As reported here previously, an extended supply chain has created engineering and manufacturing problems for the Boeing Dreamliner 787. Boeing continues to make moves to better manage the flow of parts and technology for the composited-sheathed aircraft.
Boeing has now acquired Alenia North America’s half of Global Aeronautica, LLC, a South Carolina fuselage subassembly facility for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, and is now the sole owner. Boeing will integrate the Global Aeronautica facility with the rest of its rapidly growing organization in Charleston, S.C.
“The Boeing Charleston site is critical to the success of the 787 program,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Through this acquisition, Boeing benefits by joining together two solid operations - including their talented employees and state-of-the-art facilities - into one Boeing team. Ultimately, we believe integration of the site will increase productivity for the 787 program and allow us to maintain our long-term competitiveness.”
Global Aeronautica, LLC, began in 2004 when Alenia North America and Vought Aircraft Industries formed a 50/50 joint venture in support of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In 2008, Boeing purchased Vought’s interest in Global Aeronautica, making the company a 50/50 joint venture between Alenia North America and Boeing.
Global Aeronautica’s integration involves the joining of the mid-fuselage sections, the installation and testing of associated elements, and the application of surface finishes to more than 60 percent of the 787’s fuselage. Global Aeronautica sits adjacent to the Boeing Charleston site.
The Dreamliner finally took to the air this past week, with only a minor glitch. Boeing hopes to deliver seven Dreamliners a month in 2010, and expand production to 10 per month in 2013. That will require an aggressive rearrangement of its remaining far-flung supply chain. Boeing required engineering and manufacturing partners to assume a substantial share of the capital risk in developing the Dreamliner, which is now way behind schedule. Expected revenues will not materialize until the Dreamliner deliveries begin in another year. That puts a huge strain on the partners, especially those with weak capital structures. Look for the partners to strike tougher terms as production ramps up.
Photo: Boeing is rapidly converting a South Carolina site into a massive Dreamliner production complex.