Boeing Delays Dreamliner Delivery Date, Again

Engine production problems push first 787s mid-Q1 2011

Boeing Co. is delaying the first deliver of its 787 passenger jet, the Dreamliner, until the middle of the first quarter 2011 due to a problem in delivery of engines needed to complete the final phases of flight testing.

It is the sixth delay in the scheduled delivery for the Dreamliner, a twin-engine aircraft for which reportedly has logged 850 orders, estimated at $100 billion in revenue. Production was due to begin in mid 2008, and the first deliveries were planned for late this year. Among the reasons for delays have been design issues, parts shortages, and labor problems.

Earlier this summer, Boeing said that a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues for the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, would push first delivery into 2011.

The latest delay is blamed on an accident at a Rolls-Royce plant, in which an engine targeted for use on a 787 test aircraft exploded on a test bed. Boeing is using Rolls-Royce Trent engines in four of six test flights. General Electric engines are being used for two other tests. A Rolls Royce spokesperson denied the accident was the reason for the delay, but offered no alternative explanation.

"We are working closely with Boeing to expedite delivery in support of their program schedule," according to the Rolls-Royce spokesperson.

Boeing’s statement confirmed that it is working with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, so flight testing across the test fleet is continuing.

Boeing said last month that several issues, including supplier workmanship on the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The new delay in engine availability extends that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011.

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