The Boeing 787 Dreamliner factory in Everett, Wash., continues to bustle as the company allows partners extra time to complete work on fuselage sections for the 23rd and 24th airplanes. During the last week of April, Boeing adjusted its schedule by 24 manufacturing days and asked suppliers to refrain from sending incomplete components to Everett for the two Dreamliners. The suppliers, which Boeing declined to name, suffered from parts shortages and other difficulties. Boeing insists it has built enough “buffer” into its production schedule to avoid such traveled work without affecting its own production schedules.
According to a Boeing spokesperson, the move will not affect the number of 787 Dreamliners the manufacturer plans to build this year or its plan to begin delivering airplanes during the fourth quarter, nor will it affect employment in Everett, Wash. “We have ample work to do on the airplanes already in flow here so the team will remain very busy,” said the spokesperson. “We don't discuss our production rates, but I can tell you that this action will affect the load of two airplanes.” She stressed that only a few of the suppliers in the 787 supply chain have experienced problems.
Boeing loaded the 22nd Dreamliner into the final body join during the last week of April and the final assembly line holds four 787s in four different positions, while technicians continue to work on other airplanes on site.
Twenty-four manufacturing days equates to more than one calendar month, meaning final assembly on 787 S/N 23 likely won't start until next month. Boeing has experienced difficulty “ramping up” its production to two airplanes per month, and this latest setback will likely lead to doubts about its plans to reach a rate to 2.5 Dreamliners per month by August. The first 787 Dreamliner (ZA001) made its first flight on December 15.