Unmentioned but hanging over Boeing’s latest announced 787 delay is the company’s ongoing challenge to the awarding of the Air Force tanker contract, which went to rivals Northrop/Airbus. The Lazy B’s newest admission it can’t make a self-set deadline to produce the new Dreamliner bolsters the AF concern that Boeing can’t keep its production promises -- one of the concerns the government aired in explaining why it valued the Airbus bid over Boeing.
In today’s announcement, via e-mail, Webcast and conference call, Boeing confirmed earlier news reports that it has now moved the first flight into the last quarter of this year and deliveries won’t begin until nearly a year later. That’s six more months added to an already-announced half-year delay.
Once more, the primary cause was Boeing’s supposedly cost-effective production strategy of importing sections of the plane from around the globe and putting it all together in Everett. Says Scott Carlson, head of Boeing Commerical in Seattle:
Over the past few months, we have taken strong actions to confront and overcome start-up issues on the program, and we have made solid progress. Nevertheless, the traveled work situation and some unanticipated rework have prevented us from hitting the milestones we laid out in January.
In non-corporateese, they promised what they so far can’t deliver -- amid another round of cheers from Mobile and Toulouse.