Boeing may further postpone 787 deliveries: report

Boeing may further postpone 787 deliveries: report

Pittsburgh: Boeing Co. may delay the first deliveries of its of long-awaited 787 jetliner by at least six more months due to a recent strike by union workers and other production glitches, a media report said on Thursday.

Boeing executives are expected to announce later this month that the first deliveries of the jet, touted for its anticipated high fuel efficiency, might not be made until the summer of 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site.

That would set back the deliveries by more than two years from the original schedule.

Boeing officials have been meeting with suppliers and partners on the program in an effort to overcome challenges partly due to the volume of work outsourced by Boeing, the Journal reported, quoting unidentified sources familiar with the situation.

Yvonne Leach, a spokeswoman for the 787 program, declined to confirm the report but said the Chicago-based company had not yet completed an assessment of its commercial aircraft operations after a strike shut down its factories for eight weeks.

The strike ended early last month after the Machinists union, representing 27,000 workers in Washington state, Oregon and Kansas, ratified a four-year contract with the company.

Even before the strike, the plane had been hampered by lengthy delays caused by production problems partly due to a reliance on overseas suppliers. Boeing has lost credibility, and billions of dollars in expected additional costs and penalties, as a result.

Last month, Boeing delayed the first 787 test flight until next year, citing the strike. It had scheduled the inaugural flight of the next-generation passenger jet delayed four times already for the fourth quarter of this year.

The company also said last month it was delaying deliveries of its 747-8 freighter and passenger jets due to design changes, limited engineering resources and the strike.

Boeing has roughly 900 orders for the 787, which is expected to be more fuel-efficient than current jetliners because of its construction from lightweight carbon composite parts.

Boeing, the world’s second-largest commercial airplane maker after Europe’s Airbus, also produces 737, 747, 767 and 777 jetliners.