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Boeing knocks back Dreamliner first flight

Further delay for troubled programme

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Boeing today announced that the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner will not now take place until "around the end of the second quarter" of 2008 - a roughly three month delay which will see the first aircraft delivered "in early 2009, rather than late 2008".

The company late last year rescheduled the 787 programme in the face of "significant supply chain wrinkles", having already announced a six month knock-back after claiming it could deliver the first example to All-Nippon Airways by May 2008 following a compressed flight test schedule.

Of the latest delay, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Scott Carson said: "The fundamental design and technologies of the 787 remain sound. However, we continue to be challenged by start-up issues in our factory and in our extended global supply-chain."

Carson added that "while solid progress has been made on the assembly of Airplane #1, the rate at which jobs are being completed has not improved sufficiently to maintain the current schedule".

He elaborated: "Our revised schedule is based upon updated assessments from the 787 management team of the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned to date. This includes our experience on the factory floor completing production work on the airplane that was originally intended to be done by our suppliers."

Boeing says it will over the next few weeks "be working with its customers and suppliers to assess the specific impacts of the schedule change on the 787's flight test program and entry into service".

Carson concluded: "We are deeply disappointed by what this delay means for our customers, and we are committed to working closely with them as we assess the impact on our delivery schedules." ®

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