August 2012

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Boeing actively considering 2nd 787 production line to ease delivery delays

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farnborough-header.jpgFARNBOROUGH -- Boeing is actively considering opening a second 787 production line to minimize the impact of its program delays to customers, industry sources tell FlightBlogger.

The plan, which has not been finalized, would allow Boeing to boost output across two lines rather than push more aircraft at a higher rate through a single line. As the production system matured further, production levels could potentially exceed Boeing's target of 10 aircraft per month by 2012 on a single line.

Sources familiar with the plan say that Boeing hopes to head off serious delays and uncertainties that 787 customers are facing as they try to adjust their fleet capacity planning in the wake of the delivery rescheduling. Some customers have been quoted as expecting deliveries up to 30 months late.

Boeing reiterated that its "787 production/delivery schedule follows a more gradual ramp up to full-rate production than was previously planned, and reaches a rate of 10 airplanes per month in 2012, rather than in 2010."

Adding, "the planning assumption we've given customers is to expect the start of their delivery streams to be adjusted, on average, by around 20 months. The specifics of these estimated delivery streams vary by customer and assume no improvement over our current plan."

The company slowed its ambitious production ramp up plan in April to permit its supply chain to reduce travelled work being sent to final assembly and better manage part shortages.

Though Boeing has not recorded a new 787 order since April, demand for the product has far from slowed, one 787 customer tells FlightBlogger.

The customer, who discussed the situation on the condition of anonymity, says Boeing is focused on a successful ramp up rather than expanding it's already overflowing orderbook for 896 aircraft.

The customer adds that the 787 is sold out until 2017; a date which does not take into account an average 20-month delivery delay.

"They aren't quoting [delivery positions] before 2019," said the customer.

Delivery slots prior to 2019 would only be available to strategic customers such as US airlines or those considering both the 787 and A350 or current A330 operators.

The customer emphasized that if they could purchase additional 787s right now, they absolutely would.

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