Boeing 787 customers are being advised that they face delays of at least two years to their first deliveries following the latest programme slip, and are preparing to seek compensation.

Industry sources say that the average delay to first delivery is around 27 months. Air Canada, which has 37 787s on order, says it has been informed by Boeing that its first delivery will be pushed back by 24-30 months to around January 2012.

The airline's chief executive Montie Brewer says the carrier "will run into [capacity] issues in 2010 when the first aircraft was supposed to show up".

 © Boeing

Sources say that Qatar Airways is facing a similar length of delay to Air Canada, of over two years. The airline has 30 firm orders and 30 options, the first of which had been due in August 2010. Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says the airline will exercise existing 777 options to bridge the 787 delay and is considering additional leases.

Air Canada and Qatar Airways confirm they will seek compensation from Boeing.

LAN Airlines, which has 32 787s on order, has warned that it is facing a delay of around two years, while Royal Jordanian expects to wait up to 30 months to the delivery of its first of 11 aircraft on order.

The delay for North American launch customer Northwest Airlines, which has 18 787s on order, is not as significant. The carrier expects its first delivery to slip from the original August 2008 target to the fourth quarter of 2009.

The 787 had been due to enter service this month with launch customer All Nippon Airways, but service entry has been postponed until next year because of ongoing production problems that delayed the first flight, which had been due in 2007 and is now expected late this year.

Aircraft profile: Boeing 787

Additional reporting by Lori Ranson

Source: Flight International