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  • Comment: Boeing's 787 spin machine reverses course -- finally

Comment: Boeing's 787 spin machine reverses course -- finally

The aerospace community understands that designing a new aircraft from scratch is hard - make that very, very hard. It doesn't help that every new clean-sheet aircraft design has to reinvent the wheel in some capacity, whether it's integrating more composites or fashioning a completely different kind of supply chain on the fly.

While customers obviously appreciate perfection, nobody expects a problem-free development programme. It's how the airframers respond to difficulties that arise that determine how they are judged.

Over the course of the past year, Boeing has walked right up to the delicate line that divides spin from plain dishonesty. As delays stretched from a few weeks to at least 15 months, Boeing's repeatedly revised predictions and forecasts begged questions about the veracity of boastful public statements made sometimes weeks and in some cases even hours before another major delay announcement.

787 production
 © Boeing

Such behaviour may be understandable in the highly charged context of a multi-billion dollar commercial aircraft development programme. Even so, there is a cost, in terms of the company's credibility in the public mind and on Wall Street.

The past week has seen a dramatic - and welcome -reversal of Boeing's public posture on the 787 programme. Let's hope it's not too late.

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