The FAA Friday approved certification of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, launch customer ANA is expecting delivery on Sept. 26, and three years of delays mean Boeing's profit on the design is still a long way off. ANA has scheduled the first commercial flight for Oct. 26, out of Tokyo for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Boeing is currently sitting on $16.2 billion of 787 parts, collected through June 30, according to Bloomberg News, and challenges are still ahead. Boeing's 787 inventory represents about 35 nearly finished airframes, many still awaiting engines and interiors. And production changes made through the certification process mean some of those aircraft will remain sitting for several months.
Boeing has constructed a temporary factory at a leased hangar in Everett, Wash., to handle the work of seeing near-finished Dreamliners, each requiring different finishing touches, through to completion. While those 35 jets are sorted out, Boeing has four finished aircraft at the factory and six more test jets that also are not yet flying for carriers. Boeing doesn't make money by keeping the jets it builds and inventory should decrease in the coming months. With that will come profitability for the program ... eventually. Rounding that corner is still quite a ways off. Analysts expect the turn to happen at roughly 1,000 Boeing 787s delivered. The company expects that incorporating necessary modifications and non-production line finish work into nearly complete airframes will hold deliveries this year to fewer than 14.