Analyst's Report Cast Doubt On May 2008 Timeframe
One day after seeing the
its stock devalued on a report of imminent delays to its upcoming
787 Dreamliner program, Boeing went on the offensive Tuesday.
Acknowledging at least some of the reports are correct, the
American planemaker reaffirmed its pledge the Dreamliner will
Boeing spokeswoman Yvonne Leach said Tuesday the 787 will meet
its May 2008 delivery date, despite some parts suppliers being
As Aero-News reported,
Wachovia financial analyst Joe San Pietro speculated problems with
several 787 suppliers -- including Mitsubishi, which is making the
aircraft's wings, as well as Italian rear fuselage supplier Alenia
-- could lead to delivery delays of the popular composite-bodied
Wachovia's downgraded rating resulted in a one-day, three
percent drop in Boeing's stock price.
While she wouldn't comment on all the reported supplier
difficulties, Leach confirmed the first center wing box -- the
portion of the center fuselage that holds the wings, that traveled from Fuji Heavy Industries in
Japan to Global Aeronautica in Charleston, SC last
week -- was sent without
several preinstalled components. Those pieces included
wiring and hydraulics systems.
Leach says Boeing has contingency plans that can help suppliers
ramp up, and still meet the original timeframe.
Boeing will likely rely on those plans more than it may like,
however... as San Pietro noted in his analysis due to Boeing's
outsourcing of most of the 787's airframe, "Boeing has no internal
capability to manufacture the major components."
That means the planemaker has little leverage over its
suppliers... and leaves Boeing in a weakened position to threaten
suppliers if they can't meet the deadline. That could very well
spell trouble down the road.
For now, though, Boeing remains adamant its Dreamliner -- sales
of which over the past two years have led to a resurgence for the
planemaker -- will not fall prey to the same kinds of production
delays that European rival Airbus has experienced with
We'll see... as Boeing is rapidly nearing crunch time for the
new midsize jet, which is scheduled to later this year.