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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boeing Blames Fastener Shortage for 787 Delays

Boeing is facing a scarcity of permanent fasteners for its first 787. Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney believes that the supply chain (Alcoa Inc. and others) has not caught up to demand and that is one reason why the company had to postpone the first flight of the composite-bodied Dreamliner. Boeing announced the first 787 test flight would be postponed until mid-November, or possibly later, due to problems with assembly and flight software systems integration. However, a shortage of permanent fasteners to hold segments of the aircraft’s composite barrel-section fuselage is considered the main problem facing Boeing. McNerney implied that many companies could have done a better job of ramping up their operations. Alcoa is the main supplier of aluminum and titanium fasteners for the 787 and Boeing hasn't publicly identified other companies, if any, supplying those parts for the program. A spokesman for Alcoa says the company is doing all it can to catch up. Boeing believes it will still be able to fully test and certify the Dreamliner in time for its planned May 2008 entry-into-service with All Nippon Airways.
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