Boeing faces further delays over 787 delivery
Boeing is facing further delays to the first deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner as the US aircraft maker fails to overcome problems in the assembly of the aircraft.
It is expected to announce today that first deliveries of the 787, Boeing's biggest investment in commercial aircraft for more than a decade, will be delayed by a further three months, leaving the programme up to 10 months behind schedule.
This latest sign of the scale of the problems still facing Boeing in starting series production will cause concern for the many airlines that are basing an important part of their long-haul fleet replacement and capacity growth on the 787. Mounting worries about the slow progress in early assembly had already prompted Boeing in October to change the project's top management only days after announcing that the first 787 deliveries would be at least six to seven months late.
First deliveries of the 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways had been delayed from May this year to late November or December, and today's expected announcement will push this into early next year. Boeing has been calling airlines and aircraft leasing groups to warn them of the latest setback.
The aircraft maker took 369 orders for the 787 last year, as the family of long-range jets became the fastest-selling new aircraft programme in history with total orders of 833 since the launch of the industrial programme in 2004.
Bahrain-based Gulf Air was the latest airline to sign up for the 787 last weekend when it placed firm orders for 16 with options to buy a further eight. Deliveries are not due to start until 2016.
Under Boeing's last published schedule, the maiden flight of the aircraft had already been put back from last August to about the end of the first quarter this year. As the delays extend further, Boeing faces the threat of having to make penalty payments to customers of the sort that have plunged its European rival Airbus into heavy losses.