Three years ago, Boeing product support experts started thinking about new ways to take care of the 787 fleet. Many small airlines and startups were placing orders for the new airplane, and Boeing figured some airlines might want to focus more on getting customers to destinations and less on the logistics of operating and maintaining complex jet airliners. The U.S.
The need for tier-one aerospace suppliers to assume systems integration roles in major programs is viewed as conventional wisdom, but five years ago when Smiths (Chalet P1-5) started making this move it was not a decision to be taken lightly. According to Smiths Aerospace president Dr. John Ferrie, the leap up the supply chain has meant substantial extra investment, with $200 million to be plowed into new programs this year alone.
Boeing last month quietly booked a single order for a 747-8 “Intercontinental” jet– its first for a passenger 747 in several years and thought to be a VIP variant for Qatar Airways. Boeing believes it can sell 450 examples of the newly stretched 747-8.
Messier-Bugatti (Hall 4 Stand B12) is scheduled to deliver the first complete braking system for the Boeing 787-8 airliner by December. The first all-electric brakes on a civil aircraft promises a weight savings and improved performance as well as maintenance ease and added safety. To support 787 production, the French company has established a workshop in Seattle within close proximity to the big airframer.
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Boeing adopted the mantle of systems integrator in a big way with the 787, calling on a group of international partners to produce complete subassemblies for an aircraft that it will assemble in days. It also took the bold step of opting for a composite primary structure throughout, with advantages including lower maintenance costs, increased airframe life and significantly reduced weight.
Failure of a large Boeing 787 composites fuselage-barrel test section is not expected to delay the new jetliner’s initial services with Japan’s All Nippon Airways in just under two years’ time. Boeing is relying on successful production of composite structures, which constitutes a significantly larger part of the new design–including the entire fuselage–than any of its previous jetliners.
Wholly owned Boeing subsidiary Alteon Training has confirmed that it plans to place Boeing 787 training suites in Australia, India and Singapore, increasing to seven the number of its Dreamliner training locations. The U.S. firm previously confirmed Tokyo, Seattle, London-Gatwick and China.
Boeing Business Jets celebrated its 10th anniversary yesterday with cake, champagne and good news. Company president Steven Hill said, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate ten years of success in the VIP market than with a new family member.”
Boeing has taken the first orders for executive versions of its new 787 Dreamliner and the next-generation 747-8 Intercontinental. According to the OEM, two 787s are listed as sold through Boeing Business Jets. A source at Boeing Business Jets confirmed the 787 orders but declined to provide additional details. Selection of an independent completion center to do the interior has yet to be made.