Boeing to announce 787 test flight return soon

By Reuters
Posted Dec. 22, 2010 at 6:43 a.m.

Boeing Co. said on Wednesday that it will soon announce the resumption of test flights for its 787 Dreamliner plane, which have been halted since last month due to technical problems. “Probably the next announcement from Boeing would be an announcement of a return to flight tests. We expect that announcement very soon,” Boeing Japan President Mike Denton told reporters.

Last week, the airplane maker said it would know over the “next few weeks” what impact a 787 Dreamliner electrical glitch will have on the plane’s production and delivery schedule after test flights for the plane were halted after a problem with the electrical system caused a fire on one of the planes.

Denton said, however, that he was not in a position to discuss the 787’s delivery schedule, adding that the company is set to announce the updated 787 status in a few weeks.

The light-weight, carbon-composite plane, which Boeing says promises greater fuel efficiency, is nearly three years behind its original schedule because of production and labour problems.

According to its latest schedule, Boeing had planned to deliver a Dreamliner to its first customer, All Nippon Airways, in the middle of the first quarter of 2011. The original target was May 2008.

Boeing, the world’s second-biggest plane-maker after Airbus, has taken about 850 orders for the Dreamliner.

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