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Boeing to delay first 787 deliveries by 6 months due to assembly problems

CHICAGO — Boeing Co. is delaying initial deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner by six months due to continued challenges in completing assembly of the first airplanes, the company said Wednesday.

Boeing shares dropped nearly 3 percent in morning trading.

Boeing said deliveries that had been scheduled to begin next May will be pushed back to late November or December 2008.

The first flight, already pushed back once from the initial target of earlier this fall, now is anticipated around the end of the first quarter of 2008.

Boeing said the postponement will not materially affect its earnings or guidance for next year.

"We are disappointed over the schedule changes that we are announcing today," said Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney. "Notwithstanding the challenges that we are experiencing in bringing forward this game-changing product, we remain confident in the design of the 787, and in the fundamental innovation and technologies that underpin it."

Boeing shares sank $2.90, or 2.8 percent, to $98.60 in late morning trading Wednesday.