Boeing has finally confirmed the inevitable by announcing today that this year’s two-month machinists’ strike and further problems with fastener applications would delay the 787 Dreamliner yet again. The updated schedule now calls for first flight in the second quarter of next year and first delivery in the first quarter of 2010. The announcement marked the fourth major delay of the new design, leaving it almost two years behind schedule.
“Our industry team has made progress with structural testing, systems hardware qualification and production, but we must adjust our schedule for these two unexpected disruptions,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson.
Before the strike that halted much of the company’s commercial airplane work from early September into November, schedules called for the 787 to fly for the first time late this year. The company had slated first delivery for the third quarter of 2009.
“We’re laser focused on what needs to be done to prepare for first flight,” said Pat Shanahan, 787 program vice president. “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.”
Preparations for first flight, Shanahan said, include finalizing and incorporating remaining engineering changes and completing systems testing, qualifications and certification. Boeing said it is evaluating the specific impact of this delay on customer delivery dates. The company also plans to incorporate the delay’s financial effects into updated financial and overall airplane delivery guidance scheduled for release “at a later date.”