Boeing's 787 got its monthly ration of not-so-good news Tuesday, as a major U.S. airline announced a decade's deferral of Dreamliner deliveries and Boeing said it has paused supplier shipments to the 787 final assembly site in Everett.
Delta Air Lines, which inherited an order for 18 Dreamliners from Northwest Airlines when the two airlines merged, announced in federal financial filings that it has deferred delivery of those planes until 2020 and beyond.
The Atlanta-based airline had always been lukewarm on the 787, so the deferral announcement wasn’t unexpected.
And Boeing said it has pushed the pause button on further major shipments to its assembly line of 787 subassemblies because its Italian supplier, Alenia, needs to catch up with assembly of the plane’s horizontal tail.
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Late last summer, Boeing announced problems with the fit and craftsmanship of the horizontal tail. Boeing workers in the Puget Sound area are refitting the already-installed tails on some aircraft with composite shims to make them fit correctly.
Boeing has openly discussed moving horizontal tail manufacture back inside the company. One possible site for the manufacture of that big composite part is the company’s Frederickson plant in Pierce County.