Pontifications: 10 years after the Boeing 787 roll-out

By Scott Hamilton

July 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 787. The date was 7/8/07, nicely coincided for the airplane’s name.

The event was an extravaganza never seen in commercial aviation, surpassing even that of the Boeing 707 in 1954.

Technology, of course, had a lot to do with the hyper-event 10 years ago. There was no Internet in 1954, no cable news networks, no laser light shows, etc.

There were also no orders for the 707 in 1954, compared with the hundreds for the 787 in 2007.

Breaking records

The 787 has broken all kinds of records.

Boeing 787 roll-out, 7/8/07. Photo via Google.

The 787 in 10 years has 1,223 net orders. This is a record unmatched by any widebody aircraft.

It took the 747 47 years to reach 1,552 orders. The 767 now has 1,204 orders after 35 years. The 777 has 1,911 orders after 23 years.

Boeing’s design also was intended to set new standards for passenger experience. The airplane has bigger windows, the ability to have the cabin pressure to 6,000 ft instead of 8,000 ft (making for a more pleasant flight), higher humidity (doing away or at least reducing the “dry” feeling) and eight abreast passenger comfort in coach.

All this was due to the use of composites instead of metal for the fuselage.

Greedy airlines, of course, did away with the eight abreast in coach, choosing nine instead—but this wasn’t Boeing’s fault.

Setting other records

Boeing also designed the airplane to be the most fuel efficient aircraft produced up until that time. In fact, the original pre-production designation of the aircraft was 7E7 (for efficient) instead of the previously used 7X7 (for experimental).

An entirely new production and industrial model was adopted for the 787 as well, all intended to reduce development and production cost. Poor execution, however, set other records.

Record delays (for Boeing) were set. By the time the airplane entered service, it was nearly four years late. Previously the longest delay Boeing experience with a jet airliner was four months (the 747-400, for software issues).

Record cost overruns were set. Instead of being the most cost-efficient production ever done, Boeing racked up $30bn in cost overruns plus penalties to customers for late airplanes.

Record production problems emerged. Boeing had to buy the entire Charleston (SC) facilities from the Alenia and Vought because of poor production and quality control issues. Wing-to-body join issues from its Japanese partner caused delays.

The early block 787-8s failed to hit advertised performance goals because they were overweight due to the need for design fixes and rework. The last of these is finally going to be delivered, to a VIP customer, this year—six years after the aircraft entered service and six years after the “Terrible Teens” were built.

The 787 also became the first American jetliner since the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to be grounded, in 1979, after two fires related to the lithium-ion batteries caused major scares.

In service results

Boeing still hasn’t recovered its costs for the 787 program and many believe it never will. But once the company got past those early block airplanes, production smoothed out and the in-service performance met or exceeded contract promises to the customers.

The 787-8 remains a production anomaly but the 787-9/10 are about 95% common. The -9 is the most widely purchased model and the -10 is in testing, for delivery next year.

The 787 legacy

The 787 legacy is mixed.

The airplane was supposed to enter service in May 2008. After that, Boeing planned to design a clean-sheet replacement for the 737, followed by a replacement for the 777.

Instead, we have the 737 MAX and the 777X.

The MAX is, by any standard, a success, but its design limitations became obvious during the development of the MAX and more recently the MAX 10.

The 777X’s success remains a question. Its customer base is very narrow and nearly three quarters of the aircraft were sold to three Middle East airlines which are now feeling the effect of over-expansion, bad decisions, local political rivalries, international terrorism, weakening traffic and US government policies. Deferrals already have been made by Emirates Airline. Lufthansa Airlines, one of the few non-Middle East customers, is talking about deferrals. Cathay Pacific Airways, another of the non-Mid East customers, is having financial difficulties.

Only Japan’s ANA, among 777X customers, is without challenges.

But technology from the 787 was applied to the 747-8, the MAX and the 777X. It will be applied to the 797 Middle of the Market airplane, assuming Boeing proceeds with it. The technology will certainly find its way into the 737 replacement, when this eventually comes next decade.

As an executive of SPEEA, the engineers’ union, once told me, perhaps the entire 787 program should be considered one massive R&D project for the future airplanes.

Regardless of whether the 787 ever recovers its costs, the true legacy is the technology for the other airplane programs.

70 Comments on “Pontifications: 10 years after the Boeing 787 roll-out

  1. “The 787 in 10 years has 1,223 net orders. This is a record unmatched by any widebody aircraft.”

    I don’t think this is accurate. It looks like the number includes orders from more than 10 years ago, or does not take cancellations into account.

    If we only look at orders from the past 10 years, with cancellations in year of order, the A330 matches the 787.

    • We have to define our terms, since it depends on what is meant by ‘order,’ and when such ‘orders’ are placed/taken. (If a new variant is announced/launched with – what shall we say – 259 ‘orders,’ when were the orders in fact placed/taken?)
      Recent examples are without doubt all accurate but at a glance might appear inconsistent or, worse, be misunderstood:
      Boeing, Paris June 22 – “Commercial customers [not the manufacturer, you understand] announced incremental orders and commitments during the week for … 571 Boeing airplanes.”
      Boeing O&D June 23 – “Changes since last [week’s] update: 153 new orders (CALC – China for 50 737, Norwegian for two 737, Ryanair for ten 737, United Airlines for four 777, AerCap for 30 787, EL AL Israel Airlines for three 787, Unidentified Customer(s) for 15 737, 20 777X and 19 787). Identified Tassili Airlines for three 737s previously listed as unidentified… ”
      Boeing website today – “Orders through July 4, 2017 …2017 Net Orders 381…”
      So the difference between air-show ‘incremental orders and commitments’ announced and the same week’s ‘new orders’ is greater than actual ‘net orders’ for the whole half-year.

  2. Not wanting to split hairs here Scott, but the 6000 foot cabin pressure was neither a ground breaker nor a new level. The A380 has a 5000 foot/1500 meter cabin pressure.

  3. A very even handed pocket history Scott.
    I won’t split hairs over odd technical issues.
    Personally I would have gone to town over their shameful roll-out but kudos to you for your restraint.

  4. Did (will?) Boeing ever achieve the production efficiencies that they based their initial “can’t walk away from” pricing on?

  5. I see it slightly differently, not so much technology transfer as competence building. This was the first major development by Boeing in commercial for some time. They opted for all manner of tech some of which has a future and some of which will be quietly forgotten. They also looked to risk share at tier 1 and tier 2, again some of which worked and some of which didn’t. Finally the project seemed to have been run from a marketing perspective of wishful thinking, you know if senior execs say something then it WILL happen.

    Boeing has learnt massively and are unlikely to make similar mistakes again, they have gained a design and development competence that they seemed to have lacked prior to the B787

    • Competence building it may well be, but it’s only something you have to do in a big way if you hire / fire staff a lot. I don’t know if that’s what Boeing do or do not, but they’re to be congratulated if they don’t hire/fire staff.

      If you’re in the complex business of designing and manufacturing aircraft for the long run, maintaining a team for the long run is the surest way of staying efficient and effective. Disband or cut the team, and you’re starting from scratch every time.

      The fact that it was the first development for a long time speaks volumes. “Develop or Die” is the mantra, even if you are temporarily the dominant force in a business. Don’t let the others ever catch up. Unfortunately I think Boeing rested on its laurels. They had been very successful with 777, and then didn’t do much for a long time.

      • “…something you have to do in a big way if you hire/fire staff a lot. I don’t know if that’s what Boeing do or do not, but they’re to be congratulated if they don’t hire/fire staff…”
        Is not Boeing’s employee recruitment and, er, ‘release’ record well documented?

        • It maybe, but as I’m not familiar with it I certainly wasn’t prepared to say that it was an awful record.

          One suspects that Airbus, who operate within a European employment framework, ultimately benefits from that. If they bring that to their operations in the USA (e.g long annual leave, retaining through thick and thin, etc), they would be giving themselves the chance to build a very loyal workforce. That’s what my employer is doing in the US, seems popular.

          • I get the feeling that Airbus will have the retention of staff tested heavily in the near future. Their development teams must be looking over their respective shoulders as the core developments dry up. At present there does not appear too much for them to do as A350/A320neo and soon the A330neo all wind down with little in the pipeline

          • There seems a general feel that an NSA is expected around 2030 which make sense considering the current huge orders/backlogs for NEO’s and MAX’es. Current backlogs only cleared around 2025-28 and today’s deliveries only need replacement around 2035?

            So what is Airbus going to do in the interim (except sorting out their production lines).

            Now is the perfect time for Boeing to launch the MoM/797.

          • Maybe, but it’s all a matter of attitude. They can be kept busy designing, and one day you take one of those through to full development and market.

            I think that they’ll start work on a CF A320 replacement. That seems like a no brainer – it’ll take Boeing out of that market altogether, and head off anything that the Russians and Chinese might come up with (yes – that might be where the competition comes from. Boeing haven’t exactly stepped up to the mark in 20 years…). They’ll be musing over what Boeing’s NMA or MoM could look like and be doodling designs in response. There’s at least the prospect of an A350-1100, though if that happens that should be a relatively trivial cut’n’stretch.

            A380neo? Who knows. It sounds like they’ve effectively already done that design work with the ‘+’, all it needs is an XWB bolted on, but I think that’s already been done in the XWB test campaign.

            However I think you do touch on a very significant point. The designs we have today are very good, and it’s very difficult to see where the next major new idea is coming from. There’s talk of blended wings, etc, but it’s still very difficult to see how they could be better all round than today’s tube, wings, podded engines and tailplane. It is becoming increasingly inefficient to design new variations on this existing theme, as the performance increments are getting smaller. CF is the one big trick that makes a big difference (it’s the sole reason why the A350 seemingly can challenge everything from 787-8 all the way up to 777-9, assuming that they also do a -1100), so replacing all of one’s existing Aluminium designs is worth it. After that, what next?!

            The next big thing might well be Skylon. It’s looking like Reaction Engine’s engine is a going concern, and Skylon could be worth a shot. If Airbus were to take that on (and I think they’ve a share in R.E.) and succeed, they’ve also got the satellite business to exploit it. If it is built as a daily flyer and satellite and spacecraft design becomes more modular for assembly in orbit, they’d be making these glorified fireworks we use today obsolete. I know that a rocket has comparable fuel efficiency in terms of kg delivered to orbit, but Skylon could be a cheaper programme in the long run. There’s no need to keep re-manufacturing them. Not even Elon Musk can turn around his first stages in a single day.

          • This fits my longtime posted theory ( countering the proprietors argument ) that all the “Eurohampering” details that are said to take away from Airbus being a “real competitive commercial entity” actually present as hard advantage as they suppress the established “cargo cult” of managerial dogma as celebrated in the US. 🙂

          • There’s a lot going on in Airbus at the moment, but large civil aircraft are having a relative dip. It depends how transferable the design skills are, but there are projects in a new European multirole jet, new rotorcraft, Ariane 6 and successor space rockets, as well as an early adopter electric hybrid commuter plane.

          • Not to comforting for the future if you are an airline operating an Airbus fleet.

          • Could you expand a bit on this?

            I find your statements are often less of a conclusion than a negatively loaded hope.
            Through all their products life cycle Airbus appears to have spent significant sums on more or less silently enhancing their products. I’d be surprised if that will change whatever large projects they task themselves with in the future.

          • Hi Uwe. The 320/1 NEO’s did not show a major (apparent) effort from Airbus as is the 330NEO. Improvements are 80% (?) dependent on new engines.

            The MAX’es required significant more input from Boeing (because its an older design) but they did it.

            Was the 321LR not an opportunity for Airbus to fit it with a new wing (CFRP?) instead of basically just adding AUX tanks.

            The 787-9 is probably one of the most popular aircraft with airlines at the moment and Airbus only apparent response is the 330NEO, which is still not flying and the T1000 issues still lurking with the 787’s. So how long to sort out the T7000’s?

            What has Airbus install for airlines/(Airbus operators) in the 220 – 280 seat market for medium haul?

            The 322 and 330Lite is not the right answer/s for me in the long term. An airline needs to live with an aircraft 12 years (lease) and 15-20+ years when they purchase.

          • IMU we can reduce this in part to
            “why does Airbus not follow your advice”.
            The other part is IMHO a misconception:
            Not the effort does count but the outcome. Putting sharklets on the A320, upgrading engines and some polishing seems to have had good effect for Airbus. More than Boeing worked from a scoped significantly wider effort.
            What would Airbus gain from producing another “not a 757 yet” for the A.net fetishista to berate ? 🙂
            Available FAL slots inclusive of major future expansions are sold out for years to come.

          • I am just an Airbus supporter that would like to see positive developments. Airbus business however is making money, nothing wrong with that.

            My concern is the attitude of the production lines are full (320/1 and 350), so why bother, more time to drink champagne?

            The “cancellation” of the 4 Qatar 350’s seems like nothing in the bigger picture. But it is still US$1.2 billion and the perception thereof, eventually these type of things catch up with you.

          • The window is not open.
            Why should Airbus invest effort into work that has a good chance of being superseded advances elsewhere in the near future? Aerospace is not much of a relevant driver in power electronics. That ( has happened, forex the Li Bat Case for the A350 automotive derived ) happens elsewhere.
            ( Boeing learned a lot on the 787. But to some part things that have to relevance in the future ( water cooling will be “out” 🙂

          • Uwe I can’t (and don’t want to) argue the short term commercial benefits to Airbus of their current strategy.

            But that Boeing will be building commercial aircraft in 25+ years from now is certain, with Airbus I start to wonder? Maybe as a new consortium with Comac, Irkut, Mitsubishi or something like that?

          • To conclude. Airbus is happy to offer airlines the A321 and A330NEO’s as the only Airbus options in 220-280 seat class with range capabilities of 4000-8000Nm for the next 10 years?

            I see a bright future for the 797 and 787-9.

          • Airliners might be going through a dip, but it’s not for the first time, and won’t be the last. I think Airbus will find something for them to do.

            There might be an argument for doing A380neo anyway, if they can’t think of anything else to do just to keep the teams busy (ok, I’ll start taking the tablets now…)

            Anyway, even if there is a pause, natural shrinkage will always occur. However it’s important to start the next real big project before 50% of the experience has retired.

          • The worst case of hire / fire going wrong in the USA that I know about happened at Freescale. This was Motorola’s spun out semiconductor division.

            They had had a successful line of processors, PowerQUIC, which was basically the continuation of the CPUs that Apple Macs used to use. These particular processors were 12 core, highly power efficient, and fast. They were ideal for telephone exchange type applications, and were utterly dominant because they were very good.

            Other varieties of PowerPC processors that Motorola / Freescale had done were highly successful in the embedded systems market, and had been highly successful in all sorts of radar systems, electronic warfare systems, you name it. If it was rugged, and needed some maths done, it was PowerPC based.

            So it was only natural that they’d upgrade the PowerQUIC line to be good at maths too. After all the market was there, they’d got the basic building blocks, they’d got the basis of the design, why not?

            Us embedded engineers were salivating at the thought. PowerPC CPUs had, contrary to general opinion, remains effective for many high performance embedded applications, and were still quicker than anything Intel had for many applications (specifically things like radars; PowerPC had a single instruction that Intel didn’t, fused-multiply-add, that made them excellent for FFTs up to a certain size). Nonetheless an upgrade was overdue and the thought of PowerQUIC getting maths bolted on was most welcome. A 12 core maths monster would at the time have seriously embarrassed Intel, who were noodling about with 2 and 4 core designs.

            So Freescale set to work. The designers designed, marketing started we held our breath.

            Nothing happened. Or at least, we never saw a chip.

            What had happened was Freescale had developed the prototype, taped it out and started testing it. Things looked good. So they sacked the entire design team.

            Trouble was, later on in testing a problem emerged. The design needed some re-work. They had nothing to sell, and without a design team they had no way of fixing the problem.

            Apparently they tried enticing some of their former employees back. Guess how successful that was.

            So Freescale went from a position of dominance in the embedded marketplace, and potentially getting back into the consumer market place and embarrassing Intel, and being the chips of choice for the supercomputer guys, to one where they didn’t dominate anything at all and had blown billions of investment and had nothing to show for it.

            Us embedded engineers moved over to Intel even though that was very difficult (real time is hard on Intel…). And Freescale has been sold at knock down value to Philips (NXP), and Freescale shareholders have lost out massively on their investment.

            Whata mistaka to maeka!

          • Focus shifted to ARM.

            There was more synergy available from expanding the ARM architecture than from the Power Arch.
            Keeping Power parallel to ARM would have fragmented against Intels products.
            ( and “$math-op with accumulate” is an easy add to any architecture. Just like an ARM (HDL) core is an easy add to any of the high capacity programmable logic families today.)

            What really did not fill my expectation was the Transmeta stuff.

          • Sowerobb: What part is to be forgotten and left behind?

            The build method might be but that was not a tech issue, it was a spread the risk issue (and we know how that worked out)

            Its still not left behind, a good lesson in how not to do it.

  6. Looking to the future, I do hope they do the 797, but go for it as suggested at the Paris Air Show. In my view it will be a game changer. Boeing made their reputation by being at the front of technology. Time for them to uphold their reputation. Best of luck to them!

  7. Scott-How about an article comparing the 787-3 as an alternative to the NMA?

    • @Christopher: Not being glib, but the 787-3 as an NMA is a terrible idea and we won’t waste our time with an article. Too much airplane cross section. Another blog tried to float the idea, and it was silly.

      • Yes ,LNR did some good work looking at the 767 potential and you concluded the fuselage was good but the wing and empennage was too big for an NMA. If the current 767 doesnt really work the 787-3 wouldnt come close.
        If the everyones favourite the 757 was still around, a 767 fuselage with 757 wing and tail would be good match.

  8. Where will Boeing’s next “big leap” be, the 797 or NSA?

    The 777X is a relative conservative development compared to 787 for its time.

      • Thanks, was my gut feel. The theoretical initial market for a MoM not sizeable to take risks.

        Production line costs and price to customers most likely some of the MoM key focus points?

        • By all indicators the 797 comes first and its going to be a leap in shape and tech with doing it all at low cost (composites)

          Maybe my old brain is missing something?

          • This is one dark horse of an aircraft with great long term prospects.

            Think Boeing is doing it but potential customers must be fully engaged in their requirements and realistic price and performance requirements.

          • That argument keeps coming up, but I can’t take it seriously. Ground-breaking plane with revolutionary economics at low cost to me sounds a bit like a $5000 Ferrari. Of course, I’d love one, who wouldn’t? But it isn’t a realistic prospect.

          • Hope they keep it within limits, so to keep costs and risk down as well as being able to take LD3’s.

            Let the wing and engines “do the talking”?

          • Roger C: If Boeing says they can do it, I will take them at their word until proven otherwise.

            If there is any organization that know how NOT to do it, its them.

            As noted by Scott, they have build 200 on the computers.

            That is new, or certainly a major extension of using CAD design, now its CAD prototype of the mfg and the build.

            You plug in your learning curve, the curve of tech coming down all the time (and how fast) you plug in your trial programs and scale them up etc.

            Will it be perfect? NO, it never is, but as I tell my managers, if the engineers can get it close, I can make it work.

  9. I do think that the 737 limitations were evident well before the MAX.

    Maybe a bit light on the 787 in regards to the management decisions that lead to the debacle vs the tech that has performed amazing well (I do separate the management driven impacting the tech such as Alenia and Vought failures as well as the insane battery mfg setup that had Thales, Seruap0klane, Yuasa (with its literarily in an environment that was making filthy batteries) and a another Japanese mfg doing the monitor board for the battery.

    If you are going to do a leading edge tech like a battery, you use SAFT, those folks know how to make good batteries and the systems to go with them.

    • “I do think that the 737 limitations were evident well before the MAX.” Yet the MAX appears to be doing quite well sales wise even though it entered the market 6 months after the A320NEO. I still was hoping for a 767MAX but it looks like it will never materialize.

      • Agreed the Max is not doing too badly.

        How much of that is price?

        Also with the significant changes on each iteration from the original tube engine on up, they have had to put far more money into it than Airbus has the A320. i.e. they don’t make as much.

        So its really flogging a good aircraft to the MAX to get it to sell.

        Less profit for Boeing vs lots for Airbus who has had to do almost nothing to the A320 series.

        The problem with the 767 is not its MAX, its the MIN and its not good enough.

        I always wondered new engines and the scimitar winglets how it would do.

        • Given that the 737 line has been open for decades, Boeing must have pricing power compared to the 787. The thousands of 737’s currently flying ensure many sales in replacement aircraft for years to come. I don’t think enough advancement has been made in producing a new narrow body that will justify development costs, fuel burn numbers will have to be better by at least 10% or more. Maybe with PIP’s, the current narrow body offerings can inch their way up in efficiency. With about 8000 737’s and A320’s on the order books, there is no rush to bring one to market yet.
          The MOM is another story, the A321NEO is not the answer.

          • With Airbus seemingly not going to offer anything new in the 220-280 seat class even as Airbus “supporter” I am starting to look forward to Boeing Mom’s (“797”), especially the smaller variant, 220-240 seats.

            This could become the “standard aircraft” for many 1000-3000Nm high density routes in 10+ years from now when airport slots will be less readily available and quick turnarounds on the ground are required, and not only for 4000+Nm routes.

          • Steve: The time to replace the 737 was two generations ago.

            Costs were a lot less and what you needed to put into it to at least match the A320 was not that bad.

            That’s what I don’t get about Scotts comment n the 737, its limitation have been obvious since engines started to grow diameter wise.

            Either you go to exotic gear (MAX10) and at costs that start to stray out of single aisle economics or you re-do.

            737 was a fine aircraft. But it had to have major re-hash 3 x now. That costs and it left no future.

            If there is good news its obvious you can only squeeze so much out of that format and Boeing is able to squeeze enough, but they sure got their butts kicked with the A321 (numbers and money penalty in Airbus gets what it wants for them)

            Airbus has not had to do anything until NEO to match them.

            Airbus is making buckets of money and the NEO was a simple upgrade, not the complex MAX and more money made.

            You don’t want to count on luck for your future.

            And that is what Boeing did on the 7437. Instead of a new aircraft they did share buy back.

            That is plane stupid IMNSHO

  10. The higher cabin pressure and humidity levels on the 787 (and later the A350) are just urban legends, albeit ones that have great legs.


    Several key points in the linked article include:
    1. The existing modern Airbus widebodies already keep cabin pressures below 7,000′ except when reaching FL 400.
    2. Humidity is actually better in Y than in premium cabins because of the density of pax.
    3. The only real improvement in the 787 is that the air circulation system brings the humidity in premium cabins up closer to Y standards. It does *not* have any active humidifiers (except for the cockpit).
    4. There frankly isn’t a ton of evidence that pressure and humidity really make a difference for comfort anyway.
    5. Humidifiers can be installed in metal fuselage aircraft too; the corrosion argument is a bit of a red herring.
    6. The main obstacle to installing humidifiers in any aircraft – metal or composite – is that they require water…which of course weighs a lot.
    7. Given the last point, I confidently predict airlines will start installing humidifiers just as soon as they begin converting their 787 and 777 Y cabins back to 8 and 9 across respectively.

    My apologies in advance to any B787/A350 flyers who were benefiting from placebo effects. 😉

  11. “Greedy airlines, of course, did away with the eight abreast in coach, choosing nine instead—but this wasn’t Boeing’s fault.”

    I disagree. Boeing must have anticipated during designing the 787 that there’s real possibility that instead of generous 8-abreast they will choose cramped 9-abreast seating for better CASM. That it has happened that almost all 787’s are 9-abreast cannot be any surprise to anyone at Boeing. It doesn’t pass the smell test even considering what a cluster* the 787 program has been until recently.

    • What is slightly more sobering is that without the 9 abreast seating the B787 had some difficulty in providing the sort of step change performance vs the A330 and especially the A330neo, an aircraft developed 20 years earlier. The only exception being range

    • Performance data with 9 across configuration references were posted by Boeing ( to show sufficient improvement over the A330 ? ) long before any airline could reflect this “the skies are falling” deed onto customers.
      Same for the performance delta offered for the 777X leveraging the gains from going 9 across to 10 across while “real” 777 usage had already inducted that for staying competitive in today’s market.

    • Ummm I think the 787 was benchmarked against the A330 performance wise in 8-abreast seating, but Boeing wanted to say they have a bigger fuselage. So I think this does pass the “smell test.”

      If that wasn’t the case, why in the world would Airbus initially call the 787 a “cheap Chinese copy of an A330”, then?

      • It is informative to go over the wikipedia history for the 787.
        all for 788!
        The 7E7-8 will be the “baseline” model, with 217 seats in three classes and a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is 2008
        The 787-8 will be the “baseline” model, with 223 seats in three classes and a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is 2008. Boeing is targeting the 787-8 to replace the 767-300ER. The 787-8 will have no direct counterpart from Airbus.
        This variant seats 223 passengers in three classes and has a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is 2008. Boeing is targeting the 787-8 to replace the 767-200ER and 767-300ER.
        The 787-8 seats 223 passengers in a three class configuration.
        .. a substantially longer range of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles ..
        The 787-8 seats 210 passengers in a three class configuration.
        … a range of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles ..

        With a typical capacity of 242 passengers and a range of 7,355 nautical miles (13,621 km), the -8 is the base model of the 787 family

        With a typical capacity of 242 passengers and a range of 7,355 nautical miles (8,464 mi; 13,621 km), the -8 is the base model of the 787 family ..

    • If airlines could get away with it, they would install 15 inch seats and fat Americans could squeeze themselves in while holding their breath during the flight. Point is, airlines are no longer concerned about passenger comfort and have been that way for years.
      Flyers too expect to much for what they pay in fares. I remember many years ago on a TWA 707 coast to coast flight, the leg room was more than adequate and a steak dinner in coach.
      The new normal is here to stay, all hail the stockholders.

      • If you want a low CASM at any cost, surely an A330 in 9 wide must beat a 787 hands down.

  12. “Greedy airlines”? You mean Boeing’s customers who are trying to make a buck, surely?

    • Not to mention cheap travelers!

      Count me in, If I have to go I need to go cheap.

      Will sacrifice as much comfort to do so as I can.

      Of course being outsourced in todays wonderful modern economy tends to make one feel that way (or the pocket book more correctly)

  13. I went looking for the LNR comparison 787-8 v A330 neo but found this instead

    ‘We revealed earlier that Boeing is planning a lighter weight 777-8, reducing the planned 9,400nm range to 8,500nm to more closely match the A350-900’s weight and specification. ‘

    What happened instead was the 787-8 was left to wither as the two bigger models were effectively a major redesign.

    I saw one sentence that was prophetic
    “Airbus used a fuel assumption of $2.50 per gallon……We challenged the assumption of $2.50 fuel as unrealistic, unaware as we were of anywhere fuel could be purchased for this price.” This was written july 2013

    • A view that I expressed before is that Airbus should focus on the 350 fuselage etc as basis for future developments.

      The most important could be the development of a new smaller (~380 m2) and lighter wing as well as wing box (centre section?).

      Using these and ~75-80K-Lb engines, two sub-variants could be developed;
      1)350-800New: 280 pax, 8000Nm and,
      2)350-950X: (3.5m stretch), 340 pax; 6500Nm.

      These should outperform the 787-9/10’s in most areas.

      • The ‘smaller lighter’ versions you talk about never see the light of day , refer the lighter 787 LNR talked about Boeing doing. Over the longer period its the initial launch version which gradually superseded in the markets eyes, eg 767-200, 777-200, 330-200, and even now the 787-8.

        • It should be a better aircraft and wanted more by airlines than an A330NEO?

  14. Further to the comment that perhaps the 787 program should be seen as a giant R&D project–I once heard it said that rather than a simple financial failure, the Concorde was a dress rehearsal for Airbus.

    • Commendable.

      Boeing did not learn much beyond what was available as “state of the art” knowledge. 787 cost was “friction” not “creation”.

      • I disagree.

        The tech proved out to be brilliantly done.

        the management was a total balls up.

        787 cockpit has spun off to the KC46, likely to the 797 and future.

        The tech was proven and can now see where improvements can be made.

        Still to be seen is management lessons, have to see on that.

  15. In contrast to many of the people who post here, who are very critical of everything that Boeing does or has done, and seem to think that Boeing is poorly positioned for the future, the US Stock Market’s collective opinion on Boeing’s past and future performance is quite positive. The following quotes are from the article at the link below.

    “Boeing’s performance this year is the best in the Dow, topping Apple’s 27 percent year-to-date gain. The stock is up 1 percent in premarket trading Friday.”

    “JPMorgan upgraded shares of Boeing, which are up 33 percent for 2017 through Thursday, saying the stock is still cheap and the aerospace leader will benefit from many industry tailwinds this year.”


    If buybacks and dividends help contribute to the stock of a company being the top performing stock in the Dow, perhaps they are not an evil or stupid thing? Might this be especially true in economies where you have to raise, for the most part, your own capital to fund future developments rather than going to the government for bailouts or startup funding? Personally, I know that I am constantly replacing poorly or mediocre performing assets in my investment portfolio with assets that I believe will perform better. The basic reason for this is that is I invest for profit, not to fund charity projects (I do make substantial charity contributions every year, but to traditional charities, not to poorly or mediocre performing companies) or to support “favorite” companies. If that makes me evil, then I am proud to be called evil, and would rather be evil at the 33% annual gain level than at the 10% or 20% annual gain level. Whose predictions for Boeing’s future are more accurate? The naysayers of Leeham, or the collective wisdom (or lack thereof) of the US stock market? Time will tell. Personally, I think that Boeing was (clearly given todays price) a good buy in January, but is now so expensive that it is fairly unlikely that it can duplicate its year to date performance going forward.

    For comparison, year to date, Airbus stock is up about 19%, from 62.82 Euro on 1-2-17 to 74.56 Euro when I checked a few minutes ago. Pretty good, but not as good as Boeing.

    For additional comparison, Dow Industrials and SP500 are up about 9% and 10% year to date, respectively.

    • Well the stock market loved Prime Mortgages as well.

      They used financial data to predict Bexit defeat. We saw how that worked out.

      You are looking at a bunch of technical idiots for the most part who only see numbers.

      Boeing has been lucky that its engineers and workers have carried it through management debacle.

      There is a new generation coming along and they may have a whole different attitude.

      An older generation is soon gone with a work ethic from the 30s (that’s where our parents came from)

      Buying stock back rather thin put it into product development is grossly stupid.

      Boeings one advantage is aircraft are long term and can’t be competed against easily.

      If they had been into computers they would be gone. Run over by history.

      Its the one industry where slow, sloppy, incompetent (787 management, the easy KC46 and lies) and you can still succeed.

      I do want them to succeed, Boeing has been an American icon, but so was Pan Am, Western Airlines and many more.

      The stock market would leave each industry driven into the ground and left to rot if they could get their profits out of it.

      Not a balanced view.

      • “There is a new generation coming along and they may have a whole different attitude. An older generation is soon gone with a work ethic from the 30s (that’s where our parents came from).”
        Were those not among many major factors influencing the Sonic Cruiser and 7E7 projects? At least half a generation of Boeing designers and engineers had retired between the 777 and the 787.

        • It was not the engineering, it was the management and that has changed even more so.

          I know most don’t think so, but it was a management decision to spread the production pieces all over hells half acre.

          We can do this cheap and spread the risk.

          So you have a bleeding edge design that requires close attention and you then scatter it all over the world and have no one keeping an eye on things? Yep.

          As this was all new, the right thing to do was one or the other, but management greed and stupidity was to do both.

          All those so called savings then meant in the end you have to have 20 or 30 tech teams formed in all disciplines to deal with the issues.

          So, the so called stand alones could not stand alone and they needed a lot of help and some were helpless (Chance Vought and Alenia simply could not get up to speed)

          If it was all done around Everett, a team or two could have done it.

          The battery was a very start example.

          As Boeing no longer had its own eleocnric division, it was all out sourcde on a battery no one had ever used by a group0 that had never worked togher.

          Instead of going with leader industry Saft, they went with the bizaree collection of Thales (manaing) Securplane (really?, aircraft secuiryt system? – yep, battery charger for a battery they knew nothing about) – Yuasa who turned out to make what is a clean room battery in a latterly filthier contaminated room, hand beating forms with no quality control) and a odd ball Japanese company that had never done a battery monitoring board.

          We know what could go wrong.

          Their acid test, drive a nail through it, good to go.

          All because of a political decision (Yausa on batteries) and a management chain that had no accountability for the battery system. When politics and management screw ups drive things, then you get those kind of results.


  16. IMU you still fail to attribute the missteps around the 787 gestation properly. Filthy or not : Yuasa had supplied the same type of cell to space application for years without issue.
    The “real” solution at the time was Boeing increasing their interfacing margins that had cooked of the cells aggravating the basic unsuitability of the cell type ( susceptible to repeated pressure cycling and not really designed for high current use).

    What turned the 787 project into a steaming pile was lack of interfacing and liaison at middle “technical” levels. Boeing’s task as self perceived “integrator only”.

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