LOS ANGELES Fresh off
winning approval of a fix to its 787 Dreamliner after it was
grounded for three months, aerospace giant Boeing Co. is still
aiming to meet this years original delivery forecasts for
Despite what will amount to a
nearly four-month hiatus in 787 deliveries, Boeing still
intends to deliver "greater than 60 787s during 2013,"
chairman, president and chief executive officer Jim McNerney
said during a conference call with securities analysts April
Boeing stopped delivering 787s
in January and grounded planes already in service after two
high-profile lithium-ion battery failures, although the
companys suppliers said they were instructed to continue
producing Dreamliner parts and components (
amm.com, Jan. 17).
Once the Federal Aviation
Administration approved Boeings proposed battery fix late
last week, the company "immediately" began to install new
batteries on the 10 aircraft already in service and on nine
production planes, he said. Deliveries will resume in early
"Production health on the 787
continues to improve and we remain on track to increase the
rate to 10 per month by year-end," McNerney said.
While McNerney said Boeing has
achieved a "rate break" to seven 787s per month, a Boeing
spokesman later explained thatwhile the supply chain is
working at a monthly pace of seven planes, as are the
787s final assembly lines in Everett, Wash., and North
Charleston, S.C.its rollout target of seven planes per
month still wont be reached until mid-year, as previously
McNerney also confirmed during
the call that the Chicago-based company plans to switch from a
primarily aluminum wing to an "all-new composite wing" for the
next version of the wide-body 777X aircraft, which it expects
will enter the market "around the end of the decade."
One of the 777Xs biggest
beneficiaries could be the titanium industry, sources said. The
titanium buy-weight content of the planes earlier
versions had been estimated 120,000 to 140,000 pounds,
depending on whether the engine is included.
Another industry likely to
benefit from Boeings decision to use a composite wing is
fasteners. Industry sources estimate that greater use of
titanium fasteners as well as other products that come in
contact with composites could raise the planes titanium
buy-weight by 5 to 10 percent.
"This is a big composite wing,"
Boeing reported earnings of
$1.11 billion for the three months ended March 31 vs. $923
million in the year-ago quarter on revenues of $18.89 billion,
down from $19.38 billion in the same comparison.
In other first-quarter news, Boeing picked General Electric
Co. as the sole source of the 777Xs new engine, the