As widely expected, Boeing announced today that it will acquire Vought Aircraft Industries‘ South Carolina facility, where Vought builds a key portion of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Many view the move as Boeing’s admittance it needs more direct control of the 787 production line.
The purchase doesn’t come as any surprise, says analyst Saj Ahmad. Once Boeing took over Vought’s share in Global Aeronautica a few months ago, it was “inevitable that the widely regarded weak link would be consumed.”
Vought’s slow pace of improvement on the 787 program meant that Boeing was going to have to act sooner rather than later, Ahmad said.
The beleaguered 787 program has had six schedule delays and setbacks.
The purchase should increase the efficiency and seamlessness within the 787 supply chain, said Macquarie Securities analyst Robert Stallard in a report.
It also can pave the way for Boeing to set up a second assembly line once Boeing ramps up production.
But there’s no rush, Ahmad said. Other suppliers and partners can’t ramp up production to meet the demands of two lines, so Boeing has some time to decide where to put the second line.