Boeing set to launch Dreamliner after many delays

After fits and starts, it appears Boeing Co.'s (BA) much vaunted 787 Dreamliner aircraft will finally make its maiden voyage later this year and be ready for commercial delivery at the end of next year.

Boeing said Thursday it will book a $2.5 billion pre-tax charge, equivalent to $2.21 a share, related to the 787 program. The Chicago-based company said last month, when it reported second-quarter earnings, that it was still assessing the financial impact of the fifth and latest delay in the aircraft's development.

In June, Boeing said it was delaying the 787's first flight, scheduled to take place that month, to redesign a section of the side body for greater rigidity.

"This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work necessary to put the 787's game-changing capability in the hands of our customers," Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement. "The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing."

The 787's "game-changing" features include plastic wings and fuselage, which are lighter -- and thus more fuel saving -- than aluminum, the traditional material used for airplanes.

The company said it expects to ramp up production to 10 planes a month by late 2013.

News of the now more-certain flight date pushed Boeing shares higher in Thursday morning trading in New York, jumping more than nine percent at one point to above $52 a share.

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