Boeing adds 777 orders, touts 787 progress

Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The Boeing Co. added orders for three 777 jets on Thursday, bringing its year-to-date net orders total to 694.

Ethiopian Airlines ordered one 777-200LR aircraft, the companies said. The order is valued at $276 million at list prices though carriers rarely pay full list price.

Boeing attributed the 777 requests to an unnamed customer on its orders website.

However, Korean Air said Thursday it’s ordering two 777-300 Extended Range aircraft with deliveries expended by the end of 2014.

Also on Thursday, Boeing talked up the progress made on its 787 jet program.

The second 787 to be assembled in South Carolina rolled out of the factory this month with a greater level of completion, the company said an internal newsletter sent Thursday.

“We took our build time and cut it in half from the first airplane to the second,” Jeff Kerby, a wing build-up lead, said in Boeing’s newsletter. “We were still developing our kitting during the second airplane build, and we’re still in the ‘Leaning’ stage. There’s a lot of opportunity for progress and a lot of talent here on the production floor.”

The first 787 assembled in North Charleston rolled out of the factory in April. Although the plane is ready to go, its delivery and the delivery of two other 787s was held up by compensation talks with Air India. The Indian government now is expected to give the green light for delivery with in two weeks.

Boeing also said in its newsletter that 787 work at the Everett Modification Center is becoming more efficient. Workers at the modification center are preparing some of Boeing’s earliest built 787s for delivery. Some of those aircraft have engineering change work and rework to be done in order to meet delivery standards.

“This team has made some absolutely remarkable achievements,” said Gary McCulley, director of EMC manufacturing. “Their commitment to continuous improvement and keeping a positive attitude is a great example of the kinds of contributions we can expect to see … across the program.”