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Monday, March 19, 2007

787 On Track, Boeing Says

Boeing said its 787 Dreamliner program is on-time and it may even ramp up production as orders continue for the jet. In a conference call Monday, Boeing said the 787 is set to make its first test flight in late August and first delivery in May 2008. "A lot of people are working very, very hard around the world to make sure this airplane gets to the market on time," Mike Bair, general manager of the 787 program, said during the call. Boeing said it currently has 490 orders for the 787 Dreamliner passenger plane, which has a list price of about $150 million. The order book is expected to exceed 500 "in the not-too-distant future," Bair said. Boeing said the 787 is sold out until 2013, but it may increase production to accommodate the strong interest in the aircraft. "We'll probably end up increasing the rates, driven by the intense market interest," Bair said. The company expects to build 112 airplanes in the first two years of production. However, Boeing said it will not increase production before it hikes capacity at its Seattle-area assembly plant over the next two years, and a lot depends on suppliers’ willingness to increase their output. Also Monday, Boeing rival Airbus touted the successful test flight of its A380, which touched down at New York’s JFK Airport after an eight-hour flight from Frankfurt, Germany.

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