787 Dreamliner Debut…finally a dream come true?

Inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with CEO Jeff Smisek (video)

After years of production delays and costs overruns, November 4 marked the date for the historic use of the Boeing Dreamliner to finally take flight in North America. With suppliers located all over the world in a large-scale collaboration, delays should have been expected. Originally planned for its first flight in August 2007, problems with excess weight and manufacturing and other problems caused for five delays and the first model was delivered in September 2011. The first commercial flight service was on October 26, 2011. Orders for the plane came in before initial production and these delays have caused many unhappy customers and calls for compensation.

It’s amazing that even with all of the delays, many airline companies have still continued to place orders. This extraordinary airplane has promised features that will supposedly astound not only its passengers but its flight crew and potential customers as well. With Boeing finally delivering on this exulted and greatly advertised product, will this plane meet its high expectations?For many of the people on this historic flight, the answer is yes.

United Airlines is the first airline in North America to operate the use of the Dreamliner with a commercial flight from the George Bush International Airport in Houston to O’Hare Airport in Chicago. United Airlines celebrated this historic event with a ceremonial ribbon cutting attended at the departure gate by its senior level management and the 200-plus passengers.

Many passengers commented on the design of the 219-seat interior plane as well as the tranquil atmosphere they experienced. Many noted the reduced noise from the engines, wings, and landing gears along with many of the other special features of the plane. Many new features include 30% larger windows with adjustable tint windows, spacious storage, dynamic LED lighting, a quieter cabin, and a smoother ride. The plane’s composition produces greater fuel economy, less maintenance, lower cabin pressure, and less time out of service. Attached above is a short video of the interior of the Dreamliner.

Even with the delivery of this one Dreamliner, there is the possibility that Boeing can still face problems with its suppliers which in turn causes further delays with providing its customers finished products. So my question is even with all of these fantastic features of the Dreamliner, does it make up for the years of delayed delivery? With multiple airlines carrying this Dreamliner, what does that mean for the competitive advantage of a company? And with all the past production delays, is it possible that there are still faults with the Dreamliner?




10 thoughts on “787 Dreamliner Debut…finally a dream come true?

  1. Even though there was a delay in delivering the first Dreamliner to United I believe that the features of this aircraft was worth all the delayed time. The Dreamliner twenty-first century aircraft that features all the things customers and crew are asking for. Aircrafts needed to see these features implemented into their design and the Dreamliner has done just that. With the delivery of this new aircraft and many others to come the airline industry is about to change the way people fly. Just like hotels go through renovations aircrafts need to as well but the process can be a long one due to supply issues. I would rather know that these dreamliner’s are being built with the best materials even if it caused the delivery to be delayed. In the beginning I feel that companies who purchases these planes may have a slight competitive advantage but over time I don’t think it will have a huge impact on companies because most major airlines will have some of these planes in their inventory so no one company will have an advantage over the other. In regards to their being possible faults with the Dreamliner still due to its delay I don’t think that is true. In my opinion Boeing did the right thing by delaying the delivery of the plane until they knew their product was to the highest quality. They wouldn’t have delivered the plane if it wasn’t free of faults.

  2. I think it is definitely possible the Dreamliner still has faults. While I imagine the plane has undergone rigorous testing, there could still be an issue that arises. What comes to mind instantly for me is the Apple iPhone 4– there were antenna issues that were causes dropped calls, because of the way people were holding the phone, until Apple realized that cases would solve this issue. With the iPhone 5 there were some complaints of “purple haze” when pictures were being taken, which Apple insisted was just something like a bad angle with lighting. Anyhow, the point is that yes, there can still be issues with the plane itself, and there may be issues in the future with suppliers. However, I think that this experience has served as a learning experience for not only Boeing, but for other companies (and even us students), in supply-chain management. I think that in the future Boeing will be more careful when creating products and estimating the completion dates.

  3. Even though the dreamliner was delayed, they spiced up some modifications while changing the expectancy date. They made some modifications on the wings to save some fuel usage which has been working out in their favor. There obviously is going to be faults with any program but I dont think the faults will be so significant that it is going to make people want to go to other planes. What more can you ask for than free wi-fi, video games and an abundance of movies during the plane ride? Well you can still ask for some decent food but other than that, it is the dream!

  4. From the reviews I have read from passengers of the Dreamliner, it seems to be the new standard in aircraft. The long overdue delivery may have financially set back many of the companies who ordered the Dreamliner, but I think that customer loyalty from these new aircraft will more than make up for it. Maybe Boeing should have taken a lesson from Apple and brought more of its manufacturing in house instead of outsourcing from around the world. The only downside I see to the new Dreamliner is that fact that it is still relatively untested and no one really knows for sure how it is going to hold up.

  5. It is interesting to see an advancement in commercial aircraft carries take so long but I can imagine how expensive it is to make such advancements. It will be interesting to see how airlines react and begin to purchase them. Will they charge more to ride this plane, in order to make up for the expense of the plane. If it is significantly more fuel efficient, that could be a possible tipping point to invest in a plane like this.

  6. If all the hype is to be believed this delay will have been worth the delays and wait for production to finally have truly begun. The contracts and profit potential is enormous for Boeing but it needs better manageits supply chain much better in the future if it wants to see that potential realized. These delays and mistakes probably have cost Boeing some clients but most likely not enought to hurt the company financially. However, another set of delays could in fact ruin any hope of seeing profits being made upon something they have invested millions upon. They need to standardize their chain and most likely make it a more effecient chain in order to allow for easier production as well as perhaps looking into creating better communication and stricter guidelines for the manufacturers that it employs in the plane’s construction.

    1. Whoops talk about what i meant was that the delays upon delays would have been worth it if the production is now truly beginning.

  7. Because each time it was delayed they most likely lost customers, they have to really make sure that they are now flawless because if there are any issues then it will result in more losses for boeing.

  8. Throughout the development and production cycle, Boeing learned an important lesson in regards to outsourcing their suppliers of parts that really came down hard on the bottom line of the 787 project. Traditionally, the firm has maintained a nearly entirely in house production cycle with very specific exceptions. This time around, many of the delays were really created from suppliers not living up to their obligations and their misunderstanding of the required expertise needed to supply aircraft grade products. A perfect example of this was when Boeing was experiencing issues with the wings of the aircraft due to faulty manufacturing. Traditionally, Boeing’s quality control would have eliminated this problem but the desire to build a model similar to that of the automotive industry and a lower overall cost was too high of a treat to pass up. The lesson was a learning experience for the firm and senior management has even expressed their hesitation to perform such an experiment in the future for the next line of aircraft. Overall, I don’t think the delays will affect end customers. In the aircraft manufacturing industry, there really are only so many players and both are frequently victims of delays for delivery and development. In addition, when an airline orders aircraft for delivery, contracts extend years into the future with delays already baked into timelines.

    An excerpt from a story in the LA times says it all. Read more at the link below.
    “We gave work to people that had never really done this kind of technology before, and then we didn’t provide the oversight that was necessary,” Jim Albaugh, the company’s commercial aviation chief, told business students at Seattle University last month. “In hindsight, we spent a lot more money in trying to recover than we ever would have spent if we tried to keep many of the key technologies closer to Boeing. The pendulum swung too far.”


  9. While this has been an extremely painful process for Boeing, its suppliers, customers, and everyone else involved, I really do believe that it was all worth it. In the end, hopefully all of the innovations in process, design, and materials will be a big step forward for the industry, and both the airlines and customers should reap the benefits. The environment will benefit from lower emissions and reduced noise. The airlines should benefit from reduced fuel and maintenance costs. Passengers will benefit from improved entertainment and connectivity options, more space for themselves and their luggage, and less fatigue especially for the long haul and international trips. The industry as a whole can benefit from the development and use of composite materials and global manufacturing – provided that they have worked out all of the bugs that Boeing encountered.

    There are countless other stories of big companies that fumbled on their first attempts to do or create something revolutionary; a recent one that comes to mind is Chevy with the Volt. In this case though, Boeing is still likely to be successful with the product due to the large number of orders still standing and the fact that there’s nothing else quite like the 787. Some of the features have already trickled down to other planes like the 737 as well, and I can attest to the fact that they have a significant impact on the quality of air travel.

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