Boeing's Conner says battery didn't slow other programs

Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:52am EDT
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By Alwyn Scott

PARIS (Reuters) - Boeing's (BA.N: Quote) extraordinary effort to solve battery problems that hit the 787 Dreamliner early this year did not disrupt progress on other aircraft programs, which remain on schedule.

"It didn't slow down development," despite doing three years of work in three months to fix the problem of overheating batteries on the 787, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner, speaking at a news briefing ahead of the start of the Paris air show which opens on Monday.

Conner said the company expects to deliver 11 or 12 787s by the end of the first half, counting from when the grounding of the 787 ended in April.

One 787 was delivered in January before the worldwide 787 fleet was grounded. Two lithium ion battery incidents aroused safety concerns with regulators, prompting the grounding.

Conner said Boeing was on track to deliver more than 60 Dreamliners this year, as promised.

Conner said the outlook remains positive for further increases in production rates and there were no constraints in the supply chain. But he said further rate increases are not yet a certainty, and the company is focused on bringing production costs down.

The company has said previously that there is an "upward bias" in production rates, but has not been specific on whether it would actually move to increase production beyond already established targets.

He added that costs associated with Boeing's focus on improving its supply chain would not alter the timeframe for profitability of the 787, which is due to break even in 2015.   Continued...

Boeing Commercial Airplanes' Chief Executive Ray Conner speaks during a news conference after conducting an All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner test flight at Haneda airport in Tokyo April 28, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino