Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Boeing's Dreamliner: Back on Course?

Pat Shanahan, Boeing's (BA) man on the hot seat, on Dec. 11 offered customers and Wall Street the makings of a credible plan to keep the troubled 787 Dreamliner on track to meet its revised schedule.

But investors will have to fly on the faith of Shanahan's commendable record of fixing some of Boeing's most intractable problem programs. While offering insight into how he is making operational changes since the program schedule was reset in October, Shanahan, vice-president and general manager of the 787 program, and Boeing Commercial Airplane CEO Scott Carson offered few new details on the issues that matter the most to the 787's fate: namely, how to get from zero to six airplanes a month by 2009 and how exactly to prod some struggling suppliers such as Vought Aircraft to step up to the daunting challenge. Other key questions relate to weight reduction, aircraft certification, and suppliers being able to adapt quickly to engineering changes.

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