Boeing resumes test flights of 787s

2010-12-24 10:00
New York - Boeing will resume flight tests of its long-delayed 787 jet on Thursday, six weeks after they were suspended because of an in-flight electrical fire in the plane's power distribution system.

The company says it installed an updated, interim version of the software that controls the system in the first of six test flight aircraft.

The fire that broke out on a November 09 test flight to Laredo, Texas, was among the most recent of a string of problems that have plagued the 787 over the past two years. Earlier this month Boeing said it was in the middle of a three-week hold on assembling pieces of the plane. Problems with parts supplied by a variety of manufacturers around the world have added to delays.

Japan's All Nippon Airways is still scheduled to receive the first 787 early next year, although many analysts expect deliveries will be pushed back.

Continental Airlines, now part of United-Continental Holdings Inc, was to be the first US carrier to fly a 787 and planned to begin flights between Houston and Auckland, New Zealand, in November 2011. Those are now set for 2012.

Continental will fly a route between Houston and Lagos, Nigeria, with a Boeing 777 instead of the 787. Those flights are to start in November 2011.

On Monday Boeing said it will increase production of the long-range 777, even as the company said it recently received cancellations for orders of three 777s and one 787. The company did not name the customers that canceled.

Scott Fancher, a Boeing vice president and general manager of the 787 programme, said a new schedule for the programme will be ready in January. "As we return to flight test and determine the pace of that activity, we remain focused on developing a new program schedule," he said.

Boeing shares rose 45c to close at $65.06.

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