New aircraft programs’ sorry record of delay

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Jan. 7, 2016, (c) Leeham Co. New aircraft programs used to be on time and a source of pride for the Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs).

No longer. Delays are the norm, and despite “lessons learned,” there is little record so far that much has changed.

Boeing strives to turn this around with the 737 MAX. When the program was launched in July 2011, with a hasty decision to counter the Airbus A320neo order at American Airlines, Boeing forecast the first delivery would be in the fourth quarter of 2017 (October was the more specific target date). Within a year, Boeing revised this forecast to the third quarter, with July being the new target.

With the roll-out last month of the 737-8, Boeing so far appears to be on schedule for the new target. The plane hasn’t made its first flight yet, and plenty could still theoretically go wrong, but at least for now, things appear to be on track.

Embraer announced last month that the roll-out of its first E-190 E2 will be Feb. 25. The company has been tight-lipped about its timeline to date, other than a 1H2018 delivery target, but Market Intelligence indicates the roll-out is likely about a month sooner than had been planned. Suggestions by some that the MAX program is the “only” one on time are simply off the mark.

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