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Old December 15th, 2010, 10:44 PM   #281
hmmwv
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China Eastern considers canceling 15 787s

By LBlachly
Created 2010-11-29 10:37
By Katie Cantle [1] and Geoffrey Thomas [2]

China Eastern Airlines is considering canceling its order for 15 Boeing 787s owing to the aircraft program's continuous delays, according to a CEA insider. "Most probably we [will] cancel," the source told ATW. "We are negotiating with Boeing about choosing [a] replacement aircraft type…now."

The cancellation would be another blow for the troubled Dreamliner program, on which flight testing was indefinitely suspended following a Nov. 9 inflight fire that began as either a short circuit or an electrical arc on the P100 electrical panel, according to Boeing. The manufacturer is widely expected to delay first delivery to ANA, currently slated for the 2011 first quarter, by another six to nine months (ATW Daily News, Nov. 22 [3]).

On Nov. 24, Boeing said it was developing "minor design changes" to power distribution panels on the 787 and updates to the systems software that manages and protects power distribution on the airplane. It added that a revised 787 program schedule "is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks."

Bernstein Research has moved its projection for the first delivery of the 787 back six months to August 2011 and forecasts that Boeing will only deliver eight aircraft in 2011 instead of the 29 it had planned. Bernstein believes that Boeing will deliver 61 787s in 2012, 78 in 2013 and 107 in 2014.

CEA placed its Dreamliner order in 2005. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Shanghai Airlines, also has nine 787s on order; it is unclear whether CEA will cancel SAL's 787 orders in addition to axing its 15.

CEA is planning an aggressive expansion of international services starting next year, and had planned to facilitate the growth in part through the addition of the15 Dreamliners. It ordered 16 Airbus A330s at the end of last year (ATW Daily News, Jan. 6 [4]) to ensure it could expandeven if the 787s arrived later than expected. The A330s are expected to be delivered from 2011-2014. CEA General Manager Ma Xulun told ATW the carrier will operate the aircraft on routes to Europe.

Chinese carriers have ordered a total of 57 787s, including 24 by CEA/SAL, 15 by Air China, 10 by China Southern Airlines and eight by Hainan Airlines.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 10:16 AM   #282
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It will only be news if 787 doesn't delay further.........
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Old December 16th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #283
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Boeing loses 12 airplane orders, including 3 777s
On Thursday December 16, 2010, 12:46 pm

CHICAGO (AP) -- Boeing says orders for 12 jets have been canceled, including orders for four of its most lucrative planes.

The company says customers canceled orders for three 777s and one of its delayed 787s. The company declined to say who canceled the orders.

It also lost orders for eight of its 737s. Boeing makes more of that small- to midsize plane than any other type.

Boeing Co.'s weekly order update on Thursday showed that it also gained four new orders for 737s.

The canceled 777 and 787 orders would have been worth at least $882 million at list prices, although discounts are common. The smaller, cheaper 737s sell for $57 million to $86 million each at list prices.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:59 PM   #284
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Boeing says to announce soon 787 test flight return

TOKYO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Wednesday that it will soon announce the resumption of test flights for its 787 Dreamliner plane, which have been halted since last month due to technical problems.

"Probably the next announcement from Boeing would be an announcement of a return to flight tests. We expect that announcement very soon," Boeing Japan President Mike Denton told reporters.

Last week, the airplane maker said it would know over the "next few weeks" what impact a 787 Dreamliner electrical glitch will have on the plane's production and delivery schedule after test flights for the plane were halted after a problem with the electrical system caused a fire on one of the planes.

Denton said, however, that he was not in a position to discuss the 787's delivery schedule, adding that the company is set to announce the updated 787 status in a few weeks.

The light-weight, carbon-composite plane, which Boeing says promises greater fuel efficiency, is nearly three years behind its original schedule because of production and labour problems.

According to its latest schedule, Boeing had planned to deliver a Dreamliner to its first customer, All Nippon Airways, in the middle of the first quarter of 2011. The original target was May 2008.

Boeing, the world's second-biggest plane-maker after Airbus, has taken about 850 orders for the Dreamliner.
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Old December 25th, 2010, 02:04 AM   #285
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Boeing resumes test flights of 787s
Published: Friday December 24, 2010 MYT 7:47:00 AM

NEW YORK: Boeing will resume flight tests of its long-delayed 787 jet on Thursday, six weeks after they were suspended because of an in-flight electrical fire in the plane's power distribution system.

The company says it installed an updated, interim version of the software that controls the system in the first of six test flight aircraft.

The fire that broke out on a Nov. 9 test flight to Laredo, Texas, was among the most recent of a string of problems that have plagued the 787 over the past two years. Earlier this month Boeing said it was in the middle of a three-week hold on assembling pieces of the plane. Problems with parts supplied by a variety of manufacturers around the world have added to delays.

Japan's All Nippon Airways is still scheduled to receive the first 787 early next year, although many analysts expect deliveries will be pushed back.

Continental Airlines, now part of United-Continental Holdings Inc., was to be the first U.S. carrier to fly a 787 and planned to begin flights between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2011. Those are now set for 2012.

Continental will fly a route between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria, with a Boeing 777 instead of the 787. Those flights are to start in November 2011.

On Monday Boeing said it will increase production of the long-range 777, even as the company said it recently received cancellations for orders of three 777s and one 787. The company did not name the customers that canceled.

Scott Fancher, a Boeing vice president and general manager of the 787 program, said a new schedule for the program will be ready in January. "As we return to flight test and determine the pace of that activity, we remain focused on developing a new program schedule," he said.

Boeing shares rose 45 cents to close at $65.06. - AP
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Old January 6th, 2011, 08:30 AM   #286
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Fourth 787 returns to flight with new power system software

The Boeing Co.'s fourth flight test 787 was back in the air Monday.

This is only the second time since Boeing's Dec. 23 announcement that the 787 would resume flight test activities that the Dreamliner has been in the air.

According to FlightAware, the fourth 787 test plane took off from Boeing Field at a little before noon Monday, heading for Moses Lake.

After a stop at Moses Lake, the 787, which was headed back to Boeing Field, was diverted to Everett's Paine Field. However, after about 50 minutes on the ground in Everett, the 787 flew back to Boeing Field.

Boeing grounded its 787 test planes Nov. 9 after an electrical fire forced the second Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas. After determining the cause of the fire, on Dec. 23, Boeing said that the Dreamliner would resume flight test activities. The fourth Dreamliner flew that day and hasn't been in the air since until Monday.

In December, Boeing said it had installed updated power distribution system software on the fourth test plane. Boeing said it was focusing on tests the company, not federal authorities, has determined the 787 needs to complete. After those tests are complete, Boeing hoped to resume certification flight tests, which means test required by the Federal Aviation Administration to gain approval to fly commercially.

Boeing has not released a new delivery schedule for the 787 but is expected to do so once certification flights resume.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...110109948/1005
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Old January 18th, 2011, 09:48 PM   #287
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Boeing Again Delays Delivery of 787 Dreamliner

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/bu...ef=global-home

Quote:
Boeing Again Delays Delivery of 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing Company on Tuesday pushed back the first delivery of its 787 Dreamliner to the third quarter, hoping that the delay will give it enough time to finish a jetliner that is more than three years behind schedule.

The latest delay is a result of a fire in an electrical panel that forced a test plane to make an emergency landing in November. Boeing had to suspend test flights while it redesigned some parts, and it just resumed flights on Monday to test systems that require federal certifications.

Boeing’s last projection had anticipated the first delivery in February. But the company, based in Chicago, said Tuesday that it did not expect the delay to have a material impact on its earnings for 2011.

The Dreamliner is the first passenger jet made substantially with lightweight carbon composites that could sharply reduce fuel costs. Boeing is counting on the midsize jet to retake the lead in commercial airplane sales from Airbus.

Analysts said the delay — which means that the first delivery could come any time from July through September — matched general expectations, and Boeing’s stock rose more than 3 percent.

Robert Stallard, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said in a research note that investors were glad to see that the projected delay was not longer.

He said investors seemed comfortable that the 787 problems were “not a showstopper, and will not have a meaningful impact on the positive trajectory of this aerospace upcycle.”

Over the last several years, Boeing has repeatedly pushed back the delivery date for the innovative plane, which has attracted more advance orders — about 850 — than any passenger jetliner in history.

Boeing executives have acknowledged that they outsourced too much of the design and production work. Boeing has had to rework many parts that were poorly made, and executives have said the company might have to build 40 to 50 of the planes before it overcomes all the problems. The company has also had to halt parts deliveries and slow its production line several times in recent months to try to regain control.

As a result, analysts say the company is unlikely to deliver more than a few planes this year. And they are waiting to see whether the latest delay has an impact on the company’s plans to sharply increase production in 2012 and 2013.

Despite the delays, investors have remained relatively patient. Boeing still has a two- to three-year edge over Airbus in building more fuel-efficient carbon planes, and the demand for new planes is strong as airlines emerge from the recession.

But it is also clear that the plane will not be as profitable as once seemed possible.

Boeing, which has had to spend billions more than expected on its development, does not receive most of its payments until it delivers the planes. Because of the delays, it also owes several billion dollars in penalties to suppliers and airlines.

Moreover, the trade publication, Flight International, recently reported that Boeing had offered steeper discounts than previously known to win some orders.

The publication said that from 2004 through 2006, Boeing had agreed to sell more than 300 Dreamliners at prices, excluding engines, that ranged from $66 million to $84 million, or much lower than the $100 million or more that analysts had estimated.

Airbus received 644 orders for its various models in 2010, just ahead of Boeing’s 625. Airbus said on Tuesday that it had raised the average price of its planes by 4.4 percent. Boeing had announced an average price increase of 5.2 percent at the end of 2010.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 06:31 AM   #288
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SPECIAL REPORT-A wing and a prayer: outsourcing at Boeing

EVERETT, Washington, Jan 20 (Reuters) - On a blustery and drizzly December afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, about 20 airplanes sat engineless and inert near the runway at a Boeing manufacturing plant. Huge, yellow blocks hung from the wings of some planes to substitute for the weight of absent engines.

Every few minutes, the heavy clouds parted to give a glimpse of blue skies over Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle. Then new clouds rolled in.

The parked planes are 787-8 Dreamliners, the world's first commercial aircraft with a body and wings made largely of lightweight carbon-composite materials instead of aluminum. Someday these sleek, fuel-efficient machines -- already painted in the liveries of their airline customers -- may change the face of air travel and plane-making.

But not today.

The program that produced these unfinished 787s is nearly three years behind schedule and, by some estimates, at least several billion dollars over budget. Dreamliner flight tests were halted in November after an electrical fire aboard a test plane. The tests resumed in December, and the company later announced yet another delay for the delivery schedule. The new ETA is sometime this summer.

About 45 miles (72 km) away in south Seattle, members of Boeing's work force gathered at a union hall for a monthly lodge meeting, a holiday party and a chance to lament the seismic shift in plane-making strategy they say the Dreamliner represents.

The 787 is not merely a historic feat of engineering. The program also marks Boeing's departure from its own time-honored manufacturing practices.

Instead of drawing primarily from its traditional pool of aircraft engineers, mechanics and laborers that runs generations deep in the Puget Sound region around Seattle, Boeing leads an international team of suppliers and engineers from the United States, Japan, Italy, Australia, France and elsewhere, who make components that Boeing workers in the United States put together.

"Do you see the stupidity in that?" said James Williams, an imposing 43-year-old who has been employed by Boeing for 15 years, mostly working in factory safety.

Williams, whose father worked at Boeing for more than three decades, is just one of many in the company who blame the repeated Dreamliner delays on a splintered engineering strategy and a complex supply chain of about 50 partners.

Boeing itself has acknowledged that the system needs tweaking, and the company promises to bring more of the design work back in-house for the upcoming 787-9 model. But Boeing defends its reliance on outside partners, saying their work and investments made the Dreamliner possible.

"It is true that supplier involvement in the development and design of the 787 is significant," the company said in an emailed response to Reuters questions. "Suppliers helped us develop and understand technologies and options for the airplane as we went through the early phases of concept development. Suppliers have also provided more of their own development, design and manufacturing funding."

Whatever the advantages, Boeing's outsourcing is emblematic of corporate practices that have sent large chunks of U.S. industry overseas and to other states, battered communities and vaulted the U.S. jobless rate to nearly 10 percent, economists say.

Yet the biggest victim may be the culture that underpins the aerospace behemoth. Here in Boeing country, where children follow parents into the aviation business, outsourcing is plain heresy.

"It was like the family," said Williams, whose wife, Sarah, and three children joined him for the holiday party. "Can you outsource Mom? Can you outsource Dad?"

SHRINKING WORKFORCES

Boeing is the world's second-largest commercial plane-maker after its European rival Airbus. Founded in 1916 in Seattle by William Boeing, the company earned $68.3 billion in revenue in 2009, split between its defense and commercial airplanes divisions.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the aerospace industry achieved $215 billion in sales in 2009 and provided more than 644,000 jobs. According to data compiled by consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Boeing is the 24th largest U.S. employer, including private companies and government. It is the fourth-largest employer in the U.S. manufacturing sector, excluding wholesalers, distributors and construction companies.

All told, Boeing and its subsidiaries employ 160,000 people in the United States and abroad, including 73,000 people in Washington. But while the company remains a pillar of the local economy and is hiring right now in Washington, Boeing is not the engine of job growth it once was.

At the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington D.C., Boeing's total workforce was about 199,000. Its defense and commercial units shed 20,000 jobs between January 2002 and January 2003 after the 9/11 attacks sparked a steep decline in air travel and aircraft orders.

Myriad other U.S. manufacturers also cut jobs during that economic downturn, and many of those never regained their former staffing levels.

"What you've seen is a continual decline in manufacturing employment that didn't just start 20 years ago," said Stephen Bronars, senior economist at Welch Consulting. "And it's accentuated during downturns, where you see the steepest decline in manufacturing employment when there's a recession."

At its numerical peak, in 1978, the U.S. manufacturing sector accounted for more than one out of every four U.S. jobs, according to government data. Back in the 1950s, manufacturing made up an even higher share -- more than a third -- of total employment.

"A lot of Western Europe was still reeling after World War Two, and so we didn't have the same kind of competition when it came to manufacturing in the '50s," Bronars said.

Since the 1970s, employment in manufacturing has fallen more than 30 percent in the United States, compared with about 60 percent in Britain, and about 20 percent in Japan.

Then came the 2008/2009 global economic downturn, which wiped out nearly 8 million U.S. jobs. About 2 million of those were in manufacturing. Economists believe that many of these positions are gone for good, forcing blue-collar workers to search for employment elsewhere -- often at lower wages.

In several ways, Boeing's replacement of in-house labor with outside partners is typical of this trend. Although some of its outsourcing is to other U.S. companies and some of its job reductions came from spinning off businesses, the net effect has been punishing for Boeing's Washington workforce.

From Boeing's perspective, change was inevitable. Its role as a truly international company -- with 80 percent of its commercial airplane backlog for international customers -- demands a diverse and global operation to blunt the shocks to the U.S. job market from the highly cyclical aerospace business.

"Clearly, Boeing is a global company with a global customer base, and our U.S. employees benefit from that," the company said in an email response to questions by a Reuters reporter. "U.S. jobs are created by selling airplanes around the world."

NOT SO SIMPLE

That is true as far as it goes, but building airplanes is far more complicated than other frequently outsourced jobs like, say, textile manufacturing.

Plane-making is best done by a group of engineers and builders working in close proximity without the distractions of language barriers, cultural differences and bureaucracy, said Tom McCarty, president of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) local representing Boeing engineers in the Puget Sound region.

"Now with the 787, management felt they knew how to outsource the design jobs. Turns out they didn't," he said. "We're talking about how do you design and manufacture a plane like the 787?" McCarty said. "It's a very unique skill set. And schools don't turn out people who know how to do that. And there is a culture that has developed the composite knowledge of all those skills. We know how to build all these planes."

To be sure, language barriers and borders have not prevented Airbus from overtaking Boeing as the world's largest aircraft manufacturer in the past decade.

Driven by history and political necessity, the 40-year-old plane-maker was forced from the outset to create a system in which planes are built from large sections made in four countries -- Britain, France, Germany and Spain -- and then assembled in France or Germany. Airbus has also begun assembling smaller A320 150-seat planes in China for the local market.

The difference with the 787 and its future Airbus rival, the A350, is that both manufacturers are being forced to ship an increasing quantity of work for these planes beyond their traditional borders to share the risk and costs of giant technological changes aimed at making planes lighter to save fuel.

Still, Airbus has been more conservative on outsourcing. It contracts 52 percent of the airframe to outside suppliers. Boeing says it purchased 65 percent of the 787 airframe, which is comparable to the 777.

Because the A350 will not be available before 2013 -- a result of previous dithering over product strategy, according to its critics -- the EADS subsidiary can also afford to sit back and learn from Boeing's perceived mistakes on the 787.

McCarty said that by relying so heavily on foreign partners for their engineering, Boeing devalues the so-called tribal knowledge that facilitates practical application of complicated, academic engineering concepts that eventually produce a new plane.

Acquired on the job and over time, tribal knowledge is a key ingredient in the development of a new plane, some experts say. It is the shared method of performing countless daily tasks efficiently and in coordination with colleagues. In short, tribal knowledge is the grease that cuts friction throughout the design and assembly process.

"One of the things you don't want to outsource is your core competencies," said Karen Kurek, national leader of the manufacturing practice at RSM McGladrey, a tax and consulting firm. "It's the thing that gives your organization your value added."

McCarty says the loss of tribal knowledge could have far-reaching consequences for American engineering.

"As we outsource part of this work, we're removing opportunities for learning this trade, for learning these skills," he said. "As we reduce these opportunities to learn how to do these jobs, the Boeing Company becomes less capable to do the job."

THE PIVOTAL MOMENT

Many aviation experts say Boeing began to put a lower premium on in-house labor after its 1997 merger with rival McDonnell Douglas. That was the same year Boeing posted its first full-year loss as Airbus stole market share.

Boeing's $16.3 billion purchase of McDonnell Douglas triggered the integration of management at the two companies with Boeing Chief Executive Phil Condit, a former aerodynamics engineer, retaining the top job.

McDonnell Douglas CEO Harry Stonecipher, formerly of General Motors, GE and Sundstrand, became president of the merged aerospace giant. After a brief retirement, Stonecipher later returned to Boeing as CEO.

In September 1998, Alan Mulally, who started his career as a Boeing engineer, was made head of the Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) division.

Some critics view the merger as the point at which BCA began to favor a corporate culture that prized near-term profits over long-term engineering dominance. "Back in the early 2000s there was effectively a battle for Boeing's soul," said Richard Aboulafia, vice president at aviation consultancy Teal Group.

He and others also single out Stonecipher as the face of Boeing's shifting priorities. "He was symptomatic of the McDonnell Douglas philosophy," Aboulafia said.

Around this time, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago after 85 years in Seattle. Labor unions complain the departure drove a wedge between executives and Seattle-area rank-and-file. But the global corporation cited a need to be near Wall Street, Washington D.C. and big customers.

BCA headquarters remained in Seattle, its attention fixed on the next big project. "There were the legacy commercial guys who once a decade invested very heavily in the company's future by creating a new jet. And then there were the newcomers," Aboulafia said.

"Effectively, it was dominated by a lot of the McDonnell Douglas people who were a little more concerned with shareholder relations and perhaps even their own wealth," he added. "And they absolutely did not want to make a big investment."

Boeing's previous initiative, the 777, had recently entered service, and it was time for Boeing to get to work on its next new model. Responding to airline demands for greater fuel efficiency, Boeing began developing the design that in 2003 would be dubbed Dreamliner.

The carbon-composite structure would be lighter than aluminum planes of comparable size and would consume 20 percent less fuel. The concept was incredibly popular among cash-strapped airlines that were still reeling from a drop in travel demand after 9/11.

But when it came time to build the 787, Boeing turned away from its stable of engineers and mechanics to embrace a complex web of suppliers. For the first time in its history, Boeing would outsource the wing design and manufacturing.

"That, I think the smart people there knew, was an incredibly risky way of doing it, but it was the only way they could move forward," Aboulafia said. "It was kind of a Faustian bargain, I think, that Alan Mulally made. He did what he had to do to launch the program given the tremendous adversity he was facing."

For its part, Boeing maintains that it never abandoned its standards for design and engineering.

"Boeing leads the design effort, oversees the processes and tools, and holds both ourselves and our partners to the highest standards of performance on safety and quality," the company said. "It is important for Boeing to retain critical skills for engineering and building structures such as wings and composite structures," Boeing said.

The company had planned to make a first test flight of the Dreamliner around late August 2007 and first delivery in May 2008. But that target began to slip in 2007 when Boeing postponed the first test flight due to a shortage of bolts and flight control software.

More delays followed as production problems mounted. In 2008, the company blamed another delay on a 58-day strike by Boeing assembly workers over contract terms.

The next year, Boeing bought portions of business units of two of its suppliers to help regain control of its Dreamliner production. It paid $580 million for the South Carolina operations of Vought Aircraft Industries, the company that worked on the 787 aft fuselage section.

Boeing later purchased Alenia North America's half of Global Aeronautica LLC, the South Carolina fuselage subassembly facility for the 787. Boeing did not disclose financial terms of that deal. "By taking Alenia out of the ownership equation, this tidies up the situation in Charleston," Boeing said in a statement at the time.

The Dreamliner finally made its first flight on Dec. 15, 2009. But less than a year later the company postponed delivery again -- this time to early 2011 -- because of a delay in the availability of a Rolls-Royce engine needed for the final phases of flight testing.

In October 2010, Boeing said it would tell suppliers to halt deliveries of sections for its 787 Dreamliner for two weeks because of delays at Alenia, a unit of Italian defense and aerospace company Finmeccanica SpA. Alenia makes the horizontal stabilizer for the tail of the 787.

On Nov. 9, the Dreamliner schedule endured a new hiccup when a fire on a 787 test flight forced an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas.

Boeing halted the test flight program to determine the cause of the fire, which it later attributed to foreign debris in an electrical equipment cabinet. The company resumed 787 flight tests in late December, saying it had installed an interim version of updated power distribution system software and conducted a rigorous set of reviews.

The electrical system and a power panel for the 787 are built by the Hamilton Sundstrand unit of United Technologies Corp, a major Boeing supplier responsible for several key components of the 787's electrical systems.

On Nov. 30, Jim Albaugh, who took over as BCA chief in 2009, confirmed to Reuters that Boeing would delay delivery to its 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways. Then, earlier this week, Boeing announced that it had moved first delivery to the third quarter of 2011 from the first quarter. That at least had the effect of assuaging Wall Street concerns about an even longer delay.

CONTRITION AND DAMAGE CONTROL

Nowadays, Boeing is quick to acknowledge the rocky road the Dreamliner has traveled so far. In a speech to the Wings Club of New York on Nov. 11 -- just two days after the electrical fire that grounded the 787 test fleet -- Boeing CEO Jim McNerney appeared chastened.

"In retrospect, our 787 game plan may have been overly ambitious, incorporating too many firsts all at once -- in the application of new technologies, in revolutionary design-and-build processes, and in increased global sourcing of engineering and manufacturing content," he said.

But he also reiterated the company's faith in the Dreamliner. "While we clearly stumbled on the execution, we remain steadfastly confident in the innovative achievements of the airplane and the benefits it will bring to our customers," he said

Boeing executives declined to be interviewed for this story, but the company replied to written questions submitted by Reuters. "The sourcing decisions made on the 787 are a natural evolution of the work done at Boeing Commercial over the years," the company said. "We've said in the past that for the most part, we are satisfied with the general direction. However, there are a few things we would change, and you've seen us make changes on the 787 over the years."

HARD WORK AND HEARTBREAK

Back in Seattle, workers take little comfort in the words of their leader McNerney, the onetime head of GE Aircraft Engines. McNerney came to Boeing in 2005 after a tenure as CEO at 3M Co, a conglomerate that produces tens of thousands of diverse products like Scotch tape, medical masks and optical film used to brighten flat screen TVs and computers.

A group of Boeing employees, mostly stewards in the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union, sat down with Reuters in December to describe their own experiences on BCA projects, including the 787.

Daniel Swank, 47, an aircraft maintenance technician on the 787 program, who had previously worked on the 777, said "I can say it's night and day as far as processes and flow."

Swank and his colleagues refer to pre-Dreamliner Boeing as "legacy." In those days, he had easier access to the program engineers who worked in the same building and could quickly address problems as they arose.

"They started vendoring out years ago, but pretty much legacy is different from 787, because on 787 everything has been vendored out," Swank said.

He recalled a time on the 787 program when he ran out of a particular washer to fit with a screw on the plane. He said he had to fill out paper work to order a single washer and waited one day to receive it from the outside supplier.

"That shows you how ridiculous it's gotten," he said. "Everyone knows that vendoring has killed this program. You have contractor agreements that have slowed the whole process down."

That assessment is shared by Jason Redrup, 48, who has been with Boeing for 15 years and currently works for the IAM. Prior to that post, he was a structures mechanic on the 767 where he put the airplane body sections together. He said Boeing's plan to fly the Dreamliner parts to Seattle for easy assembly has not worked out.

"On the 87, the idea was Boeing was not going to own any of that. That all this stuff was going to come in kits -- all the parts, all the fasteners, everything you needed to do this one particular job," Redrup said.

"It's a very elaborate supply chain, so even their suppliers don't necessarily control where parts are being made," he said. "So it's a very complicated web of work now that's not so easy to fix when there's a problem."

Then there is Clark Fromong, 49, who has been at Boeing for 23 years. He makes duct work and tubing. His parents worked at Boeing as do both of his brothers.

He said outsourcing since the 1997 merger -- and especially since the Dreamliner -- has made life at Boeing and in the Puget Sound region stressful and gloomy. Workers who earned a living in plane-making now must look elsewhere and often leave the state.

"We keep offloading our work overseas, and it's cutting our work in half," Fromong said. "So we all think our jobs are going away. The attitude is everyone is always nervous. Always on needles. Stressed out."

Aircraft workers near Seattle suffered another blow in 2009 when, after a long battle to keep 787 assembly in Everett, Boeing selected South Carolina as the site of its second 787 final assembly plant. The company aims to ramp up 787 production to 10 planes per month in 2013.

The plant in South Carolina is expected to create thousands of new jobs in that state and is likely to be less disruptive to Boeing than its Everett counterpart, where four major IAM strikes in the last two decades have cost Boeing about 200 days in lost production. The machinists in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, voted against IAM representation.

Tom Wroblewski, district president of the IAM unit representing Boeing workers in the Puget Sound region, said downsizing and outsourcing have taken a toll on IAM membership, which is down to about 25,000 today from 42,000 in 1990.

He illustrates his point with a graphic depicting work performed by IAM members on six models of Boeing commercial planes. Parts of the plane that are made by IAM workers are colored red. The graphic for the single-aisle 737 is mostly red, compared with the 787, which features only a little red, mainly on the vertical fin.

IAM members and local government leaders mounted a campaign before work began on the 787 to entice Boeing to make the plane in Washington. The union was later surprised to find out how little work the locals would actually get.

"No sooner did the helium go out of the winning balloons than we find out that their commitment was to assembling the airplane and that was it," he said.

But three years of delays speaks for itself, he said. The vast global partnership was meant to share risk and cut costs. The opposite is happening, he said.

"I'm done saying 'I told you so' on the 87," Wroblewski said. "When they announced they were going global, we told them at that point: 'You go global, you put all of your eggs in the suppliers out there. You're going to lose control of your airplane. And when you lose control of your airplane, there's nothing you can do. So what's happened? They've lost control of it."

WHAT WENT RIGHT

One key Boeing supplier and a long-time partner to the company, U.S.-based aircraft components supplier Rockwell Collins, disagrees with the negative assessments by labor leaders.

"There's obviously a lot that gets press these days," said Jeffrey Standerski, vice president and general manager of Rockwell Collins' air transport systems. "But I'll tell you what: It's really phenomenal when you think about the success that the Boeing systems are having in the flight test program."

Rockwell Collins makes cockpit electronics for the Dreamliner. The company has a contract with Boeing valued at $3.5 billion over the life of the Dreamliner program.

Standerski describes a cohesive design and manufacturing process that involves constant communication between Boeing, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell International, GE and Hamilton Sundstrand, who also work on airplane systems.

He said Boeing contacted suppliers in the earliest stages of the 787 program and set up identical labs for engineers at the various companies. "Things have gotten more obviously complex on airplanes because of the increased functionality that is on airplanes," Standerski said.

Integrated architecture eventually will become the norm in plane-making, Standerski said, noting comparable construction practices on the Airbus A350. "It's going to continue to force companies to innovate," he said. "It's going to continue to force companies to make the investments in research and development to make sure that we're working on the technology for those next-generation airplanes."

HOW WILL THIS PLANE BE JUDGED?

By now, Boeing has about 850 orders for the Dreamliner on its books from airlines and aircraft leasing companies all over the world. It's a record number of orders for a plane still in development.

Aviation experts remain thrilled by the plane's reported fuel-efficiency as well the promise of a smooth, quiet, comfortable ride for passengers. Their delight was on full display in July when hordes of plane spotters gathered on the perimeter of the Farnborough Airshow in England to watch the Dreamliner land after its first overseas flight. Aviation buffs inside and outside of Boeing frequently call the 787 a "game-changer."

"It's still a plane with a very broad and eager market," said Teal Group's Aboulafia. "It's going to take them a long time to make money with this. But eventually -- assuming it works out -- they're going to sell thousands."

Meanwhile, the more than 50 customers for the plane have mostly withheld public criticism of Boeing, despite the havoc that delivery delays play with their long-term fleet planning. Analysts believe Boeing has probably already paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in penalty payments for late delivery.

Boeing has not said what it has spent on the Dreamliner program so far. But experts believe the plane is at least several billion dollars over budget.

In the end, the Dreamliner will be judged on its safety, reliability and ability to deliver on its many promises, said Ray Goforth, executive director of the SPEEA union in Seattle. "The real test on the 787 is going to come in its first year in service," he said.

The reliability rate of the Dreamliner will have to be near 100 percent to appease cost-conscious airlines that cannot afford to have a plane frequently out of service for repairs. "If it turns out that this thing is a dog because more and more of these problems are still cropping up, you are going to have to fix them quick and keep that level of confidence in the plane, or those orders will just evaporate," Goforth said.

At the same time, the Dreamliner and Boeing will also be judged on their impact on U.S. labor and American engineering.

The Dreamliner will be delivered sooner or later. And someday the same planes now parked in Everett may be the first of thousands of 787s to take their place in the skies among other Boeing icons like the jumbo 747 and the shorter-range workhorse 737.

But Boeing employees in the Puget Sound region are increasingly bitter about a corporate culture they say erodes the skills of American workers and makes their company less attractive to young people entering the job market. They hope Boeing leaders will soon see things their way.

Judging by its statements -- including the emailed comments to Reuters -- the company and its critics may not be so far apart on the issue of outsourcing.

"We made too many changes at the same time -- new technology, new design tools and a change in the supply chain -- and thus outran our ability to manage it effectively for a period of time," the company said. "In short, we have learned, and we are applying our learning."
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Old January 21st, 2011, 06:51 AM   #289
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You never know what's going to fail until you try it. Intolerance of failure is scary. I would be lying if I said I don't make fun of Boeing at every opportunity for screwing it up, but it's half tongue in cheek. The only thing Boeing did wrong was coming up with a timeline that it could've never honored and listening to marketing folks who had a hard-on for meaningless shit like 7/8/7 launch. Boeing never built in contingency for everything that could've gone wrong - a managerial blunder, but you can't argue with bean-counters. But what you can't fault Boeing for is trying to outsource everything. It was risky, but a company whose job is to reach the skies it was worth a shot. Boeing has learned, and if it uses its brain next time, it'd use this experience to outsource "just enough". Not hating on Airbus, but I'd blame much more when the A350 will not meet its EIS (which will happen, just wait). It had the benefit of learning from Boeing's missteps.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 10:27 AM   #290
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I remember when the A380 kept getting delayed and the idiots at Boeing made fun of the constant delays.

I dont think theyre laughing anymore.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 05:57 PM   #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinclair View Post
I remember when the A380 kept getting delayed and the idiots at Boeing made fun of the constant delays.

I dont think theyre laughing anymore.
To be fair, it wasn't realy Boeing themselves, it was their army of fanboys. Boeing and Airbus both have an adult relationship and respect and admire each others products.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 08:04 PM   #292
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To be fair, it wasn't realy Boeing themselves, it was their army of fanboys. Boeing and Airbus both have an adult relationship and respect and admire each others products.
While true, but Boeing did have some jabs at Airbus.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 08:42 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by siamu maharaj View Post
While true, but Boeing did have some jabs at Airbus.
Most of the stuff I saw was related to the fact that they didn't belive the a380 was a valid bussines proposition and not the technical aspects of the project which they are on record as saying they admired.

If they did critcise the delays they must have egg on there faces now since they are in a much worse state than airbus ever was.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:44 PM   #294
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:53 PM   #295
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Airlines Are Wary Of New-Aircraft Programs - Survey
25 January 2011

Many airlines are initially steering clear of the raft of new-aircraft programs due for launch by the end of the decade because of concerns about delays and technology, according to a survey published Monday.

Two-thirds of carriers polled by CIT Aerospace are adopting a wait-and-see approach despite overwhelming industry concerns about rising fuel prices and securing more-efficient aircraft.

"Some airlines will step up and hope that the technology will help their bottom line," said Jeff Knittel, president of the transportation-finance unit of CIT Group Inc. (CIT), which includes the world's fourth-largest aircraft-leasing company by fleet value.

Knittel said he isn't surprised by the finding because new aircraft tend to be late and heavier than promised in their initial specifications, making them less efficient, though manufacturers are typically able to improve performance over time.

The hesitation among the polled executives contrasts with the sales performance of recent new launches, notably the 787 from Boeing Co. (BA), which has almost 850 orders despite being more than three years late. The yet-to-fly Airbus A350 has more than 500 orders, and the European manufacturer recently secured a huge launch order from India's IndiGo for its revamped A320, which includes new fuel-efficient engines.

While CIT has ordered 787s and A350s, Knittel said in an interview that the finance community is even more wary than airlines about new planes until they have proven their performance. "We like technology that is a step change," said Knittel of leasing companies buying multimillion-dollar assets with an expected life of 30 years or more.

Executives considered rising fuel costs and intensifying competition as the key challenges for the industry despite robust demand growth led by higher fares and volume of business travel. The finding mirrored that of the latest outlook from the International Air Transport Association published Monday, which found expectations for global industry earnings softening in recent weeks.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #296
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Boeing Will Examine Aircraft Prices Again Mid-Year - Executive
26 January 2011

DUBLIN (Dow Jones)--A senior Boeing Co. (BA) executive said Tuesday the company will review its commercial jet prices later this year in the wake of rising material costs that led to an increase in December.

The potential for another rise in list prices highlights the underlying strength of demand as Boeing and rival Airbus (ABI.YY) plan to boost production rates to meet record backlogs for their jets

Boeing raised prices by an average of 5.2% in December to counter the impact of higher wage and material costs, the largest increase since a 5.6% lift in 2007, followed by another 2.6% the following year.

Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said a decision will be made after it examines the so-called escalation formulas contained in sales contracts in mid-year. He said in an interview on the sidelines of an aircraft finance conference that Boeing typically assesses prices twice a year.

While aircraft buyers typically secure large discounts for orders, list prices set an important benchmark for valuation, particularly for the financial community.

Aircraft are viewed by investors as a natural inflation hedge, marrying content that includes often metals such as aluminum and more specialized materials with an expected asset life of more than 30 years.

This attribute has helped lure more investors into the aircraft finance market, notably private equity and institutional funds that helped back large-scale orders by plane-leasing companies over the past six months.

Tinseth said the start of an airline industry recovery is typically signalled by improving demand for single-aisle aircraft, with widebodies coming later.

He expects momentum of wide-body orders to pick up over the next three years, and sees opportunities for orders from Europe and the U.S. Recent sales have been dominated by airlines in Asia and the Middle East, as well as lessors.

Tinseth declined to identify potential customers, but two of the most fiercely-contested battles involve Air France KLM (AFLYY, AF.FR), which is looking to buy more than 100 aircraft, while Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) recently asked manufacturers to bid on a deal involving 200 or more planes.

Boeing will boost 737 production next year, with rates for the widebody 777 due to rise in 2013.

The company, which reports fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, has delayed first delivery of its new 787 until the third quarter, while the 747-8 is due by mid-year. The largest price increases in December were for the 787, with the average rising to $201.7 million from $183.3 million.

Tinseth declined to comment on the total value of compensation it has paid out to customers that are experiencing delays.

Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. NV (EADSY, EAD.FR), last week raised the price of its jets by an average 4.4% from Jan 1 as it looks to offset rising costs and the weak dollar.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 11:07 PM   #297
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I like the plane
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Old January 28th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #298
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I love the design of the plane, a really classy bird!
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Old January 30th, 2011, 07:39 AM   #299
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Quote:
Originally Posted by future.architect View Post
To be fair, it wasn't realy Boeing themselves, it was their army of fanboys. Boeing and Airbus both have an adult relationship and respect and admire each others products.

It was actually Boeing or a Boeing executive that mocked the continuous a380 delays.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 07:52 PM   #300
future.architect
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinclair View Post
It was actually Boeing or a Boeing executive that mocked the continuous a380 delays.
I bet whoever said that feels foolish now

Boeing at the a380 roll out
Quote:
Without question the A380 is a great engineering and industrial achievement. We congratulate Airbus on reaching this significant milestone. The people who designed it and put it together should be proud.
http://www.boeing.com/randy/archives...380_rolls.html

Airbus at the 787 roll out
Quote:
"On behalf of the global Airbus team, I would like to offer you and your Boeing colleagues our congratulations on the rollout of your first 787 aircraft. Today is a great day in aviation history. For, whenever such a milestone is reached in our industry, it always is a reflection of hard work by dedicated people inspired by the wonder of flight. Even if tomorrow Airbus will get back to the business of competing vigorously, today is Boeing's day - a day to celebrate the 787."
http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/archives/117710.asp

Airbus at the 787 first flight
Quote:
"Airbus congratulates the people of Boeing on this important achievement in their history," Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said in comments send by email.

"The first flight of the 787 underscores the continual advancements in commercial aircraft that come about because of healthy competition. We look forward to a continued robust rivalry with our A350 XWB,"
http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/...5BE2J920091215

They both know how hard it is to build aircraft. Mutural respect, not fanboyism.

Last edited by future.architect; January 30th, 2011 at 08:14 PM.
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