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Boeing delays 787 Dreamliner delivery again

January 18, 2011

CHICAGO — Boeing pushed back deliveries of its new 787 again on Tuesday, meaning that the soonest it will arrive is July.

The company had most recently said that deliveries would begin next month, nearly three years late, but an electrical fire on a plane in November halted flight testing and another delay has been widely anticipated.

Boeing said it expects to deliver the plane during the third quarter, which would be between July and the end of September. The new schedule has been padded in the event that anything else goes wrong, the company said.

Investors cheered the news, sending shares up more than 3 percent.

But Kenneth Herbert, an analyst for Wedbush, said he's "skeptical given the company's poor track record on delivering on milestone dates."

The analyst said he believes engine problems will be the biggest hurdle in making the newest delivery date. He maintained his prediction that Boeing will make 24 of the planes this year and deliver 14 of them.

Boeing resumed flight testing in December after making an interim software fix to address the Nov. 9 fire that forced an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas, but those tests were not for the mandatory Federal Aviation Administration certification.

On Monday, Boeing resumed 787 flight tests that are aimed at getting FAA certification. The federal agency must certify aircraft before they can enter service, a milestone Boeing must achieve before deliveries can begin.

Even before the fire, however, production problems have led to repeated disruptions for jet, which made its first flight in December 2009.

The company said it will provide more information on its financial forecast and deliveries during its earnings conference call on Jan. 26. The revised delivery date is not expected to have a material impact on Boeing's financial results for 2010, the company said.

Shares of Boeing Co. rose $2.21, or 3.2 percent, to $72.28 in afternoon trading.

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