Boeing postpones 787 surge line activation until 4Q

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Boeing has quietly postponed activating an already constructed surge line set up for building more new 787s in Everett, Washington, until at least late September.

The surge line inside Building 40-26 has figured large in discussions about Boeing's plan to ramp up 787 production from about 3.5 per month to 10 by the end of next year.

Boeing says construction of the surge line is complete, but the airframer will not use the space for production of new 787s for several months.

"Our plan is to utilise the surge line space for change incorporation airplanes throughout the summer months," Boeing says.

Dozens of 787s have been produced but cannot be delivered until they complete the change incorporation process. Boeing recently rolled out the first 787 to bypass change incorporation to Air India. But the first 65 787s that rolled off of the assembly line require some level of change incorporation before to pre-flight operations.

Boeing will now continue delivering clean 787s from two assembly lines in Everett and North Charleston, South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the surge line will focus during the third quarter on completing post-assembly modifications to the aircraft now awaiting delivery.

"We will activate the [surge] line later this year to support production in the [fourth quarter]," Boeing says.

The surge line will be activated as Boeing makes its next step-change in production out-put. All three assembly lines are scheduled to deliver a combined five 787s each month by the end of this year, then support a doubling of monthly output again within the next months.

The concept for the surge line was originally intended to mitigate the risk of further production delays.

Boeing is simultaneously starting up a new assembly line in North Charleston, completing development of the 787-9 variant as it quintuples production to 10 aircraft month over a two-year period, starting from late 2011.

The combined output of North Charleston and the surge line is expected to yield three 787s by the end of 2013.