With its dry climate, the Mojave desert is one of the popular places to store aircrafts waiting to be torn down into scraps, but Boeing is parking two absolutely brand new 787s there. These two planes are intended to be delivered to American Airlines.
Bloomberg reports that with the substantial increase in demand for lie-flat seats, Zodiac Aerospace, the designer and manufacturer of these seats, is not able to keep pace. As a result, deliveries are being delayed and these aircraft are parked in the desert awaiting seats to be installed.
Of course, this means the aircraft are not flying and hence not generating revenue. Additionally, because seats are usually installed before many other components of the aircraft, a late delivery also means that Boeing will now have to remove galleys, lavatories, etc. to make room for the seats to be installed.
Premium cabin seats are a lucrative business, with reports of First Class seats costing $150,000 to $300,000 per seat to make and about 2 months to assemble. This is because they often require reinforced flooring, extensive wiring, and even changes in the ductwork of the aircraft. Here is a video detailing what goes into making First Class Suites on the Emirates A380.
With airlines seeing tremendous revenue from selling seats in premium cabins, the demand for lie-flat seats is only going up. Hopefully we will see those American 787 flying soon!