03 September 2007

Brace yourselves - 787 delay story coming

Boeing is playing down rumours (now fact in our opinion) that the 787 program is running behind schedule.

With May delivery dates looking increasingly shaky, the Boeing spin machine is in full force. On Wednesday the scheduled 787 quarterly briefing should be an interesting affair.

While we doubt we shall see 787s parked in Everett with concrete blocks instead of engines (like the 747 early stage program) there is a now a clear likelihood that the first customers will not be getting their full complement of planes on time.

The culprit(s) the process of reinstalling fasteners for the prototype and yes our old friend software integration are probably the candidates for the delay. We personally believe that the 787 will fly in 2007 Q4 with deliveries coming in before the start of the second half of 2008. Even so that is a very aggressive schedule.

Boeing is not infallible and this goes on to just show that launching a new aircraft is no trivial exercise. Airbus is probably not going to be able to take advantage of this situation. But at least they can take some comfort that they are not the only player to suffer. (No comments please on Embraer's recent melt down of its supply chain).

Coming up - likely that Boeing will shortly formally announce the 787-10 to compete with the higher end A350XWB. Boeing is not shy in letting the new aircraft cannibalize the market for the older model 777-200s.

Stay tuned people. Spin at its finest coming your way.

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