Air New Zealand said today that the first of its eight 787-9 Dreamliners won't be delivered until early 2013, more than two years later than originally planned.

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Air New Zealand said today that the first of its eight 787-9 Dreamliners won’t be delivered until early 2013, more than two years later than originally planned.

Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the 787-9, the larger second version of the new Dreamliner that will carry 280 passengers.

Earlier this month Boeing laid out a revised schedule that pushed out the first flight and first delivery of the initial version of the Dreamliner, the smaller 230-seat 787-8.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan is now scheduled to take the first Dreamliner in the first quarter of 2010, which is 20 to 22 months behind the original plan.

But later deliveries are pushed out even further because Boeing decided in April to trim its aggressive plan to quickly ramp up production after the first Dreamliners roll out.

Back then, when first delivery to ANA was delayed only 15 months, Boeing informed customers International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) and Air Canada soon afterward that their deliveries would be set back by 27 months and 24-30 months, respectively.

Now as Boeing returns to individual customers once again with a new revision to the schedule, the delays vary depending on which variant is on order and where the specific delivery comes in the production schedule.

Many industry experts believe that the 787-9 will eventually prove the most popular variant of the Dreamliner. Airbus is designing the A350-800 as a direct competitor. First delivery of the Airbus jet, set to be the second version of the A350 to enter service, is currently scheduled for 2014, though that could well slip, too.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com