Boeing’s Dreamship?

What is it with the Dreamliner? Boeing just announced its third delay in the dream-ship, putting it a year and a half behind schedule.

When Boeing first proposed the aircraft, it was considered a model of new design and production know-how. Many of us cheered as orders for almost 1,000 planes rolled it. I never wanted to ride on Airbus’s mega-carrier, and now I could seemingly fly almost halfway across the world without so much as a refueling stop.

Then the delays started coming in. Problems with Boeing’s suppliers—especially those in Japan and Russia—mean that the first planes won’t be flying until the end of 2009, instead of May of this year. Boeing says they’re being more conservative with this production estimate. We’ll have to see on that one.

The larger issue is here is another by-product of globalization. As companies use more outside providers, small complications can yield major headaches. Call it the butterfly-effect writ large. In Boeing’s case, its “Dreamliner” has become a real nightmare.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
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