It was tempting fate to call an ambitious new aircraft the "Dreamliner." A combination of radical technology and a novel outsourced system of manufacture has turned the Boeing 787 into a nightmare.
Since its launch in December 2003, delay has piled on delay. The 787's seal of approval from the American and European aviation authorities on August 26th and its first delivery-to All Nippon Airways in late September-come more than three years behind schedule.
Nor do the company's woes end there: it now faces the difficult task of ramping up production and delivering 787s to impatient customers. Three dozen part-finished 787s are lying around airfields by Boeing's Everett factory north of Seattle, with ten more inside. The original plan was to have delivered over 100 787s by the end of 2009. Instead the company will be lucky to dispatch seven by the end of this year, and it will be late 2013 before production reaches the ten planes a month needed to break into profit.
The delays were caused by suppliers.
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