Boeing profit rises but 787 yet to take off

City A.M. Reporter
BOEING posted a 17 per cent increase in quarterly profit yesterday, topping expectations, thanks to growth in defence programmes. <br /><br />But the global recession pressured operations, and the company did not say when its futuristic but long-delayed 787 Dreamliner would fly.<br /><br />The world&rsquo;s second-largest aircraft maker said it was still assessing the schedule for its 787 test flight and for deliveries one month after stunning the aerospace community with yet another delay.<br /><br />Boeing will issue a new schedule in the third quarter for its cutting-edge carbon-composite aircraft along with an updated earnings forecast. Second-quarter net profit rose to $998m (&pound;606m) from $852m a year earlier. <br /><br />Chicago-based Boeing and European rival Airbus have been hit hard as carriers and cargo operators grapple with the global recession and credit crisis. <br /><br />Meanwhile, Boeing&rsquo;s defence unit is struggling with sweeping cuts announced by the US Department of Defence in the Pentagon&rsquo;s 2010 budget.<br /><br />In June, Boeing said it would postpone the first test flight of its 787 Dreamliner, citing a structural problem. <br /><br />The aircraft, already two years behind its original schedule, was set to fly in the second quarter of 2009.<br /><br />&ldquo;We all wish it didn&rsquo;t happen. We all wish that we didn&rsquo;t sound so confident at such an early stage. Other than that, the development of this plane is on track. We&rsquo;re feeling good about it, as subsequent testing has borne out,&rdquo; said chief executive Jim McNerney.