Boeing will delay first flight of its 787 Dreamliner three more months, according to independently confirmed sources inside the program.
FlightBlogger has confirmed that Boeing is expected to release the announcement of the delay early Wednesday morning. The announcement is expected to move the first flight date to have Dreamliner One or Two making its maiden flight by June 30, 2008, which is the close of the second quarter of the year.
Boeing has declined to comment to Flight International or any other media outlet on the potential delay announcement.
Details of the revised power on, first flight, certification and delivery targets are expected to be released at the official announcement Wednesday.
Since last week's report by FlightBlogger that Dreamliner One had slipped by three weeks, schedules now indicate a the aircraft is a now a full month behind where Boeing had hoped it would be at this point in its revised schedule.
The pending delay announcement leaves open the question as to whether or not Dreamliner Two will be the first 787 to fly before Dreamliner One which was originally planned to make its first flight in September 2007.
According to sources in Charleston, Dreamliner Two, which is still largely spread out at supplier factories around the world awaiting delivery is, "farther along than Airplane One" is right now in Everett.
With final assembly of Dreamliner Two set to begin at the end of January, those who are working with the aircraft are optimistic about the speed in which the aircraft can be made flight ready.
The delay is expected to once again transform the delivery schedule which originally was supposed to have 109 787s in the hands of airline customers by the end of 2009.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Boeing will announce that no 787s will be delivered during 2008. Japan's All Nippon Airways was originally expected to receive its first 787 (Dreamliner Seven) in May of 2008. This was changed in October when a six month delay pushed the first delivery to November or December of 2008. The October delay pushed the planned 2008 delivery of 30-35 aircraft to 2008, affecting fifteen airline customers.
This latest delay will undoubtedly affect not only those original fifteen recipients, but many of the remaining 40 customers who have ordered 787 aircraft.
One industry source tells FlightBlogger that airline customers began to be notified about the delay this past weekend.
Along with the airlines, the program's suppliers are expected to feel an even greater impact. When Boeing brought its risk sharing partners to collaborate in the design and manufacture of the 787 Dreamliner, contracts stipulated that these suppliers would not be paid until the 787 was certified.
The Chicago Tribune estimated that in December, just days before the last official program update, that, "three major suppliers face a total cash shortfall of $1.2 billion next year because their payments from Boeing have been delayed along with the initial 787 deliveries."
The shortfall is likely to grow with this latest delay, putting significant strain on what is arguably the most complex industrial supply chain ever conceived. The Tribune also reported that as many as five of the biggest partners were seeking to renegotiate the terms of their contract to alleviate the cash flow burden of the continuing delays.
Stay with FlightBlogger for continuing coverage of the 787 Dreamliner program delay announcement throughout the day on Wednesday.