) --


(BA) - Get Report

said Thursday it's resuming test flights for its 787 Dreamliner, ending more than a month of downtime

following a Nov. 9 electrical fire on one of its test models


"Initially, we will resume a series of Boeing tests that remain to be completed in the flight test program," said Scott Fancher, a company vice president and general manager of the 787 program, in a statement. "That testing will be followed later by a resumption of certification testing."

Boeing said it has updated power distribution system software and completed a "rigorous set of reviews" to prepare the ZA004 test model, which will be the first of the six flight test airplanes to get back in action later on Thursday.

The company attributed the fire that led to an emergency landing of its ZA002 test model at an airport in Laredo, Texas to

foreign debris in a power distribution panel

, saying on Nov. 24 that it planned to make minor design changes to fix the problem.

The big question for investors is what this lost month and a half will mean to delivery expectations for the 787 Dreamliner, which is already more than three years behind schedule. Boeing's current target for delivery of its first 787 plane is the middle of the first quarter of calendar 2011, but recent media reports have speculated the company will be forced to push that back another three-to-six months.

"As we return to flight test and determine the pace of that activity, we remain focused on developing a new program schedule," Boeing's Fancher said. "We expect to complete our assessment of the program schedule in January."

Boeing shares were up slightly ahead of Thursday's closing bell, adding 44 cents, or 0.7%, to $65.05 on light volume of 2.7 million, less than half the issue's trailing three-month daily average of 5.7 million. Year-to-date, the stock has risen nearly 20% but the Dow component is down 14.5% since hitting a 52-week high of $76 on April 22.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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