Boeing B787 deliveries delayed into first quarter 2011


After Boeing steadfastly maintained through 1H2010 that the first B787 would be delivered to the launch customer, All Nippon Airways, before the end of 2010, the manufacturer has today pushed back delivery of the first aircraft, this time to “the middle of first quarter 2011”. The delay is the latest in a series of issues that have delayed deliveries more than two and a half years.

All Nippon Airways' development plans with the B787 have again been hampered by delays to the aircraft delivery schedule The Japanese carrier's ability to seize the opportunities presented by the once-in-a-generation expansion in capacity at Tokyo-area airports is slipping. At one point, ANA was hoping to have the aircraft in service before the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

This time “engine availability” is the cause, although this alone is not the only concern. In Jul-2010, Boeing admitted that “workmanship issues” with horizontal stabiliser parts manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica, as well as test instrumentation configuration changes, could potentially push first delivery into the first few weeks of 2011. The tail issue required the inspection of the test fleet, as well as most of the aircraft on the assembly line.

Boeing has at least 26 B787 aircraft in various stages of completion.

The delay announcement "follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this autumn." At the beginning of the month Rolls-Royce suffered an “uncontained failure” of one of its Trent 1000 test engines. Four of the six B787 test aircraft are powered by the engine, but “flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned”.

All Nippon Airways' aircraft are to be powered by the Rolls-Royce 1000. Rolls-Royce believes it has identified the cause of the failure and will ship a fix for the early ‘Package A’ engines delivered to Boeing. Rolls-Royce plans to introduce a number of improvements and modifications for the ‘Package B’ Trent 1000, which will be test flown and certified before the end of the year .

Boeing does not expect the B787 delay to affect its financial guidance for the year. 

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