Farnborough: Boeing unconcerned over 787 schedule hitches

Farnborough
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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By Kerry Ezard at the Farnborough air show

Boeing remains adamant that its 787 production timetable will not slip, despite admitting that some undisclosed aspects of the programme are behind schedule.

Speaking at the Farnborough air show, Boeing 787 general manager Mike Bair said: “Not every aspect of the programme is on schedule but we’ve got enough going on to support the commitments we made to our customers.” He does not specify which aspects have fallen behind schedule.

The revelation comes on the heels of EADS’ announcement that production problems have caused the delivery schedule of the Airbus A380 to slip by up to seven months. But Bair is confident that Boeing can avoid the same fate, due in part to the 787’s “fairly simple wiring package”.

“I don’t know all the details of what’s happening with the A380 but, if it is wiring, then the 787’s wireless in-flight entertainment system means there is a huge reduction in complexity,” says Bair.

He adds that the 787 is also less likely to experience production delays because “composites are far more predictable than aluminium”. Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Alan Mulally shrugged off concerns that aspects of the 787 timetable had slipped, stating that the airframer’s close partnership with suppliers would allow it to concentrate resources in areas which needed them.

He claims that, with the 787, the manufacturer is in a “better position” with respect to the schedule than it has been on other aircraft programmes. Flight tests of the 787 are scheduled to begin around the end of August 2007.