines) will be delivered this month.  This is another 787 at the EMC for China Southern that has spent a lot of time in change incorporation and I doubt that this airplane will be ready to be delivered in November. It is entirely possible that Boeing and CAAC can use the 787s that are out on the flightline to satisfy any certification requirements for the Chinese authorities but so far I don't think this is happening just yet. I'm not holding my breath on this one.  My prediction for November:

China Southern Airlines - 0 787s will be delivered.

Ethiopian Airlines - With 3 787s already in hand, the fourth has had one test flight but I do expect that further test flights should take place shortly.  This airplane should deliver within the first 2 weeks of November.  The 5 787 (and last that will be delivered to this airline in 2012) is at the EMC and I suspect will be rolled out to the flightline by the end of November for a December delivery.  My prediction for November:

Ethiopian Airlines - 1 787 will be delivered.

Hainan Airlines - Boeing has flown this aircraft 3 times already but the issues surrounding delivery to Hainan remain the same as that of China Southern. A 2nd Hainan 787 has been on the 40-51 ramp for some time now and has not even gone into the paint hangar.  I'm not too optimistic that these deliveries will take place in November but I have been wrong.  My prediction for November:

Hainan Airlines - 0 787s will be delivered.

LAN - The carrier too delivery of its 2nd 787 this past week and has a 3rd one out on the flightline going through pre-flight. 1st flight should take place, I believe, within the first 10 days of November with a delivery date in late November.  There aren't any more 787 in the pipeline for a December delivery so it will be the last one delivered to LAN in 2012. My prediction for November:

LAN - 1 787 will be delivered.

LOT Polish Airlines - LOTs 1st 787 has only made one test flight however the airline is saying that they will be taking delivery of their 1st aircraft around November 11 or 12th with delivery flight to Warsaw around November 15th.  A second 787 is at EMC finishing up some minor assembly tasks and already painted. I expect that this airplane will be pulled to the flightline from the EMC by mid November and should have its first flight in the later half of the month with a projected delivery in December.  There are three more 787 for LOT in final assembly and one or two of these airplanes can possibly deliver in December but certainly in January of 2013.  My prediction for November:

LOT Polish Airlines - 1 787 will be delivered.

Qatar Airways - A big one.  This airlines has already taken contractual delivery of one airplane that  is having modifications in Victorville.  There are 2 more 787s that are on the flight line at Everett. one aircraft has had 2 test flights thus far and the third one has had 3.  Assuming that there are no issues with the aircraft itself, I can see these two airplanes being delivered within the first two weeks of November possibly one may deliver before the end of October but that is a long shot.  This is Qatar Airways and they are very unpredictable and demanding.  Yet Boeing was able to satisfy them with the first airframe delivered in early October so there is hope.  There is one more in final assembly which should pull out a the end of this week (going to paint) and deliver by the end of November. One more 787 is in the EMC which is a late build and should be out on the flightline by around middle November and can be delivered in early December.  My prediction for November:

Qatar Airways - 2 787s will be delivered.

United Airlines - Another big one.  United just announced that they are delaying the implementation of it 787 schedule (domestic) as result of delays in the delivery of one 787 that was due in October. They are delaying the launch of some 787 domestic service that was supposed to start on November 4th.  Currently the 2nd 787s for United is in test flights and has had two flights already.  There are two more on the flightline both of which still need to make their first flights.  I do think that Boeing can get both these airplanes in the air by early to mid November and have a least two of them delivered to United by the end of the month with one delivered in the 1st two weeks of November.  The other 2 787s that are in change incorporation should be ready to be delivered by the end of December. My prediction for November:

United Airlines - 2 787 will be delivered.

This is a total of 11 787s delivered in November which is attainable.  Many of these airplanes are in test flights or customer flights and a few are about to enter the test flight program prior to handover.  Still the first two weeks of November should see quite a few 787 deliveries being madeto customers but weather will determine the pace of on going deliveries.

A bit of programming note...given that I am in the middle of Hurricane Sandy's target area I may be offline for up to a couple of weeks depending on when and if power needs to be restored. Hopefully it won't be too bad but I will try to update information, particularly on the tables via cell phone which is not particularly easy to do.  Thank you for your patience.

Monday, October 22, 2012

6 787s fly for the first time in 5 days

From Oct. 18 to Oct. 22 inclusive, Boeing took advantage of a break in the weather to fly 6 different production 787s on their B-1 flights.  The aircraft were obviously ready but bad weather forced a hold on all B-1 flights. Thus when the break came Boeing released the planes for flight.  However because of the delay, I expect that none of these airplanes will be able to be delivered by the end of the month.  It does potentially set up November as a big month for deliveries but there may be a knock on efffect as 787s that were scheduled for flights around this time will be pushed back to later this month and certainly into early November.

ZA270 (LN 61, SP-LRA) - LOT Polish Airlines

ZA430 (LN 73, B-2728) - Hainan Airlines
ZA290 (LN 77, N26906) - United Airlines

ZA239 (LN 60, VT-ANK) - Air India

ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP) - Ethiopian Airways
ZA460 (LN 57, A7-BCA) - Qatar Airways

In addition to the increase B-1 flights, there was a very noticable increase in follow on flights of other airframes that have already flown.  There included a C-1 flight for ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) which is expected to be delivered to Air India before the end of the month, hopefully). 

Given the increased activity, however, I do not expect a lot of deliveries in the next 8 days.  There are really 3 airplanes that are ready for delivery or will be ready for delivery.  There is a possibility of one more airplane that could be delivered this month but it only has an outside chance.

Ready or almost ready for delivery:

ZA537 (LN 74, CC-BBB) - LAN
ZA264 (LN 75, ET-AOS) - Ethiopian
ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) - Air India (only had one C-1 flight may need more)

The one airframe that might make it for delivery by the end of this month is:

ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A) - ANA

The last aircraft still needs to perform customer flights and I am not sure if it has completed all the Boeing test flights at this point even though it has flown twice.

It is apparent that if Boeing can maintain an aggressive flying schedule in November, they can have a lot delivieries in that month.  Much depends on the aircraft condition after completing final assembly/change incorporation as well as weather and the ability to work through the backlog of planes that are finished and need to go through testing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Several 787s getting set for 1st flight

Boeing seems to be ready to fly several 787s on their first flights as well as continue flight testing several more in preparation for delivery.  As of today Boeing has delivered 29 planes to 7 worldwide customers.

There have been several Flightaware alerts for several 787s that are sitting at Everett and Charleston.

Yesterday there were several Flightaware alerts for several 787 B-1 flights.  Those that were  slated to fly were ZA460 (LN 57, A7-BCA) for Qatar Airways, ZA270 (LN 61, SP-LRA) for LOT Polish Airlines, ZA290 (LN 77, N26906) for United Airlines. However by the end of the day only ZA270 flew while the other two conducted taxi tests around Everett.  Today there were Flightaware alerts for 2 B-1 flights: ZA430 (LN 73. B-2728) for Hainan Airlines and ZA239 (LN 60, VT-ANK) for Air India, the later being the third Charleston built 787 which should deliver sometime around November.  As of now these 787s have not flown and have probably ran taxi tests around their respective airfields. I also expect that ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP) for Ethiopian should also take flight by sometime next week from Everett.  This is an indication that Boeing is trying to aggressively ramp up the delivery process once the airplanes have left the EMC or the assembly line.  I would expect that within the next couple of day that all these airplanes will fly as well as continued flight test activity from the airplanes that have already flown in preparation for delivery.  The big factor nowadays is the weather around Washington State which is keeping the airplanes grounded (today for instance).

Meanwhile production and re-work continues at a pretty good pace with ZA538 (LN 80, CC-BBC) for LAN and ZA289 (LN 55, N26905) for United Airlines both entering the paint hangars at Everett. Assembly continues to pace at a little over 4/month.  New airframes are being loaded in Everett at about 1 every week with the next one slated to load on Oct. 25.  There are currently two 787s that are ready for delivery one for LAN (ZA537, LN 74, CC-BBB) and one for Ethiopian (ZA264, LN 75, ET-AOS).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Boeing gets a break in the weather, send up 3 787s for flight tests

For the last few days Boeing has been trying to fly two 787s on their first (B-1) flights.  The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been an issue  but the flight test team caught a break today and were able to send up two planes today along with a third 787 making its C-2 (customer acceptance) flight.

Both ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A) for ANA and ZA382 (LN 43, B-2727) for China Southern made their B-1 flights today as Boeing attempts to deliver them by month end.  Additionally ZA264 (LN 75, ET-AOS) made its second customer (C-2) flight today. It is hoped that this airplane should deliver late next week.  It is also hoped that Boeing will be able to deliver ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) to Air India.  This airplane also needs to fly customer flights but should be able to do so during the coming week if the schedule delivery is to take place in about 10 days of so.  Boeing isn't scheduled to deliver another 787 from Charleston until November so they have time to conduct B-1 on the next 787 built there (ZA239, LN 60, VT-ANK for Air India), I suspect a B-1 flight of this airplane around the end of the month. Another 787 that is expected to be delivered is LAN's 2nd 787.  That airplane is scheduled for an Oct. 18th delivery but has made only one test flight.  Boeing will need to do a couple more flight as well as LAN customer flights in the next 6 days.  This one may actually slide into the following week.

Official handover of Qatar's first 787 sliding into November

According to a new post by Strategic Aero's Saj Ahmad, the official handover of Qatar's first 787 will slide into early November.  The cause is the delayed contractual delivery to Qatar was due to the delays caused by the Thales IFE that Qatar ordered.  Currently, the aircraft is in Victorville, CA undergoing installation of the IFE.  It is unclear what effects this may have on future deliveries to Qatar Airways but Saj is saying that at least one 787 planned for delivery to the Doha based carrier will be delivered early next year.  There are currently 2 787s for Qatar Airways waiting on the Boeing flightline and I'm not sure how the deliveries of these two airplanes is affected.  One of the planes has flown its first flight while the other has not.

It is important to note that despite the public flogging by Akbar Al Baker, Qatar isn't holding Boeing responsible for the current delays as the delays are the fault of Thales.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Boeing trying to reduce the stored 787 backlog

Now that Boeing has achieved the 5/month assembly rate on the 787 program, the challenge is to make sure the higher rate doesn't contribute to the increase in the number of stored 787 at Everett. This backlog is about $20bn worth of WIP inventory on Boeing's balance sheet and they have made great progress in the last couple of months to reduce it.

The key, however, is to make sure that this inventory doesn't increase because of the higher rate.  The way to do that is to make sure that 787 deliveries exceed the assembly rate each and every month so that the stored inventory is reduced to 0 (this should happen sometime around the 2nd half of 2014).

This month so far Boeing has delivered 3 787s including one straight from final assembly.  Boeing has the potential to deliver 4 more 787s straight from the Everett line (these four are already on the flightline with 2 of the four already having flown) in addition to several frames that went through change incorporation at the EMC.  While the challenges remain, delivery rates will again be dependent on Boeing's resources as well as the readiness of certain customers to accept delivery of the frames.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

787 Production Rate Steadily Increasing

The 787 production rate is steadily increasing as Boeing looks to load a new 787 into the assembly tooling in the two assembly bays at Everett once every 7 days (at least for the next one month).  ZA272 (LN 86, SP-LRC) for Polish LOT is due to load into position 1 in 40-26 on Oct. 11.  One week later on Oct. 18, ZA273 (LN 87, SP-LRD) also for LOT will load in position 1 in 40-24.  Finally on Oct. 25 ZA274 (LN 88, SP-LRE) will load in position 1 in 40-26. This rate (excluding Charleston built 787s) is about 4 per month.  Charleston looks to be running at about 0.66 airplanes every month (2 airplanes every 3 months) though it is expected that they will hit one per month shortly.  Given these rates, Boeing is very close, if not already there, at producing 787s at a rate of 5/month.

The issues facing them is now clearing the backlog both at Everett and Charleston. Between the two delivery centers there are 16 787s that are ready for pre-flight or are into their test flight activities.  Boeing has already delivered 3 787s this month but tentatively have 9 more deliveries scheduled between Oct. 18 and Oct. 26th. It is possible for these 9 aircraft to be delivered but it is all dependent on both factors that are within Boeing's control (technical issues, allocation of resources needed to prepare and test fly the assembled 787s) as well as factor's out of Boeing's control (dealing with mercurial customers such as Air India, Qatar Airways and the country of China).  Several handovers should be a no brainer: Ethiopian Airlines (2), United Airlines (1), ANA (1) and LAN (1).  That is 5 airplanes right there.  The ones that are questionable are Qatar Airways (2), Air India (1) and Hainan Airlines (1), and China Southern (1). With the Chinese carriers, the issue is the certification from CAAC (China's Civil Aviation Authority).  It is unknown what the issues despite FAA and EASA certification.  CAAC has to certify the 787 for use by Chinese carriers.

Lastly, Boeing has pulled out two 787s from 40-26.  ZA271 (LN 78 (SP-LRB) for Polish LOT went to the paint hangar at Everett and ZA432 (LN 79, B-2730) for Hainan Airlines was pulled out to the 40-51 ramp area. Given the extended time that these two airplanes spent in final assembly I expect that there are very few to no assembly tasks remaining on these frames.  Additionally ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A) for ANA conducted taxi runs but could not perform its first flight due to weather consideration as Boeing has stringent weather requirements for B-1 flights.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Boeing delivers Qatar Airways' First 787

Just confirmed to me from Boeing that the company has indeed delivered the first 787 to Qatar Airways.  This aircraft is ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB) will fly to Victorville for a couple weeks to finish work on the Thales IFE system and then return to Everett where there will be a formal delivery ceremony around 17th or 18th before the aircraft is flown away to Doha. Boeing now has delivered 29 total 787 to 7 customers.  The delivery was a contractual delivery meaning that paperwork was signed and the customer made the final payment on the aircraft. Thus far in 2012 Boeing has delivered 26 787s.

787 Production Update and 1st 787 Delivery from Charleston

Boeing is continuing to make steady progress in pushing out new and re-worked 787 during this past week.

In the EMC, ZA287 (LN 52, N20903) for United went inside the EMC hangar from a spot on the EMC ramp to continue the change incorporation process. With the reshuffling that went on inside th hangar, ZA286 (LN 50, N20902), also for United, went to the paint hangar and will start the pre-flight program at Everett. 

Boeing has completed the first 787 to go through the surge line though I'm still trying to get a handle on the location.  Currently I believe that ZA538 (LN 80, CC-BBC), for LAN, is in 40-26 position 4 for final assembly activities and aqueous wash but should be going to paint very soon.  The other 787 in paint is ZA290 (LN 77, N20906), again another United Dreamliner but that should be coming out of paint very soon thus making way for ZA538. I don't have information on where ZA271 (LN 78, SP-LRB) for LOT Polish Airlines and ZA432 (LN 79, B-2730) for Hainan Airlines currently after the line move in 40-24.  Boeing has loaded ZA183 (LN 84, J8829J) for Japan Airlines into position 1 on 40-24 surge line to start final assembly.

At Charleston, ZA240 (LN 65, VT-ANL) finally saw daylight and was rolled out of the final assembly building last Sunday (Sept. 30) to start pre-flight in advance of its eventual delivery to Air India.  Brendan Kearney of the Post and Courier also reported that ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) also for Air India and the next Charleston built 787 to be delivered should be returning from Ft. Worth where it was being painted by this weekend. With the line move, Boeing has 4 787 in assembly at the Charleston plant with another 3 on the flightline going through pre-flight or pre-delivery.  It is anticipated that Air India should take delivery of another Charleston built 787 late this month but that is all dependent on the internal situation at Air India and the issues it confronts in dealing with the Government of India.

Speaking of Air India, again, Boeing did make delivery to Air India of ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) which is the first 787 built at Charleston.  While the milestone was notable so was the fact that this was a very low key delivery ceremony possibly arising out of the tortured path and bad feelings in arriving at this moment.  No big speeches by politicians or dignitaries at this delivery ceremony.  We'll see how future delivereis to Air India goes but rumor has it that Air India needed bridge financing for this airplane so I have to wonder how smooth future deliveries to this airline will be. Here's Boeing's Press Release on today's delivery:

Boeing Delivers First South Carolina-built 787 Dreamliner

Historic delivery to Air India begins a new chapter of Boeing airplane production in region

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today marked a historic milestone with delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner built at its North Charleston, S.C., facility to Air India.   
The delivery continues the momentum of the 787 Dreamliner's entry into revenue service by customers globally and marks the beginning of a new era of commercial airplane production in South Carolina.

"Within just three years of breaking ground, we have flown and delivered our first airplane built at Boeing South Carolina," said Jack Jones, vice president and general manager, Boeing South Carolina. "This is a tribute to the remarkable Boeing South Carolina team and the support we have received from our airline customers, our supplier partners and the Boeing enterprise, as well as the relationship we have with the State of South Carolina."

Work on the Boeing South Carolina Final Assembly and Delivery Center began in November 2009. Production of the first South Carolina-built 787 began in mid-2011 and the completed airplane rolled out of the factory in April.

Boeing South Carolina fabricates, integrates and assembles the midbody and aftbody fuselage sections for all 787 Dreamliners. Completed sections are joined in South Carolina Final Assembly, or transported via the Dreamlifter to 787 Final Assembly in Everett, Wash.

"We're delighted to be the first airline in the world to take delivery of a Dreamliner from this beautiful factory and look forward to taking many more," said Air India Board Member K.M. Unni. "The 787 is an airplane with unmatched efficiency and technology, which will help in our airline's turnaround plan."

Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, praised Boeing's long, successful partnership with Air India, including delivery in September of its first two of 27 Dreamliners. "With two 787s successfully introduced to Air India's fleet, passengers are enjoying breakthrough features such as larger windows, lower cabin altitude and unprecedented flying experience," said Keskar.

Today's delivery marks the 28th 787 Dreamliner delivered to date. Boeing South Carolina will increase final assembly production to three 787s per month by the end of 2013.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first commercial jetliner made primarily of advanced composite materials. It offers exceptional passenger comfort features, including cleaner air, a lower cabin altitude, higher humidity, bigger windows that dim electronically and more overhead storage space. Airlines appreciate its fuel efficiency, which is 20 percent better than other airplanes in its class and results in 20 percent lower carbon emissions.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Air India looks to receive first Charleston built 787 tomorrow and other delivery information

Brendan Kearney of the Charleston's Post and Courier, reports that Boeing will deliver the first 787 (first commercial jet airplane) built outside of the Puget Sound region tomorrow to Air India.  The delivery was held up (again) due to Government of India bureaucracy.  According Kearney, Boeing spokesperson told him that the airplane will be delivered tomorrow morning at about 8:30AM EDT in a "low key" ceremony that will end 90 minutes later.  There will be a few minor officials at the "ceremony." The aircraft is due to fly away to India on Oct. 6th.  The aircraft ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI).


Air India
ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI)
ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ)

ZA511 (LN 63, JA816A)

Ethiopian Airlines
ZA261 (LN 44, ET-AOP)
ZA264 (LN 75, ET-AOS)

Hainan Airlines
ZA430 (LN 73, B-2728)

ZA537 (LN 74, CC-BBB)

Qatar Airways
ZA460 (LN 57, A7-BCA)
ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB)
ZA463 (LN 64, A7-BCL)

United Airlines
ZA290 (LN 77, N26906)

Possible Delivery in October:

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

Through October 3, 2012 Boeing has delivered 27 787, 24 in 2012 alone and 1 in October.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Aspire Aviation: 787-8 still overweight, 787-9 is not

In a wide ranging article, Aspire Aviation revealed today several newsworthy aspects of the 787s program and the future of the variants of the base 787-8 aircraft.

First off the article addresses the 787-8 status.  While the program is now well into  production and delivery of the base 787-8 model, Boeing is planning to hit the 5/month milestone on November. It is hoped that the ramp up to 7/month will occur in March/April 2013. Assuming that Boeing is producing 5 787 for the first 5 months of 2013 and 7 for the last 7 months (there's a lag between the increased production rate and delivery of those airplanes at the increase rate thus I'm assuming that the 10/rate airplanes won't be delivered until January 2014) Boeing can deliver 84 787s not including 787s from the EMC.

The weight of the787-8 is still an issue with the current production block still at about 4 tonnes overweight according to Aspire's sources.  It was hoped that by the 90th aircraft (LN 90) that the weight would be down to the original spec weight but this appears to have slipped. It is unknown when Boeing will achieve the original spec weight though the culprit seems to be a shortage of parts that are weight optimized for both the 787-9 and the 787-8.

Speaking of the 787-9 this variant looks to be doing extremely well from a weight and development point of view.  The word is that the first 787-9s will achieve weight targets set by Boeing with further production blocks coming in underweight by around 2%.  This is all a result of the testing done on the 787-8 and understanding what was over-engineered.  At some point there will be weight savings that will be put back into the 787-8 but it does appear it will take a while.  ZB001 (LN 126) will be the first 787-9 that is to be assembled and it does look like that this should take place starting around February or March.  What is unclear at this point is how many 787-9s will be part of the testing and certification program. I don't think it will be 6 but perhaps 2-3 airframes. Already Boeing suppliers are producing some of the fuselage sections of the 787-9.

Aspire's report also touched upon the 787-10X which is now rumored to be targeted for an authority to offer by the Boeing Board of Directors as early as this month.  The 2nd stretch variant will build upon the 787-9 using the same wing and able to fit 323 passengers in a 3 class layout.  This model along with the 787-9 can effectively kill the Airbus A330-200 and A330-300 while also severely hurting the sales of the A350-800, A350-900 and even the A350-1000 all of which are under severe schedule pressure as it is.  There are numerous European, Asian and Middle Eastern customers that are salivating at the thought of the 787-10 and I wouldn't be surprised if Boeing has a few surprise orders in hand by the end of the year for this model if it has the authority to offer.  Aspire's speculates that with a launch late this year, Boeing will have a firm configuration by the end of 2nd quarter of 2014. roll out of the test aircraft in 2017 and EIS in 2018/2019 though I would think that with a rollout in 2017 Boeing should have the ability to achieve EIS in 2018 at the latest since it is a straight forward stretch variant. It shouldn't take 2 years to test and certify a simple stretch variant of the 787-9.

Strategic Aero: Qatar 787 delivery to come very soon

According to Saj Ahmad of Strategic Aero Research, Boeing will make a contractual delivery of the Qatar Airways' first 787 this week (today, tomorrow, or day after tomorrow).  The aircraft is ZA461 (LN 58, A7-BCB).  A delivery ceremony will occur around Oct. 17th with fly away to Doha soon after that.  He has high confidence that this will occur during the next two weeks. A second source confirms that delivery will be made well before Oct. 17th (didn't have a date).

The reason of the delay are issues with the IFE supplied by Thales.  U Turn Al's outburst was for the benefit of the media (Qatar privately is happy with the GEnx engines) but I wouldn't discount any other motives such as trying to get more compensation from either GE or Boeing. 

I'll keep my ears to the ground to hear about any contractual delivery made this week to Qatar Airways.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Qatar Airways delaying 787 delivery

Well U Turn Al (Akbar Al-Baker for the uninitiated), the CEO of Qatar Airways, is at it again.  The bane of both Boeing and Airbus is now saying that Qatar Airways won't accept any 787s until the FMS (fan mid shaft) in each of his 787s are replaced.  Currently 10% of the 787s he ordered is outside at Everett waiting to be delivered.  The demand defies logic in the face of the investigation and recommendations made by the NTSB, FAA, GE and Boeing.  Thus far the cracks of the FMS is attributable (it appears) to the coating on the FMS.  GE is altering the way it applies the coating but it does not appear that the FMS has to be changed out in total unless crack have been discovered. The FA also has put out recommendations for airlines to inspect the FMS every 90 days for cracks.  With action on the issues facing the GEnx engines, airlines are continuing to fly the engine on both the 787 and 747.  U Turn Al is trying to leverage this issue for more compensation from GE it appears.

The whole issue of the delays is further clouded by other possible reason for the delay:

1) Refurbishment of the interior after Qatar insisted that Boeing displays its first 787 at the Farnborough Air Show. 
2) Wholesale change out of the interior which necessitated the aircraft to go to California to have the interior changed out by the OEM as Boeing couldn't do it.
3) Issues with the IFE/WIFI system that Qatar had bought from Thales.

So the bottom line is when will deliveries commence? A source has told me that deliveries should commence no earlier than the end of October but don't be surprised if this is pushed even beyond that.  At the end of the day this is not Boeing's fault but rather the actions of a press hungry, attention seeking, egomaniacal airline executive.

Boeing is also waiting to deliver the 1st 787 built in Charleston to Air India.  Once again (unsurprisingly) the delivery is being held up by the Government of India. ZA237 (LN 46, VT-ANI) is ready to be delivered but there is no word on when from Boeing. It was expected last week but never occurred.  Rumor has it that it could be this Thursday, Oct. 4th but I've heard that one before. We'll truly know when the aircraft is wheels up out of Charleston and heading for India.

On the bright side, Boeing delivered ANA's 15th 787 which was ZA135 (LN 66, JA815A) on Sunday and was flown to Japan last night.  Boeing is now up to 26 deliveries over all, 23 in 2012 and 7 in September.