Boeing acknowledges another 787 Dreamliner's delay

Originally scheduled to enter service in May 2008, production of 787 Dreamliner will be delayed again. Boeing officials reported Wednesday that a third major delay to 787 deliveries was closely connected with reconstruction plans.

On March 7, 2008, a financial analyst from Goldman Sachs closely linked with Boeing warned of the delay by another six months, potentially bringing the total delays up to 16 months. Although not official, the report was confirmed by several unnamed Boeing employees. The report and employees cited issues with the wiring, the continuing fastener shortage, and the very slow assembly of airplanes 4 to 6, which will be vital in the testing process after the initial power-on of the first. Boeing has not confirmed any specifics of the report, but acknowledges continuing assembly problems. The company plans to release its official scheduling reassessment by the end of March 2008.

According to Boeing’s official information, the company is going to redesign some parts of now “troubled” Dreamliner, but the details remain still unknown.

Boeing premiered the first 787 at a rollout ceremony on July 8, 2007, which matches the aircraft's designation in the US-style month-day-year format (7/08/07). However, some of the aircraft's major systems had not been installed at that time, and many parts were attached with temporary non-aerospace fasteners requiring their later replacement with flight fasteners. Boeing had originally planned for a first flight on August 27, but on August 10, 2007 the Company said this date might slip, citing factors including final assembly, avionics integration, and completion of software, hydraulic, electronic and other systems.

On September 5, 2007, Boeing announced a three-month delay to the first flight, again blaming a shortage of fasteners as well as incomplete software. On October 10, 2007 a further three-month delay to the first flight and a six month delay to first deliveries was announced. The Company cited problems with its foreign and domestic supply chain in explaining the delay, especially the ongoing fastener shortage, the lack of documentation from overseas suppliers, and continuing delays in the flight guidance software provided by Honeywell. Less than a week later, the 787 program manager was replaced, although the delivery delays were not cited as a reason for the change.

On January 15, 2008, Boeing announced a further three month delay to the first flight of the 787 due to production issues. As of mid-January 2008, Boeing plans to deliver the first 787 to launch customer All Nippon Airways in early 2009.

After the initial six-month delay to first deliveries, Boeing had still intended to produce 109 of the 112 aircraft it originally planned to produce in 2008 and 2009, then increase production in 2010 to 10 aircraft a month. However, following the announcement of a further three-month delay, the Company has not yet produced a revised delivery schedule. Boeing is known to be talking to its suppliers about the possibility of future increases in production to up to 16 a month.