Boeing 787 to meet schedule despite engine blowout

Bloomberg News
Posted Sep. 28, 2010 at 5:35 a.m.

Rolls-Royce Group’s plan to recover from the August blowout of a 787 Dreamliner engine should allow the plane to meet its schedule, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Jim Albaugh. A Rolls-Royce team will brief Boeing today and tomorrow in Seattle, where Boeing builds its airliners, Albaugh said. The London-based engine-maker’s steps will let Boeing’s 787 enter service as planned early next year, he said.

“Rolls is stepping up, and we’ll take a hard look at the recovery plan, and based on what they told us, I think we’ll be OK,” Albaugh said in an interview yesterday. “They knew that they had the potential for what happened, and they have the fixes in to address that.”

Boeing delayed the 787’s first delivery last month for the sixth time, saying Rolls-Royce wasn’t going to be able to supply an engine needed to finish flight testing. A $17 million Trent 1000 blew up during testing on Aug. 2, forcing Rolls-Royce to close the plant for repairs. The Derby, England, site is used to test engines for the 787 and the Airbus SAS A350.

Rolls-Royce competes with General Electric Co. to supply engines for the Dreamliner, which is running almost three years behind schedule because of problems with the materials and new manufacturing system being used. The 787 is the first airliner with a fuselage and wings made of composites instead of aluminum.

Boeing, based in Chicago, parked one of its five Dreamliner test jets earlier this month to replace one of its two Rolls-Royce engines that had experienced a power surge before takeoff. Albaugh said a fix is already in place to address the issue, which Boeing has said was unrelated to the engine blowout.

Separately, a decision on a new engine for the 737 single-aisle jet, Boeing’s best-selling aircraft, could slip into next year instead of this year as planned, the executive said. Most customers don’t think the business case for a new engine makes sense and would prefer that Boeing instead develop a new airplane toward the end of this decade, he said.

“We’ll make a decision when we’re very comfortable with what the market wants,” Albaugh said. “If that’s this year, that’s fine, or if it’s next year — we just want to make sure we get it right.”

–Editors: Dave McCombs, Terje Langeland

Read more about the topics in this post: ,

Companies in this article


Read more about this company »

Comments are closed.