Heading for first delivery, Boeing’s 787 backlog visualized (Update1)

All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner JA801A ZA101

With US and European certifications in hand and 29 days to go before the first 787 officially delivered to All Nippon Airways on September 26, the 787′s backlog stands at 821*, the largest-ever starting orderbook for a widebody aircraft program. The final regulatory hurdle for the 787′s first delivery should be cleared Monday with receipt of the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau certification, giving ANA the clearance to begin flying passengers.
Boeing’s herculean task over the next twenty-eight months is to ramp up 787 production from two per month today to ten per month by the end of 2013. 

Using some new techniques, we can take Boeing’s 787 backlog data and break it down into three interactive visualizations. 
UPDATE: Non-interactive charts are available below the fold for those of you who are behind some corporate firewalls that don’t allow access to Google Docs.
The first graph gives an historical look at the Boeing’s 787 orders and cancellations since 2004. Since its launch, Boeing has accumulated 972 gross orders for the Dreamliner and 151 cancellations (including the six last week) or 15 months of production at peak rate.
The chart is intended to illustrate the growth in historical net and gross orders recorded at the time of their receipt, represented by the blue and red bars. The green bar represents the total cancellations recorded in a given year.
The orange bar illustrates the meltaway over time of the orders recorded in a given year. For example, while there were no cancellations in 2007, a year which saw 369 net orders, the customers who bought those 369 aircraft in that year have since cancelled 60 aircraft, reducing the total to 309. The orders recorded in 2008 saw the biggest drop, with a 37% reduction after the cancellations that were taken in 2009 through 2011. 
The chart ultimately illustrates how solid the orderbook has remained for the units sold before 2008, which were booked in an extremely favorable pricing environment as Boeing was building its backlog.

The second chart gives the geographical breakdown of the backlog by country and where the OEM direct orders originate. The chart does not show airlines who are leasing 787s, but does show lessor’s country of origin.

The third gives look into the engine battle between Rolls-Royce and General Electric spread across the 787-8 and 787-9. While the data show that Rolls has more individual customers for the Trent 1000, GE has a greater overall share of which airframes it will power with its GEnx-1B engine.
*The 821 orders reflects the latest cancellation of six 787s on August 25 from an undisclosed customer, the overall backlog data from Boeing does not yet reflect that change. All data was generated from a base of 827 orders.

10 Responses to Heading for first delivery, Boeing’s 787 backlog visualized (Update1)

  1. Rob August 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Great work John! I always think visuals convey so much better than words. Interesting to see how orders have stalled over recent years.
    Part 2 needs to show projected deliveries in line with projected ramp up – to deliver all these orders! What would be even more sobering would be to plot the latest vs the projections a few years back!

  2. Levon August 29, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Excellent Post John. Was on the Boeing Factory Tour on Thursday, and your info really helps to get a further sense of the conditions of the 787 program, just after seeing so many engine-less, undelivered airplanes, juxtaposed with the 777 assembly line one bay over.

  3. Vincent August 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    Interesting information. If you looked at the world economy you might understand why the orders dropped off, coupled with program delays, so I’m not sure the chart says much about the overall program. I know you’ve been trying to make a correlation between selling price and unit sales, so you might compare that to the number of units sold. Since the numbers are gross and not a breakdown of -8s and -9s, you might also see some changes in how the order pattern has progressed over time against price and configuration. This just shows that orders were made until the economy and delays hit, now if you can infer what future sales will be from this data now you will have something.

  4. mark cassidy August 29, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I bet with discounts due to delays Boeing is looking at a order book with a value of more like 600 planes – just a guess.

  5. iamlucky13 August 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    @ Vincent, I think it’s fair to be confident in saying that the economy can only claim a partial share in the credit for the order stagnation. The delays have obviously sapped confidence in the program, while more realistic pricing can only make sales campaigns more challenging than they were in 2007.

    Plus, assuming a smooth ramp up from 2 airframes per month to 10 at the end of 2013, then Boeing’s backlog extends to the summer of 2018. While there’s no doubt some room for slot swaps a couple years out, an airline ordering today can’t expect their deliveries to start in earnest for 7 years – a long time to plan ahead, especially in such a volatile industry.

    Of course, Boeing has still be struggling just to get traveled work under control, so I’m a little concerned at the moment whether they’ll really have met the intended rate by 2013 or not.

  6. alloycowboy August 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Hey Jon,

    Flightglobal’s Engineering Student of the Year Award sounds like “Operation Paper Clip 2.0.” with Airbus being the enemy at least from a Boeing perspective.

  7. TC August 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Is this the Asics running shoe livery? A leap in style ahead of a bowling shoe.

  8. T. Varadaraj August 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Despite all the delays and bad publicity, the 787 program still has the potential to be a game changer; provided it lives up to it’s promise of bringing 300+ seater economics to the 200+ seater market in the intercontinental travel space. Over the last three decades, I have seen how the routes I flew that were once served by the B747 were gradually replaced by the B777, then the A330/B767 and some even by the A320. The latter also opened new routes to smaller airports that were once aggregated to a larger, busier airport in the hub-spoke model. If the market develops along these lines, Boeing may yet salvage some if not a substantial part of the 787′s promise. For air travel enthusiasts, how this develops will be interesting to watch.

  9. Vincent August 30, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    iamlucky13- Go Pack Go. Appreciate the comment. Jon- with what iamlucky13 indicated maybe an opportunity could be to forecast what A330-200 and -300 customers will do post 2017, and whether those customers will soon be positioning themselves for slots in the -8,-9, and even the -10 lines versus continuing with a A350-800 or a -900? Then carry that analysis into the 777-300 vs the A350-1000s. It will be interesting to see whether your forecast predicts Boeing taking over the replacement market of widebodies, and if they do what are the drivers for those decisions. Could it be the Boeing strategy for -8s and -9s fits better with replacement timing for the A330 customers? If Boeing is able to capture that space, the 787 program will be profitable, despite losing the 777-200ER replacement to the A350-900.

  10. john band September 2, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    Informative as usual John, but the engines graphic is slightly misleading, at least to a pedant like me. By basing it at fifty airframes rather than zero, you give the impression that the GenX is outselling the Trent rather more dramatically than is actually the case.