Dreamliner delivery put back to the autumn

The first Boeing 787 will go into service before the end of September, the aircraft manufacturer has promised, three years after the troubled plane was originally due for delivery.

Development of the 787, also known as the Dreamliner, has been plagued by problems ranging from supply issues and design flaws to, most recently, a fire during a test flight.

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief that the latest delay was not even longer. Boeing has been re-assessing the schedule for finishing test flights since November, when an electrical fire forced an emergency landing and then a temporary suspension of test flights.

The new delivery date allows enough time to produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power-distribution panels, Boeing's vice-president, Scott Fancher, said. "This revised timeline for first delivery accommodates the work we believe remains to be done to complete testing and certification of the 787, and we've also restored some margin in the schedule to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities."

Boeing has been gradually returning its test fleet into the testing programme, and four of the six planes are now flying again. The company's shares slumped by more than 9 per cent on news of the fire on 9 November, but yesterday they were up in early New York trading. Analysts have already factored in some of the likely costs of the delays, including compensation to early customers.

Boeing said it would give financial forecasts for 2011, as well as more information about the expected delivery schedule, at its annual results next week. Japan's All Nippon Airways is scheduled to get the first 787 out of the factory, and Boeing has so far received 847 orders for the plane, at $200m (£125m) each.

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