Boeing's 787 Dreamliner delayed again

Aviation giant blames a machinists strike for missing its expected first flight and first delivery dates, which now aren't planned until 2009 and 2010, respectively.

On July 8, 2007, Boeing officially unveiled its 787 Dreamliner, an event that was largely symbolic, since the date corresponded to the plane's name: 7-8-7. But on Thursday, Boeing said that the plane won't make its first flight until at least the second quarter of 2009. Daniel Terdiman/CNET News

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but on Thursday Boeing announced revised first flight and first delivery dates for its long-awaited and much-anticipated, but also troubled 787 Dreamliner.

The aviation giant said it now expects the first 787 flight during the second quarter of 2009, and the delivery of the first Dreamliner in the first quarter of 2010.

Prior to Thursday's announcement, Boeing had said the first flight would be in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first delivery in the third quarter of 2009. But even those dates differed from what Boeing had predicted on July 8, 2007 (07/08/07) when it suggested at the roll-out event for the 787 that the first flight would be in August or September of 2007 and the first commercial passengers in May of 2008.

In its announcement, Boeing pinned the blame for the latest 787 delays on a machinists strike that shut the program down from early September to November of this year.

Now, the company says it is trying to figure out how the latest delays will affect its delivery plan, and what the financial impact will be.

But one thing is clear: Boeing needs to get the 787 program on its feet and up in the air, to mix metaphors. Yet, while the program has had its share of delays, there was recently a sign that at the very least, it is a fundamentally sound project: an intended-to-be-secret dossier recently put together by Boeing's archrival Airbus about the 787 Dreamliner seemed to indicate that the program was solid.

"(T)ake a look at the document," wrote aviation blogger Jon Ostrower on Flightblogger. Nowhere does it say that the program isn't going to work or that the plane isn't going to fly. At the end of the day, the report is a vindication of the program."

Now, Boeing just needs to follow through on that promise. The world is watching.

 

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