Boeing Co.'s top leaders say it is possible to overcome a nearly four-month delay in the 787 Dreamliner program and deliver the first jet on time in May... After running into a critical shortage of aerospace fasteners to hold the airplane together, Boeing was forced to delay the first flight of the Dreamliner from August to what now looks like sometime in mid-November to mid-December. Company officials surprised many people in the aerospace industry -- including some of Boeing's suppliers -- when they said two weeks ago that they nevertheless still plan to deliver the first airplane on time.
"We looked at each other and said, 'Are they kidding?'" said a senior Boeing supplier who listened in on the conference call in which Boeing broke the news to Wall Street analysts and reporters.
The schedule is so tight that Boeing officials say they need to have about 42 airplanes mostly ready for delivery by the time the test-flight program is completed. If that doesn't happen, delays could cascade through the production schedule for as long as two years.
According to interviews with several suppliers, Boeing was as much as eight months late delivering detailed specifications to the companies that were expected to do the bulk of the manufacturing of the airplane and its systems. Boeing officials acknowledge that they contributed to the initial delays, but they said "recovery plans" had largely eliminated those setbacks.
John Plueger, president and chief operating officer for Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp., said he isn't that concerned about a modest delay. "Nobody's going to care if the plane turns out to be two or three months late as long as it does everything Boeing has promised," he said. With more than 70 planes on order, ILFC, a unit of American International Group Inc., is the largest Dreamliner client.
A spokesman for Japan's All Nippon Airways Co., which ordered 50 Dreamliners and is scheduled to take the first delivery in May, said that while the airline is still planning for an on-time delivery, "a delay wouldn't affect us that much" because it is scheduled to replace an existing fleet of Boeing 767s. "We'd just keep flying the 767s until the plane was ready," he said.
I can't remember, but what was the delay Leahy forecast for first flight?