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Boeing 787 Suppliers in Japan to Boost Output in 2011

A worker assembles components of the center wing box section for the Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner at Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Handa plant in Handa City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
A worker assembles components of the center wing box section for the Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner at Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.'s Handa plant in Handa City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. will open new production lines in Japan for sections of Boeing Co.’s 787 next year as the planemaker ramps up production.

Fuji Heavy will start a third production line for center wing boxes at its Handa City factory in July, Yasuhiro Toi, a general manager, told reporters yesterday during a plant tour. Kawasaki will open a line for fuselage sections at a plant in Gifu Prefecture, Akira Taniguchi, a staff officer, said at a separate event. Both declined to comment on the costs involved.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Japan’s biggest aerospace manufacturer, is working to boost its production of sections to support construction of 10 787s a month as the Dreamliner nears entry into service early next year, about three years behind schedule. Fuji, Kawasaki, and Mitsubishi, Japan’s three biggest aerospace companies, are building about 35 percent of the plane.

Kawasaki and Fuji have each shipped sections for 40 Dreamliners so far, according to Toi and Taniguchi. Mitsubishi Heavy has shipped 29 pairs of wings to Boeing for production aircraft, Alan Crowder, site leader for Boeing said today in Nagoya, Japan. The aircraft uses plastic composites so that it’s more fuel-efficient than conventional jetliners.

Korean Makers

Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., which makes 787 tail sections, and Korean Air Lines Co., a wingtip fabricator, both said this week they would boost output to enough for 10 planes a month.

Mitsubishi Heavy, which has about 1,000 workers on the 787, may need to add employees as it increases production, Kazuya Takaoka, a group manager at the company, said. The company has tested higher production rates for 787 parts on its production line, George Maffeo, Boeing vice president, said today.

Boeing has delayed delivery of the first Dreamliner to maiden customer All Nippon Airways Co. six times.

The latest setback came on Aug. 27 with the company saying Rolls-Royce Group Plc couldn’t supply an engine needed to complete flight testing. Boeing last year had to redesign joints where the wings meet the plane’s body after signs of separation were observed during ground tests.

Fuji climbed 2.4 percent to 545 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading. Kawasaki fell 0.8 percent to 235 yen, while Mitsubishi Heavy was unchanged at 308 yen. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.4 percent. Boeing gained 0.9 percent to $66.54 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

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