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More delays on Boeing Dreamliner

first flight of the Dreamliner should be in the second quarter of 2009

[December 12th 2008]

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing has announced another delay on the 787 Dreamliner, its innovative new jet, but Virgin Atlantic has placed a major order for the new plane.

Boeing says the first flight of the Dreamliner should now be in the second quarter of 2009, with the first delivery to an airline in the first quarter of 2010.

“Prior to the strike that halted much of the company's commercial airplane work from early September into November, the 787 was to make its first flight late in the fourth quarter of 2008. First delivery was slated for the third quarter of 2009,” Boeing explained in a press statement.

This is the fourth delay in the troubled history of the Dreamliner, which is now almost two years behind schedule. "We're laser focused on what needs to be done to prepare for first flight. We will overcome this set of circumstances as we have others in the past, and we understand clearly what needs to be done moving forward," said 787 program vice president, Pat Shanahan.

Boeing says it is evaluating the “specific impact” of this latest delay on delivery dates and will provide airlines with an updated schedule once this has been completed.

Despite the delays to the production schedule of the Dreamliner the plane is still proving popular with airlines. Virgin Atlantic is the latest major carrier to announce an order for the 787.

Virgin has ordered 15 787-9 Dreamliners, with options on another eight and purchase rights on a further 20 planes, making this the largest order yet by a European airline for the Dreamliner.

“The 787 Dreamliner symbolizes the environmentally-kinder aircraft of the future - cleaner, quieter, lighter and truly the best experience in the air," comments Virgin Atlantic chairman, Sir Richard Branson.

The 787-9 Dreamliner burns around 27% less fuel per passenger than the A340-300, the aircraft it will replace in the Virgin Atlantic fleet. The Dreamliner’s noise footprint is also 60% lower than the A340-300.

Virgin hopes to take delivery of its first Dreamliners from 2011 and says it will choose an engine manufacturer, either Rolls Royce or General Electric, for the aircraft in due course.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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