Rolls-Royce to 'expedite' engine delivery to Boeing

LONDON (AFP) – Rolls-Royce said Friday it was working closely with Boeing to rush through delivery of engines to the US aerospace giant which has been forced to announce a further delay to its Dreamliner jet programme.

"We have been informed by Boeing that the currently planned dates for Trent 1000 engine deliveries will now not support their latest flight test programme requirements," said a spokesman for British company Rolls-Royce.

"We are working closely with Boeing to expedite delivery in support of their programme schedule," he added.

Boeing said earlier that it would further delay the delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner aircraft until early next year after citing delivery problems with the Rolls-Royce engines that will power the plane.

AFP/File – A Boeing 787 Dreamliner does a flyby at the Farnborough Airshow in July.

Boeing's confirmation that it will not be able to hand over the aircraft to Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) was made in a statement released in the US and Japan and comes after it warned in July it might have to push the date back.

It said it now expects delivery of the first Dreamliner in the middle of the first quarter of 2011 as it continues to carry out tests on the plane, which is already more than two years behind schedule.

The aviation giant is hanging its future on the mid-sized plane -- its first new model in more than a decade -- which draws on huge advances in aviation technology and can fly long-haul routes using up to 20 percent less fuel.

Boeing launched the Dreamliner programme in April 2004 and initially had planned to deliver the first plane to ANA in the first half of 2008.

But the aircraft, which can seat up to 330 passengers, made its maiden flight in December last year, more than two years behind schedule.

The series of delays in the 787 programme contributed to large losses for the company, as airlines such as Russia's S7 and Australia's Qantas last year cancelled orders for the problem-plagued machine.

Earlier this month flagship carrier Air India said it wanted compensation from Boeing for delays in the delivery of Dreamliner planes, with media reports saying the airline is demanding one billion dollars.

Japan's ANA has ordered a total of 55 Dreamliners as it looks to gradually replace its fleet of kerosene-hungry vehicles with more economically and environmentally friendly models.

The Dreamliner's fuel efficiency is largely down to the fact that up to half the twin-aisle aircraft is made of lightweight composite materials, such as carbon fibre-reinforced resin, according to the company.

In July, Boeing said a series of issues, including problems with the "horizontal stabiliser" and instrumentation delays, could push the first delivery back into next year.

Boeing said it had detected a "workmanship issue" with the horizontal stabiliser, a component in the rear of the aircraft that is designed to stabilise it in flight. It is made by Italy's Alenia.

Meanwhile Boeing's fierce European rival Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own -- the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body). Another big project for Airbus is its long-delayed A400M military transport plane.

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