Boeing 787 production resumes in Everett

Boeing has restarted production of the 787 Dreamliner with the join of the fifth airplane designated for flight test. This will be the first 787 to use the new GEnx engine.

Stalled in late 2008 by a machinists walkout and a variety of supplier/partner-related delays, production of The Boeing Co.’s (Everett, Wash.) 787 Dreamliner resumed Jan. 29 with final section assembly of the fifth (designated ZA005) of six 787 aircraft earmarked for flight testing. The plane will the first to be powered with General Electric GEnx engines, which feature fan blades and a fan blade containment case crafted from composites.

“This airplane signifies our return to a steady production rhythm,” says Jack Jones, VP of 787 Final Assembly and Change Incorporation. “Sections are arriving in Everett at the completion levels committed by our partners and close to what is expected for mature production,” Jones said. “The substantial progress made by our partners streamlines the assembly process, which is essential as we ramp up production.”

Four other flight-test craft are in various stages of production. In preparation for its first flight in the second quarter, production testing on ZA001 has resumed. Fastener rework (one of the causes of delay was a fastener shortage) is done on ZA001, nearly complete on ZA002 and progressing well on the third and fourth airplanes, Jones said. “We have applied the resources necessary to complete all the outstanding work on these airplanes and keep the production line moving forward.”

Assemblies for the final flight-test airplane, ZA006, are in production at partner sites worldwide. In all, assemblies for 30 Dreamliners are in production at this time. The 787 Dreamliner has attracted 895 orders from 58 airlines.