Dreamliner Delivery Delayed Again

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Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, already many-times delayed, will start deliveries in the third quarter of this year, Boeing said on Tuesday, instead of in February, as previously announced. The new delivery date reflects the impact of an in-flight electrical fire in November that grounded the test fleet. Extra time is needed to produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power distribution panels, the company said. "We've also restored some margin in the schedule to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities," said Scott Fancher, general manager of the 787 program. The announcement drew some skepticism. Seattle Times analyst Jon Talton asked, "Shall we take bets as to whether the latest firm date is met?"

The program, which launched in 2004, is already three years behind schedule and the delivery date has changed at least seven times. In The Wall Street Journal, Marketbeat blogger Dave Kansas said, "The plane of tomorrow may become the plane of today this year. Maybe." At the Wichita Business Journal, reporter Daniel McCoy wonders, "Will Boeing actually deliver a Dreamliner this year?" Some analysts told him it will happen, but Richard Aboulafia, of the Teal Group, said it may get pushed to 2012. Boeing has 847 orders in hand for the 250-seat 787, with All Nippon Airways of Japan in line for the first one out the door.