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Tue, Oct 30, 2007

Alenia Suspends 787 Fuselage Shipments

Says It's Awaiting Revised Plan From Boeing

Finmeccanica SpA subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica announced Monday it has suspended further shipments of Boeing 787 fuselage segments until the American planemaker sets a new schedule for production of the upcoming composite-bodied airliner.

Alenia contributes 14 percent of the 787's structure, including two fuselage segments and the horizontal stabilizer assembly. The company sent six shipments to the US before Boeing announced a six-month delay to the Dreamliner program earlier this month, and is almost done with components for the seventh and eighth aircraft.

Boeing admitted October 24 it's still having problems assembling fuselage segments on the 787, due primarily to a shortage of the specialized fasteners needed to join the composite barrel sections together... meaning the planemaker has little need for more parts than it can assemble.

"Boeing is finalizing the program but the problem is that we don't have a date at the moment," Alenia Composites CEO Maurizio Rosini told Bloomberg. He added the company has enough room at its plants in Grottaglie and Foggia to store finished sections until Boeing is ready for them.

In a separate interview, Finmeccanica COO Giorgio Zappa said Alenia contracted with Boeing to offer as many as seven shipments a month... with that rate increasing to 10 a month by the second half of 2008, as ANN reported.

"It's clear if they increase production, we could reach maybe 120 a year," Zappa said, while adding Boeing hasn't fixed such an optimistic schedule.

Despite the fact each shipment represents anywhere from $6 million to $8 million for Alenia, the company asserts the halt in deliveries will have "no financial impact."

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.alenia-aeronautica.it/

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