Boeing: 787 "On Schedule," Has 878 Orders

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The sixth and final 787 Dreamliner test aircraft is in final assembly at Boeing's Everett, Wash., facility as the first test aircraft gets final paint and analysts continue to apply their doubts. The aircraft's release to customers is almost two years behind schedule and some analysts are not ready to accept that Boeing will meet its plans to start shipping the aircraft early next year. The company, however, is hoping for first flight this summer. The all-composite airliner represents a departure from prior production lines and so many observers suspect that small (or large) issues may creep up during the flight-test process, causing further delays. For now, Boeing says the aircraft is moving well through testing and there are assemblies for 31 more aircraft already in the supply chain. The economy has caused some order cancellations, according to the company, but 878 aircraft are still due to 57 customers worldwide.

Boeing is offering the 787 in configurations that seat anywhere from 210 to 330 passengers, optimized for routes ranging anywhere from 2,500 to 8,500 nautical miles and while using 20 percent less fuel "than today's similarly sized airplane." Its flight deck size is similar to the 777 and its cruise speed will be 0.85 mach, according to Boeing.