Another production slowdown for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner

Jul 12, 2011

For the fifth time, Boeing has stopped deliveries of airplane sections for its 787 Dreamliner from suppliers to the assembly line, once again slowing production.

The freeze will temporarily halt the production line in Everett so mechanics there can catch up on work. But the ripple effect will be felt in four of Boeings major plants – from Italy to Japan, to the new plant in South Carolina.

Scott Lefeber, a spokesman for Boeing, said the reason is a shortage of "spot parts. " He also said there’s work to be re-done on trouble spots which is not uncommon after the flight-test phase of production.      

Delivery said to be on schedule

Despite the pause in final assembly of the aircrafts, Lefeber insists delivery of the 787s remains on target. He said:

"Work continues in all areas of production in all airplanes. This adjustment does not affect our first delivery timing or our longer term rate plans."

That means airlines like All Nippon and United Airlines can  still expect to receive their new Dreamliners on time.

The 787 is already about three years behind schedule but rival Airbus shouldn’t get too excited by this current delay says Scott Hamilton, an aviation analyst with Leeham Company:

"There’s nothing that Airbus can do to take advantage of this 30-day slow down even if it wanted to."

According to Hamilton, Airbus has its hands full with several years of production orders for its A330 – the Dreamliner’s direct competition, putting any new orders at the back of the line.