Boeing upbeat on 787 rate increase, mum on 787-10 launch

Boeing Co. executives Pat Shanahan and Larry Loftis gave an update on the 787 program Monday on a conference call for RBC Capital Markets.

Here are some key points from the call:

• Boeing has delivered 35 787s so far this year and 38 since delivering the first Dreamliner in September 2011.

• The company is still on track to increase production to 10 787s monthly from five monthly currently. By mid-2013, Shanahan predicted, Boeing will be building at a pace of seven 787s monthly.

• Boeing’s Everett site will produce about 70 percent of the 787s while its North Charleston site will assemble 30 percent, Loftis said.

• Boeing employees in Everett will continue work into 2015 to bring early-built 787s up to delivery standard.

• Final assembly of the first 787-9 should begin in late spring or early summer 2013, with flight testing in the fall. Boeing still expects to deliver the first 787-9 in early 2014.

• On the 787-10, “we still have some work to do before we’d be willing to launch the airplane or have the authority to launch the airplane,” Loftis said.

Boeing is confident of the larger Dreamliner’s technical performance but, financially, the company wants to be “very measured,” Shanahan said.

It’s unlikely the 787-10, once launched, would enter commercial service until the “back end” of the decade, Loftis said.