United Airlines said on Thursday it had taken delivery of its second 787 Dreamliner jet from Boeing , following a delay by the aircraft maker, and that another three 787s due to arrive this year could also be delayed.
United is the first U.S. airline to put into commercial service the new carbon-composite jet, which carries a list price of $206 million to $243.6 million, depending on the model.
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The second jet was due to be delivered last week, but United said it received it on Wednesday.
"We believe this year's subsequent 787 deliveries could be delayed as well," Christen David, director of corporate communications for United said.
She said the second plane would not be flown on a regular schedule in the short term.
"We will fly it around our domestic system over the next few weeks on an ad-hoc basis. The second aircraft is not regularly scheduled for a few more weeks, but will operate as a spare in the meantime."
Boeing said on Tuesday that delivery of at least two 787 jets for United was taking longer than expected. It was not one specific issue with the plane that caused the delay, Boeing said, declining to elaborate. United declined to comment on what caused the delay.
Boeing said the issues would not affect delivery of 787s to other customers.
Final work on the United airplanes was continuing, but "taking a few days longer than anticipated," Tim Bader, a Boeing spokesman said. "The process for completing an airplane requires thoroughness and a disciplined adherence to process."
Boeing declined to comment further on Thursday.
United said any delivery delay of the subsequent jets would not affect its operations. "Since we have spare aircraft, we have the flexibility to backfill any 787s we planned to use with these aircraft. We are hopeful that we will still receive three more 787s this year."
The 787 Dreamliner, a wide-body jet, seats 219 passengers in United's configuration, and is billed as Boeing's most fuel-efficient jet. It was initially scheduled to enter service in May 2008, but delays pushed its first flight back to December 2009 and it entered service on October 26, 2011, with launch customer All Nippon Airways <9202.T>.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; editing by Carol Bishopric)