Singapore: US aerospace firm Boeing said on 20 February 2008 it was on track to deliver its first B787 Dreamliner early next year.
Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said at the Singapore Airshow that Boeing was working with suppliers to develop a delivery schedule for the plane.
“We will have the complete delivery schedule done at the end of this quarter,” he said.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways was to receive the first of the flagship planes this May, but deliveries had fallen behind schedule due to production glitches.
Boeing announced the latest in a series of delays in January 2008, citing slow progress assembling the first planes, which it blamed mostly on significant work that had to be done on the factory floor.
It also has struggled with an industry-wide shortage of fasteners that hold parts of the plane together.
Tinseth said the aircraft is due to make its first flight late in the second quarter of this year.
He said the aircraft’s fundamental design was “working well”.
Boeing has received 857 orders for the 787 from 56 customers, prompting Tinseth to describe the launch of the airliner as the world’s most successful.
“It’s an airliner that has allowed airlines to dramatically reduce their costs,” he said. “It will provide a new passenger experience and it has unmatched environmental performance.”
The Dreamliner, Boeing’s first new model in over a decade, takes advantage of the huge advances made in aviation technology in the past decade, and was designed using high-tech plastic composites instead of aluminum.
Up to 50% of the primary structure of the plane — including the fuselage and wing — are made of composites such as carbon-fiber, which reduce its weight.
Boeing, which aims to build some 2,000 Dreamliners over the next two decades, maintains that it will consume 20% less fuel than similar-sized planes already on the market.
Able to fly up to 15,750 kilometers (9,700 miles) without refueling, it could easily manage a flight between New York and Manila, or Moscow and Sao Paulo, routes so far only open to bigger planes such as Boeing’s 777 or 747.