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Sat, Jun 09, 2012

Boeing Finishes First 787 To Go Directly To 'Preflight Operations'

Airplane Will Not Need Major Additional Work Before Delivery

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner that recently rolled off the factory floor looks much like all the other Dreamliners previously completed ... but the 66th 787 to be completed this week in Everett, WA, is different. It is the first of the composite airliners that will not need extensive additional work before it can be moved into "Preflight Operations" status.

Up until this airplane, Dreamliners were coming off the assembly line still needing the completion of many ... sometimes reportedly thousands ... of additional processes before the airplanes were ready to fly. The reasons ranged from parts shortages to design changes. All of those airplanes went to a separate hangar in Everett to be finished.

The Wall Street Journal reports that this 66th airplane to come off the line needed only about 300 additional steps to be considered 'finished', which is above Boeing's stated goal of 100 but far below the 6,000 or so reported to have been necessary on the earliest airplanes.

In a statement, Boeing said this "will be the first airplane to go straight into preflight operations" from the assembly line in Everett. While the first Dreamliner to come out of the South Carolina factory required fewer than 100 completion steps, Boeing officials said that airplane had been in production for nearly eight months, compared to the five-week average at Everett. The Washington State facility can roll a Dreamliner out the door every six to eight days, on average.

It's unclear what kind of savings Boeing will realize by producing finished airplanes, but analysts agree that it is an important cost-savings measure.

In a related development, Boeing confirmed Friday that Jakarta-based Lion Air announced a commitment to order five 787 Dreamliners for its newly launched premium carrier Batik Air. When finalized, the agreement will be worth $967.5 million at list prices.



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