July 23, 2009

Boeing 787 Dreamliner still a dream

Boeing Co. knows how to fix a wing-body flaw in its much-delayed 787 Dreamliner, but doesn't know how long the work will take, the Chicago company's chief said.

The aerospace and defense corporation also doesn't know how much it will have to pay customers in penalties for the delays, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James McNerney said.

We are working through this matter as quickly as we can but will not sacrifice quality for expediency on such an important effort, McNerney said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters and stock analysts.

Some analysts say the delays, at nearly two years, could cost Boeing billions of dollars in penalties and customer concessions. The Seattle Times quoted two unidentified engineers as saying the first test flight would probably not happen for four to six months.

The company has 850 orders for the plane, which is designed to be made of lightweight composite materials and is supposed to be lighter and more fuel-efficient than other commercial aircraft.