The second assembly line at Boeing’s Everett plant won’t be building new 787 Dreamliners until at least the fourth quarter of this year.
Blame the big backlog of modifications Boeing still has to do on several dozen 787s it has already produced.
The company told FlightGlobal.com that the company will use the so-called “surge line” through the summer and early fall as another site where those modifications can be done.
Boeing has already rented a large hangar at Everett’s Paine Field where some of that work is being done, but it needs more space to get the job accomplished. Until each of the already built planes are completely updated, they’re not earning Boeing revenue.
The planes are incomplete because the major components that were supplied to Boeing by its aerospace partners until recently arrived in Everett without all the work accomplished that Boeing had requested.
Likewise, flight tests found glitches that needed fixing before the planes can be used in passenger service.
Boeing recently rolled out the first Dreamliner that was essentially complete as it rolled off the assembly line.
Once the company finishes the backlog of modifications, it will put the second Everett production line into action building new Dreamliners.
Boeing originally had planned only a single production line for the 787, the original one in Everett. Under Boeing’s optimistic plan, major subassemblies would arrive in Everett from plants in South Carolina, Wichita, Japan and Italy and then be joined in a three-day process.
The failure of Boeing’s partner companies to produce completed assemblies at the rate Boeing had sought meant the company now has three assembly lines for the 787, the original one in Everett, the Everett surge line and a third in South Carolina.
The company hopes to produce five Dreamliners a month from the three lines together by year’s end. By 2014, Boeing says it will be building 10 787s monthly on the three production lines.