First Dreamliner delivery slips into 2011
Lack of engines prompts yet another delay
Boeing will not deliver the first Boeing 787 Dreamliners until 2011, following yet another delay in the troubled programme.
The company says the knock-back is the result of "an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall", although it insists it's working "closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability".
It adds: "Boeing said last month that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011."
Japan's All Nippon Airways originally expected to be the first airline to get its hands on the controls of the 787 back in May 2008. The company described the latest delay as "regrettable", according to the New York Times.
Spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka said: ”We trust that the time will be used to deliver the best possible aircraft in the shortest possible timeframe."
Saj Ahmad, an "airline and aerospace analyst" at FBE Aerospace told the paper: “While Boeing has intimated that there will be no financial impact, if the delays announced today throw its delivery schedule out, airlines will be quick to look for compensation.
"The 787 has been delayed almost three years, and it’s an unacceptable situation for many, particularly as many carriers are witnessing a rise in traffic numbers and new, fuel-efficient airplanes.”
Indeed, Virgin Atlantic went knocking for compensation on Boeing's door back in 2008, after learning that the first of 15 Dreamliners it had ordered probably wouldn't be available until 2012.
In June 2009, Qantas cancelled its $3bn order for 15 examples of the aircraft, although it insisted the decision was due to "the worsening economic environment", rather than the repeated delays. ®
Meh so what?
It's delays are nothing compared to the A380's. Though it is a shame that Boeing haven't been able to replicate the development and on time delivery success that the 777 had (which still remains one of the safest and advanced airliners in the sky).
And now, in plain English.....
"an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall"
Translation: "We had a quick look round the workshop and we haven't got any spare engines. We thought Steve had one under that tarp in the corner, but it turned out to be an old Chevy V8 he was working on in his spare time.".
'...working "closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability".'
Translation: "We've told our lawyers to sue the fuckers if they don't deliver."
"It's entirely possible that the airframe as tested will be sound, but the production process may well cut the odd corner as cost and time savings are chased resulting in some undesirable results.
I, for one, will not be going near any Dreamliners until they've either been in service a few years in quantity without mishap or they've had their high profile disintegration and the realisation that this is one production process that cannot be sweated for cost/time has been beaten into Boeing's corporate mindset with the cluestick by the NTSB."
While I take your point (which is entirely valid) I would be far more concerned about airline maintenance departments taking short cuts and/or rushing repairs to the airframe after various incidents (such as vehicles hitting it while at the gate). Clearly composite repairs are not as simple as repairs applied to traditional airliners. I did read that Boeing had, or were, developing a quick type fix 'patch' (similar to speed tape I guess) for such incidents but a proper repair would of course be required.
Boeing are in a way quite literally betting the house on this airliner, if they start dropping out of the skies Boeing will be in big trouble. I am sure they are all looking at the bigger picture here and realises this is what production shortcuts could realise.
I sincerely hope this airliner follows in the 777's footsteps with production and safety qualities - if it does indeed manage too it will be a fantastic achievement.
Let's also not lose sight of one thing, many components on 'traditional' airliners are made from composites, including key wing parts, parts of the tail etc.