Boeing delays Dreamliner to third quarter

BOEING has announced that delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner will now be in the third quarter of this year. This now places the delivery of the revolutionary next-generation aircraft type three years behind schedule, and allegedly billions of dollars over budget.

Launch customer All Nippon Airways said the new delivery date was a “positive step”.

This latest delay is the result of software problems related to the electrical power distribution that caused a minor fire during a test flight in November of last year, although overall delay has been blamed on Boeing’s experiment with a distributed global parts supply chain.

“This revised timeline for first delivery accommodates the work we believe remains to be done to complete testing and certification of the 787,” said Scott Fancher, vice-president and general manager of the 787 programme. “We’ve also restored some margin in the schedule to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities,” he added.

Boeing currently has 847 orders for the Dreamliner.

Meanwhile, Boeing has also laid off 90 workers at its Macon plant in Georgia. The plant manufactures the C-17 military freighter, but orders have been falling recently.

Jerry Drelling, spokesman for Boeing C-17 operations in Long Beach, California, where the programme is managed, said the losses would be staggered over 2011 and 2012, along with some retirements and natural employment attrition.

“This is a tough decision, and it is disruptive. It’s not something we want to do, but we have to do,” Drelling said. “This is also to save jobs. By stretching out production and keeping the plants open, then we can keep the C-17 programme alive and viable for future customers.”

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