Boeing activates San Antonio 787 change facility

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Boeing has activated its San Antonio, Texas change incorporation and refurbishment facility with the first of at least six Boeing 787s.

The manufacturer announced today that Airplane 23 arrived at Boeing's Global Services & Support facility in San Antonio on 4 March. Airplane 23 is the first production 787 with General Electric GEnx-1B engines to fly and the first to fly wearing the colours of Japan Airlines.

The aircraft will be followed in San Antonio by three flight test aircraft, which will refurbished and updated with the latest configuration along with two additional production 787s which will undergo change incorporation before delivery.

While in San Antonio, 787s such as Airplane 23 will undergo change incorporation work that will include installing electronics and mechanical equipment, completing software upgrades, testing systems functionality and "removing and reworking" wiring or equipment with the latest conformity set forth by the aircraft's type certification requirement. The aircraft's interiors will be installed in Everett, Washington prior to delivery, says Boeing.

"The plan is flexible," says Boeing of the number of possible 787s requiring change incorporation in Texas. "And could accommodate additional 787 production needs as flight test is completed and airplanes are prepared for delivery."

As far back as 2008 local San Antonio officials said they expected at least 20 aircraft to undergo modifications at the facility.

Boeing currently has 35 787s completed or in production, with eight now flying, six of which are part of the certification effort expected to culminate with first delivery to Japan's All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of this year.

The facility is expected to generate 450 jobs on a temporary basis with an additional 1,700 on site to assist if needed.

The San Antonio facility is also hosting maintenance and modification work for the KC-135 Programmed Depot Maintenance, KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management, C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership and the C-130 Avionics Modernization Programme.

Boeing says the 787 work will be performed from March 2011 through 2013.