The challenges for Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner program apparently continue, this time with newer twists involving implications for both Boeing’s services and product focused supply chains.
In today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, aviation industry reporter Jon Ostrower pens that Boeing continues to encounter headwinds in managing the operational reliability of the 787 . (paid subscription or free metered view)
Noted is that low cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle has emerged as a prominent trouble spot for Boeing after problems with its two 787’s have caused numerous delays or cancelled flights, resulting in only 49 percent of its fleet of 787 flights operating according to schedule. This development is noteworthy because the airline was the first carrier to sign-up for Boeing’s service management program where the manufacturer assumes responsibilities for operational uptime performance. The report indicates technical problems with the aircraft’s power supply along with indicators of issues with the aircraft’s brake systems have impacted on-time performance. The situation prompted the CEO of the Norwegian airline to publically declare that the situation was “unacceptable” and further prompted Ray Conner, Boeing CEO for commercial aircraft to recently visit and meet with airline management as well as dispatch a team of Boeing technical experts to Norway to resolve these ongoing glitches. Boeing has been further requested to move augmented spare parts inventories to the airline’s schedule destinations while it continues to work on longer-term fixes.
The article notes that on-board aircraft sensors have detected other aircraft glitches. LOT Polish Airlines was forced to halt flights last week after three engines on two separate jets were noted as missing oil filters.
While some readers might conclude that any new aircraft has an expected trial of working out expected glitches, the advanced technology and overall visibility attached to this particular aircraft and its ongoing history magnifies each development. However, now that it has been revealed that it involves a Boeing managed maintenance program for a particular airline, it takes on more significance for Wall Street and consequently for Boeing’s product management and service supply chain teams.