There is recent news related to Boeing’s supply chain ecosystem. The aerospace and commercial aircraft manufacturer has announced that it has reached a preliminary agreement to extend partnership with a group of key Japan based suppliers to provide major structural components of the newly planned 777x aircraft. These suppliers provide major structural components such as fuselage sections, wings, and other components. They include:

  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd.
  • Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
  • Shinmaywa Industries Ltd.
  • Nippi Corp.

Many of these same suppliers also support Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program, thus outsourced component innovation and global supply chain sub-assembly is also being planned for the new 777x scheduled for delivery in 2020. As noted in a previous Supply Chain Matters commentary, Boeing has been pressuring suppliers on cost in setting up its supplier partnerships for the 777x program. The fact that Boeing is continuing with its core group of Japan based structural component providers provides evidence that these suppliers with monetize their cost and innovation activities over Boeing’s two largest commercial aircraft programs.

There is also news regarding the ongoing 787 program.  U.S. and European regulators have now approved for commercial service, the largest 787-9 (Dash Nine) model version of the aircraft, those powered by Rolls Royce engines. This announcement paves the way for initial customer delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand and to satisfy a current backlog of 413 Dash Nines among 26 Air New Zealand 787-9customers, accounting for 40 percent of all 787 orders. Approval for the Dash Nine version powered by General Electric engines is still pending.

The Dash Nine is designed to be 20 feet longer than the previous 787 models and can accommodate up to 290 passengers. It is designed for a cruising range of 8300 nautical miles on routes as long as 15 hours.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Dash Nine was originally due to be delivered in 2010 but its development has been dramatically pushed back due to changes in design. The aircraft’s list price has risen more than 40 percent since it was first discussed in 2006.