Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Boeing has announced a six-month delay in the initial deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, which has been keenly awaited by major airlines around the globe, including Air India.

The American aircraft manufacturer also delayed the first flight of its environment-friendly long range jet to late March next year.

Expected in December

The first delivery of the 787 Dreamliner is now expected only in December 2008 instead of May 2008, pushing back schedules and induction plans of several airlines.

Air India in December 2005 had placed orders for 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets as part of its mega aircraft purchase plan under which it ordered 68 aircraft from Boeing.

“Notwithstanding the challenges that we are experiencing in bringing forward this game-changing product, we remain confident in the design of the 787, and in the fundamental innovation and technologies that underpin it,” said Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney, in an e-mailed release from Chicago.

Boeing has 710 orders for the new fuel-efficient Dreamliner jet from 50 airlines worth $110 billion. The aircraft can fly up to 15,750 km without refuelling and will come in three models with a seating capacity of between 210 and 330.