Airplane 28 won't be radically different from any of previous 21 production 787s that proceeded it, but this airframe, that will eventually end up in the hands of Air India, is crucial to Boeing's production ramp up.
With its next 787 delivery re-sequencing coming in September, Boeing plans to hold structural deliveries to final assembly for more than a month, allowing all ends of its supply chain to catch up.
The schedule "float" as its been dubbed internally, which will follow the arrival of Airplane 27 in late August, will pause deliveries to the company's Everett, Washington final assembly line for 30-manufacturing days or roughly six weeks.
Boeing declined to comment on the re-sequencing as the Farnborough Air Show approached.
Airplane 28 is being called Boeing's "get well" aircraft, achieving 100% completion of assembly and no outstanding traveled work from its North Charleston facility, just renamed Boeing South Carolina, where the aft and center fuselages are integrated.
While program sources in Everett and Charleston say that there are no significant engineering issues driving the hold, many of the issues originate down stream at suppliers around the world, where part shortages cause incomplete work to flow to Charleston, slowing down integration before shipment to Everett.
For example, floor grids, doors and wiring have contributed to the slowdown. Installation of the floor grid, in particular, is a critical path assembly milestone as it provides installation access to the upper crown of the fuselage.
Additionally, the slide is as much an opportunity for Charleston to catch up as it is to provide Everett additional breathing room to focus on the aircraft already through final assembly.
This latest hold is longer than the 24-manufacturing day hold the company put in place following Airplane 22 in late April, allowing its supply chain to catch up on design changes and part shortages.
When Boeing announced the second re-sequencing on June 25, 787 general manager and vice president Scott Fancher, indicated the scheduling change was to "take advantage" of shifting customer delivery schedules. However, programme sources say the request for the hold was made directly Boeing staff, not by airlines who sought to slow deliveries.
When Airplane 28 arrives in Everett in October, it will also represent the start of a faster rate that will see nearly three 787s delivered to final assembly per month.
Yet, the question remains for Boeing: As the ramp up continues toward building 10 aircraft per month byt the end of 2013, how does the company avoid overwhelming its supply chain forcing additional halting stops and starts on its road ahead?