KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The arrival of Boeing’s so-called “Dreamliner” is getting deeper into the nightmare territory, as further delays are now envisaged for the first flight, already repeatedly delayed over the past 18 months.
This has both technical reasons over certification processes but is also due to the now repeated strike action by Boeing factory floor staff, having to fight for a fair deal with their company in the face of further intended corporate plans to “slim down” their take home salary and other pay package components.
Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines both have the modern jetliner on order so as to replace aging B767 aircraft and improve on their flight economics. The B787 is said to offer substantial savings in fuel compared with presently used wide-bodied aircraft, as will incidentally the rival Airbus A350, which is also under development.
Should the deliveries of the ordered 787 aircraft be delayed even further than presently expected, the two East African airlines may be compelled to consider their fleet and route developments in coming years and could be forced to make alternative arrangements to meet their targets, including opting for other models made by Boeing.
Both airlines are long time Boeing partners, although Kenya Airways is now also operating three Embraer 170 aircraft on domestic and lesser density regional routes as Boeing has no suitable aircraft below their 737 family.
It was also learned that new B787 customers, considering to order the aircraft from Boeing, are now being told that delivery may come as late as 10 to 12 years down the line, a situation thought to benefit Airbus Industries for their A350 series as the two aviation giants are trying to attract new customers and orders.
Over 900 B787 models are said to have already been sold by Boeing, with additional options by airline customers running into hundreds. The delivery time frame has slipped further and further away from the initial projections. Some customers may now try to obtain B777s to cover for fleet and route expansion and Boeing, of course, may also face more financial claims for delayed deliveries, a potentially costly situation as Airbus’s delays with their A380 all too well demonstrated.