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PARIS AIR SHOW: Global Aeronautical plans recovery from 300-dage flow rate on 787

Shipset flow rates at Boeing 787 supply hub Global Aeronautica remain at around 300 days for each unit, but the company is "on track" to recover, a company executive confirms.

Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive for Alenia Aeronautica and co-chief operating officer of parent Finmeccanica, confirms the 300-day flow rate for completing assembly on the 787 centre fuselage at the Global Aeronautica factory in Charleston, South Carolina. Since Boeing acquired Vought's share last year, Global Aeronautica is a joint venture owned equally by Boeing and Alenia.

That production pace of slightly more than one unit a year is behind Boeing's plans to boost 787 production to 10 aircraft a month by 2012.

The chief culprit slowing output remains "travelled work" from suppliers in Japan and Alenia itself in Italy, Giordo says, although he declined to specify the percentage of unfinished components reaching Charleston. Travelled work means that final assembly operations in Charleston must halt for suppliers to install missing components.

But Boeing's supply chain is expecting to make dramatic improvement on travelled work within the next few months. All of Boeing's 787 suppliers, including Global Aeronautica and Alenia, have agreed to eliminate travelled work with the 14th airframe in production, Giordo says. Both Alenia and Global Aeronautica are on track to meet that goal, he added.

The 787 programme is running nearly two years behind schedule, having been slowed by a combination of labour strikes, travelled work and minor design mistakes. First delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways is now scheduled in the first quarter of 2010.

But the production ramp-up plan may require new investment in Global Aeronautica's factory tooling, Giordio says. Alenia and Boeing officials are discussing a potential investment in additional tooling to meet the 10-aircraft-per month production rate, he says.

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