2007-09-09 - Dreamliner delayedDreamliner flight delayed
Boeing 787 fliegt frühestens im November<br /> Boeing has admitted that it will not begin flight tests of the new 787 jetliner until mid-November or mid-December. Originally the Dreamliner was expected to fly in late August.
Programme manager Mike Bair said that it has proved more time consuming to complete the first aircraft. Also, finalizing flight-control software was taking longer than expected. But Boeing still said that the company has contingency plans in place to keep the 787 on track to be delivered to its first customer, Japan's All Nippon Airways, next May.
In a conference call with analysts and reporters, Scott Carson said, "A one- to three-month delay would have minimal financial implications for us in '08." He referred to penalty payments but also to extra work necessary, which he said is still covered by previous provisions. Bair explained that some work has been rescheduled, for example putting the fatigue test specimen in assembly next, as its easier to handle. This will give suppliers time to send their next sections more complete and correct than was the case with airplane No 1. The company also hired new mechanics and made others available to do the final assembly work once those components arrive to the factory, Bair said. Boeing has had to grapple with replacing thousands of temporary fasteners that hold the plane together with permanent ones a time-consuming problem brought on because of an industrywide shortage of the tiny parts, some of which are unique to the 787.
The 787's flight-test program will be much more condensed than that of Boeing's last all-new jet, the 777, which went through about 11 months of flight testing before airlines first started flying it in 1995. To get the airplane certified on time, Bair said the company plans to fly six fight-test 787s at higher rates about 120 hours a month than it's done with previous planes, which have flown about 70 to 80 hours a month.
Meanwhile, Boeing and Aeroflot, Russia's flagship carrier based in Moscow, announced they have finalized an order for 22 Boeing 787-8s. The order was contingent upon Aeroflot shareholder approval. The order is valued at $3.6 billion at list prices. Aeroflot said the 787 will upgrade its existing widebody fleet, as well as provide for fleet growth to meet increased demand for air travel. Aeroflot did not announce an engine selection for its 787s. Boeing has logged 706 orders from 48 customers for the 787 Dreamliner.