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.
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
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.
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
quote: "In fact, Qatar Airways, also a purchaser of both, says the determining factors for them were simply slot availability and fleet renewal needs."