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Supplier problems lead to more frustrations for the Dreamliner program

Boeing is still having troubles with its famed 787 Dreamliner. The company announced yesterday that it is delaying the first flight of its Dreamliner by three months.

Boeing's next-generation airliner, which makes use of advanced, lightweight materials and extremely efficient engines, is the fastest selling aircraft in Boeing history with the company securing 817 orders from 53 different customers.

The bulk of the delays are blamed on suppliers who continue to work behind schedule stalling the production of the initial Dreamliner prototype according to the Wall Street Journal. Boeing decided to outsource the production of many critical Dreamliner components to companies scattered across the globe in an effort to reduce costs and promote foreign sales.

The decision is now coming back to sting Boeing as a lack of synergy between suppliers is the root cause for the program delays. According to sources close to the Dreamliner program, wiring and cockpit instrumentation hasn't even been installed into the first Dreamliner being readied for flight testing.

Boeing was more diplomatic when describing the supplier issues, "The fundamental design and technologies of the 787 remain sound," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO and president Scott Carson. "However, we continue to be challenged by start-up issues in our factory and in our extended global supply-chain."

Since aircraft engineers need at least two to three months of electrical testing before giving the go ahead to perform test flights, the Dreamliner will not take off until the end of the second quarter according to Boeing. Deliveries of the first production Dreamliner aircraft were also pushed back from late 2008 to early 2009.

"We have brought together the right skills and leadership from around the company to ensure a successful start-up of our global production system," added Dreamliner Vice President and General Manager Pat Shanahan. "We have put the people, structure and processes in place to execute our plan and we will take additional steps to strengthen our team if needed. We have made significant progress in reducing parts shortages, improving fastener availability and achieving static and systems test milestones. We are focused on getting the 787 flying, certified and delivered to our customers."

"This airplane is going to be the basis of every airplane Boeing builds in the future, so it needs to be right," said International Lease Finance Corp. CEO John Plueger. Plueger's leasing company ordered 74 Dreamliners from Boeing making it the single largest customer.

Boeing announced delays to the Dreamliner program in early October 2007 after initially denying the reports. Boeing's revised target for the first flight of the aircraft was changed to Q1 2008 and the first deliveries were changed to November 2008 at the earliest.

The Dreamliner was recently in the news over a damning report from Wired Magazine which claimed that the Dreamliner was vulnerable to attacks from passengers using the wired networking capabilities of the plane. A Boeing engineer and a spokeswoman for the company were quick to dismiss the report.

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RE: bummer
By amanojaku on 1/17/2008 3:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get it. People ripped Airbus because of the A380 delays, but there seems to be no flack for Boeing. Doesn't seem fair.

RE: bummer
By Sulphademus on 1/17/2008 4:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
Rebuilding the Titanic probably made it a bigger target.
Also, the rumors of their construction proceedure for this jet is absurd (I dont know what the 787's is).

Building the F-22 of airliners is harder to do and, perhaps people may be more forgiving of the large hurdles to jump.

RE: bummer
By ikkeman on 1/17/2008 5:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
The A380 and B787 are about equally hign on the "Newness" scale.

The one is 40% bigger than any commercial airliner now flying, the other has 40% more composite in it.

I think the difference in reaction comes from the fact that airbus announced a large delay at once while boeing does several smaller delays...

RE: bummer
By theapparition on 1/17/2008 6:12:20 PM , Rating: 4
I think the difference in reaction comes from the fact that airbus announced a large delay at once while boeing does several smaller delays...

No, the difference is that Airbus is over 2 years behind schedule and growing. Boeing is only slightly behind. Big difference, no?

RE: bummer
By CubicleDilbert on 1/17/2008 7:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
exactly, until they announce another small delay...
and then some short postponement for something unforeseen and another delay with a ridiculous excuse.

Airline purchase managers are more realistic and already check their contracted fine payments they receive.

RE: bummer
By ikkeman on 1/17/2008 7:43:33 PM , Rating: 2
boeing is now heading towards a full year, airbus is delivering (no more delays)...

RE: bummer
By theapparition on 1/18/2008 9:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
Airbus is starting to deliver, but are also running into supplier issues, same as Boeing, and their delivery dates are still increasing.

RE: bummer
By timmiser on 1/17/2008 6:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
There is much more pressure on Airbus with the A380 because the stakes are much higher so therefore the criticism is higher. Airbus is betting the company on the A380 and until Airbus starts receiving a return on their investment, they cannot afford to take on any new endeavors such as designing a competitor to the 787.

RE: bummer
By CubicleDilbert on 1/17/2008 7:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
The A350XWB is already in full design phase with thousands of engineers.

You seem not to up to date with business procedures in the aviation industry. Airbus already sold 150 A350 models and is taking in orders, although only one A380 has been delivered so far.

RE: bummer
By ohbrilliance on 1/17/2008 9:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they've just delivered the second A380:

RE: bummer
By ikkeman on 1/17/2008 7:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
yet they are...

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