Boeing tomorrow will offer its second quarterly update on the progress of the 787 Dreamliner as it awaits its maiden voyage which could be delayed. Boeing has been saying late summer which technically means within the next 18 days, but the Seattle Times (ST), citing unnamed sources, reported Saturday that the first flight could be delayed until late October or beyond due to a fastener shortage. The 787 fastener shortage was broken in the Wall Street Journal on June 19. The ST story said that the plane rolled out on July 8 for the plane’s debut was held together with temporary fasteners which had to be replaced with permanent ones. "Power on" when all electrical systems are switched on is still weeks away, the ST reported.
Orders for the plane - 684 at last count, according to the company - have been so strong that the company is considering building 14-16 a month, double the highest rate for the any widebody jet from Boeing or Airbus, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. No doubt, the Boeing’s Everett plant is a busy place these days where Boeing execs and engineers try to reconcile booming demand with parts shortages and complex manufacturing logistics.
The Witchita Eagle also ran the ST story about the possible delay and said the company is seeking to temporarily transfer 60-80 mechanics from Boeing’s defense plant in Wichita to Everett, presumably to alleviate the 787 crunch.