Boeing confident 787 is on track

By Reuters
Posted Oct. 18, 2010 at 6:18 a.m.

A Boeing 787 prepares for its first test flight in December. (AP)

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner program is on track for first delivery in early 2011, a senior company executive said on Monday.

Boeing said in August the first delivery of its 787 Dreamliner will be delayed by several weeks to the middle of the first quarter of 2011 from the fourth quarter of this year due to a delay in the availability of a Rolls-Royce PLC engine.

“That is on track as far as I understand … There’s no 100 percent guarantee but that’s the best plan we have and we have confidence in it,” Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told Reuters when asked if the programme was on track.

Tinseth’s comments came after industry speculation that the carbon-composite plane might have to be delayed again. All eyes are on the schedule of the carbon-composite plane as Boeing reports its quarterly results this week.

Boeing has been struggling with a range of supply, manufacturing and design problems for the programme, made worse by a two-month strike at Boeing’s Seattle-area plants last year.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways would be the first customer for 787 Dreamliner aircraft. In an interview, Tinseth said the company will not make any decision on the next generation of its 777 model until the end of next year.

“We recognise that, like the 737, we are going to have to make some changes at some point with the 777. My guess is towards the end of next year we probably have one or two strong options that we gone through and thoroughly discuss with our customers.”

“So I don’t think we will make any decision about where are we going to with the 777 until probably sometime towards the end of next year,” he said.

Dubai carrier Emirates said it was working with Boeing on the next generation of the 777 series and “is very interested in a placement” the CEO of the airline told Reuters last week.

Boeing is also working on decision on whether to re-engine or redesign its hot-selling narrow-body 737 aircraft and could come up with a conclusion in 2011.

– Reporting by Harry Suhartono

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