Wed, Mar 07, 2007
Alenia CEO Says Company Has Asked For 10+ Per Month
There's no denying Boeing has a hit on its hands with the
upcoming 787 Dreamliner; now, the American planemaker has to figure
out how to meet that demand, and get planes into its customers'
fleets. And that may prove problematic.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Boeing is asking one of
its suppliers to step up efforts to produce fuselage segments for
the 787. Currently, Finmeccanica SpA's Alenia Aeronautica is
contracted to provide Boeing with seven fuselages per month; the
planemaker is asking for as many as 10.
Alenia is spending over $720 million to produce several segments
of the Dreamliner's body, including two fuselage barrel sections
and the horizontal stabilizer assembly. In all, Alenia is slated to
build 14 percent of the 787's structure.
"We are now planning seven a month and also discussing the
possibility of 10 a month," said Alenia Chief Executive Giuseppe
Giordo. "If things continue as they are with 787 orders, we will
have to start talking to Boeing about more."
A spokeswoman with Boeing declined to comment on the company's
787 production plans, only stating any such decision on a
production increase would be made this summer.
The clock is definitely ticking for Boeing. With the first
flight of a prototype scheduled for later this year, Boeing's
current timetable calls for deliveries to begin in late 2008. The
planemaker has firm orders for 464 planes from 37 airlines.
There have already been setbacks. Last month, Boeing
acknowledged a small crack developed on a horizontal stab, produced
by Alenia, during a bird-strike
simulation. Boeing has also committed an
additional $1 billion to the Dreamliner program, in an effort to
keep other suppliers on track.
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