Boeing plans to complete an assessment of the impact of new 787 delays on deliveries by the end of the first quarter. But the airframer does not expect to deliver the planned 109 aircraft in 2009, says Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Scott Carson.

First flight has been delayed three months to the end of the second quarter because Boeing has not made sufficient progress completing work that should have been performed by its suppliers, says Pat Shanahan, vice-president and general manager of the 787 programme.

First deliveries have been pushed back from late 2008 to early 2009, but Carson says Boeing has yet to complete an assessment with customers and suppliers of the delay’s impact on the 787 flight test programme and delivery schedule.

Boeing says the completion of traveled work on the first aircraft is now the pacing item for first flight. “Fastener shortages are no longer pacing aircraft number one,” says Carson. Parts shortages are also not a pacing item, says Shanahan.

Shanahan says 27 system components are still needed to get the aircraft to power-on, the next major milestone. All those parts are to be delivered by 21 January, he says, but power-on will not happen until the beginning of the second quarter because of the need to complete traveled work on the fuselage so the wiring bundles can be installed.

After power-on, another 20 system components are needed to get the aircraft through taxi testing and ready for first flight, he says, adding: “We need to get the traveled work completed, that’s the pacing item.”

Shanahan says Boeing underestimated the time required to complete the traveled work at its Everett, Washington final-assembly plant. “We underestimated how long it would take to complete someone else’s work,” he says.

Both Carson and Shanahan say they have confidence in the new first-flight date because of the experience gained since its last schedule revision in completing traveled work inside the Everett plant.

Acknowledging that Boeing’s credibility has been damaged by its repeated failure to meet the revised schedules, Carson says the company is committed to meeting the new date. “We will pass this test,” he says.