More nightmares for Dreamliner

UPDATED: Chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Jim Albaugh has blamed the use of "immature" technology for 787 Dreamliner jet delays.

"Some of the technology was not as mature as it should have been and we put a global supply chain together without thinking through some of the consequences," Mr Albaugh said on Sunday, at the  Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. "When you put immature technology in your supply chain and don't supply adequate oversight, you have issues and that is what we had."

He maintained confidence in the aircraft despite the lengthly delays in production. "It is going to be a magnificent airplane and will be 20 per cent more efficient than the airplanes it is replacing."

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Boeing has further postponed international deliveries of its new 787 Dreamliners, following an onboard fire during November test flights. The company's first delivery is now scheduled for July-September this year – about five months later than last predicted.

Air New Zealand and Qantas have both placed orders for the new aircraft: 58 in total between them, according to Boeing figures from September last year. Qantas group airline Jetstar intended to use its aircraft to establish an Asian hub with services into European destinations such as Athens and Rome.

Repeated technical and mechanical issues have delayed deliveries far past the initial May 2008 date. In January 2009, The Australian reported delays due to global outsourcing glitches, an eight-week machinist strike and the replacement of thousands of fasteners.

In a statement today, the US company said the delay would allow it to “produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power distribution panels in the flight test and production airplanes.”

Scott Fancher, the 787 programme general manager, said the revised timeline "accommodates the work we believe remains to be done to complete testing and certification of the 787."

A Qantas spokesman told NBR the delays would not affect Qantas and Jetstar operations in New Zealand. The Air New Zealand delivery date remains 2013, pushed back from 2011 after the delays in 2009.

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