I included a case study on the 787 in The New Technology Elite. I profiled the plane, in spite of its numerous delays, because I was impressed with the supply chain, product, testing and price point innovations the plane brought to the industry. Not for nothing, it was the fastest selling airliner ever designed. The entire case study is attached below if you want to read.
Of course, I started writing the case study in the middle of 2011. If I was starting today given the recent battery, fuel leak and other issues that have come to light, would I?
The answer in one word: Yes
The innovations in the 787 have raised aviation expectations by a couple of notches. Example: The Gulfstream G650 which countless executives are lining up to buy has incorporated many of the 787’s nonstop reach, lower altitude pressurization and other features.
I also feel confident these are teething 787 problems because countless Boeing, supplier, airline customer and regulatory technology brains have kicked the tires of the plane early and often over the past decade.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney sent his employees a note yesterday which included the following:
Despite the negative news attention over the past several days, I remain tremendously proud of employees across the company for the decade of effort that has gone into designing, developing, building, and delivering the most innovative commercial airplane ever imagined. Since entering service 15 months ago, the 787 fleet has completed 18,000 flights and 50,000 flight hours with eight airlines, carrying more than 1,000,000 passengers safely to destinations around the world. While the 787's dispatch reliability rate is on par with the best-in-class introduction of the 777, we will not be satisfied until the 787 meets the even higher standard of performance we set for it and promised to our customers.
Here’s wishing them the best as they work through the challenges.