Boeing issued the following press release on Christmas Eve Eve. A careful reading of the press release makes it apparent that actual continuous airborne flight testing is not yet ready to resume. This is a one-off flight test.
Here is the press release:
US Sen. Carl Levin announced yesterday that he will hold a hearing by Feb. 1 into the snafu by the USAF over sending Boeing and EADS information about each other’s KC-X tanker submission.
We think this is appropriate, as we have written before. The Air Force and EADS must come forward with a detailed timeline and information about the what-when-where-why about this. So that there is a full airing, so does Boeing, though let’s be clear: the burden here appears to be on the USAF and EADS.
With Christmas around the corner, here are some year-end thoughts, absent any breaking news of some kind in the week ahead:
737 upgrade: Southwest Airlines continues to pressure Boeing to do something about a more fuel efficient airplane, and there has been some recent buzz when Flightblogger published a picture of a 737 re-engine concept, but we believe the re-engine has been shelved for now–more likely in favor of the 737NG+. Work continues on the Boeing NLT (New Light Twin.)
787 flight tests: It’s been widely suggested by observers and analysts flight tests will resume in January; we understand Boeing is working toward resuming them after Christmas (to clarify for the cynics and comics, this means Christmas 2010 and before New Year’s 2011). P100 panel, software fixes proceeding faster than expected–but will FAA sign off when Boeing desires? An announcement is expected, in Boeing tradition, on the eve of a holiday.
Boeing’s announcement today that it will boost production of the 777 from the previously announced 7/mo to 8.3/mo (100 a year) is good news for Boeing, its customers, the supply chain and (to be parochial about it) Washington State, where the airplanes are made.
But this isn’t all.
As we have previously written, Boeing is already thinking of boosting 737 production beyond the 38/mo previously announced, to as much as 42: 41 commercial 737s and one 737-based P-8A Poseidon, all assembled in Renton (WA). (The fuselage is built by Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita (KS), which at one time was Boeing’s facility.)
We learned that even 42/mo may not be the end of it. Boeing foresees the 737 production rate to as many as 50/mo.
Update, December 21: Flightblogger’s piece (referred to in the Dec. 19 update below) is now up: The price of the 787 sales success.
Dominic Gates published this story for the Sunday Seattle Times; it’s not good news for the 787.
Update, Dec. 19: There is more to come, this time from Flightblogger in the next day or two.