For Boeing, Airbus, new planes bring big birthing pains

May 01, 2008 | 12:18 PM |

In many ways, these are the best of times for airplane makers such as Boeing Co., Chicago, and France's Airbus SAS.

Their order books are bulging, especially for such much-anticipated new models as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and Airbus' A380 Superjumbo.

But such innovation and sales success has come at a cost, most notably delays in getting the planes off the ground.

As of mid-March, 892 orders had been placed for the 787, making the plane—the first large commercial jetliner to feature an all-composite fuselage—Boeing's fastest-selling model. Originally scheduled to enter service in May 2008, delays have pushed deliveries back to mid-2009.

Delays to the A380 have created turmoil in the boardroom of Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV (EADS), which had to contend with a series of cancellations or postponements. When the A380 made its first commercial flight last October from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines Ltd., deliveries were running two years late. Airbus blamed the complexity of cabin wiring, the high degree of customizing, and other production challenges as underlying causes.....

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