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The Complete History of Dreamliner's Stunted Growth

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Boeing’s Dreamliner is like a dream. A dream you never wake up from because of severe developmental delays in your brain that leaves you confused and wondering if you actually exist in reality at all.

The aircraft has hit an incredible amount of delays, infuriating both shareholders and aviation enthusiasts alike. And today, Boeing announced yet another delay to the plane.

So we thought now would be a good time to go back and revisit all of Dreamliner’s delays, with a hearty thanks to Wikipedia (happy 10th anniversary!).


January 29, 2003

Boeing announces it will develop a new plane using scaled down Sonic Cruiser technology.  Their optimism is almost cute.

July, 2003

A contest is held to name the plane. 500,000 votes—presumably from one aviation enthusiast in North Carolina—are cast online. Dreamliner wins, beating out other names including eLiner, Global Cruiser, Strotoclimber, and Doomed.

April 26, 2004

The first orders from Dreamliner come in, with All Nippon Airways ordering 50 aircraft for delivery in 2008. Sweaty-palmed Boeing execs smile nervously while muttering between their teeth, “can we even build this thing?”

December 16, 2003

Boeing announces that the 787 would be built in its factory in Everett, Washington. Emphasis is placed on the word “would,” as in “we would build this thing if we had even the slightest confidence we could pull it off.”


Aluminum, fabric, plastic, and scotch tape are thrown together hastily to create the illusion of a new plane.

July 8, 2007

The first Dreamliner is presented to the world. However, the plane is missing some parts, including its so-called “major systems.”

September 5, 2007

Bloomberg reports “Boeing Co., the world's second- largest commercial plane maker, delayed the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner to as late as mid-December because of unfinished software and incomplete parts from suppliers.”

October 9, 2007

Flightglobal reports that the Dreamliner will suffer another two-month delay. Scott Carson, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says "a one-to-three month delay scenario will have minimal financial implications for us in 2008."

January 16, 2008

Boeing announces  “that first flight of the 787 has been moved from the end of the first quarter of this year to around the end of the second quarter to provide additional time to complete assembly of the first airplane. Deliveries are now expected to begin in early 2009, rather than late 2008.”

April 9, 2008

Boeing announces it would move the Dreamliner’s maiden flight to the fourth quarter of 2008 and delay deliveries by over a year. Nervous Boeing shareholders wonder at what point a maiden voyage becomes a matron voyage.

November 4, 2008

A machinists strike forces Boeing to announce that the first flight would not, in fact, happen in the fourth quarter of 2008.

December 11, 2008

Dreamliner’s first flight is delayed until the second quarter of 2009. The program is now two years behind schedule.

June 23, 2009

Another delay is announced due to the *minor* issue of needing to “reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft."

December 15, 2009

At last, the Dreamliner has its maiden flight. The test is intended to last four hours, but is cut down to three because of bad weather. Go figure.

August 28, 2009

Boeing announces a $2.5 billion write-off due to Dreamliner delays.

November 12, 2009

Incredibly, the book Boeing 787 Dreamliner by authors Mark Wagner and Guy Morris is published by Zenith Press, proving that it’s much, much easier to write a book about the plane than it is to actually build it.

July 15, 2010

Boeing announces that the first delivery of Dreamliner could be delayed into 2011.

August 2010

Air India files a $1 billion claim against Boeing for delaying the delivery of 27 Dreamliners.

January 18, 2011

The New York Times reports that Boeing “said on Tuesday that it had delayed the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner aircraft until the third quarter instead of the first, because of an electrical fire on a test flight in November.”

And there you have it.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.