The last ever Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be built at the manufacturer’s Everett, Washington, United States, facility took off for its first test flight, marking the beginning of the end for the 787 production run at Everett.
The Boeing 787-9, destined for the launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA), took off for its first test flight on March 16, 2021. The Dreamliner (temporarily registered as N883BA) departed from Everett Paine Field (PAE) at 11:00 AM local time (UTC -7) for a 2 hour 37-minute flight around the area, reaching a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet (FL390) and a speed of 500 knots.
Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the first flight of the aircraft marks a bleak moment in the Boeing 787 production run. This will be the last Dreamliner to leave the Everett site, as Boeing will transition to manufacture the aircraft family only in North Charleston, South Carolina. The decision was announced on October 1, 2020.
“As our customers manage through the unprecedented global pandemic, to ensure the long-term success of the 787 program, we are consolidating 787 production in South Carolina,” at the time stated President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Stan Deal. Furthermore, Boeing planned to transition to a six units per month production rate, from the previous rate of 10 per month, as it would have consolidated the production in mid-2021.
However, as market conditions worsened, the situation had shifted.
“[…] given the wide-body market environment, we’re in the process of transitioning to a rate of five per month in March, at which point 787 final assembly will be consolidated to Boeing South Carolina,” commented President and CEO of Boeing David Calhoun on January 27, 2021.
Things went further south as Boeing discovered several production flaws throughout 2020 related to the Boeing 787, including the newly reported checks on the aircraft flight deck windows. The manufacturer delivered only four Dreamliners in Q4 2020, all of them in October 2020. Since, no new aircraft have been shipped off to customers, as the company has been “conducting comprehensive inspections on undelivered airplanes, both in Everett and in South Carolina,” noted Calhoun during the same earnings call.
Boeing hopes to resume the deliveries of the 787 in Q1 2021. According to the chief executive, this will mostly be aircraft that were stored for inspections.
AeroTime News approached Boeing regarding the status of the 787 deliveries.