Stepping up production rates across five lines and finalizing the company’s future twin-aisle strategy remain ’s immediate priorities.
That’s the main message from incoming Boeing Commercial president Ray Conner who takes the reins from Jim Albaugh at a decisive time for the manufacturer. “We’ve got a lot on our plate, and we’re starting to make headway in the marketplace and in production,” says Conner who acknowledges his arrival comes as Boeing turns a corner.
Half-joking that he does not want to be reminded about the fifth anniversary of the premature roll out of the incomplete first 787, Conner spells out his vision for Boeing by 2017. In addition to continuing production of the 767,, “the 737 MAX will be in full production by then. Hopefully we will have developed our new twin-aisle strategy (787-10X/ ) and the 787 will be rolling out like nobody”s business.”
Other priorities in the nearer term include securing a new agreement with the SPEEA engineering union and “getting the team ready for the future in terms of our people as we go up in rate,” he adds.
Although widely tipped to be nearing launch of the 787-10X, an 18 ft stretch of the, Conner declines to be drawn on a specific timetable. “When we feel we’ve got the right aircraft then we’ll go to the board,” he says.
The key focus supporting both the new developments and on-going production build up remains on the supply chain. “We’ve made a lot of progress there,” he adds refering to the recent achievement of the first 787 (line number 66) to roll through the factory with 100% “condition of assembly.” An assembly plant is “only as good as the supply chain that sypports it.”
As for the recentdecision to open an production line in Mobile, Alabama, Conner appears unfazed. “I don’t believe, based on my experience, that it makes any difference (to the market place) where the aircraft is built.”