Boeing today announced a third major delay for the 787 programme that postpones first flight and first delivery by another roughly six months, as well as slashes planned aircraft production in 2009 by 75%.

The company blamed the most recent delay on slower-than-expected progress on reducing travelled worked reaching the final assembly line, unexpected rework tasks and the addition of more time to complete flight tests.

In addition, Boeing has delayed first delivery of the stretched 787-9 by two years to 2012. This means the shortened 787-3 will become the second version of the baseline design to enter service.

“Our revised schedule is built upon an achievable, high-confidence plan for getting us to our power-on and first-flight milestones,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO and President Scott Carson says in a company statement issued today.

787 production

The revision means Boeing will deliver only 25 aircraft in 2009, rather than the original plan that called for producing up 109 aircraft during the first year of production.

“As a result of that assessment, the first-year delivery plan announced today will be followed by a more gradual ramp up to full-rate production than previously planned,” Boeing’s statement adds.

Launch customer All Nippon Airways will receive its first aircraft in the third quarter of 2009 rather in the first quarter under the first revised schedule.

First flight is delayed from late June or early July to the fourth quarter of 2008.

The company’s original schedule was first revised late last year after it became apparent that the 787 supply chain had fallen short of targets. Boeing’s original plan called for flying the 787 for the first time in August last year and delivering the first aircraft to ANA next month.

Two weeks ago, Boeing took control of Vought’s half of a joint venture with Alenia called Global Aeronautica, which was responsible for assembling the aft fuselage in Charleston, South Carolina.

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