Boeing's assembly line in North Charleston completed its first 787 - for Air India - in April
Two final assembly lines on two different US coasts are poised to give Boeing the production power it needs to take the 787 Dreamliner bottom line from red to black by decade's end - or so the theory goes.
From a financial standpoint, a rapid rise in production is a necessity for the 787 programme, which came to market 3.5 years later than promised, in order to convert the 850-order pipeline into revenue as well as to get aircraft to customers without further delay.
With a steady production rate of 10 aircraft per month before 2014, Boeing is expecting an inflection point in 2015 where costs to build a 787 dip below the average sales price, beginning the process of recouping the more than $20 billion in deferred production costs it will have taken to get that far. Boeing has predicted that it will begin making a profit on the 787 after approximately 1,100 aircraft are delivered, a benchmark it has said will occur before 2020. As of 6 June, Boeing had delivered a total of 11 787s.
"We think we're going to have plenty of opportunity to make this a very profitable programme as we go forward," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) chief executive Jim Albaugh during the company's annual investor conference in May, alluding to Boeing's predicted market potential of 3,300 787s...
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