Boeing sees light at end of tunnel

Boeing sees light at end of tunnel

After a torrid past year, Boeing has turned a corner by reporting a 17 percent rise in profits for the second quarter, as well as announcing that it has fixed the structural problem that has delayed the launch of its Dreamliner aircraft.

The US aerospace giant said quarterly profits rose to $998m from $852m on a 1.1 percent increase in revenue to $17.1 billion.

However the growth was driven by its defence business, where revenues rose 9 percent to $8.7bn, rather than its commercial division, where revenues fell 2 percent to $8.2bn.

Last month after it postponed for the fifth time the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner after finding a problem with the body of the plane.

The company said at the time that it would take some weeks to find a solution and work out how much this would delay delivery of the long-awaited aircraft.
Boeing said that it had identified the weakness and was now looking at how it might implement the solution. It said it expected to “complete its assessment of the schedule and financial implications during the third quarter”.

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The 787 has cost $10 billion to develop and is seen as a bid by Boeing to regain its crown from Airbus as the world’s most innovative and successful builder of commercial airplanes.

The mid-sized plane is designed to fly long distances and use 20 percent less fuel than other similarly-sized aircraft. A large proportion of the fuselage and the wing are made from carbon composite materials, making it lighter and therefore more fuel-efficient. The jets will feature larger windows, higher humidity and higher air pressure to help offset jet lag.

Carriers have lined up to put in their orders. The 787 became Boeing’s fastest-selling model, with 865 orders placed (worth around $150 billion), over 60 of which have since been cancelled.

However the 787 has been hit with delays in the past, which have already pushed back the launch from 2008 to 2010. The initial delivery to All Nippon Airways likely won’t occur until 2011, rather than next March as Boeing had planned.