Boeing 787 Launch to Be Delayed Again

Boeing pushes back the commercial debut of the 787 Dreamliner to the third quarter of 2009

CHICAGO (AP)—The Boeing Co. has announced another delay involving its 787 jetliner, pushing back its expected debut in commercial service to the third quarter of 2009.

It's the fourth time Boeing has had to revise the schedule for the top-selling plane, which has been plagued by supply-chain problems.

The latest setback had been expected by analysts as well as customers of the aircraft. It further undermines the company's credibility after failing to deliver on its previous three scheduled plans for the 787.

Boeing says the plane's first flight now won't take place until the fourth quarter of this year. It says it is building extra time into the testing schedule to reduce the risk of further delays.

Boeing previously had said its goal was to send the 787 on its first flight by the end of June, and deliver the first plane to All Nippon Airways in early 2009. However, after announcing a third major delay in the 787 program in January, Chicago-based Boeing said it would review the schedule once again. The aircraft initially was expected to fly around September 2007.

Delays for Chicago-based Boeing now are approaching those experienced by European rival Airbus, which saw delays of 18 months for its jumbo A380.

The 787 will be the first large commercial airplane made mostly of carbon-fiber composites, which are lighter and more durable than the metals used in most planes today. Boeing has said it will save fuel and be cheaper to maintain than comparable planes flying today.

Boeing shares fell 2.4 percent, or $1.82, to $73.20 in premarket trading.

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