Analysts expect the Boeing Co. to deliver a record number of 787 Dreamliners this year, as customers start taking the first 787-10s for commercial service and the aerospace giant cranks up production of its popular 787-9 model.
The coming year "is going to be exciting in that the newest 787 variant, the 787-10, is expected to be certified and delivered in the first quarter, most likely toward the end of March," Uresh Sheth, a Dreamliner analyst and investment banker, said on his All Things 787 website.
Sheth predicts Boeing will deliver 147 Dreamliners in 2018, based on the current 12-per-month production rate and three "Dash 10" test planes that will be delivered in the second half of the year.
Dhierin Bechai with AeroAnalysis thinks the final tally will be between 145 and 147 Dreamliners. Both figures would beat the record 137 deliveries set in 2016.
Singapore Airlines will get the first 787-10, which is currently sitting on the flight line at Boeing's North Charleston campus. North Charleston will be the exclusive assembly location for the largest and most fuel-efficient Dreamliner variant, because the 787-10's mid-section is too large to transport to Boeing's other 787 assembly plant in Everett, Wash.
The Singapore carrier is expected to get half of the 16 787-10s delivered at North Charleston in 2018, according to Sheth's analysis. Etihad Airways and United Airlines will get four apiece, he said.
Meanwhile, North Charleston and Everett will boost deliveries of the best-selling 787-9 by 10 percent to 121 in 2018, the analysis shows.
"Over time I do expect that orders for the 787-10 will rise significantly and may compete with the 787-9 in terms of monthly deliveries as long as the order book grows," Sheth said.
The 787-8, the oldest and smallest member of the Dreamliner family, is expected to see just 10 deliveries over the next 12 months, according to the analysis.
A National Labor Relations Board decision involving Boeing promises to have widespread implications for all employees of companies that have workplace policies, such as those written in an employee handbook.
The case centered on Boeing's policy that restricts the use of cameras and camera-enabled devices, such as cell phones, on company property. The policy is intended to protect Boeing's proprietary information, workplace security and potential disclosure of classified work for the U.S. government, among other things.
An administrative law judge ruled the policy is illegal because employees could "reasonably construe" that it restricts actions protected under part of the National Labor Relations Act, which deals with rights to unionize. Boeing appealed and the labor board overturned the lower court's ruling just before the Christmas holiday.
And then the board went further, creating a new test to determine whether workplace rules violate federal law.
The old "reasonably construe" test — which held that policies are illegal if a worker could interpret them to mean they restrict legal activity — had been in place since 2004. In the Boeing ruling, the labor board said the old test often led to baffling decisions in which common sense was overruled. For example, in separate decisions workplace rules prohibiting verbal abuse were found to be both legal and illegal.
The board — in a 3-2 vote — said in its Boeing ruling that going forward workplace rules will be given individualized scrutiny to determine whether the business justification outweighs any interference of employee rights.
"This decision hopefully signals the beginning of the Trump Board bringing some sense of balance and practicality to its enforcement of the NLRA," Charles Engeman, a managing shareholder in labor law firm Ogletree Deakins, wrote in the The National Law Review.
Sara Hazzard, who's been with the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance since 2004, is now president and CEO of the organization that lobbies for legislation benefiting industry. Hazzard previously was the group's vice president of government relations.
Kurt Dallas, the alliance's chairman, said Hazzard's "extensive experience in government relations, public affairs and business will serve our organization well as we continue to advance pro-manufacturing issues."
Hazzard replaces Lewis Gossett, who stepped down as alliance president and CEO at the end of October. Hazzard had been serving as interim head of the group since then.