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Boeing Blog

Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

Topic: 787-10

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June 18, 2013 at 4:04 AM

Paris Air Show: Boeing launches 787-10, punts on where it will be assembled

the 787-10 in the livery of Air Lease Corp., the lessor headed by industry guru Steven Udvar-Hazy

the 787-10 in the livery of Air Lease Corp., the lessor headed by industry guru Steven Udvar-Hazy

At the Paris Air Show Tuesday, as expected, Boeing launched the final and largest member of its Dreamliner jet family, the 787-10.

The jet officially entered the market with a total of 102 orders from blue-ribbon customers United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, GECAS (the airplane leasing unit of GE) and Air Lease Corp., the lessor run by longtime industry market-maker Steve Udvar-Hazy.

Udvar-Hazy ordered 30, as did Singapore. British ordered 12. GECAS ordered 10. United ordered 20, of which ten were conversions of previous orders for smaller versions of the 787. First delivery is scheduled for 2018.

In a briefing ahead of the launch, a top executive said Boeing hasn’t decided where the jet will be built.

Officials in Washington state are concerned that logistical issues around transporting the bigger plane sections to Everett and fitting the completed planes nose-to-tail on an assembly line could rule out the 787-10 for Everett, so that this largest Dreamliner would be assembled exclusively in South Carolina.

“When we’re ready to announce it, we’ll announce it,” said Scott Fancher, Boeing vice president of airplane development.

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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 787-10, Charleston, Everett

June 16, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Paris Air Show: Putting on a brave face at Washington’s reception

The Cercle National des Armees, a military officers' club and hotel, the venue for Washington State's reception on the eve of the Paris Air Show

The Cercle National des Armees, a military officers’ club and hotel, the venue for Washington State’s reception on the eve of the Paris Air Show

At Washington state’s reception on the eve of the Paris Air Show, state officials acknowledged the possibility that Everett may lose out on assembling the 787-10, the latest and biggest model in the Dreamliner jet family, likely to be launched at the show on Monday.

Two officials at the reception, speaking on background, said they were not surprised at the idea that the biggest Dreamliner may be assembled exclusively at Boeing’s 787 plant in North Charleston, S.C.

Both observed that the new 787 final assembly plant in South Carolina is big enough to fit four of the large 787-10s nose-to-tail, which they don’t think is true in the two 787 assembly bays in Everett.

But all the delegates put on a brave face, asserting that Washington retains huge advantages in the industry with its almost 100-year legacy of aviation excellence.

They certainly didn’t criticize Boeing, instead insisting that the company spreading work around to other states only underlines how aggressively Washington needs to work to retain the jetmaker and all the jobs that go with it both at Boeing and its suppliers.

“Boeing is increasingly in a competitive global environment, not just with Airbus,” said Dow Constantine, King County executive. “They have to make some very tough decisions. Our job is to make sure that to the extent possible, our region builds on its advantages and removes any impediments to Boeing.”

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Comments | More in Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 787-10, Charleston, South Carolina

June 16, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Paris Air Show: Boeing undecided on whether Everett will build the 787-10

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner at a media roundtable  on the eve of the Paris Air Show

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner at a media roundtable on the eve of the Paris Air Show

The 787-10, the next and largest model of Boeing’s Dreamliner jet family that is likely to launched at the Paris Air Show this week, may be assembled exclusively in South Carolina.

Boeing faces a key decision on how to manufacture the 787-10, one that will determine whether a big section of the jet can be transported to Everett.

And though Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner is expected to formally launch the plane as early as Monday, he said Sunday the  company is still weighing what to do on that decision, leaving doubt as to whether Everett will get to build the jet.

Speaking to reporters in Paris on the eve of the Air Show, Conner was asked if Boeing will be able to fly the large mid-fuselage section of the 787-10, which is built in South Carolina, to Everett.

“We’re still looking at that,” Conner responded. “We haven’t made the determination on that yet.”

If the mid-section is too big to fit inside the Dreamlifter, the purpose-built modified 747 used to fly it to Everett, then the 787-10 will have to assembled exclusively in South Carolina.

It’s an issue that has been worrying political officials in Washington state, including Alex Pietsch, head of Gov. Jay Inslee’s aerospace office.

“We’ve been very curious as to whether assembly of (the 787-10) might take place exclusively in Charleston,” said Pietsch, just ahead of a reception in Paris hosted by Washington state. “We’re hopeful it can be built in Everett along with the 787-8 and 787-9. But we recognize, we may not get all of it.”

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Comments | Topics: 777X, 787-10, Conner

June 15, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Paris Air Show 2013: Boeing, Airbus head for widebody showdown

My story in the Sunday paper previews the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, where most of the interest will be in the big widebody jets now in development.

The vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer.

The vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer. Jeff Klemann, VP 787 final assembly, is on the left.                          My photo.

The story draws on pre-Paris briefings from Boeing and a tour of the Everett widebody jet plant, where I saw the first 787-9 under assembly. That jet will fly later this summer.

I also saw that the 787 assembly line has had some kinks removed by taking out a large tooling fixture previously used to attach the tail. (Once touted as the Mother of All Tooling Towers, it’s now demoted, perhaps to Big Expensive Mistake.)

What will happen to the tons of steel in the MOATT?
“Want it?” said Jeff Klemann, vice president of 787 final assembly. “I’ll sell it to you cheap.”

And a top Boeing exec seemed to be offering reassurance that the giant 777X composite wing will be built by Boeing, not Mitsubishi.

“Throughout our history, the efficiency of our wings has been a big differentiator. So that’s going to be a factor in the decision,” said Kent Fisher, vice president of supplier management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 777X, 787-10, A350