Boeing last week confirmed that the long-running strike by its machinists will cause an even longer schedule delay for the 787 than previously acknowledged, but has yet to detail the exact changes to the timings for the airframer's first flight and deliveries.

Speaking during a briefing last week about its third quarter results, Boeing executives slightly adjusted expectations about the 787 schedule, with chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney saying that the delay from the eight-week-old strike will cause a "slightly" longer schedule slip than "day-for-day" forecast previously given. "We estimate day-for-day or a little bit more," McNerney says.

Boeing's 787 general manager Pat Shanahan had first predicted a day-for-day slip caused by any strike by the machinists in June this year. Boeing chief financial officer James Bell says that a ramp-up period would be necessary after the machinists returned before full production is restored.

 © Charles Conklin

Boeing's official target is to fly the a 787 in the fourth quarter of this year, with first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of 2009. Both dates represent a 15-month delay from the original schedule. As Boeing management sat down with the union for renewed talks last week, the strike had been running for around 50 days, so both of those dates have slipped by at least as much.

Boeing's scattered 787 production system had finally caught up with the revised programme schedule by the time the strike began on 6 September, McNerney says. Since then, the "gating has become now the assembly of the early airplane in our factory".

Source: Flight International