Customers cancel orders for early Boeing 787s

By Dan Catchpole

EVERETT — Two customers canceled orders this month for nine of the 10 early production 787 Dreamliners that Boeing has struggled to sell, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The 10 airplanes are known as the “terrible teens” because they were between the 10th and 22nd planes built in the 787 program.

The lessons learned from early Dreamliner production were engineered into later airplanes. By comparison, the terrible teens are much less efficient to operate.

The Journal reports:

“In 2012, Indonesian discount airline Lion Air Group ordered five of the planes, and Russian carrier Transaero Airlines ordered four, according to two people familiar with the deal. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“This month, Lion Air said it canceled its five orders. A spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment. On Thursday, Boeing said another four 787 orders had been canceled, which a person briefed on the matter said were the teens jets ordered by Transaero. The Russian carrier didn’t respond to a request for comment.”

China’s LAN Airlines and a Korean buyer could purchase three of the planes, “according to people familiar with company plans,” the Journal reports.

The Dreamliner remains very popular with airlines, and it hit 1,000 orders in less time than any other twin-aisle jetliner.

However, it still costs Boeing more to produce a Dreamliner than its sales price. Boeing has cut production costs, which analysts say could come down below the sales price in the next couple years.

Production rate has improved, and Boeing is on track to deliver more than 110 787s this year.

A 787-9 is parked next to the terrible teens, but there is no indication that Boeing will have any trouble delivering it.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.