Program update

We’ve updated our plans for the 787 Dreamliner’s first flight and deliveries. Here’s the news release: Boeing Revises 787 First Flight and Delivery Plans.

Obviously there’s been a lot of anticipation in the aviation and financial communities surrounding this announcement. We’ve undertaken an extensive assessment with input from across the 787 program and our partners to reach this new schedule.

The main thing I want to convey is that we understand this further delay is deeply disappointing to our customers, our partners, and to all of you who closely follow our industry. It is disappointing to us as well. As program chief Pat Shanahan said this morning, we want to get this right, and we’re confident in our plan going forward. But the key is performance.

We’ve accomplished some amazing things so far, and we believe that the Dreamliner is a great, high-technology, state-of-the-art airplane and will be a true game-changer in the market.

Comments (18)

Ron B (Mesa, AZ, USA):

Only if the Boeing 787 people had done this before. This would have made it all the better for the company. Oh well so much for the past. Let us hope that the new dates and milestones will be achieved and the Dreamliner will not be a dream but a reality when it performs the first flight as promised.

Michael Malak (Denver, CO):

2009Q3 means probably 2011 before I'll see DIA to NRT, as ANA likes to try out new planes domestically for a year before allowing them on international flights.

G (France):

Third time lucky

see: meaning and origin

This third delay is disappointing.
Now, Boeing cannot afford another delay announcement.

Chris C (South Africa):

The bottom line remains: The super-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner is by far the most technologically advanced commercial airplane ever, that offers market preferred solutions, and is the flagship of the 21st Century.

It has been stated on numerous occasions that the 787 truly is a revolutionary product, and is an airplane that is ushering in an all-new era into commercial aviation – from fuel-efficiencies to manufacturing processes. Indeed, it is inevitable for teething problems to surface.

Naturally, to say the least, a further delay in this program is very disappointing, but reading this press-release, ironically I feel a whole lot more confident that Boeing will deliver on this revised schedule...in fact I’ll go as far as saying that we could even see Boeing run ahead of this revised program.

Jeff (AL):

This is not good. These multiple delays are starting to make Boeing look bad, in my opinion. Hopefully they won't need to the margin in testing schedule and will finish that early. Best of luck.

Paulo M (Joanesburgo, República De África do Sul):

Disappointment - yes.

But, you have to look at this in a broader context.

This project has been referred to as the largest industrial endeavor of our time.

It is a massive and massively complex industrial undertaking. From an industrial perspective, it is significantly more complex than even the Airbus A380 - which has had its share of delays, but now has enjoyed quite the service entry.

The 787 is also significantly different from all previous airliners. Boeing has overcome the basic design and technical aspect of the project. The logistics of the worldwide nature of the program has upset the schedule. It has been reported that, generally, the main subcontractors on the program have done quite well - but some have not been up to Boeing standards.

Boeing could have done this project in-house - but up until the industrial launch of this jet, the company simply could do nothing right to impress anyone. Even Boeing could not attract the right kind of investment to fund such an ambitious project under those circumstances.

Yes, the 777-300ER was an incredible engineering success. But even this program could not stem the negative tide towards the company - because of its failure with the many preceding 747X studies and the Sonic Cruiser.

For me, the 777-300ER re-ignited my belief in Boeing - and the 21st Century 747. I believe that Boeing would not have been able to launch the 787 without the base that the 777-300ER provided. (I would like to think that the 777-300ER was as important to Boeing as the Mazda 6 "Atenza" was to Mazda's very successful Zoom-Zoom campaign.)

It's a great success that Boeing has managed to court such important and notable partners working with it on yet another one of those unique Dreams.

The most important thing is to get the game-changer right before flight tests. Congratulations for taking this painful step now - because later on, it could get far more expensive.

Thank you very much for undertaking such a difficult and ambitious project. One that will certainly take your company's name further for at least another 100 years. This will certainly be one of Boeing's toughest challenges, but in the spirit of the 707, 737 and 747, it will also be one of the more successful moves. (At the end of it all, we may yet see meaningful answers to many long-standing issues on BWB's.)

It will also be one from which mere mortals, such as myself, draw inspiration for meaningful & profitable changes in our own personal lives.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The Boeing 787 has had it's fare share of setbacks
and redesigns but there is light at the end of the tunnel, this is a learning experience particularly
on the development of the majority composite 787, this is far different than any other Boeing civil aircraft project even compared to the development of the 777 from fifteen years ago.

I am disappointed by the delays too, it is human nature to be upset about it as we would have known
that if their had been no delays the first 787's would have been in service by now in the second quarter of the year, but it is better to be safe than to be sorry when it comes to the development of new products.

Almost regardless of how long it takes the 787 to get developed, it will be in service long before the Airbus A350 even takes to the air in 2012 if it has no delays whatsoever.

Even with all the delays their has been no major cancellations by the airlines at all and despite the setbacks the orders keep coming now with 930 orders, options and pending.

The wait, delays, and postponements is here but this too shall come to pass.

Kinbin (Taipei, Taiwan):

Based on historical trends with new aircraft introductions, over the past 2 decades, delay announcements are expected.

However, there is a saturation point before avid supporters morph into "doubting Thomases". Boeing ain't far from this point though.

Besides, I cannot help but wonder if the lavish and elaborate roll-out marketing exercise in July 2007 contributed to one or a multiple of such downcast announcements by the technical team.

Jeff (AL):

After listening to the webcast briefing by Scott Carson and Pat Shanahan, I feel a lot better about the 787's progress. I like the fact that the systems will be fully or nearly complete by first flight. The schedule is more reasonable now. First flight slipped 4 months, which leaves about 2 extra months for flight testing. Then there's about 2 months between flight testing and first delivery.

Tom Pang:

Highly Disappointed......I can't imagine the story of A380 appears again in Boeing Company.

But the good news is that I hence have the chance to see the first flight of Boeing 787.

RW - San Clemente:

drip...drip...drip, would someone at Boeing please explain to me what it takes for someone to get fired at that company? If any of the people who work for me, or the people I work for, or myself delivered the type of performance that Boeing exec's are they'd be fired.

One additional note, it troubles me that certain unnamed sources are always the first to point the finger at the Boeing supply chain for poor performance and the root cause of these delays. This is a Boeing management issue period! Management owns any supply chain issues and they should have had the proper controls in place to mitigate any ramp up issues with such a diverse and widespread supply chain. They didn't, and now its going to cost the Company as well as us shareholders dearly.

Who takes the bullet?

Reggie (Lakewood, CA, USA):

Folks

I think it needs to be said - Boeing's vaunted model of outsourcing almost all manufacturing to the "global supply chain" has fallen on it's face. The real question is whether it is a fundamentally wrong direction (my belief after 35 years with Boeing) or a set of difficult problems that can be overcome with enough new managers and money (the current approach). I hope that this problem is being revisited at the highest levels within Boeing.

Time will tell, I suppose, but Boeing has already lost a significant amount of credibility with its customers and, I suspect, with its employees. We have (or had) an excellent opportunity to dominate a significant portion of the aircraft market but....

I hope I am wrong.

Raymond Hahn (Seoul, Korea):

If Boeing had a chance to start again, would they have contracted out so much work to third parties? It seems that in hindsight, it would have been wiser for Boeing to have done more work in-house.

I understand that it would have been cheaper to manufacture most of the 787 outside Everett but how much of these savings will now be canceled out from the delays and resulting penalty payments to waiting airlines who've ordered the plane?

Ed (Ireland):

quoting:
''If Boeing had a chance to start again, would they have contracted out so much work to third parties? ''

Quite a few people have made this point, but I would like to emphasise that Boeing have had a similar level of work sharing on the 777 programme since the early 90s, and to a lessor extent with the 767 programme since the early 80s. They are not inexperienced in the concept. I would also like to point out that Airbus uses some of the same contractors on its products. For instance, Vought produces the major wing components for the A330/A340 wings, which are shipped from the USA to the UK, where they are assembled into the complete wing, and from there they are flown to France for the final assembly.

David Bromley-Davenport (St. Moritz):

Quote Ed:
Quite a few people have made this point, but I would like to emphasise that Boeing have had a similar level of work sharing on the 777 programme since the early 90s, and to a lessor extent with the 767 programme since the early 80s. They are not inexperienced in the concept.

Come on Ed, this is the first ever true "Plug n Fly" commercial airplane. Outsourcing delivers the components, Boeing snaps them together, the thing flies; bet that sounded great 5 years ago, but it has come back to bite Boeing in the proverbial butt.

That worries me.

My over riding concern and worry is the fact that the latest revised schedule still calls for an incredibly optimistic and compacted time line for flight testing. There is absolutely zero margin should any hitches, snags or problems surface during that period. As a Dreamliner fanboy, that worries me significantly.

Moreover, I am concerned the effect the "double" delay to the dash -3 will have on launch customer ANA. The Japanese are respected for their productivity and efficiency; the 787 is not delivering to them on that level. I am concerned that rumours are surfacing that ANA have walked away from the B748-i in favour of the A380, and that any further disappointment in Boeing products could well affect the dominance of the Boeing product in Japan.

Boeing, your socks are down round your ankles; pull them up !

JMS (Wichita, KS):

It is good to see that Boeing is trying to make this thing right, however there were several questionable decisions along the way. Let's hope that you're learning from them.

Sometimes you guys (managers, marketers, etc.) ought to step back and let the engineers have more say.

Paulo VF (Portugal):

Hey you guys! What i think is more "dangerous" is that Boeing has failed in learning the lesson from Airbus with it´s A380! I know that B787 is new, with new technologies...but it´s no excuse. The timeline for development and delivery should have been more realist and Boeing wouldn´t be near to spending BILLIONS in compensations! Today I sadly say, as many aviation enthusiasts, shame on you Boeing...shame on you!

Buzz (Brazil):

Interesting, expected and, yes, disappointing.

Another point is the -3 development as -8 follow on. The -3 development delay was kind of a "pre announced" third delay.

787 is now almost as delayed as the A380.

Hope there are no further delays, as I really want to fly this baby.

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