Sunday, March 27, 2016

Boeing aims to finish 1st quarter 787 deliveries on a high note, 787-10 starts assembly

As the 1st quarter of 2015 wraps up on the 787 program, Boeing is making an effort to deliver 12 787s this month.  So far they've delivered 7 and the other 5 have had their customer acceptance flights.  The lack of any further customer flights this weekend indicates that customers are satisfied with their new airplanes and are ready to take delivery.  With the delivery of 5 more 787s in the next 4 days Boeing will have delivered 29 787s in the first quarter.

Back in November 2015, I projected that Boeing would deliver 34 787s in the first quarter.  10 in January, 12 in February and 12 in March.  Boeing fell short by 3 in January and 2 in February, and should meet the 12 projected for March barring any unforeseen issues.

For April (and I know this is a familiar story), I am projecting 14 787 deliveries with 11 787-9 and 3 787-8 being handed over.  This number includes the 2 787-9 for British Airways that is delayed because of issues at seat manufacturer Zodiac.  It is possible that those two may not deliver in April.  It should be noted that Boeing would have had 31 787 deliveries in the first quarter had it not been for the issues with Zodiac which delayed the delivery of the 2 787-9 to British Airways.   Also in April, Qatar's penultimate 787-8 should be delivered as well as the first 787-9 ordered by Air France-KLM which is going to KLM.  All of the 787s that are projected to be delivered next month are all out of the factory and on the flightlines or paint hangars with half of the airframes having already had their first flight.

On March 15th Boeing started major assembly (not final assembly) on the first 787-10.  Kawasaki Heavy start installing circular frames to the mid-forward section of the first -10.  Boeing says that the -10 is 95% common with the -9 thus making the aircraft a very low risk stretch.  Final assembly should start around November or December in Charleston.

Here's Boeing's press release:

Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner Begins Major Assembly
 Steady progress as first production fuselage section begins weeks early
 EVERETT, Wash.March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Major assembly of the first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787-10 Dreamliner is underway, the latest major milestone in the development of the newest member of the super-efficient 787 family. Boeing partner Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. began installing the circular frames into the midforward section of the fuselage on March 14, a full two weeks ahead of schedule.
"Beginning major assembly early underscores the commitment, discipline and performance of the entire Boeing and partner team worldwide," said Ken Sanger, vice president of 787 Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are taking all the right steps to ensure we integrate the 787-10 into the production system smoothly."
As a straightforward stretch of the 787-9, which entered service in 2014, Boeing designed the 787-10 for both superior efficiency and maximum commonality. Ninety-five percent of the design and build of the 787-10 and 787-9 will be identical, reducing complexity, cost and risk across the entire production system while providing operational benefits to customers.
The 787-10, which will undergo final assembly at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, will set a new benchmark in efficiency when deliveries begin in 2018. With a robust range capability covering more than 90 percent of the world's twin-aisle routes, the 787-10 will deliver 25 percent better fuel use and emissions than the airplanes it will replace and at least 10 percent better than anything being offered by the competition in the future.
To date, the 787-10 has won 153 orders from nine leading customers around the world, accounting for 13 percent of all 787 orders.

787 Full Production Table

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Terrible Teen Moves, seat delays and other 787 news

Well it's been a while since my last posting so let's get right into it.

Chris Edwards, a photographer and spotter at Everett got a lot of great detailed photos (which you can view on his Flickr page) of the movements of many of the early build 787-8s around Paine Field in the last couple of days.  A couple of 787s went to the new 777X static test building 45-12 that was just completed and from the photographs that Chris took, it appears that scaffolding and work platforms have been erected around ZD007 (LN 16) which is destined for Ethiopian and ZD009 (LN 17) which will go to Crystal Cruises.  This indicates that the these airplanes will be spending sometime in that building for the change incorporation and re-work that they need to have done.  It's interesting to note that none of the early build aircraft have engines on them but one early build 787-8 for Air Austral just returned from Victorville in a new color scheme for the Reunion-based carrier.  Still this aircraft is not expected to be delivered until May and is in fact just now getting its interior installed on the flightline at Everett.

Boeing is moving 787s out of the EMC (mostly) in order to create room for incoming KC-46 tankers to under go change incorporation and re-wok to get them up to USAF standards.  This is something I allude to in a post late last year.  I had also expected that Boeing would be reducing the number of 787 that are stored on the runway storage area (RWY11/29) but the number of aircraft has actually grown from 3 787-8 to now include 2 747-8s and a 787-9.  The latter is an aircraft for British Airways that is one of 2 787-9s that are being delayed to the British carrier due to supply issues with seat manufacturer Zodiac (yes, again). ZB368 (LN 386, G-ZBKG) and ZB369 (LN 404, G-ZBKH) are both being delayed due to manufacturing issues with seats though ZB370 (LN 406, G-ZBKI) will be delivered on time according to sources.  I'm still trying to ascertain the length of delay to the other two British Airways 787-9s.

In some what related news, because of the engine fire on ZB036 (LN 377, G-VDIA) for Virgin Atlantic that I had reported earlier, Boeing and Rolls Royce are now going through all Trent-1000 powered 787s and replacing a part.  It is not known what the part is or how the engine fire started.  The fact that the Trent powered 787s are still flying seems to indicate that both firms feel confident about the root cause and the solution of the fire.

It appears that United is now taking more 787-9s as they now have stated that they are pulling some 787 orders forward from 2020 to 2017.  If so it seems that they have converted some 787-10 orders to the 787-9.  This explains why we see more 787-9 for United on the firing order than what they have ordered.  They also converted some 787 orders into an order for 4 777-300ER.  What I'm not sure of is if they have exercised any 787 options but more will be revealed when Boeing updates their order and delivery web page in the first week of April but it is interesting to note that with this change in 787 orders, United has 27 787s left to be delivered.  That is 2 more than what they is currently shown on Boeing's site.  I'm thinking that United now has 21 787-9 on order of which they have 5 yet to be delivered while they have 22 787-10s still on order.  Interestingly, Boeing's weekly O&D update shows an addition of 25 737NGs and 4 777s which is corresponds to the order that United recently announced but there was also a decrease of 4 787s which I don't believe is attributable to United.  We'll see where the 787 cancellation came from in early April.

So far in March, Boeing has delivered 2 787s but according to sources they are planning to deliver 11 more 787s this month including 2 in Charleston that have yet to have their first flight and receive its paint job.  Still if they are able to deliver 13 787s this month it'll be a nice recovery for 787 deliveries after 3 months of slow delivery rates.

787 Full Production Table