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Boeing Dreamliner to be ready by end of year; completes first overseas flight Sunday

Boeing Dreamliner will not be changing its delivery plan, according to CEO. The Boeing Dreamliner also made its first overseas landing over the weekend.

By Reuters / July 19, 2010

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands in the UK for first time at the Farnborough International Air Show, in Farnborough, Great Britain on 18 July 2010

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Boeing said its chief executive had not altered the latest delivery guidance on the 787 Dreamliner after a newspaper said he had expressed confidence in delivering the plane by end-year.

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Boeing last week said deliveries could slip into 2011 but that no decision had been taken.

In a summary of an interview given to European Sunday newspapers by Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney, released on Saturday, Germany's Welt am Sonntag said: "The Boeing chief was also confident that the first Dreamliner 787 can be, as announced, delivered by the end of 2010."

IN PICTURES: Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Boeing spokesman clarified that McNerney had stuck to the same script on deliveries as the 787 general manager last week.

In a partial transcript of the interview made available by Boeing to clarify his comments on deliveries, McNerney said: "The plan remains to deliver the planes by the end of the year. Having said that, there is not much margin in the schedule, and there's a lot of activities and data collection and things that we've got to get done, largely routine in nature, but nonetheless, could impact the schedule by weeks."

Welt am Sonntag also said McNerney had made upbeat comments on the economy and new orders this year.

"We have left a difficult economic phase behind us, are financially healthy with a large order book," the newspaper quoted McNerney as saying.

Makes first overseas landing

Boeing Co's new 787 Dreamliner touched down in Britain on Sunday on its first trip outside the United States, thrilling hordes of eager planespotters who came out to see the breakthrough carbon-composite plane.

A media circus ensued as Boeing executives, including CEO Jim McNerney, emerged smiling from the plane -- though McNerney did not actually fly to England with the plane, instead getting on board after landing.

Social media was active with blow-by-blow coverage of the arrival, pointing to the intense interest in the plane not only within the business but also in the flight-enthusiast community.

The 787 is expected to take the spotlight at next week's Farnborough Airshow. Last-minute technical issues had raised fears in recent weeks that the plane might not make its long-anticipated trip to the show, but the plane arrived doing a flyover with a "tilt and wave" before landing.

Test pilot Mike Bryan told reporters that landing on Farnborough's "short" runway after the nine-hour flight reminded him of his time landing on aircraft carriers in the Navy.

But he was full of praise for the plane, which he flew from Seattle with 16 crew and a full compliment of flight-testing systems."One thing I can say right now is we could literally put fuel in it and passengers could go flying in it," he said.

The plane he flew -- Dreamliner No. 3 -- will never see regular passenger service, though. It is one of three test planes strictly for that purpose. The next three test planes to be built, however, are expected to eventually be sold.

The aircraft promises greater fuel efficiency and its lightweight materials and innovative design have captured the imagination of the industry.

Yet flight testing has been going more slowly than expected after the twin-engined passenger plane made an inaugural flight last December -- which itself was the subject of frenetic global media coverage.

Deliveries of the long-range passenger jet to the first Japanese customer have been delayed by more than two years due to production problems.

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