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Boeing delays first 787 delivery

Image: The Aviation Industry Gathers At The Farnborough International Airshow
A new Boeing 787 Dreamliner prepares for take-off at the Farnborough, England, Airshow on July 20.Dan Kitwood / Getty Images file
/ Source: and NBC News

The Boeing Co. said Friday that it would push the expected delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner to the middle of the first quarter of 2011.

The Chicago-based airliner maker blamed the delay on not being able to get a Rolls-Royce engine needed for the final phases of a flight test this fall.

"While Boeing works closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned," the company said in a statement released early Friday.

Having already missed its goal to deliver a composite-skin Dreamliner in 2008, Boeing earlier had predicted All Nippon Airways would get the first 787 in December. The company has more than 800 orders for the plane.

Boeing said in its statement that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011.

The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter of 2011, it said.

Rolls-Royce closed a test facility in Derby, England, for what it called minor repairs earlier this month after a $17 million Trent 1000 engine set to power the 787 failed on a test bed and sent out debris. The same engine is planned for use in the Airbus SAS A350.

Boeing is using Rolls-Royce engines in four of its six flight test aircraft, according to the Herald of Everett, Wash. General Electric supplies its GEnX engines for the remaining two 787 flight test aircraft, the Herald said.

"Given the success of the flight test program so far, it is regrettable to hear of the delay," said All Nippon spokeswoman Megumi Tezuka.

The Japanese carrier did not include revenue from the 787 in its business plan this year so there will be no change to its profit outlook for the year ending March 31, Tezuka added.

A spokesman for Australia's Qantas Airways said it was too early to say what the impact would be.

"We are seeking more clarification from Boeing," the spokesman said.

Qantas in July brought forward its 787 delivery schedule, saying it would receive the first 50 of the aircraft it has on order in mid-2012.

Boeing said the delivery delay will not affect its own financial guidance.