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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 07:49 GMT
Boeing to build first Dreamliner
Artist's impression of Boeing 787
Boeing has so far won 464 orders for the 787 Dreamliner
US aerospace giant Boeing has said it is preparing to begin assembly of its first 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

Boeing chief financial officer James Bell said work on the plane would start in the next three months, with a first test flight due at the end of August.

The firm has been investing heavily in development of the medium-sized jet, which boasts greater fuel efficiency as one its main selling points.

Boeing has so far secured 464 orders for the 787 Dreamliner.

'Risky business'

Mr Bell said work on the advanced composite materials used to build the 787 was progressing well.

He added that Boeing was keen to avoid technical problems at the full production stage, highlighted by problems experienced at European rival Airbus with its giant A380 superjumbo.

"Launching a new aircraft is a risky business, particularly when it comes to actually producing the product on time and on budget," Mr Bell said.

"As we have seen with the Airbus A380, failing to meet the plan can be very damaging for both company finances and the stock price."

UK carrier First Choice Airways, the airline subsidiary of First Choice Holidays, said on Wednesday it was buying an additional four Dreamliners, bringing its total order for the plane to 12.

Boeing plans to produce 112 Dreamliners in the two years after the first delivery of the plane in May 2008.

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