The new year got off to a slightly bumpy start for Boeing Co. and its 787 Dreamliner. The company has said it plans to deliver more than 135 of the planes in the year, which implies a monthly rate of more than 11 planes. In January, Boeing delivered just seven planes.
February deliveries rose to 12, for a total of 19 in the first two months of the year. That leaves Boeing about 3.5 deliveries to make up over the next 10 months. As of March 1, the company had three planes ready for delivery, which means that if Boeing can produce to plan, the shortfall could be made up by the end of this month.
The company also announced on Thursday that it had received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to add 787-9s manufactured at its North Charleston, S.C., plant to its production certificate. The certification allows Boeing to produce and deliver 787-9s directly from the South Carolina plant. Certification for the 787-8 was granted in July of 2012.
Boeing operates three production lines for the 787, two in Washington state and one in South Carolina. The company’s chief financial officer said on Thursday that he expects the three lines to be building a roughly equal number of 787-8s and the larger 787-9s by the end of this year. Last summer Boeing announced that the largest Dreamliner, the 787-10, would be built solely at the South Carolina plant.
Boeing has booked orders for 467 of the 787-8 and delivered 247 of the planes since first delivery in late 2011. Of the 466 orders for the larger 787-9s, the company has so far delivered 15. The first 787-10 is not scheduled to roll off the assembly line until 2018. Because the 787-9 carries a list price of $257.1 million, compared with a list price of $218.3 million for the 787-8, Boeing would like to boost production of the 787-9. That would add significantly to revenues without a concomitant increase in manufacturing costs. Boeing currently shows an order total of 139 for the 787-10 at a list price of $297.5 million.