787 in bigger trouble than thought: Seattle Times

Update, December 21: Flightblogger’s piece (referred to in the Dec. 19 update below) is now up: The price of the 787 sales success.

Original Post:

Dominic Gates published this story for the Sunday Seattle Times; it’s not good news for the 787.

Update, Dec. 19: There is more to come, this time from Flightblogger in the next day or two.

65 Comments on “787 in bigger trouble than thought: Seattle Times

  1. Yep- Fubar doesn’t even start to describe the mess – So much for the power point rangers ..

    And this comment . . ‘”This program is not like anything we’ve seen,” said the veteran 787 employee. “It’s a screwed-up mess.”

    Yet Fancher said the feedback he receives is that employees are “proud to be part of an adventure like this.”

    He insists his team will surmount all the problems. . . .”

    Of course he receives that feedback – employees can read an org chart, brown stuff runs downhill – and Boeing is fully subscribed to the management mantra of

    ” WE not only kill the messenger, but we also bayonet the stretcher bearers ”

    I have a certain amount of faith that eventually, the plane will be a winner- but any profit will be a LONG way out if ever.

    McNutsey will want to put it all behind him . . . roger that. It will make it much easier to shove it !

  2. Not looking good. There needs to be some “heads rolling” in Boeing Management (and it starts at the top). If they can’t get these problems fixed within the next 3-6 months, I fear there will be hundreds of cancellations. The $12 billion figure is staggering.

    • Expected.
      Still interesting to see how Boeing adds in probably unconnected items to spread the blame. ( I am rather certain the FAA put the foot down on very Boeing specific issues and the RR thing is just added as a sacrificial loadbearing item. )

      • Finally, reading the last paragraphs RR engine issues are jumped to first place.

        I have problems believing that this is an adequate presentation of FAA contention.
        I would like to know what major FAA reservations get hidden in the unfocused background behind a looming RR problem and some measly cabels and contactors that need “rearrangement”.

  3. Cost structure:
    Does Boeing bookkeeping include the outlay done at the risksharing partners?
    i.e. is there another EXTRA trainload of investment and overbudget spending at those companies?

  4. It’s now more likely that first delivery will occur in 2012. What is quite mind-boggling though, is the decision by Boeing’s top management to keep the manufacturing going when clearly the design was not yet mature and “fully” frozen. Boeing took huge risks with the launch of the 787 when they didn’t follow industrial best-practice recommendations, which suggests that new products should use existing processes and tools, the existing organization and demonstrated technologies. In this case, building a couple of prototypes and then working the kinks out before committing to serial production would have been a wise move. The airframes already built will require a significant amount of re-work and modifications before they are ready for delivery; not mentioning the costly capital expenditures of keeping twenty something partly assembled 787s parked out on the tarmac. The production snafu on the A380 is starting to look like look like child’s play compared to the headaches Boeing is facing with the 787.

    • IMHO the A380 problems were very carefully overblown by interested parties to
      prepare for the then already looming ( to internal insight ) Dreamliner problems.
      I feel unable to believe that in an all ecompassing systemic failure like we see here management each and every time is unexpectedly going against a wall, brought to a full stop. ( it would be of some interest to know if and how Airbus and Boeing entangle each other via these production snafus.

      • At least, with their third and final delay announcement in October 2006, pushing first A380 (SQ) delivery to October 2007, Airbus at least managed to demonstrate credibility, when they actually managed to deliver the first airframe in accordance with the third A380 revision to scheduled deliveries from 12 months earlier. In comparison, it’s interesting to note that none of the 787 delay announcements have ever exceeded 6 months of new delays. What will it be this time?

  5. The main issues has been an ongoing lack of project and change management skills at Boeing. Of equal concern is the actual performance of the 787 aganist promises made. In a duopoly, customers have little choice but certainly the competitive edge has been lost and it will be interesting to see how the finances will recover from this year’s issues.

  6. OV-099 :
    In comparison, it’s interesting to note that none of the 787 delay announcements have ever exceeded 6 months of new delays. What will it be this time?

    6 month?
    I may have missunderstood, but to me Ben Sandilands http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2010/12/19/bad-news-on-the-787-signalled-in-seattle/ guess is that the D.Gates article is just the wheelchair ramp to lower the bumb coming from the next major Boeing announcement just short of Xmas.
    Lets see if RR are willing to perform the “First Bogeyman” role as Boeing intends them to do going by Mr. Gates article.

    • The problem is, of course, that Boeing’s management has very little credibility left and can’t authoritatively say to their customers that the latest delay will be “just another” couple of months. Anything less than a year is just not credible.

      • So “fessing up” would be a first step into remedial action in your view?
        And/But it won’t happen before hell freezes over? 😉

        I would second that.

      • Well, with all of their missteps on the 787, Boeing’s management find themselves today in kind of a catch-22 situation.

  7. I am a bit pessimistic about the 787 program but that sounds worse then even I thought. I still stand with a delay of 6 month, for the sole reason that Boeing never announced a bigger delay. Also voted for the delay announcment on 23-24 but currently not even airlines have yet been informed so I wonder if they’ll actually have a new timetable ready by this year.

    The worst news is about the ETOPS cert, if they cant get that out of the box we’ll actually see what 3 years of delays didnt manage… lots of cancellations. Still the info about that was a bit thin so hard to say how serious that threat is.

  8. Nothing new really, just appalling.

    I am still amazed that Boeing has not completely shut the assembly line. These 20 airframe are a very expensive way to hide the fact that the 787 design is not sound.

    They should finally admit this, work on a solid solution and resume production of new test airframe (to start with) and then production of delivery units.

    Airbus should also take this opportunity to announce a 1-year break in the A350 and use the time to better refine the design.
    It is clear that the ‘we-will-see-during-test’ approach is not a good choice

    • What makes you think that Airbus like an
      unimaginative pupil will retrigger all of
      Boeing’s “Problem Mines”? (not a rethoric question!)

      IMHO Boeing fell flat on its face doing a
      cheap copy of the Airbus Modus operandi.

      Not that Airbus is incapable of setting up their
      own sharp spikes for hurtfull selfimpalement.

  9. interesting – the rain in the plane bit may also fortell problems with airbus panels. Carbon composites in contact with aluminum make poor quality but REAL batteries with significant increased corrosion problems especially in the presence of moisture. . . .

    • This does raise the question if 787 will be pressurized to 6,000 ft for passenger comfort as advertised or return to the current 8,000 ft.

      • Is the precipitation solely a function of lower cabin altitude or do we see effects from the bleedless airpack solution? A380 has 5000′ cabin altitude and I haven’t heard reports on excess condensation issues. ( afaik Airbus uses humidity management stuff for A380 and onwards from that swedish firm just like Boeing does. )

    • Uwe, A380 fuselage doesn’t mate carbon and metal (much). Just some glass layers in the glare panels.

      • I may miss your argument?

        Galvanic corrosion of loadbearing structure is probably the easiest to fix.
        ( and it is not limited to CFRP{}$AnyMaterial mating. )
        apropos didn’t Boeing “sell” their plastic hull as major enabling factor in lower cabin altitude and higher humidity?

        Electric Systems are a lot more suceptible to condensation and with unpredictable sideeffects at that.
        Hmm, could the P100 fault be due to heavy condensation in that cabinet?

      • While you are correct that galvanic corrosion occurs between all dissimilar materials, carbon to metal – especially to steel or alu, another reason to use mainly titanium shear ties – is more significant.
        and while it is simple to place a (glass) barrier ply between the carbon fuselage and (titanium) shear ties – fasteners are required to join the parts. it’s not so easy to put barrier plies inside your fastener holes…

  10. I do not read Gates’ piece as saying that B is trying to scapegoat RR for their failures. If it was not clear before the Qantas Trent 700 blowup that RR’s Trent engine for the 787 was in real trouble, it is now. Q has made damning allegations against RR in its Australian law suit, including that RR’s limit of 75 cycles for Q’s 380s over the Pacific means that Q can’t operate them profitably on those routes and that RR deliberately misrepresented the the Trent 380’s ability to ooperate on them. RR is now moving thru the same mod route (A&B) that it has with the Trent 700 (A, B, & C), so B may have legitimate concerns similar to Q’s.

    To me, the key fact emerging from Gates’ article is that problems are cascading up-ward during this test process, not downward as one would expect, and are likely to continue to do so with no end in sight. This disaster arises because Boeing from the beginning outsourced to too many suppliers and did not supervise them, so even now they are getting crap products from these suppliers. I mean, how could it possibly be the Alenia is still delivering defective horizontal stabs?

    I do not see how B can cure these supply chain problems because there are just too many of them. If I am right, it means it is a reasonble estimate that they will never within the next 2-4 years be able to deliver even one properly build 787. Very soon, robably no later than June, large cancellations will follow, and Boeing will face bankruptcy. Who’d have thnink it.

      • My regrets and apolgies. Just goes to show risk of relying aging gray cells.

    • RR, blame game:
      What we see from Qantas is the sounding of by a set of laywer q(u)eens.
      Nothing factual, nothing technical imho. Positioning for a claim.

      Cascading Problems:
      IMHO Boeing has too many unexpected problems exposed by chance, that indicates
      that their testing regime is completely insufficient. They don’t even know what
      faults to test for.

      Outsourcing, partners:
      Boeing seems to get what they requested and what they wanted to pay for.
      And the partners can’t deliver anything beyond what has been speced out.
      Now, due to shop floor personel at Boeing seemingly having fixed over a
      lot of slack in design definitions ( judicious adding of shims, stuff
      like .. without papertrail feedback) the silent assumption probably was
      that this would work in a similar fashion with porting over to other
      cultures, corporate entities, people. Quite wrong, and an obvious fail
      ( at least for outof(Boeing)culture bystanders ).

      “Alenia is still delivering defective horizontal stabs”
      Is that actually the case for _freshly_ manufactured items?

      Fixing all this:
      Currently I don’t see the slightlest learning process beyond writing
      beautyfully crafted press releases.
      As it is, a first step towards changes would imho be to fire the
      people that are so phantastic with prose and find someone who writes
      down FACTS in all their gory detail. Next step would be getting some
      professionals into management that can read _and_ understand those FACTS.

    • Christopher Dye :including that RR’s limit of 75 cycles for Q’s 380s over the Pacific means that Q can’t operate them profitably on those routes and that RR deliberately misrepresented the the Trent 380′s ability to ooperate on them.

      I understand it has nothing to do with the number of cycles, but rather the amount of thrust the engines can produce safely.

  11. OV-099 :
    Well, with all of their missteps on the 787, Boeing’s management find themselves today in kind of a catch-22 situation.

    More like walking dead? Only some haven’t noticed yet?

  12. If accurate Dominic’s article makes for sad reading, from conception we all understood the very nature of this beast made the original schedule far to ambitious.

    I confess the nature of my work means I have some allegiance to EADS but to see Boeing apparently struggling so badly with this project is nothing more than deja vu in terms of my involvement in an EADS eqally vital programme some for years ago.

  13. I’m so sorry For the previous entries spelling errors.
    Corrected below….

    If accurate Dominic’s article makes for sad reading, from conception we all understood the very nature of this beast made the original schedule far to ambitious.

    I confess the nature of my work means I have some allegiance to EADS but to see Boeing apparently struggling so badly with this project is nothing more than deja vu in terms of my involvement in an EADS equally vital programme some four years ago.

  14. Not at all sure of the share out of the 100,000 plus problems, but even 5,000 per airframe spread over the 20 frames is pretty awful.
    Must bear in mind that we are discussing documented problems, not a case of anecdotal issues.
    I wonder if the list includes the strange popping sound on the windshield? Something that had me a little concerned.
    Interestingly A.net have pulled the article out of the forum. Hope this is not related to the way the fire photographs were removed from the web.

  15. Airbus has answered the A350 to address the 787 competition. It is obvious that, as Boeing did, they have promised way more than is possible to deliver.

    With regards to the Airbus model, don’t forget that it took about 40 years for Airbus to get it right.

    Uwe :
    What makes you think that Airbus like an
    unimaginative pupil will retrigger all of
    Boeing’s “Problem Mines”? (not a rethoric question!)
    IMHO Boeing fell flat on its face doing a
    cheap copy of the Airbus Modus operandi.
    Not that Airbus is incapable of setting up their
    own sharp spikes for hurtfull selfimpalement.

    • Hi CBL,
      The A350 in its last incarnation was driven by a markets demand formed by an
      exceptionally successfull DreamCampaign orchestrated by Boeing. IMHO product and sales success derived from disconnected management types dancing around mirages.

      Airbus had a difficult task inserting a product into this melee that would sate the then current desire for flashy tags and worthless firsts and fill actual needs
      after the party was over, managements sitting there, rubbing eyes and nurturing hangovers, empty handed, no Dreamliner yet.

      Airbus certainly is lacking in flashy style, but looking at the design decissions
      my impression is that produceability and verifyability of same have very high rank.
      Early delays to tack down design details would indicate that they have understood all that public wisdom as collected in “The Mythical Man Month”.
      Nonetheless I expect project deadlines to be softer than announced, but I don’t expect a 4++ year rolling 6month delay as we see from Boeing.

      Were do you pull the 40 year timeframe “to get it right” from?

      It took Airbus 40years to achieve 50+% marketshare. In a rather conservative market that imho would indicate that over that period their products were very competitive.

  16. The article from ST makes a sad reading. I hope the engineers working on the 787 programme will be able to over come all the difficulties and the plane be delivered in 2011.
    Airbus had their problems with the condensation during the A380 flight tests, which have evidently been solved. I am not sure what this problem for Boeing has to do specifically with the composites.

    • I’ve had difficulty finding anything tangible on A380 cabin condensation.
      I knew that Airbus uses “Zonal Drying” from CTT-System. It is not clear
      to me if this was designed in or an afterthought. LH uses the complementary
      humidifying system in First Class. ( default is cockpit and crewrest? )

      Boeing uses the CTT system too. But on the Dreamliner this does not seem to be a
      sucessfull remedy.

  17. Big B didn’t understand composites when I worked for them and it looks like they still don’t. All polymers are porous to some extent and they must be sealed to prevent intrusion of moisture and other contaminates, especially under pressure or face delamination sooner or later. It’s like painting aluminum with chromate, you have to protect it. There is also the question of thermal protection as composites don’t like extremes in temperature either. The more flexible they are the more porous they are and ultraviolet degrades them very quickly also.

  18. OV-099 : What will it be this time?

    Six months or less, followed by another delay announcement around the Easter weekend. 😉

  19. I think this again raises the ugly question of whether the programme is in a forward loss position. I wonder if Boeing will ever come clean on this question.

  20. I think I’ll wait for the 2-3 days Flightglobal says it’ll take for there to be more news. The article above looks horrendous($12bn overruns?). Al-Baker seems to have reaffirmed his belief in the 787 again, so either Boeing has assured him that the next delay won’t be that bad or they’ve shut him up with some very nice compensation. How serious is the rain in the plane problem? I’ve heard that slight ice-showers and sometimes sprinkling of water sometimes occurs right now in Airbus and Boeing planes

    The only good thing for Boeing right now in relation to where Airbus were with the A380 is that the mid-long range aircraft market unlike the VLA market is soo huge that even with lots of screw-ups, Boeing can probably still sell a 1000 planes.

    • They once had ~1000 planes on the order book – that number shrunk by about 150 a/c. I don’t remember the 380 loosing customers…

      • I think they only made it to about 900 copies, and lost less than 100 of those. As I point out below, understandable, given the pricing. They’ll certainly sell 2,000 over the life, if not more. The problem for them is that (I’m guessing) as of now they’ll only make money from copy 1,000(ish) onwards, rather than from copy 300, as originally planned. Which is a rather big dent in their profitability.

  21. Uwe,
    From early discussions in the 1960s, Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies around the turn of the 21st century allowed the establishment of a simplified joint-stock company in 2001: that is about 40 years.

    Were do you pull the 40 year timeframe “to get it right” from?

    It took Airbus 40years to achieve 50+% marketshare. In a rather conservative market that imho would indicate that over that period their products were very competitive.

    • So you view it from a corporate structure viewpoint?

      It is a process, just like a Europe getting closer.
      We may even entice the brits to see the channel as less
      deep than the atlantic 😉

      As it is Airbus is (still) not a homogenous entity. The A350 gestation
      showcased a ferocious faction fight under the surface.

      G! uwe

      • a PS: imho the political diversity of interests enables Airbus to prevail in technological excellence. The common denominator that all forces can agree on. Boeing is busy with managing shareholder value and the US is busy projecting power. See what came of the last pissing contest, the space race after political interest vaned.

  22. sorry, Airbus is now a fully integrated entity, particularly even more since the sale of the BAs share.
    I am not convinced that you can see the bigger picture here.

    Uwe :
    So you view it from a corporate structure viewpoint?
    It is a process, just like a Europe getting closer.
    We may even entice the brits to see the channel as less
    deep than the atlantic
    As it is Airbus is (still) not a homogenous entity. The A350 gestation
    showcased a ferocious faction fight under the surface.
    G! uwe

    • in my experience, airbus is an “integrated company” only in name. The cultural differences between the French and Germans is not only noticeable – it is profound.

  23. CBL :Uwe,From early discussions in the 1960s, Airbus began as a consortium of aerospace manufacturers. Consolidation of European defence and aerospace companies around the turn of the 21st century allowed the establishment of a simplified joint-stock company in 2001: that is about 40 years.

    Were do you pull the 40 year timeframe “to get it right” from?
    It took Airbus 40years to achieve 50+% marketshare. In a rather conservative market that imho would indicate that over that period their products were very competitive.

    Corporate structure does not equal manufacturing model. It is the latter that Boeing not just tried to emulate, but to take further, and where they well very flat on their face. I think it is arguable that by 1980 Airbus had a stabilised manufacturing model (although, as the A380 showed, their design model left something to be desired).

  24. So, who else thinks that the happy happy news items of yesterday (more 777s! Hoorrayy! Let’s build the 787-10! Wooohooo! More 737s! Yabbadabbadoo!) are the run-up to the bad news item of the next delay?

    • I most certainly would.
      All is missing after these Kool-Aid announcements is the press release with the standard 6 month delay either on Christmas or on New Years Eve.
      Unfortunately that’s the way these once great company rolls these days.

  25. Guys,
    Let me state again that any Airbus versus Boeing type discussion is meaningless and puerile. I hope we stay above cheer-leading, this would not be interesting.

    It took Airbus about 40 years to build a sound business model and become a fully integrated structure. The trans-nationality challenge will remain for long, if not for ever. This is in fact normal since linked tu human nature which can’t be changed easily.

    Boeing is moving forward to an Airbus-type model of shared work & block construction by partners for a final assembly. They obviously went too fact on the 787 and it will take way more time to fix this. They will eventually fix it since there is no other alternative (unless a terminal one).

    What amaze me today is the title chosen by Scott Hamilton: ‘787-10 back on the table as answer to A330-300’ The 787 was the answer to the A330 and Airbus further replied with the A350. Looks like the A330-300 is still the best of the 3 option, interesting

    • CBL,
      imho you are missing a couple of details.

      Airbus success is to some part hybridisation vigor.
      Homogenising that away is a loss not a gain.

      Airbus had competitive products for most of its existence.
      It didn’t need to “get there” in 40 years, it needed 40years
      to gain a product complementing marketshare.

      My understanding is that the initial Airbus position was that
      the 787 was a major improvement on the 767 but about on par
      with/slightly better than the forward projection for the A330
      family. ( Going by the status today not all that wrong a position )
      But the market forces unleashed by Boeings Dreamliner Campaign
      were oblivious of this.
      To get out of this bind Airbus morphed their product not only in
      used tech ( CFRP, market driven, not really compelling tech ) but
      also up the ladder into a different niche ( between a330/787 and
      the 777/747-8*/380 ). The a330 remained staged against the 787, quite
      successfully I might say.
      The various incarnations of the A350 all had their supporting
      nonpublic factions inside Airbus.
      I have no idea when Airbus had enough intelligence collected to
      know about Boeing being completely entangled in their current project.
      I assume they have much better understanding of the situation than
      us unwashed posters can ever gain, but they keep mum about it.

      Production Model:
      imho the most notable point is that Boeing “did not bring it of” they
      didn’t even have an idea what they would need to know/learn/perfect
      for success.

    • It is truly amazing that Boeing is still contemplating how to answer to the A330-300 eighteen years after its first flight…

  26. It’s the only one flying at the moment, and where if you place an order you can be reasonably certain that the manufacturer will supply it on time and on spec.

  27. Dear Uwe. You’re right in most aspects. But in my imho your use of that ‘imho’-thing is a bit inflationary.

    • Hey, and thanks.
      I need some tag to differentiate my posts from the Ministry of Truth types that get telex orders direct from Boeing PR … IMHO ;-)=

  28. Regarding the history of Airbus, and on how the company was founded and how it became a contender to the American LCA industry; here’s one of the better stories on the subject:

    The Contender
    How Airbus got to be number one.

    By Bill Sweetman
    Air & Space Magazine, November 01, 2003

    http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/cit-sweetman.html

    In July 1973, Adam Brown, now Airbus’ head of strategic planning, joined the firm directly from Hawker Siddeley’s Hatfield factory, where he had helped sell Tridents. “It wasn’t a very difficult decision, although a lot of people thought we were crazy,” Brown recalls. “But what was there to lose?”

    “We Germans thought we were coming to a French company, but it was the French who were totally lost,” says Jurgen Thomas, now special advisor to Airbus’ CEO, Noël Forgeard. “The French were hierarchical, with no delegation of power. They weren’t in a position to take a decision in a meeting.” The British and Germans resorted to subterfuge, Thomas recalls. “We let things leak ahead of the meeting, so that the French could propose it as their solution. It was much easier.”

    Thomas admits that some stereotypes of German management proved true: “There was still a Prussian disease. It was formal, the agenda had a time slot for each item, and there were separate paragraphs for everything.” The British encountered a different culture at the Airbus facility. At de Havilland’s Hatfield division there were six levels of company dining. “They had toilets for different levels of staff,” recalls Thomas. Airbus people took lunch in an all-ranks café. “You’d see a vice president having lunch with a secretary,” says Thomas. One senior executive from Hawker Siddeley stomped out in disgust.

    “Only the French would have done it” is how Adam Brown recalls the first A300 sales tour, a six-week odyssey around the Americas from Rio to Chicago in 1973. French fashion designer Andre Courreges designed the women’s cabin crew uniforms. Ted Lapidus dressed the men. Four and a half tons of Moet & Chandon champagne occupied the cargo hold. They got away with such frills because nobody cared. “The Airbus people were looked down on by people on Concorde,” Thomas says. Even the Mercure got more attention in Paris, thanks to Dassault’s political pull.

    And:

    Between 1978 and 1985, the A300 and A310 sold as well as the 757 and 767, and Boeing became more concerned. In a 1985 presentation to visiting aviation reporters in Seattle, Boeing declared that Airbus would lose $18 billion by the early 1990s. “We’ve been very patient for the last 10 years,” said, on that same occasion, Boeing vice president Thomas Bacher of the prolonged trade dispute, “but now we’re getting more impatient. In fact, we’re getting very damn mad.” Publicly, European leaders pointed out that Boeing had received government support in the past—the company’s jetliner business had been founded on the back of Pentagon orders for bombers and tankers—and the company was still allowed to charge research and development work to the Pentagon.

    From the U.S. point of view, just because the subsidies were hard to find didn’t mean they weren’t there. Beteille and his colleagues were right: There was no way to make money with less than 30 percent of the market. Without subsidies, Airbus would never have reached that point and would eventually have disappeared—which would have been all right by Boeing’s Bacher. “Europe builds beautiful trains and systems like that,” he said in 1985. “I challenge the concept that everyone has to build everything.” If Airbus could not show a profit it should do the right thing and disappear.

    • Last page::

      Jurgen Thomas cites former German chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s expression “a Europe of mother countries” to explain the philosophy behind Airbus’ cultural mix: “Keep the Bavarians in leather trousers and keep the flamenco in Spain.”

      🙂

      And:

      Nevertheless, Bradley adds: “People here are Airbusiens—you forget if you’re French, Spanish, or Malaysian. You can’t speak your own language anymore—you use French phrasing and German expressions.”

      Nobody at Airbus has the word “diversity” in his or her job title, and Thomas notes, “A reporter once asked me what we were doing to ensure integration within the company. I said ‘Nothing’ and he would not believe it.”

  29. Andreas :I think this again raises the ugly question of whether the programme is in a forward loss position. I wonder if Boeing will ever come clean on this question.

    Well I guess the Flightglobal article answers my question with a resounding ‘yes’. It also makes clear why there are so few cancellations. At the prices reported even waiting a good while longer is worth it, over ordering A330s at much higher prices. Also puts the whinging of the airlines into perspective. They drank off the Boeing Kool-Aid fountain when they ordered (brand-spanking new plane! revolutionary technology! same price as old knackered 767! Come and get one while it lasts!), and I’d say they only have themselves to blame now.

    In fact, I bet Boeing would love a lot of those early customers to cancel, to make place in the line for people actually paying real money.

    • One snag is that at the moment all relevant market participants sit in the same boat. Dreamliner delays “shave” them all equally well. currently all these customers are sitting there and try to look innocent ( and maybe slightly miffed ).
      The thing will start to unravel when the first larger customer bites the bullet and defects to Airbus ( buying A330-* ) _and_ is able to badger Airbus into
      a major WB manufacturing line expansion ( the ultimate reason for Boeing to try to kill an EADS tanker with every available measure, no holds barred).

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