Boeing completes talks to buy Vought's share of Global Aeronautica

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Boeing has completed negotiations to buy out Vought Aircraft’s 50% share of the Global Aeronautica joint venture with Alenia.
The previously Alenia-Vought joint venture designs the centre fuselage for the Boeing 787 and is supposed to assemble fully-stuffed sections. After a supply chain breakdown that partly caused an at least 15-month delay for first delivery, Vought and Boeing agreed to the restructure the joint venture.

The deal “is done”, Vincenzo Caiazzo, chairman of Global Aeronautica, told reporters yesterday during a media tour of the joint venture’s headquarters. “It’s just formalities” that remain unfinished, he adds.

European government officials approved the transaction on 4 June, Caiazzo says.

787
 © Max Kingsley-Jones/Flight International

Bob Noble, Boeing’s director for 787 supplier management, declined to confirm the deal was concluded, but added that “you will be hearing more from Boeing in the coming days”.

Global Aeronautica was formed to become one of six major structural producers for the global 787 supply chain. The company’s 334,000-square-foot facility integrates sections 44 and 46 from Alenia, section 11/45 from Fuji Heavy Industries and section 43 from Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

The joint venture opened the facility in 2006, but got off to a late start and is still trying to recover.

A chart displayed inside the facility listed Boeing’s previous expectations for Global Aeronautica.

The chart showed that the schedule for “line number seven” – or the seventh production aircraft – should have been assembled in January 2008. Under Boeing’s latest revised schedule, Global Aeronautica is still waiting to receive the sections for line number 7 six months later.

The chart also showed that line number 36 would have started assembly in August on a third production line. Global Aeronautica still only operates portions of two production lines, and only about 30 aircraft are now scheduled to be delivered to customers before the end of 2009.

Despite the slow start, Global Aeronautica now reports making major progress. A major factor in the supply chain breakdown was the amount of traveled work reaching Boeing’s final assembly line in Everett, Washington.

Mario Capitelli, CEO of Global Aeronautica, reports that Global Aeronautica has shipped five centre fuselages, including three for flight test aircraft, one airframe for fatigue testing and one for static testing.

Boeing expects Global Aeronautica to deliver the first fully stuffed section – containing little, if any, traveled work – with line number 10, Capitelli says. But Global Aeronautica’s goal is to reach this belated milestone on line number eight.

At the moment, Global Aeronautica’s mechanics install about 100% of the structure and about 50% of the systems before the barrels are delivered. The systems work includes installing about 450 wire bundles, the ram air turbine, the electronics bay, hydraulics and ducting and tubing.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news