Boeing officials today offered a qualified endorsement of the 787’s revised flight test and delivery schedule during the most comprehensive programme update since a six-month delay for first delivery announced in mid-October.
The programme remains on track for power-on in late January and first flight in late-March, but the company acknowledges that improvement is necessary to meet delivery and production ramp-up goals later in 2008 and 2009.
“With the rate of improvement we are making we should be able to meet our commitments,” says Pat Shanahan, VP and general manager for the 787 programme [see cutaway].
Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, adds that the revised plan is “aggressive but within more normal margins”.
Shanahan, who replaced Mike Bair in mid-October, says his focus is on reducing the amount of unfinished work reaching the 787 assembly centre in Everett, Washington, and making the supply chain ready to deliver the first 109 aircraft by end of 2009.
In addition, Shanahan confirms that Boeing and the US FAA have reached agreement on certification requirements for the predominantly composite fuselage of the new widebody jet.
Boeing’s original schedule called for having first flight as early as late August, followed by entry into service with All Nippon Airways in May 2008.
But assembly of the first aircraft was delayed by an unexpectedly high -- and sometimes undocumented – amount of traveled work, as well as by delays with development of the Honeywell-supplied flight control software, according to Boeing officials.
For the latest on the 787 update, go to Flightblogger's ongoing coverage.