The news yesterday the Boeing resumed delivery of the 787 is good news, not just for Boeing and the airlines, but for all the stakeholders.
Although Boeing did not stop or slow production of the aircraft during the grounding, had the grounding continued for six months instead of 3 1/2 we saw, Boeing may well have had to slow down the supply chain.
The 50 airplanes in the field are slowly returning to service. The last are to be carrying passengers by next month.
Now it’s back to taking care of business.
The launch of the 787-10 was pushed to the right during the grounding. We fully expect this launch to come soon, perhaps at the Paris Air Show. The 777X received its Authority to Offer last month. We anticipate formal launch by year end, perhaps at the Dubai Air Show with a huge order from Emirates Airlines. We also think there will be some commitments announced at the Paris Air Show, by Qatar Airways, which always likes to make a splash at the European event.
Production for the 787 is ramping up toward the 10 per month goal Boeing set for the end of this year, and despite skeptics (we included), it looks like this will happen. But Boeing needs to go beyond 10/mo to 14 to accommodate the 787-10 and demand for the current offerings. With a planned 2018 EIS for the -10, there’s plenty of time to bring the supply chain into line for this.
Over at Airbus, the A350 MSN001 has been painted and is prepping for handover to flight test.
Odds and Ends: Avoiding risk; Avoid 787 goofs with 777X; Anticipation for the 777X; CSeries expectations
Avoiding Risk: Jetmakers avoid risk by revamping existing models.
Avoid 787 goofs with 777X: This Reuters article reports how challenging the brand damage has become with the 787 issues, and it’s not the first time we’ve heard the link.
Looking forward to 777X: Akbar Al-Baker didn’t say much during the grounding of the 787, but he’s back in the news now. He looks forward to the 777X but couldn’t resist complaining about the GE90 on the current 777. That’s odd: the GE90 has only been in service since the creation of the 777-300ER and is well regarded in the industry. But Al-Baker being Al-Baker–need we say more?
CSeries Expectations: Bombardier says first flight will be next month. Expectations are beginning to increase, according to this article.
Support for UAVs: Innovate Washington, an arm of the State, is promoting sites in Washington as test sites for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). There are 37 states seeking to become test sites for UAVs.
The Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance on April 30 issued an endorsement of the plan.
Boeing’s Insitu unit builds UAVs and is headquartered in Washington.
Qatar’s CEO on 787: Akbar Al-Baker, the outspoken CEO of Qatar Airways, was remarkably quiet during the three-month grounding of the Boeing 787. He’s usually a pain in the rear to a number of OEMs with his public criticism. He’s back in the news today. He says Boeing will compensate Qatar for the grounding and adds he thinks the grounding was an over-reaction to Social Media coverage of the JAL and ANA events. He said the evacuation of the ANA 787 was “unnecessary,” according to the news report.
Retry on Boeing apology: Seems we linked a Wall Street Journal article to the posting on Boeing’s apology in Japan for the 787 problems. Let’s try this one again: Here is the story we meant to link.
More on 747F crash: Flight Global’s air safety expert weighs in the the video of the National Air Cargo crash.
There’s a lot of news happening today and tomorrow.
NTSB Hearing: The NTSB hearing on the Japan Air Lines Boeing 787 battery fire is today and tomorrow. This can be followed live (and later archived) here.
Boeing Earnings Call: This is Wednesday, April 24. This can be followed here. Expect a fair amount of discussion about the impact of the 787 battery issues on earnings. Ordinarily we’d have our usual live running coverage but instead we will be at the…
US Airways Media Day: This airline has an annual media day and it was scheduled for today a long time ago. We’ve been a regular at this, and due to the pending American Airlines merger, apparently there is going to be big press demand: they had to move the venue from headquarters to a hotel location in Scottsdale. We’ll have several updates throughout the day.
787 Update: LOT Polish Airlines expects to return its two 787s to service in June; Ethiopian this month; the Japanese airlines could return the airplane to service this month but ANA plans up to 200 test flights first, so this will slip to May and perhaps June. It’s unclear when Japan Air Lines plans a return-to-service (RTS). Qatar Airways wants to RTS this month. United Air Lines appears planning next month.
NTSB Report Comes Today: The National Transportation Safety Board issues its preliminary report on the Boeing 787 JAL fire today, around 11am ET. Here is the NTSB 787 page that has been updated throughout the process. We’re traveling and may not be able to pick up the report as it comes out, so Readers, please do so and post in Comments; we’ll upgrade to a fresh post when able.
FAA readies OK for 787 plan: The FAA is expected to give Boeing the green light to begin implementing its proposed plans to fix the 787 battery issues. We expect this approval to be Friday or next week. Extensive testing will be required, but the length remains unclear. The NTSB report may or may not have implications.
Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation (the FAA is part of DOT), still has questions. See this Wall Street Journal article via Google News, so it should be readable to all. A key paragraph:
[P]ushback against a quick final decision from Mr. LaHood—who oversees the FAA and must sign off on any package of fixes—and from regulators in Japan threatens to delay the more important resumption of Dreamliner commercial flights for months, according to industry and government officials. (Emphasis added.)
A team of FAA technical experts is urging preliminary approval of Boeing’s plan, and FAA chief Michael Huerta appears likely to agree within a week or so, the officials said. That would establish a framework that could allow Boeing to begin test flights as soon as the third week in March. Results from those flights would have to be analyzed by agency officials and reviewed by Secretary LaHood and his staff before Boeing could seek permission to retrofit aircraft and seek new certification. Routine certification tests for batteries take four or five weeks, according to industry officials.
A350-800 future debated: Qatar Airways’ vociferous CEO, Akbar Al-Baker says Airbus is dropping the A350-800. Airbus says it’s not. (Also here.) Aeroturbopower has this interesting post on the subject.
Bombardier Reveals CSeries today: Bombardier will have its “reveal” of the CSeries today in a ceremony that isn’t quite a roll-out in the party-like fashion usually accompanying a new aircraft type. Rather, invited guests will visit the assembly line to see the completed aircraft. BBD isn’t taking the airplane off the production line so it doesn’t lose production time. The Wall Street Journal has this description via Google News.