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Boeing pushes back delivery of 787 again

EVERETT, Wash. — Boeing Co. said today it now expects to deliver its first new 787 jetliner in the middle of first quarter 2011, the second such delay in the past two months, due partly to engine delivery problems.

In July, the Chicago-based aerospace company said the cumulative impact of a series of issues could push the first delivery “a few weeks into 2011.” Those problems included supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer, as well as instrumentation delays.

The latest change in the delivery date follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight tests this fall. In a statement today, Boeing spokeswoman Yvonne Leach said the company is working closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine deliveries. She said flight testing continues as planned.

Rolls-Royce acknowledged its deliveries will not make Boeing’s schedule but said the delay was not related to the reported failure of an engine in a recent test.

The 787 is made of many composite materials designed to make it lighter and more fuel-efficient than comparable planes already in the sky.

“We have been informed by Boeing that the currently planned dates for Trent 1000 engine deliveries will not support their latest flight test program requirements,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement today.

“We are working closely with Boeing to expedite delivery in support of their program schedule.”

However, Rolls-Royce confirmed “that the engine availability issue is unrelated to the test bed event which occurred earlier this month.”

The FlightGlobal website, an aviation news site, reported this week that a Trent 1000 engine suffered an “uncontained” failure — meaning debris broke out of the engine casing — during a test on Aug. 2.

Rolls-Royce shares were down 1.6 percent at 550 pence in late morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.

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