The Boeing Company [NYSE:BA] today announced a six-month delay in its planned initial deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner due to continued challenges completing assembly of the first airplanes.
Deliveries of the strong-selling Dreamliner are now slated to begin in late November or December 2008, versus an original target of May 2008. First flight is now anticipated around the end of first quarter 2008.
The company said the financial impact of the delay would not be material to earnings and that its earnings guidance for 2007 and 2008 remained unchanged.
"We are disappointed over the schedule changes that we are announcing today," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney. "Notwithstanding the challenges that we are experiencing in bringing forward this game-changing product, we remain confident in the design of the 787, and in the fundamental innovation and technologies that underpin it."
Early last month, Boeing announced a delay in the planned first flight of the 787 citing ongoing challenges with out-of-sequence production work, including parts shortages, and remaining software and systems integration activities. The company also acknowledged increasing risk to the delivery schedule, indicating that the margin to accommodate unexpected issues had been eliminated. The newly revised schedule for first flight and first delivery addresses the production challenges and restores margin for the program to deal with issues that may be uncovered in final ground or flight testing. Boeing also said today that flight control software and systems integration activities are not pacing items in the revised schedule for first flight.
"While we have made some progress over the past several weeks completing work on our early production airplanes and improving parts availability across the production system, the pace of that progress has not been sufficient to support our previous plans for first delivery or first flight," said Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We deeply regret the impact these delays will have on our customers, and we are committed to working with them to minimize any disruption to their plans.
"The most important commitment we've made to our customers is to deliver an airplane that performs to their expectations over the long life of the program. These changes to our schedule will help ensure we do just that," Carson said.
The company will hold a conference call to discuss the 787 schedule changes today at 12:30 p.m. Central Time, which will be accessible at the company's website.
Boeing will provide its next quarterly financial performance update as planned on October 24.
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