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What's next on Boeing's to-do list for the 787

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By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer
Published:
  • In September 2010, workers in South Carolina assemble a 787 rear passenger section. By the end of 2012, Boeing intends to deliver the first 787 assemb...

    Michael O'Leary / Herald File

    In September 2010, workers in South Carolina assemble a 787 rear passenger section. By the end of 2012, Boeing intends to deliver the first 787 assembled at the South Carolina factory.

Although the first delivery of its 787 Dreamliner was a moment Boeing Co. workers will savor, they'll be back to work Tuesday, trying to meet the company's goals on the Dreamliner program. The delivery of the first 787 to All Nippon Airways is "a nice step," said Richard Aboulafia, analyst with the Teal Group. But Boeing's real accomplishment will be when the company is building 787s that meet customer expectations in a way that's profitable to the company, he said. To do that, Boeing has a long list of milestones to accomplish.
By end of 2011
Deliver more 787s: Boeing officials have said the company will deliver between 25 and 30 of its 787s and 747-8s. They didn't give a breakdown between the two jet programs but said the company will deliver more 747s than 787s this year.
Certify 787s with General Electric engines: Boeing's 787s with GE engines are in flight testing but need Federal Aviation Administration approval.
Performance enhancements: Boeing and its engine makers have a series of improvements to add to the 787 engines and airplanes that already have been built.
By end of 2012
Deliver the first 787 assembled in Boeing's South Carolina facility: That milestone is set to take place as Boeing fights a federal lawsuit over its decision to place a second 787 assembly line in North Charleston, rather than in Everett. Boeing's Machinists in the Puget Sound region claim the company picked South Carolina as a means of retaliating against their members for strikes. The National Labor Relations Board agreed with the union and sued Boeing on the Machinists' behalf. An administrative law judge in Seattle is hearing the case, which could carry on for years unless Boeing and the Machinists settle out of court.
Complete rework on 787s: Roughly 40 787s are parked around Everett's Paine Field. Boeing workers will have to incorporate engineering changes and make fixes to these aircraft before delivery.
Negotiate a new contract with unions in Washington state: This is key to development of the 787-9 and increased production of the 787-8. During their last contract negotiations in 2008, Boeing and the Machinists couldn't reach an agreement, which led to a 57-day strike by the union. Boeing's 787 site in South Carolina would provide only minor relief in the case of a strike. After more than three years of delays on the 787, Boeing and its supply chain can ill-afford a lengthy shutdown of production.
By end of 2013
Meet airplane production goal of 10 787s monthly: Boeing has said it plans to build seven 787s monthly in Everett and three monthly in South Carolina to meet this objective.
Deliver the first 787-9: After several of Boeing's suppliers struggled with design and early production work on the 787-8, the company made the decision to pull back some design work and initial production work on the next version of its Dreamliner, the 787-9. Last fall, Boeing announced it was adding workers to its composites development center in south Seattle to support that program. "We wanted to be more engaged" on the development of the 787-9, Jim McNerney, Boeing's chief executive, said in January.
Story tags » 787

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