Just a month after delaying the first-flight of the 787 Dreamliner and promising that things were on track, Boeing once again delayed first flight by at least three months. First customer delivery subsequently slipped from the end of this year into early next.
Boeing admitted that it had underestimated the amount of time needed to complete the work done by suppliers of key 787 components. During the analyst conference call yesterday, Boeing management was asked, "Supply chain aside, you have a slip here in first flight of three months, and how much of that and the delay in power on is related to problems in getting systems to play to one another? We still hear rumors of problems with the flight control computer, the common core, etc." Boeing management gave a long-winded, roundabout answer to the question without really answering it, so one suspects that there may be more computer issues than it is letting on to or the FAA is asking about.
One analyst says that "Boeing's credibility is shot." Some customers like Qantas, Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are thinking of pressing for compensation as well. Boeing's credibility may not be shot, but it is pretty thin.
If Boeing has to slip again, things could start to get very, very interesting.