New Dreamliner setback after test flight fire

A new "green" Boeing passenger plane ordered by a number of UK airlines is set to be further delayed, it was revealed today.

An onboard electrical fire on a recent test flight of the plane - the Boeing 787 Dreamliner - has led to the US-based company having to make design changes.



First deliveries of the new aircraft are already more than two-and-a-half years late and will now be put back even further.



British Airways has ordered 24 of the Dreamliners, while Virgin has ordered 15, Thomson Airways 13 and Monarch Airlines six. In total, Boeing has has taken more than 850 orders from carriers worldwide.



Boeing is having to make changes to power distribution panels on the 787 as well as changes to the systems software that manages and protects power distribution.



Engineers have determined that the fault on the test flight on November 8 began as either a short-circuit or an electrical arc in the P100 power distribution panel, "most likely caused by the presence of foreign debris".



The P100 panel is one of five major power distribution panels on the 787. It receives power from the left engine and distributes it to an array of systems.



Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways is the launch customer for the new fuel-efficient plane and should have received the first aircraft in May 2008.



However, a series of production difficulties has meant a continuous slipping of the date for passenger services to begin.



Boeing said today that it was now assessing the time needed to make the latest changes and would be finalising a revised 787 programme schedule "in the next few weeks".

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