The US planemaker Boeing Wednesday announced another delay in the launch of its long-range, fuel- efficient Dreamliner 787 jet, with the first now expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2009. ( dpa )
The Dreamliner 787 was originally supposed to be ready for its commercial launch this May. The postponement is the third delay in the launch.
Delays for Chicago-based Boeing could come close to those experienced by European rival Airbus, which saw delays of 18 months for its A380 super-jumbo.
"We deeply regret the disruption and disappointment these changes will cause for our customers, and we will work closely with each of them to minimize the impact," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Scott Carson was quoted as saying by Bloomberg financial news.
He declined to discuss penalties Boeing may have to pay.
Launch customer All Nippon Airways said it was "extremely disappointed," Bloomberg quoted company spokesman Rob Henderson as saying. "We still have no details about the full delivery schedule."
Boeing's Dreamliner has been beset with difficulties for a long time which are thought to have been caused by problems with deliveries of the rudder. The 787 holds the record for the most orders in the company's history.
As a result of the delays, Boeing could be facing billions of dollars in sales shortfalls and may also be forced to pay penalties.
However, the company in its statement Wednesday was confident that it would attain its profit goals for 2008.
The first Dreamliner test flight is now being planned for the final quarter of 2008.
Boeing has already taken 817 orders for the long-range Dreamliner from more than 50 airlines, making it the most sold aircraft in the company's history.
The 787's latest postponement, while related to parts shortages and greater manufacturing roles for vendors, takes place at a time when Boeing and Airbus SAS have said they don't expect industry orders to match last year's record, Bloomberg financial news reported.
The US economic downturn has reduced the growth of travel demand.
The delay is the second setback for Boeing since February, when the company, also the second-biggest US defence contractor, lost a 35-billion-dollar contract for US Air Force aerial refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman Corp and its partner, EADS, the parent of Airbus.
Boeing had been the only builder of Air Force tankers for more than 50 years.
Bloomberg news reported that Boeing has lost a quarter of its market value since first postponing the Dreamliner in October.