Boeing clarifies Dreamliner delays

BOEING officially announced its revised plan for first flight and initial deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner that includes additional schedule margin to reduce risk of further delays on the programme.

First flight is being rescheduled due to slower than expected completion of work that travelled from supplier facilities into Boeing’s final assembly line, unanticipated rework, and the addition of margin into the testing schedule. The schedule now targets approximately 25 deliveries in 2009.

First flight of Dreamliner will move into the fourth quarter of this year rather than the end of the second quarter, and first delivery is now planned for the third quarter of 2009 instead of first quarter.

Company officials expressed confidence in the new plan and the steps being taken to accelerate programme performance.

“Over the past few months, we have taken strong actions to confront and overcome start-up issues on the programme, and we have made solid progress,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer, Scott Carson. “Nevertheless, the travelled work situation and some unanticipated rework have prevented us from hitting the milestones we laid out in January. Our revised schedule is built upon an achievable, high-confidence plan for getting us to our power-on and first-flight milestones.

“We deeply regret the disruption and disappointment these changes will cause for our customers, and we will work closely with each of them to minimise the impact. We have taken significant action to improve supply chain and production system performance, such as our investment in Global Aeronautica, but based on our assessment, the prudent course is to proceed with a more gradual ramp up to full-rate production,” said Carson.

The manufacturer faces compensation claims from airlines affected by the delays and will be desperate to ensure it does not fall into the same trap as Airbus did with the A380, by missing revised targets on a number of occasions, adding to the frustration of customers.

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