Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 14:47 UK

More delays for Boeing Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The 787 is now about 15 months behind schedule

Boeing has announced another major delay to delivery of its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The plane is now about 15 months behind its original schedule. The first flight will be in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The target for delivery of the first plane to Japan's All Nippon Airways is now the third quarter of 2009. The previous target was early 2009.

Boeing has blamed slow progress on assembly and continuing problems with suppliers for the delays.

'Regret'

In a statement, Boeing said the new timetable included "additional schedule margin to reduce risk of further delays on the program".

"We deeply regret the disruption and disappointment these changes will cause for our customers and we will work closely with each of them to minimize the impact," Scott Carson, head of Boeing's commercial airplanes division.

But the firm's shares rose nearly 4% in early trading after it said the latest delays would not have an adverse impact on its profits this year.

Boeing had received 802 orders for the Dreamliner by the start of 2008, which makes it the planemaker's fastest selling model.

It will be Boeing's first completely new aircraft since 1995.

It takes advantage of new technology that allows much of it to be made of plastic composites instead of aluminium, which means it is lighter and, Boeing claims, will consume 20% less fuel than other, similar-sized planes.

It also has a greater range than similar-sized planes, which Boeing hopes will mean it can open up new, direct long-haul routes.

This strategy is in contrast to the new Airbus A380, which also suffered from hefty delays before it finally entered service in October.

The A380 is designed to carry larger numbers of people between hubs where they can change onto smaller aircraft to reach their final destinations.



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