Delays possible on new Dreamliner plane

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

[24th March 2008]

Further delays to the launch of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft are possible after the plane manufacturer admitted it had to redesign a key component.

Boeing has redesigned the centre wing box, where the wings are attached to the body of the plane, and has not said there will be any further delays to the launch of the much anticipated Dreamliner. But Boeing’s largest customer, International Lease Finance Corporation, has expressed concerns that the plane could be delayed by another six months.

In January this year, Boeing announced that test flights for the Dreamliner would be put back to June and deliveries to airlines would not begin until early 2009. Originally the first test flights were scheduled for late summer 2007. The 787 Dreamliner has attracted more advance orders than any other airliner in history – over 850 to date – and any further delays would be sure to anger airlines.

“It is a normal part of the development of a new airplane to discover need for improvements, and that is what we are experiencing on the 787. The robust test process in place on the 787 program has confirmed the majority of our designs but we have found the need for some improvements,” said Boeing in a statement.

But Boeing insists the issue regarding the centre wing box has been dealt with. “The fix is being installed on Airplanes 1-6 in the Everett factory. Installations have begun on the four airplanes currently in Final Assembly. All airplanes after Airplane 7 will have the solution incorporated from the beginning. The fundamental technologies being used on the 787 are proving to be reliable and effective. The material choices and manufacturing techniques for the airplane are sound,” Boeing added.

Japanese airline All Nippon Airways will be the first to receive the new Dreamliner, and UK customers include British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, First Choice Airways and Monarch.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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Delays Possible On New Dreamliner Plane