Boeing has pushed the debut of its first service-ready 787 Dreamliner back to at least July and possibly as late as September.
The next-generation aircraft is already three years overdue, based on Boeing's original debut date of May 2008. But the radically designed airliner, which includes a composite-plastic fuselage and wings, has been beset with troubles – most recently an electrical fire which knocked out some controls and forced an emergency landing.
This is the sixth rescheduling of the 787's delivery date, although Boeing says the revised timetable now includes an extra margin "to allow for any additional time that may be needed to complete certification activities."
So who's lining up for the 787 Dreamliner, which carries a sticker price of US$185-218 million?
Japan's All Nippon Airways has called dibs on the first Dreamliner to roll out of the factory, ahead of a massive order of 54 more 787s.
Qantas has placed the second-largest order, with 15 of the mainstream 787-8 model - which can carry up to 250 passengers, or a more sensible 224 in a typical three-class configuration – and 35 of the 'stretched' 787-9, which can accommodate 280 passengers in three classes.
Although there's no word on when these will hit the tarmac the first are earmarked for Qantas' low-cost sibling Jetstar. However, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says a 'Red Roo' version of the Dreamliner could find its way onto “high traffic routes on Qantas’ domestic network.”
The newly-merged United and Continental have 50 more Dreamliners between them; Etihad has punched its dancecard for 35; while 24 are slated for British Airways, 20 for Singapore Airlines, 15 for China Eastern and eight for Air New Zealand.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.