Boeing is looking at increasing the production rate of the 787 beyond the planned rate of ten per month in 2025-2026, but will only go higher if it is convinced that demand is a long-term trend. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO said this on Sunday during a pre-Paris Airshow event with media. Boeing will only increase 787 rate if demand is sustainable.
The Dreamliner has recently won strong orders, including those for United Airlines, Lufthansa, and Air India, although this one needs to be confirmed. Boeing plans to go to a rate of five aircraft per month by the end of the year but has planned a further increase to ten aircraft per month not until 2025-2026. This could not be enough to satisfy the demand for widebody aircraft, which is expected to increase, as the airframer says in the latest Commercial Market Outlook.
Asked if Boeing is contemplating going beyond ten aircraft per month and is discussing this with the supply chain, Stan Deal said: “The good news on the 787 is from the Capex (capital expenditures) that the supply chain is already capacitized for rate fourteen per month. We will take it one step at a time. The good news is that orders have been strong. If we see that is a long-term trend, then we will make the steps for additional capacity. Right now, I want to see the supply chain stabilize before I make these decisions, so this is how we approach this.”
The latest shimming issue with the horizontal stabilizer is being addressed. “We have already loaded conforming horizontals into the production systems, so we cleaned up from the batch. We have to rework horizontals and it takes a couple of days,” said Deal.
Shimming issues have been around as long as the 787 has been in production, which makes you wonder why they are so persistent. “The 787s are very precise airplanes in terms of the tolerances. Which explains some of the problems. When you are bringing an all-composite aircraft into production, you will find this. I tell you that this is one of our key takeaways for our next new airplane is matching the design system and the production system and the tolerances so that the balance of engineering allows us to production.”
Deal added: “We are not going to deliver an airplane unless it is precisely conforming, so when you find something like this, you deal with it. We will get to the root cause of this one and ensure we are learning across the production system. (…) We are in containment of line number determination. As there is no immediate safety of flight issue to the fleet, we have some time for that.”
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.