Sources: LAN set to take early 787 slots

LAN.jpg

Santiago-based carrier LAN is set to make a major acceleration in its delivery of its first Boeing 787 after a slot swap with Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), say sources close to the Latin American carrier and the US airframer.

Two delivery slots from the early batch of aircraft scheduled for delivery in late 2010 and early 2011 have been reallocated from ANA to LAN, the same sources tell ATI and FlightBlogger.

According to a source at the airline, the first 787-8s were intended for delivery to LAN in 2015 after accumulating more than two years of delays.

LAN declined to discuss the change, as “there exists a confidentiality agreement with Boeing. The company will inform about this issue if and when it is appropriate”.

Boeing also declined to discuss the shift as a matter of policy to not comment publicly on delivery schedules, saying that “occasionally we and our customers make order adjustments that better support their overall fleet needs, while allowing us to successfully manage our production plan”.

Program sources add that the 10th and 16th aircraft built will now be delivered to LAN. ANA assumed ownership of several early delivery slots after five Chinese carriers deferred their orders in early 2009.

LAN, which selected Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, first announced in July 2007 its intent to purchase 26 787s and lease six more, marking the largest 787 order from a Latin American carrier.

The order included 18 787-8s and 8 787-9s and an additional lease of 6 787-9 aircraft from ILFC.

The 787-9s leased from ILFC were initially intended to be the carrier’s first aircraft to replace Airbus A340-300s on long-range routes. The first 787-9s were supposed to be delivered in 2011, the same year as entry into service of the type.

After two years of delays, the 787-9 will now enter service with launch customer Air New Zealand in late 2013.

As part of its contingency plan for the 787 delays, LAN purchased an additional four 767-300ER aircraft in November 2008 from Boeing and was seeking a fifth, while installing winglets on its 767 fleet to improve performance.

Airplane 7, the first production 787, is set to be delivered to ANA in the fourth quarter of 2010 following a planned 8.5 month certification campaign which began in December 2009 with the aircraft’s maiden flight.

While the early batch of 787s are believed to be over target weight, which will impact performance, the company has already begun incorporating weight saving techniques into early airframes.

Program sources say weight savings on early aircraft, Airplanes 7 through 19, have focused on the wing skins.

Starting with Airplane 20, Boeing will introduce a higher MTOW of 502,500lb – up 18,500lb from the initially planned 484,000lb – to “help us to meet the expectations of our customers”.

Airplane 10, which entered final assembly in September 2009 is currently in the paint hangar at Boeing’s Everett, Washington facility, while the forward fuselage and wings for Airplane 16 have arrived from Kansas and Japan, respectively.

Photo Credit Boeing

11 Responses to Sources: LAN set to take early 787 slots

  1. Boeing Investor January 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    This sounds like good news in that it shows that there is a way to manage the 787 order book so that it can handle deferrals with substitutions.

    There must be more to this announcement relative to any penalties or “bonuses”. Boeing is trying to balance the needs and contractual obligations in the best way possible.

  2. WingBender January 21, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    The 787 production line isn’t anywhere near equilibrium. The airplanes that roll from the 40-26 to the 40-24 typically lack engines, interiors, slats, cockpit windows, and APU’s. The final assembly line itself is still a forest of “tempoprary” scaffolding, although this situation is slowly improving. The primary focus remains, “Hurry up and put it together so we can take it apart again.” The mitigating factor to all this is that those airplanes are still at least 9 months away from delivery.

  3. airplanejim January 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    “The primary focus remains, “Hurry up and put it together so we can take it apart again.” The mitigating factor to all this is that those airplanes are still at least 9 months away from delivery.”

    So is the answer to stop assembly, layoff the excess workers and do nothing until certification? Out of station install is a common practice throughout the industry. It is not efficient but common.

  4. Boeing Investor January 22, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    Wow! From news about managing the order book there are responses about the production line of the 787…a totally different subject and maybe unrelated, but not unimportant.

    This just begs for more responses and information on both topics.

    1.. What does the LAN substitution really signify.

    2. What is occurring in the production of the 787…are things getting better…is the supply chain working…is wingbender or airplanejim accurate in their description or is this disinformation or misunderstood information.

  5. John in CA January 22, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Is memory so short we forgot about the JAL issue?

    Could it be that business is slow enough at ANA that maybe it fits their business plan better to move some delivery slots around?

    “The primary focus remains, “Hurry up and put it together so we can take it apart again.” The mitigating factor to all this is that those airplanes are still at least 9 months away from delivery.”

    Well….you can’t stop building airplans waiting for flight test to complete…..otherwise you end up with about a 9 month hole in production….so you start off slow and hope that you don’t have to make too many changes as you go along….there will be some, but that is the nature of building ‘any’ new product….

    As they say in the airplane business….”It’s time to shoot the engineer and just build the bloody plane.”

  6. Mike MD January 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Why have I not seen any of the 787′s fly since Jan. 14? I have checked “flightaware ” and have not seen them in the air.

  7. Boeing Investor January 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Jon,

    I think it would a very interesting article for you to describe how the production line moves towards completing the aircraft for delivery during the testing period.

    I remember you indicating that the major changes will be incorporated in the production line after the 20th plane, but how do they handle the first tranch that are currently being produced. The comments above raise the issue of completion, vs readiness, vs piecemeal production, etc. There must be a method to all this madness and it would be very helpful for you to inform us of some of the method!

    Thanks.

  8. WingBender January 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I wouldn’t suggest for a minute that they should stop the assembly line and not move the airplanes until they are finished. Boeing doesn’t do that on any of their airplane programs. Airplanes move with “travelers”, or traveled jobs. That is just part of doing business.

    By the same token, given the myriad delays on the 787 program, they have had the luxury of time to work out all of the other production issues. Yet Everett is filling up with partially complete production 787′s. The only other time Boeing has seen this was back in the 1997/98 period when they had to stop the 737 and 747 lines because there was no more room to park unfinished airplanes.

  9. Trapperpk January 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    This is just a guess. I believe BOE#1 reached testing milestone for airworthyness. BOE #2 needed fuel tank inspection, cleaning and test do to some minor debris found in aircraft tanks. I would think # 1 is in the barn or flightline at Kbfi reseting test equipment for its new mission after the airworthyness test. Both test craft would be good to go very soon. I wonder if Jon knows its next flight schedule?

  10. JIM HELMS January 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    They still have some program stopping tests to perform! Wing limit and ultimate loads. I understand the “blow down test hasn’t been completed! Fail any of these and the potential scrap rate goes up big time.

    PJ

  11. Dan January 23, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    LN10 was removed from the paint hangar the other night and is positioned on the flightline in an all white c/s