After 15 months and millions of dollars spent, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has resumed commercial flights. The groundbreaking jet, introduced in July 2003 was dubbed as the next generation airplane that would revolutionize the way air travel operated. Soon after preliminary flights, major aircraft corporations began to notice technical and mechanical issues that affected the reliability of the jet. These problems resulted in flights being delayed and cancelled. In January, two 787s owned by Japanese airlines experienced burning batteries that would later ground all 787s.
Prior to the grounding, delivered 787s logged a reliability rating of 97.7% (23 delays/cancellations out of 1000 flights). This result was comparable to the long tested and proven 777 that that 787 aims to replace. As technology expands, systems become more intricate and coincide with higher rates of failure. The 787 is an example of new age lithium-ion batteries, electrical systems, and computer systems that alter service requirements. This plane alone requires 10 times more power during startup than traditional Boeing planes, computer and electrical systems to be turned on three hours before each flight, and scheduled maintenance in between each flight.
During this downtime Boeing continuously has been mass producing these airplanes to fill the 800+ orders that have been filed from 50+ customers. By April 2013, 50 planes have been built and delivered to their respective companies. However, this plane does retain more positives than negatives, thus accounting for the 800+ orders. With this new technology, the planes will be able to be serviced in as little as 45 minutes. This will allow for companies to keep their planes in the air instead of on the ground. In addition, new light weight materials have been used and new fuel efficient engines fitted on the wings that allow for longer distance flights without using more fuel.
Aboard the new computer system, Boeing has also included a transmitter that will upload the airplane’s data to a world-wide network managed by Boeing’s facilities near Seattle. This system will track each jet’s information, making it easier for mechanics to fix any issues that may have occurred during a flight. This system will also allow for Boeing to monitor necessary maintenance updates as well as be able to ground any planes that it deems unsafe to fly.
Years behind schedule and plagued with problems, the Boeing 787 did not have a successful start. Boeing executives believe that in the future years to come, this plane will be more reliable than the 777 and project a reliability rating of 99+%. The 787 is a key example of problems during the operations strategy of a company and their ability to overcome difficult situations that result in millions of dollars of losses. At this point the 787 is operational, but if similar problems occur in the future, Boeing may lose potential orders.
With so many problems occurring with the 787, do you believe that its main competitor (Airbus) may be regarded as a safer investment?
What do you believe lies in the future for the 787? Will it continue to experience more problems or will it beat the projected 99+% reliability?
Ostrower, Jon, and Andy Pasztor. “Dreamliner’s Other Issues Draw Attention; Boeing and Airlines Try to Improve More Systems After Fixing Battery Flaws.” Wall Street Journal (Online): n/a. May 20 2013. ProQuest. Web. 22 May 2013.
5 thoughts on “Boeing, flying high once again?”
I thought it was interesting that the Boeing 787 logged a 97.7% reliability rating even though it has experienced all of these issues during its launch. I think if Boeing offers the sort of maintenance updates and service that it is known for, than the787 will beat the 99+% reliability projection. I don’t think that Airbus will necessarily be considered as a safer investment than Boeing, but I do believe that because of the rate at which Boeing has rolled off the first shipment of 787s coupled with the problems at start, it’s going to be up to the next few years of deliveries to determine whether or not customers continue to order the 787.
Boeing has an extensive history of success, but their B-787 had a huge negative impact on their credibility. I do not think Airbus is a safer investment because they never introduced a revolutionary airplane that had numerous technical problems. Once Airbus experiences a similar situation Boeing experienced with the 787 and we see how the company handles the problem, then we can compare both companies and decide which company is better.
I agree completely with both the comments above. Boeing is a smart company that has been tested time and time again and they have always pulled through. This seems to be just a bump that they will overcome. Yes, it will take a few years but I do not believe this means the Airbus will be a safer investment. It would be interesting to see if Airbus can introduce a fully functional plane into the market without any issues.
I think this does imply that Airbus may be a safer investment. We all know that Boeing is the primary competitor, leading in innovation and the launch of new products/concepts. Therefore, I think it is safe to assume that they are taking on most of the risk by introducing these new things to the market; in testing new airliners such as the 787 which requires a lot of time, and experimenting with what clients/customers actually prefer. Contrary to Boeing, competitors like Airbus remain on the edge until Boeing gives the green light. Once Boeing clears the path, the rest follow. This implies that they (competitors) are not taking on a significant portion of risk, making them safer investments. However, less risk means less return. Boeing is willing to step off the edge and go where others in the industry won’t. Of course this means greater risk as some things may fail, but greater returns can be expected with greater risk.
I think Boeing’s problems are not such a big deal. For one the Dreamliner is the first of its kinds with plenty of technology upgrades from anything currently out there. Because of this there were bound to be a problem or two and its seems as though they have this solved now. If you are company that is in the lead of using new technology there will obviously be bumps in the road. Boeing handled this situation well, and as long as there aren’t anymore problems, i believe they will be fine.