CEO James McNerney says the schedule is tight, but the company's new 787 aircraft remains on track for a May delivery.
"Is there room for major glitches at this stage? The answer is no," McNerney told an investor conference on Tuesday. "We're tight. When we talk to all of you in mid-October
on an earnings call, we will have a clearer view of where we are on the first flight."
Boeing disclosed last week that it would delay the first flight test of the eagerly awaited aircraft until sometime between mid-November and mid-December. Initial tests had been expected this month. The first delivery will be to Japanese carrier
All Nippon Airways
The schedule allows just five to six months for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. "It's an aggressive plan," McNerney said. "But it has substance to it. We have a three-shift operation, 34 test pilots and only two engine types." By contrast, the 777 had three engine types.
So far, credit market turmoil has not impacted aircraft orders, McNerney noted.
"Assuming the credit market tightening doesn't impact economic growth, most of the people who buy our airplanes are funded from
other credit sources," he said. "All bets are off if there's a big economic slowdown. But I don't see it. I don't think many people are seeing it."