In a few hours time Boeing is to conduct a conference call on its earnings outlook.

However this story in The Seattle Times is the real story, one of a company that continues to lie and misrepresent the calamity that the 787 Dreamliner project has become.

The original lie that Boeing used to makes fools of customers like Qantas was that the technology to build a high composite ‘plastic fantastic’ jet was mature, understood and posed no difficulties.

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These claims were made on a regular basis from late 2003 onwards, when the original hype about building a Sonic Cruiser morphed into the super efficient 7E7 program, subsequently branded the Dreamliner family.

Boeing has nothing material to offer any of the airlines that were duped into ordering around 850 of these jets, for which it has no performance specifications, no first flight date, and no chance of coming anywhere near to meeting its obligations to Qantas, which fell for the spiels about this jet so comprehensively it even thought it could fly non-stop from Australia to London in a version that would be available sometime in the middle of the next decade.

The public statements made by Boeing about this jet reflect an apparent strategy of saying anything, no matter how outrageous, to keep up the fiction that it knew what it was doing, and was selling something real and capable to its customers.

The current management of Boeing has so gutted the human resource in design and fabrication that it commanded in its glory days that it couldn’t even put the right bolts into the right holes in a sub fleet of test aircraft the first of which it doesn’t dare fly, a situation it acknowledged only days after bald faced assurances that the jet would fly by 30 June.

Airbus was also fooled into designing its own high composite but slightly larger series of jets, the A350 XWB family, for delivery from 2013.

While that design differs significantly in many respects to the 787 family, the question that hangs over the Airbus jet is whether its unprecedented reliance on composite materials will also fail to produce the benefits that would set it apart from one that exploited the latest alloys and metal/composite hybrid materials.

Or to cut to the chase. Are these high composite, super lightweight, super efficient plastic laminate designs in fact undeliverable in the promised form?

Qantas recently cancelled 15 of its order for 65 firm deliveries, and accepted uncritically, in so far as its public guidance is concerned, a promise that it would get deferred deliveries of the larger 787-9 version in mid 2013.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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