December 20, 2010
Boeing shares slumped almost 3 percent on Monday as reports emerged that said a delivery delay of possibly six months or more could be announced for its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The plane maker also said it will increase its 777 wide-body production rate based on strong global demand, the second output boost announced this year.
Boeing is studying the delivery schedule for the 787 and making design changes to the carbon-composite aircraft following a fire aboard a test flight last month that led to the grounding of the 787 test fleet.
A weekend Seattle Times report said a delivery delay for the 787 could be announced by Christmas and cited other manufacturing problems. The report, which quoted people who work on the plane and were given anonymity, also said the US Federal Aviation Administration has raised the possibility with Boeing that the 787 might not obtain certification for long-distance flights between continents.
"They may delay the 787 by more than six months; (that) was a story in the Seattle Times," Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco, said on Monday.
BOEING: WORKING ON 787 SOLUTION
Boeing said in a statement on Monday that it was working on a solution that would permit 787 test flights to resume.
"We're working a revised programme schedule that will accommodate the known issues and discoveries on the programme -- including the work backlog that exists in the factory -- as well as the remainder of flight test and certification," Yvonne Leach, Boeing 787 Programme Communications said in an email. "We expect to finalise it in the coming weeks."
Leach said the Seattle Times article overall was "valid in its assessment of the challenges" the 787 programme faced.
"We have always acknowledged that new airplane programmes are difficult and that bringing innovation to the market takes hard work," she added.
Also on Monday, Boeing said production of the wide-body 777 would rise to 8.3 per month in the first quarter of 2013. In March, the company had announced it would boost output to seven planes from five a month starting in mid-2011.