Breaking news: Flightblogger, Jon Ostrower is reporting that dozens of partially completed 787s will each require the replacement of thousands of fasteners in their wings to ensure the jets are compliant with lightning strike protection certification requirements.

This updates the earlier report, below, that previewed the Boeing quarterly briefing which takes place early tomorrow morning our time.

The same media management technique that is at work for the Australian Federal Budget due on May 10 is in use  for the next quarterly Boeing analyst conference call this Thursday (Wednesday US time).

That is, break some of the bad news early, and try to draw attention to specific areas.

So far, this seems to have worked better on Bloomberg’s coverage than that of Dominic Gates at The Seattle Times.

There are reasons for the disparity, in that Bloomberg relies strongly on analyst views, and analysts are not reporters, they are functionaries in the financial services and investment sector.  This is a sector which naturally depends on the buying and selling of stocks or other investment products, and as far as that goes Bloomberg does it very well.

The Bloomberg report on how the 787 is ‘on time’ for its first delivery to All Nippon, by September 30, is thus of some fascination for those who know that if it is delivered by that date in will be three years and four months late from the promise of end of May 2008.

Nor did Bloomberg cast any light on whether or not the 787 will come anywhere near to being the ultra light weight, incredibly strong, and amazingly long ranged jet it was supposed to be.

However those who watch the newscasts from the US will know that there is almost rejoicing in the streets because Bloomberg says the 787 is on time, which is terrific news for those with the memory retention of goldfish.

The Seattle Times however is written for those who still have jobs at Boeing, and in Washington state, which is an important qualification. Boeing is one of the key enterprises in Washington, but the relationship between the company, its unionised work force, and successive state governments has been variably vitriolic. Which means that The Seattle Times has to report credibly to the tens of thousands of its readers who have a vital and in some cases life long linkage to its fortunes and the quality of its management and their strategies and visions. These are not readers who readily trade their reality for analyst speak.

A recent, and well balanced story in The Economist, looks carefully at the Boeing versus labor issues.

Both Bloomberg and The Seattle Times report very well on matters Boeing, but to get the full picture, you really need to read both.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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