From: Reuters
Published January 17, 2008 05:15 PM

Boeing's biggest 787 customer sees delivery delay

NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Lease Finance Corp, the biggest buyer of Boeing Co's <BA.N> 787 Dreamliner, said on Thursday it expects some deliveries to be pushed back after Boeing announced fresh problems in producing the plane.

The world's largest plane-leasing firm, which has 74 of the new fuel-efficient jets on order, said it has yet to receive official word on deliveries from Boeing, which announced a second delay on the 787 program on Wednesday.

"Given an additional three-month delay, I do suspect the first three months or indeed the first half of our 2010 deliveries may be impacted," John Plueger, chief operating officer of ILFC, said in a telephone interview.

That means ILFC will likely not get all of the 10 787s it was expecting to be delivered in 2010, said Plueger.

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The three-month delay in producing the 787 announced by Boeing comes on top of a six-month delay announced in October, putting the project at least nine months behind schedule.

"We have not heard (from Boeing) and we won't hear probably until the end of next month as to our specific deliveries," said Plueger. He said it was too early to discuss compensation from Boeing for late deliveries.

ILFC, which has about $12 billion worth of 787s on order, is regarded as the savviest buyer of planes in the market. Plueger said the firm intentionally avoided early delivery slots in case the revolutionary, carbon-fiber plane hit production snags.

The Los Angeles-based company, a unit of insurer American International Group Inc. <AIG.N>, said it is sending the same message to Boeing as it did to Airbus <EAD.PA>, when the European plane maker was struggling with its A380 superjumbo.

"Even if it (the plane) is a year or a year-and-a-half late, if it is right and it performs to expectations, in five years nobody will care," said Plueger. "Take whatever time you need, but get it right."

(Reporting by Bill Rigby, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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