Fourth delay for 'green' Boeing Dreamliner

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UK airlines are going to have to wait even longer to take delivery of the new "green" Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane, it was revealed today.

In the fourth delay to the project, US-based Boeing announced that the first flight of the 787 had been put back to spring 2009 and the first delivery delayed until the first three months of 2010.

Among the UK carriers that have ordered the environmentally-friendly Dreamliner are British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

BA was to have taken the first of 24 787s in 2010 but now expects this date will be put back at least two years.

Virgin has ordered 15 Dreamliners with the first originally due to arrive in 2011. Virgin, too, expects at least a two-year delay.

Under the original plan, the first Dreamliner should have been delivered in May this year.

But a series of production problems led to the key dates in the project having to be constantly revised.

Today, Boeing said the new schedule reflected a strike by employees and further production problems.

Boeing 787 programme vice-president Pat Shanahan said today: "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."

Boeing has taken nearly 900 orders for the plane in deals worth about £100 billion. Seen as a super-efficient new aircraft, the 787 will seat around 300 passengers.