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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 18, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Boeing must put the “reality” in Dreamliner

The optimistic take on today’s Boeing news — that the Much Delayed 787 Dreamliner will be delivered in the third quarter — is that the company has finally set a marker to get this troubled baby moving out the door. It was the first time Boeing has ventured to set a firm date since the November electrical fire shut down test flights. The stock market seems to agree, with Boeing shares up this morning.

But three years late and dragging seven delays behind it, the Dreamliner will have much to prove. Its delay has also cost Boeing some traction during a global rebound in the airline industry, leaving Airbus No. 1 at the end of 2010, and with momentum moving forward. Last year was a good one for Boeing — how much better would it have been if the 787 had been delivered.

The Dreamliner’s troubles, and Boeing management’s belated recognition that the on-the-cheap global outsourced supply line is deeply flawed have given the Puget Sound economy a boost. Work is booming on the assembly line in Everett cleaning up the mess. So far, most airline customers are giving Boeing indulgence. And if it meets the hype, the Dreamliner is the kind of technology that will give Boeing an edge over competitors, including China.

But shall we take bets as to whether the latest firm date is met? Or the penalty Boeing will pay if it fails to meet it?

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Please get well soon, Steve

How much should shareholders know?

That’s a core issue

Comments | More in Aerospace/Boeing

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