Rebounding from its latest scheduling setback, Boeing now says that it expects to deliver its first 787 Dreamliner in the third quarter.
In December, the company resumed flight testing of its marquee commercial aircraft, which had been halted in early November because of an onboard fire sparked by a faulty electrical power panel.
Boeing said today that the rescheduled delivery date factors in the time that it needs to produce, install, and test updated software and new power distribution panels in both flight test and production versions of the Dreamliner.
Of the six 787 aircraft being used for flight tests, four have received interim software and hardware improvements and have undergone extensive ground testing and review en route to returning to flight status. The other two aircraft will return to flight "in the days ahead," Boeing said.
If Boeing makes the third-quarter target for deliveries, the Dreamliner will be more than three years behind schedule. The Japanese carrier All Nippon Airlines originally was scheduled to receive the first 787 in May 2008.
The Dreamliner made a splashy public debut in July 2007, but its transition from drawing board to commercial service has encountered repeated turbulence, from supply chain shortages to a machinists' strike. The aircraft completed its maiden flight in December 2009.
The design of the aircraft, which Boeing says will be especially fuel-efficient, is notable for the flair of its curved wingtips and for its extensive use of carbon fiber composite materials.