American aircraft manufacturer Boeing has delayed the shipment of a number of 787 Dreamliner fuselage parts to its final assembly factory outside Seattle.
The hitch is the latest in a long line for the seemingly benighted project, which is already over two and a half years behind schedule.
Boeing – the world’s second largest aircraft manufacturer – cited problems with suppliers for the latest delay, with delivery of fuselage sections for two aircraft delayed for up to a month.
Spokesperson Mary Hanson stated suppliers for the carbon-fibre composite airliner stretched around the globe, but refused to single out the “small number” failing to meet deadlines.
The Dreamliner is unique for Boeing in that the manufacturer assembles largely complete sections of the aircraft at its facility in Washington state, while other aircraft – including the 747 and long-haul 777 – are built from scratch.
Analysts have argued the decision to organise production in this manner has seen the global supply chain stretched, causing delays.
In 2007, a global shortage of metal fasteners led to the initial Dreamliner delay.
However, despite the most recent delay, company officials stated Boeing remained on track to deliver the first Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways by the end of this year.
Earlier this week Boeing released images of the 787 Dreamliner during a series of extreme-weather tests at Valparaiso, Florida.
A special hangar at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base allowed the airplane to experience heat as high as 46 degree Celsius and as low as minus 43 degrees.
“We have Dreamliner customers who will operate the 787 in a wide variety of environments throughout the world,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing.
“This testing is about ensuring that the airplane meets the expectations of our customers.”
A crew of approximately 100 people travelled from Seattle to support the test operations on ZA003, the third 787 airplane to be built.