Last week, Boeing tweeted that due to a backlog of approximately 700 orders and “continued demand,” the company plans to increase its production of the 787 Dreamliner to 14 plans per month in 2019. Currently, the company produces 12 Dreamliners per month. The Dreamliner has netted 78 aircraft orders this year, and that doesn’t include tentative deals such as the agreement for eight of the twin-aisle planes announced last week by Malaysia Airlines.
This production increase will likely spur growth in the already-robust market for aerospace-grade carbon fiber composites. In January, Boeing shares reached an all-time high after the Dreamliner officially reached a point of production where, after a decade of profit loss, it is now being manufactured for less than its sales price.
“Congrats to Boeing! Great news for everyone (including all of us suppliers!)” tweeted Stamford, Ct.-based Hexcel Corporation, which supplies a wide range of carbon fiber prepreg, sandwich panels and carbon fiber/epoxy composite products to the Dreamliner program.
The Dreamliner is the first major commercial airplane to have a composite fuselage, composite wings, and use composites in most other airframe components. According to Airframer.com, the program receives composite materials from a total of 18 companies, including Hexcel, Solvay/Cytec, Toray, TenCate, Victrex and Orbital ATK. A 2007 report from Toray notes that each 787 contains approximately 77,000 pounds of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), made with 23 tons of carbon fiber.