Boeing to update 787 production plan this month

Dubai - Leonardo expects Boeing to produce at a rate of 10 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2025



A Boeing 787 airplane is shown at Boeing Co.'s assembly facility, in Everett, Washington. — AP file photo
A Boeing 787 airplane is shown at Boeing Co.'s assembly facility, in Everett, Washington. — AP file photo

By Reuters

Published: Sun 3 Oct 2021, 5:42 PM

The chief executive of Italian aerospace firm Leonardo said Boeing was expected this month to release an updated production plan for its 787 Dreamliner wide-body jet.

“In the next day they will come out with a new plan,” Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo told Reuters at the Dubai Expo on Saturday.

“They are saying they are ‘slightly more optimistic’, shall we say.”

Profumo did not say whether there would be a change in production rates in the new plan to be released by Boeing. Leonardo manufactures part of the Dreamliner airframe.

A Boeing representative told Reuters the planemaker did not have any updates on 787 production. They did not say whether a new production plan would soon be released.

“We are constantly analysing the global aviation market, coordinating closely with suppliers and aligning supply with demand.”

Leonardo expects Boeing to produce at a rate of 10 Dreamliners a month by the end of 2025, Profumo said, citing existing advice from the planemaker.

Boeing was producing at a rate of 14 a month in 2019, according to the latest available data.

The US planemaker suspended Dreamliner deliveries in late May after the Federal Aviation Administration raised concerns about its proposed inspection method.

AW609 aircraft certification in 2022

Leonardo expects the US Federal Aviation Administration will certify the AW609 aircraft in 2022, nearly two decades after the first test flight.

The AW609 is a twin-engine tilt-rotor aircraft that can take off like a helicopter but flies like a plane, giving it greater speed and distance than normal helicopters.

Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo said the first two AW609s built for a customer were in production and would be delivered as soon the aircraft is certified, which he expects will be next year.

“We’re pretty close to the final step,” he told Reuters at the Dubai Expo world fair.

An FAA representative said in response to a Reuters query that the agency “does not comment on certification projects.”

Leonardo forecasts civil, government and military demand for the AW609, including for transport to offshore oil and gas sites, search and rescue operations, border patrol and surveillance.

“We are seeing a lot interest,” Profumo said, including from potential buyers in the United States, Australia and Japan.

An AW609 prototype first took flight in 2003 and four prototypes have been built including one that crashed in 2015, killing the two pilots on board.

Italy’s flight safety agency recommended aerodynamic and software changes to the aircraft following the crash. — Reuters


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