United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), the first North American customer for Boeing Co. (BA)’s new 787 Dreamliner, said the planemaker has delayed its next delivery of the jet with no new schedule in place.
United, which picked up its first 787 on Sept. 24, was to have received the second one in time for it to enter service along with the first on Nov. 4, said Christen David, a spokeswoman for the Chicago-based carrier.
“We were informed that the second one is not ready for delivery as scheduled due to unexpected delivery delays from Boeing,” David said in a telephone interview today. “We believe subsequent aircraft could be delayed as well.”
The 787 is the world’s first airliner made chiefly out of composites instead of traditional aluminum, making it more fuel- efficient and able to provide bigger windows and better air quality for passengers. The jet was 3 1/2 years late when it entered service in 2011, after Boeing struggled with the new materials and manufacturing processes.
Boeing is “working diligently to complete United Airlines’ next 787s for delivery,” said Tim Bader, a spokesman for the Chicago-based planemaker. “Final closeouts continue on the United airplanes, but are taking a few days longer than anticipated.”
The carrier was supposed to take delivery of five 787s this year and executives reiterated those plans last week on an earnings conference call with analysts and investors. Boeing informed United of the delay to the second plane on Oct. 26, David said.
United still plans its first flight for paying passengers with the first 787 jet on Nov. 4, with a trip from Houston to Chicago, that will include Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smisek and other executives and employees.
The carrier will swap in a 777 for the flights the second 787 was going to perform and is offering refunds for passengers who had booked flights specifically to be on the Dreamliner, David said.
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