787 FF June 28: Aviation Week; Umm, June 30: Flightblogger

Aviation Week magazine today reported that Sunday, June 28, is the likely day for the first flight of the Boeing 787. Read the story here.

Bloomberg has a good piece on “the $15 billion dilemma” faced by Boeing to respond to the Airbus A350. This story may be found here.

Update, June 20: Flightblogger reports June 30 now targeted for first flight.

4 Comments on “787 FF June 28: Aviation Week; Umm, June 30: Flightblogger

  1. So, AvWeek has gone for June 28, then. More likely to be near(ish) than its (unpublished) Paris 07 prediction that what was already being called 7-late-7 would fly on/by Labor Day 07…

  2. Notwithstanding Andrea Rothmans’s good Bloomberg piece, my contrarian view is that the A350 is not likely to be a significant threat to Boeing, and is not likely to do well over time, if Boeing can deliver the 787-8 pretty close to its current schedule at the rate of 7/month by 2012 (not likely to make 10), and also start -9 deliveries by the end of 2013. This is the case I believe because:

    1. Historically since Airbus’ introduction of the 340-200 in 1993, the most lucrative wide body market has been for the 200-300 seater. Since 1993, AB, MD, and Boeing have gotten orders/ delivered about 2200 of these planes (763, 764, 772/ER/LR, A300/310, A332, 333, A342, 343, 345, & MD-11). Contrast with this the orders/deliveries for only about 600 planes having 300-400 seats (777-300, -300ER, and A346). Stats mainly from AB and Boeing web sites.

    2. Based on the same info sources, the 200-300 seat market has split more or less equally between 200-250 and 250-300 seaters.

    3. There is no question that there is a continuing substantial market for the 200-250 seaters, the most recent evidence being the orders AB has been getting for the 332 because of Boeing’s 787-8 delivery delays. As Scott and others have pointed out, the A350 does not compete in this market. This means that airlines needing 200-250 seaters will likely buy the 787-8; and if they do, for commonality reasons they will also buy the -9 if they need a plane that size.

    5. For this to work, Boeing is going to have to get the -9 to at least 300 seats (not the 290 currently specified), and perhaps as high as 305-310 seats, as I believe Richard Aboulafia suggested a while ago. This is needed to make it more competitive with the A359 which is to have 314 seats. In his recent piece on accelerating 787 production to 10/mo, Domenique Gates cites MHI as saying they are working on a new wing for the -9. Perhaps this is part of a program to get the -9 300 or more seats, so that Boeing will only build one other 787 varient, falling between the original -9 specs and the those for the -10, sort of a 787-9.5. If the 787-9 is competitve with the A359, particularly when bought along with 787-8s, then the A359s and 358s will not do well going forward once Boeing starts producing these planes.

    6. As for the 350-1000, no one knows its final specs, and AB is not even close to finally determining them. Also, its first delivery will be in 2015 if all goes well; if not, much later than that. Nor do we know its production rate, but it may be low, even at 13 month, if AB is devoting most of the production to the 358s and 359s.

    7.In any case, if Boeing offers a new composit plane for delivery in 2020, having 350-410 seats, it will likey dampen interest in the 350-1000. Boeing will try to get current -300ER users to stick with the plane and buy more with the promise of great things to come in 2020, while spending the minimum needed to improve the -300ER to keep customers away from the 350, just like AB is doing now with the 332 and 333 re the 787-8.

    8. All this depends on Boeing’s executing well, which is highly unlikely given their serial, on-going botch of the 787. In any case, it is an interesting fact that even if the 350-1000 survives and does well into the 2020s, AB will still not have a plane with a seating size between the 350 seats of the -1000 and 555 seats of the A280.

  3. Pre-flight testing on the runway usually takes about two weeks. Second week of June is a reasonable guess.

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