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Boeing lifts Dreamliner output ahead of target | Aviation News

March 6, 2012

Boeing 787


Seattle: Boeing Co. boosted production of the new 787 Dreamliner to 3.5 jets a month, ahead of schedule, and said it’s made progress on a plan for a 777 upgrade that will be a “significant improvement” over the current model.

The increase in 787 output was achieved March 1, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Jim Albaugh told reporters on Friday at the company’s factory in Everett, Washington. The rate had been 2.5 planes, and Boeing said in January it would boost monthly production by one jet in the second quarter, working toward a goal of 10 a month by 2013, a record rate for a wide-body aircraft.

The production tempo on the world’s first composite-plastic airliner has been a focus for investors after the 787 made its debut more than three years late amid struggles with new materials and manufacturing techniques. Chicago-based Boeing has fallen 26 per cent since the first postponement in October 2007.

No customers received 787s in February while Boeing conducted inspections for signs of delamination on the model’s fuselage, Albaugh said. The company has said that shims, or patches, were improperly installed in the aft sections of the plane built in South Carolina, and that it will take 10 to 14 days per plane to replace the pieces.

The faulty process has since been corrected, and Dreamliners from the 57th built onward aren’t affected, Albaugh said. The 57th plane already is being worked on in the Everett factory.

Albaugh commented after a ceremony with Emirates to mark the delivery of the 1,000th 777 jet, Boeing’s most profitable model.

Boeing executives hope to have a plan to take to the company’s board for approval by year-end for a new variant of the twin-engine 777 that would enter service “towards the end of the decade,” Albaugh said.

The leaders of the 787 and 777 programmes switched places last week. Boeing named Scott Fancher to run the 777 after he oversaw the 787′s entry into service in October following almost three years in charge. Taking his place on the Dreamliner will be Larry Loftis.


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