All Nippon Airways (ANA) said today it expects to take delivery of the first production Boeing 787 in September, roughly a month before a planned, inaugural charter flight between Toyko Narita International Airport and Hong Kong. Following a pair of one-hour, domestic excursions out of Narita, ANA plans to launch scheduled service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Okayama or between Haneda and Hiroshima.
ANA’s announcement comes as Boeing works through a 20-workday hold on major 787 supplier deliveries initiated earlier this month. The move marked the fifth time Boeing instituted a pause on the Dreamliner assembly line in the last year and a half.
“We have initiated a roughly 20-day adjustment to the loading of new airplanes into final-body join,” a Boeing spokesman told AIN. “We continue to make small schedule adjustments as needed to ensure the entire production system flows as designed and to minimize adverse impacts to final assembly. This is a proven approach that we began using last year.”
The so-called adjustments come as result of “temporary challenges related to spot parts shortages and remaining engineering change incorporation,” said the spokesman. “We began contacting supplier-partners earlier this month to advise them of their updated schedules so they can begin adjusting their resources to create additional time that they can use to complete scheduled work,” he added. “They will not stop production during this time.”
Although Boeing declined to specify when the line would return to normal operation, the further “small” schedule adjustments would seem to indicate that the hold could last more than 20 workdays–or well into August.
Now building two 787s a month, Boeing plans to increase that rate to 10 by the end of 2013. Under the plans, Boeing would build seven airplanes a month in Everett, Wash., and three at its new Charleston, N.C. facility. This latest hold, said the spokesman, will not affect those plans.
“This is the right step to take to make sure we deliver the best airplanes to our customers with the highest quality possible today, and to maintain that quality as we move up in rate in the next few years,” he said. “This adjustment does not affect our first delivery timing or longer term [production] rate plans.”