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Analyst: No 787 deliveries until 2010

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lineraft787ba.jpgUBS analyst David Strauss released a report earlier today stating that the first 787 deliveries will not take place until 2010. Strauss cites the original schedule for flight test aircraft laid out in April, which says first flight was supposed to take place October 29, following a targeted assembly completion of August 31.

The assembly completion of Dreamliner One slipped to October 6 prior to the strike. FlightBlogger is not able to confirm one way or another currently if assembly completion was reached per the revised schedule, though this blogger has learned the left engine was recently reinstalled and the aircraft has been powered on consistently in recent days.

The schedule, published by UBS and confirmed by FlightBlogger, also states that assembly was set to be completed on September 10 and September 25 for Dreamliners Two and Three, respectively. Strauss identifies the strike, along with a five week slip in assembly completion on Dreamliner One, as the primary catalyst for his bearish analysis.

Watching flights into Paine Field in Everett: We are tracking movements of Boeing's modified 747 "Dreamlifter" fleet to gauge the progress of 787 production. Specifically, we are monitoring Dreamlifter flights into Snohomish County Paine Field Airport (KPAE) in Everett WA, adjacent to 787 production, to gauge the pace of shipments from the major structural suppliers. Major structural components are delivered via the Dreamlifter fleet to Boeing in Everett and include the wings from Japan, aft fuselage from Charleston SC, center fuselage from Italy (via Charleston), and forward fuselage from Wichita KS.

Strike halts already slow-paced structural deliveries: We did not track any Dreamlifter flights into Everett in September as Boeing has apparently halted all 787 deliveries from its suppliers given the ongoing Machinists strike. We continued to track some center fuselage deliveries to Charleston.

Flight test program now unlikely to complete prior to early 2010: Even prior to the Machinists strike that began in September, the slow pace of structural deliveries had led us to believe that Boeing was highly unlikely to hit its revised 787 flight test schedule. Boeing has now missed the scheduled assembly complete dates for the first three flight test aircraft and we believe the flight test program is unlikely to complete prior to early 2010.

With this new assessment, launch customer All Nippon Airways of Japan will not receive its first 787 next year. James Wallace of the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports in his blog today that the airline was set to receive ZA007 (JA801A) on August 15, 2009.

With the global markets in free fall, along with this grim new assessment, Boeing's stock today was trading at the same level it was on the day the 7E7 was launched in April of 2004.

Without any deliveries in 2010, Boeing's production ramp up would be snarled, inevitably forcing a revamp of its previous production forecasting. Geoffrey Thomas of The Australian reported last week that:

Following the most recently announced delay in April, it was expected that the company would deliver 25 next year, 69 in 2010, 103 in 2011 and 120 in 2012.
Boeing still maintains it is targeting 2008 for first flight of the 787. If this goal is accomplished, however unlikely, the challenge of getting the remaining flight test aircraft airborne remains extremely difficult without the machinists who were responsible for the remaining structural work that was still yet to be completed on ZA002, ZA003 and ZA004.

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