Boeing hopes to achieve simultaneous US and European certification of the 767-400ER in June pending the successful evaluation of the stretched aircraft by Joint Aviation Authorities pilots on 25 May.

US Federal Aviation Administration certification, once approved, will clear the way for first deliveries to launch customer Delta Air Lines in July. Boeing admits this is two months later than planned, mostly because of the 40-day engineers' strike which crippled the company earlier this year. The original schedule called for certification in April and entry into service with Delta in May.

The test programme has so far amassed more than 1,000 flight hours. "The results look quite a bit better than we predicted," says chief project engineer Ken Kirwan, who adds that fuel consumption "will be about 1% better than guarantees". Overall, Boeing believes the initial range improvement at typical operating weights is about 650km (350nm).

Source: Flight International