Boeing: No 787, 747 fall-out from Japan quake

By Julie Johnsson
Posted March 23 at 11:28 a.m.

Japan’s natural and man-made disasters haven’t affected aircraft production at Boeing Co., or slowed flight-testing of its 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 jumbo jets, an executive of the aerospace manufacturer said Wednesday.

Boeing’s largest Japanese suppliers were located well outside of the area devastated by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami and the manufacturer has been able to resolve minor parts shortages at other suppliers, said James Bell, Boeing’s corporate president, chief financial officer and executive vice-president, at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense Conference.

“So far, so good,” Bell said. “But obviously we will continue to watch it.”

The Chicago-based aerospace company can ill-afford any further disruption as it gains federal certification necessary to begin deliveries of the aircraft, which are running years behind schedule.

Bell was upbeat about progress on the Dreamliner, which is slated to be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways by mid-year, more than three years behind schedule.

Boeing has completed about 85 percent of flight-testing on 787s powered by Rolls Royce engines and about 65 percent of the testing for General Electric-powered Dreamliners, which are slated for later delivery.

The bulk of critical testing on the all-new aircraft, built largely of super-hardened plastics that mimic metal, has been completed, Bell said. Remaining flight-tests will focus on meeting certification requirements for operating twin-engine aircraft on long trans-oceanic flights.

Boeing engineers continue to tackle the heavy workload of design tweaks and upgrades to already built 787 and 747-8 aircraft as the company fixes flaws identified during the testing process, like heavy condensation on the 787 dubbed “rain in the plane.”

“Although challenging, all of those metrics are tracking well,” Bell said.

Boeing aims to deliver the first stretched 747 freighter mid-year, and a passenger version of the jet by year’s end, Bell said. The 747-8 Intercontinental, as the passenger version is called, took its first flight on Sunday.

“We did a lot better job on it than the freighter in terms of development process,” Bell said.

Boeing shares were trading at $72.33, up nearly 1%, as of mid-day Wednesday.‎

Read more about the topics in this post: , , , ,

Companies in this article


Read more about this company »

Comments are closed.