US aircraft manufacturer Boeing has confirmed a fresh delay to the launch of its 787 Dreamliner.
The maiden flight has been put back from the end of March to the end of June after being postponed from last autumn.
Deliveries of the 787 will not now begin until 2009, putting the aircraft 10 months behind schedule.
Boeing blamed “start-up issues” at its factory and problems in its global supply chain.
Chief executive Scott Carson said: “We are deeply disappointed for our customers and are committed to working closely with them as we assess the impact on delivery schedules.”
The delays are likely to lead to demands for compensation from airlines.
The 787 marks a step-change in the design of commercial aircraft, with a carbon-composite fuselage replacing the traditional aluminium. It will use 20% less fuel than comparable aircraft now in service. However, Boeing has encountered repeated supply problems after subcontracting the manufacture of components around the world.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Monarch Airways have ordered the 787. But First Choice Airways, now part of TUI Travel, will be the first UK carrier to fly the aircraft. It had been due to take delivery of the first in 2009.
Japan’s ANA will be the first airline in the world to operate the Dreamliner.