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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: Nice Bashing Airbus?
By ikkeman on 1/17/2008 5:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
a few little corrections:
Boeing is offereing an KC767, based on the 767 (obviously), introduced in 1981 and already beeing fased out of production on the commercial side (so the USAF will be the only operator in 20 years, while they want to use it for 40). The airbus offering is much better off. their KC-30 offering, based on the A330, had its maiden flight in 1992 and is still popular with commercial ailiners (though the 787 will take a lot of that popularity)

Still, it's not quite fair to say boeing was sitting on their ass and only got kicked the last 13 years. Airbus is now more than 30 years old, and boeing has been incementally improving their proven concepts.

RE: Nice Bashing Airbus?
By CubicleDilbert on 1/17/2008 7:59:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but imagine You are the Air Force.
You buy that old Boeing model which you know was already phased out of production and you will be the only customer for the next 40 years. And you can be sure that you always will get special treatment (like buying private expensive medication at your pharmacie).

Or, you get from the sales catalog a more or less current model which is still state of the art, and there are a lot of other buyers who will make sure that there are a lot of spare parts at a reasonable price for a long time.

What would you do? Tough question...

RE: Nice Bashing Airbus?
By ikkeman on 1/17/2008 8:27:33 PM , Rating: 1
but would you buy non-american in a program worth hundreds of billions???

RE: Nice Bashing Airbus?
By Frallan on 1/18/2008 5:41:53 AM , Rating: 2
You will buy as cheap (OTC) and secure as possible. Otherwise free market has failed.


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