Delta quiet on 787s......article

General Lee

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Delta quiet on 787 jets

Northwest’s original plans called for 18. Tabled earlier in the year, the order would improve emissions for the airline.

By Kelly Yamanouchi
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Monday, May 04, 2009
Will Delta fly the Dreamliner?
With Delta Air Lines’ acquisition of Northwest Airlines last year came an order Northwest had placed for 18 of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jets.

The plane is touted as the Next Big Thing in airliners: a twin-engine, long-haul jet that uses 20 percent less fuel and boasts passenger amenities such as bigger windows and better inside air quality. The Dreamliner could be as significant to aviation as hybrid cars are to the auto industry.
But Delta has been coy about its plans for the 787 since closing the merger.
Earlier this year, it dropped the Northwest orders from tables in financial reports, saying it was “in discussions with Boeing” because of delivery schedule delays caused by production issues and a strike at Boeing last fall.
Delta’s No. 2 executive, President Ed Bastian, said last week that Delta would have 10 787s flying today if the planes had been delivered on schedule. But he stopped short of saying the orders will be rescheduled.
“We think the 787 is a great platform for the future, and we’d like to see the 787 at some point here at Delta,” Bastian said. “But we just can’t speculate on any outcome.”
Airliner orders for a new model amount to a huge gamble, as they have to be made years before planes will arrive. At this point it’s unclear what the new schedule for 787 deliveries to Delta would be.
Airline orders for new planes also give an indication of how much an airline plans to grow in future years. Delta —- the world’s biggest carrier since the Northwest merger —- now has about 750 planes in its fleet.
Other than the 787s, Delta has orders to buy five Boeing 777s, three Boeing 737-700s, two Airbus 320s and five Airbus 319s. It also has orders for 33 Boeing 737-800s and four CRJ-900 regional jets but has deals to sell 31 of the 737s and assign two of the CRJ-900s to a regional carrier.
If Delta decides not to continue the 787 orders as Northwest negotiated them, it could seek to change the terms, cancel them or exchange them for orders of other aircraft, such as 777s already in its fleet.
Complicating the equation: Delta also has options, or reserved future production slots, for dozens more planes, including another 18 787s. Options typically carry dates by which an airline must confirm the order of give up the slots.
But amid the weak economy and challenges in the airline industry, Delta has been removing planes from its fleet as it cut capacity in the second half of 2008.
The cuts continue. Delta plans to cut its capacity by 6 percent to 8 percent later this year and take 40 to 50 of its aircraft and 30 regional jets out of its fleet this year. It also said it would ground its entire fleet of 14 Boeing 747 freighter jets. The 747 freighters also came with Delta’s acquisition of Northwest.
Boeing had once hoped to start delivering 787s in mid-2008, but by last December that date had been pushed back to early 2010.
Delta’s top executive for route planning, Glen Hauenstein, indicated that month that the newly merged airline may not keep all the orders for the 787s. And in March, Bastian was questioned about the company’s 787 order during a presentation at an investor conference in New York.
Other U.S. carriers that plan to fly the 787 are Continental and American. They and other early users of the 787 are likely to use it as a marketing tool, especially on international routes where Delta has expanded in recent years, despite recent pullbacks due to the recession.
“It’s important to anyone who’s trying to increase their international market exposure,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant at Teal Group in Fairfax, Va.
“Certainly the 787 is going to come in handy in Asian markets,” Aboulafia said.
On the other hand, adding another type of plane to Delta’s post-merger fleet “is probably not the most appealing move,” Aboulafia said. Delta added several new models from Northwest, and a high number of aircraft types complicates scheduling, maintenance and other elements of operations.
Boeing, which plans the first 787 test flight this summer, has said it expects “a modest level of order churn on the 787” this year. Some other airlines have canceled orders, and with the delays some might prefer to wait for a later version of the Dreamliner, experts say.
Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson isn’t showing his hand on the issue, but he said the plane brings important advances.
“The innovation that they’re bringing with the 787 long term is remarkable because, you know, we have to continue our quest toward reducing emissions,” he said. “The innovation that you see in that airplane is going to be key going forward to our conservation and environmental philosophies of zero carbon emissions.”

About the 787
Passengers: 210 to 250, base model, more than 300 in some variants
Range: 7650-8200 nautical miles
First flight: Planned for mid-2009
First delivery: Early 2010
Passenger amenities: Windows 25 percent bigger; cabin air system to allow more humidity and less pollution.
Innovations: Will burn 20 percent less fuel than current comparable jets, in part because lightweight composite materials make up 50 percent of the plane’s structure



Bye Bye--General Lee
 

iaflyer

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Boeing Says First 787 Flight on Track This Quarter

from today's Wall Street Journal

By ROBERT DANIEL

Boeing Co. affirmed that its 787 Dreamliner would be ready for first flight during the current quarter, saying all the "necessary structural tests required prior to first flight are now complete."
In recent weeks, the plane "completed a rigorous series of tests including build verification tests, structures and systems integration tests, landing-gear swings and factory gauntlet, which is the full simulation of the first flight using the actual airplane," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the Dreamliner program, in a statement issued late Sunday.
This simulation tested the plane's flight controls, hardware and software and included manual and automatic landings as well as "extensive" ground tests, the Chicago-based aerospace giant said.
In addition, all "structural tests required on the static airframe prior to first flight" are complete, Boeing said.
Boeing said the plane is now "on the flight line," awaiting additional power and systems tests and engine runs. "After completing final systems checks and high-speed taxi tests, the airplane will be ready for first flight, which is on schedule for later this quarter," Boeing said.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Quiet, because we are in negotiations with Boeing Commercial Aircraft Corp.

Makes sense.
 

ACL65PILOT

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FWIW, the power up tests went very fast. No issues and they are ahead of the schedule they have set.
 

whatitdoing?

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Is it still overweight? I'm sure the first few will be but I'm hearing that they're close to 20,000 pounds overweight. Anyone?
 

NuGuy

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Quiet, because we are in negotiations with Boeing Commercial Aircraft Corp.

Makes sense.
Heyas ACL,

No one knows how to put the screws to a supplier like RA and the rest of NWA (err, former NWA) management.

He's gonna make them twist until he wrings the last iota out of them, and then take their first born as well.

I wish this was over a 100 seater....

Nu
 

olympus593

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Bernstein Research sees further 787 delays, bigger range shortfall

Monday May 4, 2009 var era_rc = { ERADomain: 'atwonline.firstlightera.com' };
Boeing's 787 customers face delivery delays of up to an additional six months, according to a report issued Friday by New York-based Bernstein Research that also suggest a 10%-15% range shortfall for early delivery aircraft.
The May 1 client report, a wrapup after Boeing's 787 certification briefing on April 29 (ATWOnline, April 30), is Bernstein's sixth reassessment of 787 production and forecasts that the manufacturer will not reach its target production rate of 10 aircraft per month until mid-2013, six months later than the latest target (ATWOnline, Feb. 9).
Bernstein warned that it is "not comfortable with assuming that [Boeing] will achieve its goal of making first delivery in Q1 2010 to All Nippon Airways, and even less comfortable assuming a production rate of 10 per month by the end of 2012," and has thus "stretched the time from first flight to the target production rate by an additional six months, with production rates reaching six per month at the end of 2012 and reaching 10 per month in mid-2013." At its April 29 briefing, Boeing reiterated its plan to fly the 787 by June 30.
The report also expressed concern about the effect on production rates of the redesign required to address weight issues. Bernstein said it understands from customer and supplier discussions that the first production 787s are likely to be roughly 8% overweight, with range 10%-15% less than promised. "That will translate into a range near 6,900 nm., well below the promised 7,700-8,200 nm. range," it claimed.
"These values are worse than for most development programs and suggest that substantial redesign work will be necessary. . .but the Tier 1 suppliers have not yet validated their production capacities with the new production technology, and if substantial redesign is needed to reduce weight, it will further complicate a rapid increase in delivery rates," the report added.
In more bad news Bernstein cast doubt on the ambitious certification timeline for the 787, which it termed "challenging." It warned that the program involves substantial changes in materials, systems and manufacturing technology, creating many opportunities for surprises to emerge during the test program. "There will also be the challenge of getting all six aircraft ready for testing as planned," it said. Boeing was unable to respond to the report by publication deadline.
by Geoffrey Thomas
 
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