SEATTLE - Delays in Boeing Co.'s 787 program have given the company extra time to fine tune the plane's electronics and other systems, lowering the risk that it will encounter problems during flight testing, the head of its commercial jet division said Wednesday.
Speaking in New York at an aerospace and defense conference hosted by Cowen & Co., Scott Carson said Boeing has "great confidence that the airplane will be ready to go as we've scheduled it."
"We have taken advantage of the delays to make sure our system-level maturity is coming along at a rate that will avoid problems as we enter flight test," Carson said.
Boeing is slated to start test-flying the 787 by late June, almost a year later than originally planned. Japan's All Nippon Airways was supposed to take delivery of its first 787 this May, but will now have to wait until early next year.
Boeing announced the latest in a series of delays last month, citing slow progress assembling the first planes, which it blamed mostly on significant work that had to be done on the factory floor - work its many suppliers were supposed to finish on their own.
It also has struggled with an industrywide shortage of fasteners that hold pieces of the plane together.
Carson acknowledged that Boeing has learned some tough lessons with the 787 and said it needs to improve relationships with its suppliers, which are designing and building a bigger share of the 787 than on any other Boeing airplane program.
Boeing has sent scores of production experts to factories all over the world to help suppliers improve production.