In other Dreamliner-related news from the earnings call, CEO Jim McNerney provided additional insight into the start of the 787 flight test schedule. Boeing now expects that all six flight test aircraft will be airborne within four months of the start of the flight test campaign. The airframer previously anticipated having its six test aircraft flying within two months of first flight based on its revised April 2008 schedule.
Boeing won't say what customer canceled its 787 order for 15 planes. My sources confirm it was the S7 Group in Russia. McNerney, in the conference call, said the customer canceled because of the uncertain global economic environment, not because of the program delays.
The Russian airline placed the 787 order in May 2007.
Program sources I've spoken with indicate that ZA002 first flight could come as early as May with ZA005 flying by early to mid-July. These estimates are previously based on ZA001 flying by late April, though this target remains up in the air. My apologies for the pun.
Though McNerney does not anticipate further schedule disruptions to the 787 program, he felt that the flight test program could present a "possible long pole in the tent" for meeting the certification and delivery target in the 1st quarter of 2010.
UPDATE 2:18 PM ET - More from James:
In an e-mail statement that I received last night from All Nippon Airways of Japan, the first 787 customer, the airline said it will take delivery of its first 787s in February of next year, and put the plane in service in March.