1. First Flight
Boeing says that ZA001 will fly by the end of 2009, an assessment that confirms previous reporting. Sources continue to maintain that a late November or early December time frame is targeted for the maiden sortie. ZA001 is currently prepped for the side-of-body reinforcement inside Paint Hangar 45-04. Vice president for airplane programs, Pat Shanahan, says Dreamliner One is "functionally ready to fly on all accounts" separate from the wing fix. All gauntlets are completed on both ZA001 and ZA002.
2. Fix Installation
The installation of the fix for each airplane is expected to take three months for each of the first six flight test aircraft. That timing includes the required preparation ahead of the physical installation. Boeing says they have already completed preparation on ZY997 and ZA001 with installation to begin within a few weeks. The pacing is driven by the size constraints inside the wing and center wing boxes. ZA001 will not fly until the fix is installed, tested and validated on ZY997.
3. Flight Test
The flight test program has been extended from 8.5 months to as much as a year if required. Boeing says that they've added "several weeks" worth of margin, but they have from 4Q09 to 4Q10 to complete certification of the 787.
With the six to nine month slide in first delivery, Boeing has pushed back first delivery of the 787-9 to the end of 2013. The aircraft is currently in a sizing phase before freezing of the external configuration. Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the type and was supposed to get its first in early 2013. In addition, according to an American Airlines spokesperson, the airlines was supposed to receive its first in fall 2013 and has not yet received any revised delivery guidance.
5. 2nd Final Assembly Line
Boeing acknowledged directly that the current infrastructure in Everett is capable of a maximum production rate of seven 787s per month. The company now says it will officially need a second line in order to meet the goal of producing 10 787s per month. Front runners for the line second appear to be Everett and Charleston, though Long Beach and San Antonio are believed to be in consideration as well. A decision will come by the close of the year.
6. Flight Test Fleet
ZA001, ZA002 and ZA003, fully up to FAA spec for certification, have been transferred from inventory (potential to be sold) to a research and development expense of $2.5 billion. There's no word on where they aircraft will end up, however NA001 (1st 757) remains in Boeing's control. ZA001 and ZA002 were originally set to be delivered to ANA and ZA003 to Northwest.
ZA004 to ZA006 will be delivered after significant, though not cost prohibitive, rework following flight test. They aren't currently viable for airline customers but Boeing believes they will be operated by VIP customers eventually. ZA004 was destined for Northwest while the GEnx-powered ZA005 and ZA006 were to go to Royal Air Maroc.
7. The Tally
Today's disclosure of the schedule brings the total program delay to 29-32 months after first delivery was originally planned in May 2008. Delivery of ZA100 to ANA will take place somewhere between October and December of 2010.