Posts Tagged 'B787'

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Order Cancelled by S7

It looks like airlines around the world are starting to have enough of the recent delays from aircraft manufacturers while they are developing new airliners. The Airbus A380 was late by 1.5 years, Sukhoi’s SuperJet is also well behind schedule, not to mention Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner, latest hit by the machinist’s/assembly workers’ 2 month strike last fall.

s7_logo_wideS7 Airlines, Russia’s biggest domestic airline is the first airline to have confirmed the cancellation of its full order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. As widely known, Boeing’s promising new Dreamliner has not flown yet, and is more than 2 years behind the original schedule. The first plane should have been delivered to All Nippon Airways last year, before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but the plane has yet to take to the skies for the first ime. S7 is the first carrier to actually terminate a major deal for Boeing’s next generation widebody airplane.

The May 2007 order placed for 15 787s, due to be delivered in 2014, was worth about USD$2.4 billion at list prices and also included 10 purchase rights. The cancellation is a blow for Boeing, as other customers standing in line for the Dreamliner and simply acknowledging each news about further delays (the manufacturer has delayed the 787 program five (!) times already) may get powered up and decide to also cancel their orders. The current financial crisis is hitting practically all airlines around the world really bad, thus cost-cutting is vital for them. And Boeing running so much behind its schedule and not fulfilling its contractual duties, is in a bad position to protect and save these deals, while airlines may see 787 Dreamliner order cancellations as an effective way of saving some money in these hard times.

s7_boeing_b787_dreamliner

The order is gone, but we may still see the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in S7 livery

The airline (formerly known as Siberia Airlines), did not offer a reason for the cancellation but said in a statement that it “retains interest in using the Dreamliner and at the moment is looking into receiving the planes under a leasing scheme at an earlier date, for which it is in negotiations with several leasing companies.

Boeing’s 787 backlog now stands at 895 from 58 customers. Overall, it has taken 914 gross orders for the Dreamliner. In addition to the S7 cancellation, Xiamen Airlines in 2006 replaced an order for three 787s with an order for seven 737-800s and Azerbaijan Airlines replaced one 787 with one 767-300ER last summer.

Boeing has originally planned to deliver around 100 787s in 2009…

by balint01

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Boeing to Further Delay 787 Dreamliner

DreamlinerAccording to reports around Air Travel News Online, and even The Wall Street Journal, Boeing is set to announce another delay in the first flight of the new 787 Dreamliner, which will now be scheduled for June 2008 instead of the original September 2007. It is reported that Boeing will announce today that they will not deliver any 787 to their customers this year. The first plane was to be delivered to Japanese carrier ANA sometime in May, just in time before the Beijing Olympics. This further delay puts the plans of delivering 109 (!) planes to customers in 2009 also in jeopardy.

Boeing shares have dropped yesterday based on this information, which at this point is coming from an unknown source. The company staged an elaborate international rollout ceremony in July, but the aircraft it unveiled was held together by numerous temporary fasteners and did not include flight control system software and other key parts. The manufacturer has detailed numerous problems with its global supply chain. Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson has said that “traveled work” from suppliers arrived at its final assembly plant in Everett “out of sequence” and with inadequate documentation. It also has contended with a global fastener shortage.

Boeing announced the first delay of 6 months in October 2007.

by balint01

Earlier articles about the Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Delivery Delayed By 6 Months

Boeing has announced that the first delivery of the long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be delayed by at least 6 months. Industry analysts have foreseen this announcement coming, especially since Boeing earlier had to postpone the first flight tests of the 787 by two months, which would have caused a very ambitious and extremely tight flight test schedule. That news were communicated early September, two months after the ceremonial rollout of the first aircraft.

B787 At The Rollout 

The first flight was originally planned for September 2007, then it was delayed to late November or December 2007 (due to software problems and shortage of bolts), and now the company says, the first flight has been pushed back to the end of the first quarter in 2008. That alone represents a 6 months delay in the program, but with the new first delivery date, it looks like the original test schedule will be in place (actually they have added an extra month to it), and tests will not be rushed through. They now plan for a test period of 8 months, while the flight testing and certification on Boeing’s last new airliner, the 777, took 11 months some years ago.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan, that is the launch customer for the 787 will receive its first aircraft instead of MAY2008, around late November or early December. The delay is a blow to ANA, which was hoping to fly passengers to next summer’s Beijing Olympic Games in the initial planes of its planned 50-strong 787 fleet. By the delay of the first delivery, approximately a further 30-35 787s scheduled for delivery in 2008 will slide into 2009, affecting around 15 customers. However, Boeing expects to have delivered 109 aircraft by the end of 2009, only three fewer than originally contemplated. While calling it “an aggressive plan,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson  said he “remains confident it is achievable.” Airlines with orders for the first 100 Dreamliners may have problems finding replacement planes while waiting for 787s, but may also be entitled to compensation from Boeing. Qantas for example, one of the world’s largest buyers of the new plane, said Boeing had assured it that the first of the 15 aircraft scheduled for delivery from August 2008 would still arrive within six months of the original delivery date. “Boeing said the August 2008 aircraft would slip, but not by six months. Once that aircraft arrives, the remaining 14 aircraft deliveries will be staggered until December 2009,” Qantas Chief Executive Geoff Dixon said in a statement, which echoes Boeing’s announcement, that they plan to eliminate the backlog in deliveries caused by the shift of the first delivery, by the end of 2009.

The delay may be embarrassing for Boeing, as they have repeatedly said they will not follow Airbus in its test and delivery delays connected to the new Airbus A380 superjumbo. Airbus had problems with the wiring of its two floor aircraft, while Boeing is now struggling in the assembly of its first composite airplane. During a webcast yesterday, Carson said the issues driving the decision revolved around “traveled work and parts availability on aircraft number 1. It simply proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated to complete the out-of-sequence work in our Everett factory.” He said the main problems were installing parts of the plane’s structure, which had been thrown out of sequence by some suppliers sending incomplete work to Boeing’s main plant, aggravated by a shortage of some small parts. Flight control software and systems integration activities are not pacing items in the revised schedule for first flight, he added.

by balint01

British Airways Orders Airbus A380’s And Boeing 787’s

Airbus A380 in BA colors - by Airbus

 

 

British Airways has announced today what the airline industry has been looking forward to for a long time: the first orders to replace their long-haul fleet.

BA that has been using Boeing 57 B747-400’s and 43 B777’s and 14 B767-300’s for long-haul travels, have decided to place firm orders for 12 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners to replace 34 of their older planes (20 B747 jumbojets and all 14 B767-300’s). This also means an increase of 2 planes in the fleet. The order includes options for a further 7 A380’s and 18 B787’s.

BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh told reporters the airline would use the A380 superjumbo to make best use of its limited take-off slots at London’s crowded Heathrow Airport and will be the first long-haul Airbus BA would ever use. It will fly on routes from London to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa (Johannesburg) and the west coast of the United States (Los Angeles and San Francicso) and possibly to Indian destinations as well. The 24 mid-sized 787 Dreamliners, will be used to open up new routes and increase the frequency of flights on existing ones. The two types of new aircraft will be delivered between 2010 and 2014, with the first 787 joining the fleet in 2010 and the firs A380 in 2012.

He denied the company had experienced political pressure to buy the superjumbo, the wings and engines of which will be built in Britain. “There was absolutely none,” he told reporters. “There was no contact, be it formal or informal. The decision was made in the best interest of British Airways. In the engines, the choice of Rolls-Royce was because British is best.” He also added that environmental concerns were a critical consideration: “These aircraft set the gold standard when it comes to environmental performance. . .[and] will contribute significantly to our target of improving fuel efficiency by 25% between 2005 and 2025.”  BA took delivery of its first B747 jumbo on April 22, 1970, becoming just the fifth airline to get one and had used all types of the largest Boeing aircraft. That tradition will be broken now, as even though the new B747-8 is out on the market (and Lufthansa has ordered a few pieces of it as well), BA chose the A380.

BA said it was considering aircraft to replace a further 37 Boeing 747s and is examining the Boeing 777-300 ER, the Airbus A350XWB, as well as a stretched version of Boeing’s 787, the 787-10, which the planemaker has yet to launch to replace the remaining 747-400s. A follow-up order should not be expected before 2010 according to BA.

by balint01

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Composite Airframe May Be Unsafe?

A former employee of Boeing who has been laid off last year claims that the new carbon-composite airframe of the upcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliner may be unsafe. According to ATW News, Vince Weldon who had worked for Boeing for 46 years claims in an interview with journalist Dan Rather that he was fired in 2006 because he pointed out safety glitches in relation to this new breakthrough technology to be used widely in the construction of the Dreamliner (composite is to replace aluminium in the bodyframe of the airliner).

The new Dreamliner – which was revealed a little more than two months ago – is to have a body fully built from composite materials, which guarantee weight reduction (thus increased fuel efficiency and less environmental harm), as well as the possibility of more humidity in the passenger cabin, which would reduce the effects of flying on the human body. At the time when he was laid off, he was working for the Phantom Works technology centre of Boeing, developing the new composite plastic materials for the new aircraft. Boeing officially claims they had to fire him as he had assaulted his bosses several times.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Composite Fuselage - by Boeing

The former employee claims that the new structure carries several risks, which are known to Boeing as well, who try to hide it as they wish to begin manufacturing and delivering the aircraft as soon as possible. Boeing has more than 700 firm orders for the aircraft already, the first one due for delivery to ANA in MAY2008. The former engineer says he can support his arguments with archived internal e-mails between Boeing colleagues, while Boeing announced that they were earlier faced with such problems, which have been solved by nowThese risks according to Mr. Weldon would be:

 

  • the brittle carbon-composite compounds based airframe would break much easier than the traditional, more flexible aluminium aircraft body in an emergency landing for example (more likely to shatter on any impact actually),
  • if ignited and catching fire, it would omit poisonous and toxic gases and chemicals while burning,
  • the fuselage is less resistant to lightnings while flying,
  • any damages are harder to see and visually locate.

According to him these risks would reduce the chance of survival in case of an accident involving any of the above described situations. Just to remember: last week a McDonnel Douglas airplane has broken in two and caught fire during an (emergency) landing in Thailand, claiming 88 deaths and leaving 42 survivors who could escape the burning airplane – so such a situation can happen with a traditionally built aluminium aircraft as well unfortunately, but he says the risk of such a situation largely increases by the usage of composite materials.

The B787 is currently undergoing the tests of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will allow the production later on if all tests are passed, and therefore justify the worries expressed above, or reject them. The first crash-tests (drop-tests) brought good results for the new aircraft, but most of the testing (and all flight tests) are still to take place in a reduced, speeded up schedule of about 6 months – much shorter than previous airliner programs (see our earlier post about the delay of the first flight).

At first one could even think that these arguments may be fueled by Airbus but separately last week Airbus confirmed to ATWOnline that it has ditched the aluminum frame for a composite frame on the A350 XWB. The move came after key customers ILFC and Emirates expressed concerns about maintenance on an aluminum structure. The original plan involved composite panels on an aluminium frame, but now Airbus has voted to go for an all-composite structure, similar to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which suggests that the technology must be safe enough to be rolled out to production.

An Airbus spokesperson said last week that the decision was taken for “simplification of maintenance.” (Mr. Weldon argues that maintenance of composite structures becomes more complicated due to some damages remaining invisible…) The company expects to complete design refinement by year end with first delivery in late 2013 (some 5 years behind the planned first delivery of the 787).

So what can we do? I think the best is to wait for the test results of the 787, which will be the first aircraft with a composite airframe, but the doubt will now be there in some people’s minds for sure. I’m still excited to fly the Dreamliner and am looking forward to a better, more humanly onboard environment with the different pressure and humidity, that would never be possible in an aluminium framed aircraft and of course hope that such risks mentioned above will never be tested in real life…

by balint01

Dreamliner

Boeing’s 787 was called Dreamliner before it became 787. Why?

Take a look at these pictures and decide it yourself:

The Dreamliner
OK, A 380 looks good, too. So why is Dreamliner really a dream aircraft for an airline? Its size is the same as 767 – a small plane among the big ones. Dreamliner can be operated on a much lower cost though as the new engines burn 25% less fuel than 767. he medium sized plane can be easily loaded both on short and long haul and due to low operation costs, it can be very cost effective destinations and for luxury purposes mostly. Today I was still a little bit for the airline. A veryThe Dreamliner basic proof of this idea is the fact Ryanair has already ordered 130 of these and apparently they will change their complete fleet and use only 787s. A 380s were ordered only by airlines with massive long haul surprised to read it in the news that Aeroflot ordered Dreamliners. Not because it wasn’t a logical decision. Rather because I thought it was unreachably expensive for an Eastern European airline, but apparently it is not the fact. Aeroflot is getting prepared for the upcoming competition in Russia. They joined Sky Team, one of the 3 main alliances in the world and now they are renewing their fleet. They are still state-owned, which is always a huge wieght an airline needs to carry, but I really hope they will cope with the new business situation.


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