By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
The new delivery date comes just a day after Boeing got the OK from the Federal Aviation Administration to return its 787 to certification flight testing after an electrical fire grounded the Dreamliner test planes in November.
“This revised timeline for first delivery accommodates the work we believe remains to be done to complete testing and certification of the 787,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.
Prior to the fire, Boeing had expected to deliver the first 787 in February to Japan’s All Nippon Airways. Aviation analysts had predicted a delivery slide of four to six months on average. Boeing has delayed the 787 seven times, originally planning to deliver the first Dreamliner in May 2008.
On Tuesday, Boeing said its revised schedule gives the company time to produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power distribution panels in the flight test and production airplanes. The panels and updated software are needed as a result of the electrical fire.
“We’ve also restored some margin in the schedule to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities,” Fancher said.
After Boeing delivers its first Dreamliner, the company eventually plans to ramp up 787 production to a pace of 10 aircraft monthly. Boeing is opening up a second 787 final assembly line in North Charleston, S.C. to help with that pace.
Boeing has won more than 800 orders for its mostly composite, fuel-efficient 787. The company said it will discuss the schedule for early 787 deliveries during its 2010 earnings report on Jan. 26.