Everett (WA) – Boeing announced the fourth significant delay of the arrival of its 787 airliner within seven months. The company now expects the first plane to take off in the fourth quarter of this year, a full year behind the original schedule. Customers can expect their 787 to arrive in the third quarter of next year, Boeing said today.
Slower than expected arriving parts from suppliers, unexpected rework and an additional testing margin are pushing the official launch of what may be Boeing’s most anticipated plane in 15 years (the 777 was introduced in 1994) is pushed two more quarters into the future.
Boeing today said that it plans to deliver about 25 planes next year to customers, beginning in the third quarter. That number is down from 109 promised by Boeing just five months ago. The first flight was moved into the fourth quarter of this year: Last January , the company expected a Q2 date for the first flight, in December it talked about Q1 and in October it was Q4 2008, while the delivery of the first plane was scheduled for May 2008 until October 2007.
“Over the past few months, we have taken strong actions to confront and overcome start-up issues on the program, and we have made solid progress,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson. “Nevertheless, the traveled 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 minimize the impact,” said Carson.
Not surprisingly, the delay of the baseline 787 has also changed the delivery plans of other variants of the airplane. Boeing said that the 787-9, a larger variant of the airplane, will be the first derivative of the baseline 787 with delivery planned for early 2012. The 787-3, a shorter-range model previously slated to deliver in 2010, will now become the second derivative of the airplane family.
Boeing has received 762 orders for 787 airplanes so far.