First 787s to arrive in 2011

08:25, October 12, 2010      

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Chicago-based Boeing is expected to deliver its first batch of 787 Dreamliner aircraft in the middle of the first quarter of 2011, with Chinese customers to receive theirs in the middle of next year, the plane-maker's senior executive said on Monday.

"We've had a number of supplier quality issues that have delayed airplane delivery, but we are working very hard to remedy these," James Albaugh, executive vice-president of Boeing Co, said in Beijing on Monday.

"It is our intent that the plane will enter into service in the middle of the first quarter of 2011. We are through the most difficult part of the flight-test programs. We don't envision any delays."

Japanese air carrier All Nippon Airways Co will be the first recipient of the planes.

The aircraft manufacturer had planned to launch the 787 in 2008, but a parts shortage and redesign work caused delays, the company announced in August. Boeing cited the availability of a Rolls-Royce engine - needed for test flights this fall - as a reason for the delay.

More delays could add costs for Boeing, which is counting on the fuel-efficient jetliner, made largely with lightweight composite materials, to retake the lead in global plane production from its rival Airbus.

A Civil Aviation Administration of China captain surnamed Wu qualified two months ago to operate the maiden flight. Detailed preparations are being made with Chinese airlines, the company said.

China's airlines, which ordered a total of 60 787s at about $200 million apiece, have not been significantly affected by the delays, earlier media reports have said.

The 787, which can accommodate 200 to 300 passengers, is Boeing's fastest-selling model with 850 on order worldwide, Albaugh said.

Its archrival Airbus is also developing a model of similar size, the A350, which will also mainly be used for medium and long-distance flights. The first A350 is expected to enter into service in mid-2013.

The recovering global economy is expected to create demand for 31,000 new airplanes worldwide and 4,000 in China over the next two decades, Albaugh said.

Source:China Daily


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