Boeing Plans To Power Up First 787 Jet At The End Of January

Chicago (IL) - Boeing today said it is making good progress on delivering the first plane in October of 2008 and expects power on the first fully assembled "Dreamliner" in January.

Following an announcement of a six-month delay of the 787 Boeing announced in September, the company today reaffirmed that there are no further delays at this time and that it is on track to transition the development process of the 787 into a production process. In a webcast held this morning, the company said that the development of the first model of the 787 family, the 210- to 250-seat 787-8, is now 100% complete.

The company is currently preparing to power-on the first fully assembled 787 at the end of January. While final installations are currently being done and "the site is getting more crowded with people working on the plane", the company stated that "92 of 92" critical systems to be tested during the power-on "are ready to go." Also, "90% of the plane hardware is flight-ready" and "25% of the certification deliverables" have already been certified, company representatives stated.

The company conceded that it has an "aggressive schedule" in place and while it is confident that it can power on the plane in January, it needs to achieve this "milestone" in order to make further progress "more predictable".

If the plane can be powered on in January, Boeing expects the first flight of a 787 to take place in the first quarter of 2008. The first commercial plane is currently scheduled for an October 2008 delivery, with 109 planes scheduled for a 2009 delivery. Boeing said that 52 customers have ordered a total of 762 Dreamliner jets so far.