Just what is Mike Bair saying about the Boeing 787?

On the whole, I tend to see cock-ups and coincidences where others see conspiracies. But I’m fascinated by what recently deposed 787 programme manager Mike Bair has been saying about major contractors. This really doesn’t sound accidental. So either he’s a much looser cannon than anyone imagines (and although he has got a bit of form in that area, it’s not really the Boeing way), or this is the authorised version – which is remarkable even by the standards of Boeing’s infamosly brutal treatment of its suppliers.There doesn’t seem to be any doubt what he said. The Seattle Times, Post-Intelligencer and Everett Herald all pretty much agree on that at least. Some of the major suppliers performed inadequately to the extent that – according to Bair – Boeing won’t use them again.

Think what this means. Bair has just set in a motion a moderately frenzied media hunt to track down the guilty men. Everyone knows who did the work, although the Seattle Times version seems to have Bair hinting that it was second tier suppliers who he’s thinking of (I might be reading that wrongly.) And unless Boeing ditches them now, those firms are going to be building the aircraft for a long while to come. You can bet they’re going to love the customer who set the media dogs on them. Interesting relationship.

So what could Bair/Boeing be hoping to achieve? I’m at a loss to be honest. Perhaps they actually want to bring those supplier deals crashing down. Maybe they think they can shame the underperformers into walking away. Perhaps they’re significant Airbus/A350 suppliers and Boeing wants to see Airbus having to use its cast-offs. All very odd – but no coincidence I think.

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3 Responses to Just what is Mike Bair saying about the Boeing 787?

  1. scott November 2, 2007 at 12:20 am #


    Here’s a podcast on the topic

  2. Andrew Harvey November 2, 2007 at 12:53 am #

    Definitely more to this than meets the eye.
    Bair was curiously quiet in the weeks leading up to his re-assignment to the point one could believe he was distancing himself from the last round of delivery promises.

    Would not be surprised to see yet another revision of delivery dates.

  3. FleetBuzz.com November 2, 2007 at 5:29 am #


    Its not all that bad. Bair was seemingly pushed out of his job – a position that needed to reinvigorate life into the 787 again.

    As my blog above notes, the impact thus far on the 777 and 747-8 freighters is negligible -for now.

    For the future, who knows – what will Airbus now do in light of A350 work distribution?

    Interesting times to come….

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