Suspicions that Boeing faces another lengthy delay on the 787 program were not confirmed today by executives in attendance at two major conferences on both US coasts, even as speculation reaches fever pitch to the contrary.
Speaking this afternoon at the JP Morgan Aviation and Transportation Conference in New York, Boeing VP marketing Randy Tinseth did not address a Goldman Sachs report that the first 787 will be delivered before the third quarter of next year.
But he insisted that the 787 design is "essentially complete" and that composites are "working well". He says that while the firm is "clearly fighting through and working to improve global production" it is "making progress" in development.
"We’re working very hard with supplier partners to assess our schedule. We’re working very hard on the factory floor to get power on the airplane, as well as moving towards first flight," adds Tinseth.
On 16 January Boeing announced its latest 787 delay, citing the need to replace thousands of temporary fasteners and install missing parts on aircraft that were supposed to arrive at its Everett, Washington facility fully assembled and stuffed with systems.
Last week during the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) conference in Orlando, Florida, Tinseth reiterated that position, saying that Boeing is focused on getting power on "sometime in the early beginning of the second quarter", first flight at the "end of the second quarter" and first delivery "in early 2009".
Following a luncheon speech by International Lease Finance (ILFC) chief Steven Udvar-Hazy yesterday at the JPMorgan event, Tinseth guesses there must "be differing opinions about where we are on the program after lunch".
Tinseth did not, however, announce another 787 delay.
Boeing product marketing director Jim Haas, meanwhile, is also maintaining Boeing’s current projection for initial deliveries.
Speaking to flightlglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence (ATI) on the sidelines of the SpeedNews Aviation Industry Suppliers Conference in Los Angeles, Haas assured that 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) will "definitely" receive first delivery in early 2009.
In a report that made international headlines, Goldman Sachs earlier this month said "sources" were telling it that power-on of the first aircraft – scheduled for the end of March – has slipped until June, which will further delay the first flight.
Boeing continues to underestimate the amount of work required on the 787, said the analyst. It added that it has lowered its production forecast for 2009 from 80 to 50 aircraft.