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Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes international debut

Boeing 787 jetliner made its international debut Monday at the Farnborough International Air Show. A Boeing photo

FARNBOROUGH, UK (AP): Boeing Co.'s highly anticipated -- and long delayed -- 787 jetliner made its international debut Sunday, landing in England as the star attraction at the Farnborough International Air Show.

The airliner, the first passenger jet to be largely built from lightweight and environmentally friendly composite material, is the first of the five test aircraft to leave US airspace.

Its appearance at Farnborough, which alternates years with the Le Bourget airshow outside Paris as the premier aerospace and defense industry gathering, comes as Boeing and arch European rival Airbus seek to rejuvenate plane sales in the aftermath of the global recession -- and face new threats to their competitive duopoly.

It is the first time the pair will line up their flagship products, with Airbus' A380 "superjumbo" taking part in flying displays during the show.

Raymond Jaworowski, a senior aerospace analyst with Forecast International, said Boeing hopes to show the program is on the right track after years of difficulties.

"The fact that they are able to bring it to Farnborough, it just is kind of a signal to the industry that 'We have things worked out.' It will help," he said.

Boeing is showing off the aircraft at Farnborough as analysts note that the US company and its EADS-owned European competitor Airbus are facing growing competition from Canada's Bombardier, China's state-owned Comac, Russia's Irkut and Brazil's Embraer.

Boeing has 863 orders from 56 companies worth about 150 billion for the 787, which has been plagued by problems since the program launched in 2004 and is currently more than two years behind schedule.

Boeing reported another potential setback on the eve of Farnborough, warning that the delivery of the first plane to a customer may slip again -- this time into early 2011.

Boeing said that it still hopes to deliver its first 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways later this year, but warned of a potential delay because of the need for additional testing and changes to inspection equipment.


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