Boeing executives today slightly adjusted expectations about the 787 schedule after the ongoing strike by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) ends.

Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman, president and CEO, now says the strike delay will cause a “slightly” longer schedule slip for the 787 programme.

McNerney first told Wall Street analysts on a third quarter earnings webcast that he expects a day-for-day delay for the 787 as the nearly eight-week-old strike continues, re-affirming Boeing’s previous statements.

A few moments later, Boeing CFO James Bell hinted that delay caused by the strike could be even longer. Bell said a ramp-up period would be necessary after the machinists returned before full production is restored.

After an analyst asked for a clarification, McNerney added an addendum to his “day-for-day” description of the projected 787 delay.

“We estimate day-for-day or a little bit more,” McNerney said.

In June, Boeing VP and general manager, 787, Pat Shanahan had first predicted a day-for-day slip caused by any strike by the IAM.

Boeing had been targeting a fourth quarter first flight date for the 787 followed by first delivery to All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of 2009. Both dates represent a 15-month delay from the original schedule.

ANA 787

So far, the strike has lasted 46 days, so both of those dates have slipped by at least as much.

Boeing’s scattered 787 production system had finally caught up with the revised program schedule by the time the strike began on 6 September, McNerney said. Since then, the “gating has become now the assembly of the early airplane in our factory,” he said.

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