( dpa )- Boeing has been forced to again delay the release of its much-vaunted 787 Dreamliner , the company said Wednesday, after assuring only last month that it was on schedule.
Its maiden test flight is now set for three months after the second quarter and the first deliveries are expected to arrive in early 2009 rather than the end of this year. Boeing already last year was forced by production delays to push back its timetable six months, leading the company to sack the head of its 787 programme .
"We are deeply disappointed by what this delay means for our customers," Scott Carson, head of Boeing's commercial aircraft business, said in a statement. "We are committed to working closely with them as we assess the impact on our delivery schedules."
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 problems reminded of chief rival Airbus' own near-two year delays in unveiling its A380 superjumbo , while Airbus' version of the smaller and faster Dreamliner , the A350XWB, is only expected to hit the market in 2013.
Airbus on Wednesday reported more deliveries than Boeing for 2007 and closed the gap on total orders. Airbus said it sold 1,341 aircraft, compared to Chicago-based Boeing's 1,413. Airbus delivered 453 planes for the year, 12 more than Boeing.