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Boeing set to announce seventh 787 delay
By Geoffrey Thomas | November 22, 2010
[UPDATED] Boeing is set to announce a seventh delay in its 787 program, possibly pushing delivery out by up to nine months to the fourth quarter of 2011, after the inflight electrical fire to its ZA002 on Nov. 9 .
On Thursday, Air Lease Corp. founder and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy, who ordered and was the largest customer for the 787 when he was Chairman and CEO of ILFC, told Bloomberg at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum in Panama City that the 787 will “definitely” be postponed a seventh time. “It’s a big setback for Boeing,” Udvar-Hazy said.
Boeing has now flown ZA001 and ZA005 back to Seattle from Rapid City, S.D. and Victorville, Calif., and is continuing with ground testing of the 787.
The company is tight-lipped on the status of the investigation but insiders at Qantas engineering told ATW they understand there is a “significant problem” and first delivery [to ANA] will be the “end of 2011.”
The Qantas Group has 50 787s on order and its Jetstar division was supposed to get delivery of its first aircraft in mid-2012 to launch nonstop services between Singapore and Europe and Australia to the US. Initially, when the order was placed, the airline group was to receive one a month from August 2008.
On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley-NY analyst Heidi Wood forecast that Boeing would not be able to deliver the 787s until 2012 in a worst-case scenario, as flight testing won’t resume until early next year. Wood’s base case assumption is second half 2011.
Critical to Qantas and many other Dreamliner customers is that the 787s are supposed to replace their 767s, which are now high on hours; further delays will tax maintenance capabilities. Because the 787 delays have been rolling, few have taken investment decisions to upgrade fleets of 767s. One exception is Air New Zealand, which has given its six 767-300ERs an interior makeover with seat-back videos for all passengers while adding winglets.
The delay, if confirmed, will be good news for Airbus, which has chalked up over 1,100 orders for its A330.
Last year, Airbus built an all-time high of 76 A330 aircraft and has 374 yet to deliver.