Markets, Customers React To 787 Delay

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All Nippon Airways says it's still too soon to reconsider its launch order of the Boeing 787, even though Boeing announced the fifth program delay and pushed the first flight of the aircraft back for an unspecified period. The company says preflight testing revealed the need to beef up the structure of the fuselage where the wings attach and it's going to make sure it gets done right. "Consideration was given to a temporary solution that would allow us to fly as scheduled, but we ultimately concluded that the right thing was to develop, design, test and incorporate a permanent modification to the localized area requiring reinforcement," said Scott Carson, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. As ominous as it all sounds, the mods are described as "minor" and aren't related to the use of composites or the manufacturing processes.

However, the company says it isn't ready to say when the first flight might be and what effect the delay, the fifth in the development of the 787, might have on deliveries. ANA says it hopes Boeing will get cracking on those estimates, since it was supposed to get its first 787 about two years ago and was hoping for one as early as next March. More than 850 Dreamliners have been ordered but the delays are irritating customers who are anxious to take advantage of the major fuel savings the aircraft promises. Investors, already twitchy about Boeing's overall performance, shed millions of shares, resulting in a one-day decline of 7.5 percent to less than $44.