Boeing Doesn’t See Stretched 787 Until Late in Decade

Boeing Co., feeling no pressure from airlines for an immediate decision on the stretched version of its 787 Dreamliner, said the plane wouldn’t reach customers until late this decade.

The “end of the teens” is the likely target for the new Dreamliner’s entry into commercial service, should Boeing commit to offer the model, Mike Sinnett, chief project engineer on the plane, said today in an interview.

“We’re not in a hurry to come up with an answer” on developing the 787-10, Sinnett said. “We’re not even to the point that we’re telling the board, ‘We’re going to come talk to you by the end of the year.’”

The 787, the first jetliner built of composite plastics rather than traditional aluminum, was delivered to its initial customer in September after a three-year delay as Boeing struggled with new materials and suppliers. Boeing plans to raise production to 10 a month by the end of 2013 from 3.5 now as it works to convert a backlog of 850 of the jets to cash.

A Dreamliner being delivered to Ethiopian Airlines was checked by Chicago-based Boeing for any issues with a part in its General Electric Co. engines called the fan mid-shaft, which was implicated in a July 28 malfunction before a test flight with another 787 in South Carolina.

Boeing’s inspection of the carrier’s jet found no irregularities, Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Tewolde Gebremariam said in Everett, Washington, as that 787 was delivered today. Boeing builds the Dreamliner in Everett and its plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Ethiopian Airlines has an “active interaction” with Boeing and GE about the matter, Gebremariam said. “We don’t think that’s a problem for our airplane. We think it’s limited to that particular engine.”

The Addis Ababa-based airline will be the third operator of the Dreamliner, after All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co.

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