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Another delay to B787's 1st test flight

BOEING Co said yesterday it has again delayed the first test flight of its long-awaited 787 jetliner, citing a need to reinforce part of the aircraft.

Its shares sank 7 percent on the news.

The flight initially had been planned for late 2007, but production problems and a labor strike have prompted several delays.

Boeing said it will not announce the new schedule for the first test flight and deliveries for several weeks.

Shares of Boeing tumbled US$3.30 to US$43.60 in early trading yesterday.

The Chicago-based company said it identified a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft during recent tests on the airplanes.

The B787 production team will continue testing the airplane, performing tests such as low-speed taxiing, Boeing said. Work also will continue on five other test planes and other B787s in the production system, it said.

The 787 is Boeing's first new aircraft since the B777, which was introduced more than a decade ago. The new plane is built for fuel efficiency with lightweight carbon composite parts.

Scott Carson, president and chief executive of Boeing's commercial airplane division, said experts had identified potential solutions to the reinforcement problem.


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