There is no official response yet from Qantas over the latest and apparently very serious issue to emerge in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program.
As Jon Ostrower reports in the Flightblogger story, production of major parts of the plastic central barrel of the 300 passenger twin aisle ‘wonder’ jet by Italian program partner Alenia ceased on 23 June on orders from Boeing.
The reinforced carbon fibre laminates are wrinkling. The stop work order was made on the same day Scott Carson the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes reversed his earlier lies about the certainty of the Dreamliner prototype making its first flight on 30 June by revealing that a wing component had actually broken under static test late in May and the flight was suddenly ‘off.’
Even then Carson didn’t level with his customers or the media. While he was portraying the wing-join (side of body) issues as trivial and readily fixed the company he was responsible for had suspended production on a vital part of the airliner.
This standard of misleading conduct and inadequacy in timely disclosure by an airline maker is in a class of its own. Boeing has always insisted that its use of plastic composite materials in load bearing and flexible parts of the design of an airliner where they have never been used before was a fait accompli.
It was nothing of the sort.
Qantas has 50 Dreamliners on firm order, including promised mid 2013 delivery of the 787-9 version which has no chance of actually being deliverable by that time.
What will Qantas have to say about this? We may have to wait until its annual results press conference next Wednesday to find out.
The crucial issue now is whether Boeing can deliver on any of the performance promises made for this jet, or whether it will pause or even cancel the project.