Boeing has rolled out of the factory the first 787 Dreamliner to be built at the increased production rate of seven airplanes per month. The airplane, which rolled out earlier this week, is the 114th 787 to be built overall and the 100th 787 to be built at the Everett, Wash., factory. Boeing’s 787 program is on track to achieve a planned 10 per month rate by year-end. The production rate accounts for airplanes built at the Everett Final Assembly facility, the Everett Temporary Surge Line and Boeing South Carolina. To date, 50 787s have been delivered to eight airlines. The program has more than 800 unfilled orders with 58 customers worldwide.
On the other hand, problematic 787 batteries which caused the almost six month grounding are to have an X-ray examination in order to help investigators identify the real causes of the problems:
The batteries that resulted in Boeing 787 Dreamliners months-long grounding across the globe have been ordered to undergo X-rays to aid investigators in finding out what caused them to overheat and catch fire. The National Transportation Safety Board, which recently held two days of hearings to better understand how the batteries malfunctioned, is expected to begin the scans next week. They’re not expected to delay the plane going back into service, which will be staggered over the next six weeks. The failure of two batteries first grounded the fleet in January.
More importantly, Boeing aims to produce 10 Dreamliner airplanes per month by the year end in order to cover global demand for the aircraft:
After months of headaches brought on by its 787 Dreamliner jet, Boeing Co. is now back on track and even speeding the production rate of the new airliner. The aerospace giant said it has increased the production rate of seven airplanes per month at its Everett, Wash., factory. The program is set to reach 10 per month by year-end. It’s good news for the beleaguered 787 program. Around the world, all 787s had been grounded from Jan. 16 until late last month because of safety concerns with the plane’s lithium-ion battery system. During that time, Boeing had not been allowed to deliver any new 787s but continued building them. Before the grounding order, the company delivered 50 of the planes to eight airlines worldwide, including United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier that operates 787s. The program has more than 800 unfilled orders with 58 customers worldwide. Final assembly of the 787 is in Everett, but the bulk of the large components arrive from suppliers around the world already assembled. There are about 50 suppliers in California alone. Boeing has had to redesign the 787’s battery system after two overheating incidents this year — one of which resulted in a fire. The planes that were already built had to be retrofitted with the new design, and some airlines have already begun 787 commercial flights. United said it plans to enter its planes into operation on May 31.
On the other hand, Japan’s All Nippon Airways is to put its Dreamliner aircraft back in normal flight schedule by June 1, as it is the biggest user of Boeing 787 till now:
All Nippon Airways (ANA), launch customer for the Boeing 787, said it willresume Dreamliner services from June 1, following the completion of a series of battery system modifications, safety checks and test flights. ANA grounded its 787s in January after one of its aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing following an incident related to its lithium ion battery system. The reintroduction of the 787 aircraft will result in partial amendments to ANA’s summer flight schedule for international and domestic services, the company said in a statement. “ANA will also introduce the 787 onto a further three international routes from this summer—Narita to Beijing and Shanghai and Haneda to Taipei—bringing the number of overseas destinations served by the 787 to five,” ANA said. ANA president and CEO Osamu Shinobe said “Our engineers have worked closely with Boeing to undertake the required improvements and we are fully satisfied with the safety of our 787 fleet.”
Finally, the Dreamliner story unveils the true price of innovation for Boeing which has faced a serious crisis situation since last January. But innovation is worth the effort as the Boeing 787 will soon prove in the aviation industry.