Boeing has once again been forced to delay the maiden flight of its new eco-friendly 787 Dreamliner, despite announcing at last week’s Paris Air Show that it would be airbourne by the end of this month.
The Seattle-based manufacturer said a side section of the aircraft needs to be reinforced, making it “several weeks” before it is able to confirm a new flight and delivery schedule. “Consideration was given to a temporary solution that would allow us to fly as scheduled,” said Scott Carson, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial plane business. “We ultimately concluded that the right thing was to develop, design, test and incorporate a permanent modification.”
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), some 58 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.