Boeing Co has pushed back deliveries of its new 747-8 jumbo jet by as much as nine months, saying its engineers have been stretched by design changes and the machinists strike that further delayed the 787 Dreamliner.
The first 747-8 Freighter will now be delivered in the third quarter of 2010 instead of late 2009, while the first 747-8 Intercontinental passenger jet delivery moves to the second quarter of 2011 from late 2010, the company said in a statement.
Boeing had planned to ship Dreamliners to customers starting in May and then divert those engineers to the 747-8 programme, its biggest plane and a competitor to Airbus SAS's A380 superjumbo jet.
Boeing blamed the revision on supply-chain delays driven by design changes to the airplane, tight engineering resources at Boeing and the recent machinists' strike that halted production at Boeing for nearly two months. Just after the company settled that strike, it faced contract negotiations with its engineers.See: Boeing burns $3 billion cash as strike stunts profits
The company announced last week that it needs to replace thousands of improperly installed fasteners on the first 787 Dreamliner jets before they can be flown. The time it will take to correct the problem, along with delays caused by the 57-day machinists strike, will make it impossible to meet the goal of flying the first Dreamliner this year. No new timetable has been released yet.See: No deliveries of 787 Dreamliner in 2009: report
Boeing has sold 105 of the 747-8 so far, including 78 of the freighter and 27 of the passenger version, Bader said. The freighter sells at $296 million at list prices, while the passenger model has a $293 million price tag and will hold as many as 467 travelers.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson said the company had worked to avoid the delay, but had to push the deliveries back to finish production and complete the flight-test plan. The company said today it plans to provide a ''post-strike'' assessment to the schedule for all its commercial programmes at a later date.