Boeing to Shave $1 Billion off 787 Production Costs

Company said there was 'no silver bullet' in streamlining production, but that it would involve 'working on the supply chain' partner by partner.

As Boeing battles to turn a profit on the much-delayed plane, a company executive said on Feb. 23 that it will try to take more than $1 billion off production costs of its new 787 Dreamliner plane. Pat Shanahan, Boeing's Commercial Airplanes vice president, told a Florida conference that Boeing was still producing the all-new 787 plane "at a loss" today.

Asked to estimate potential cost-cutting gains in the way the lightweight carbon-composite plane is manufactured, Shanahan suggested they could be above $1 billion.

Shanahan nevertheless said there was "no silver bullet" in streamlining production, but that it would involve "working on the supply chain" partner by partner.

He addressed concerns about a problem with delamination on the fuselage of some 787s, which Boeing announced in early February was due to a shimming problem in the manufacturing process. Shims are used to fill in space between parts.

The shimming issue is "not an issue for the fleet" and is "not something that requires redesign," Shanahan said.

On Feb. 22 Boeing announced it would examine about 55 of its 787 Dreamliners that "have the potential" to develop a fuselage shimming problem.

Shanahan estimated it would take Boeing 10 to 14 days to fix the problem.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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