Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Boeing temporaily halts deliveries of 787 sections

The Boeing Co. on Tuesday said it would tell suppliers to halt deliveries of sections for its 787 Dreamliner for two weeks because of delays at the company that makes a key part for the tail of the plane.

Boeing, the world's second-largest commercial plane maker after Airbus said the halt in shipments would not affect its first Dreamliner delivery date. The plane is nearly three years behind its original schedule.

Loretta Gunter, spokeswoman for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the change in the shipment schedule relates to Italian supplier Alenia Aeronautica, which makes horizontal stabilizers for the Dreamliner. Alenia is a unit of Italian defense and aerospace company Finmeccanica.

A source close to Alenia said the company was working with Boeing to resolve the issues related to the stabilizer and that it had put in place a recovery plan that Boeing had agreed to.

"It is absolutely normal that adjustments to the schedule of such a program are made," the source said, adding that much more significant factors were responsible for schedule changes for the 787 program in past years.

Over the summer, Boeing moved to inspect its 787 planes after it disclosed a "workmanship" issue affecting horizontal stabilizers.

The company has repeatedly delayed first delivery of the fuel-efficient, carbon-composite Dreamliner due to problems in the supply chain.

In August, Boeing announced another delay that moved first delivery to All Nippon Airways to the middle of the first quarter of 2011. That delay was due to the availability of a Rolls-Royce PLC engine.

The company this month named the former manager of its 747 aircraft program to a role advising suppliers for its commercial airplane division as it looks to improve manufacturing processes.

Boeing has taken orders for 847 787s, an unprecedented number of orders for a plane still in development.

Delta Air Lines said in a government filing on Monday that it has reaffirmed its previous orders for 18 787 aircraft, but said it has deferred delivery of those planes until 2020 to 2022. The planes had been set for delivery from 2008 to 2010.


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