787s wear foreign paint jobs

When Boeing introduces a new airplane, the first examples out the factory door usually wear the liveries of U.S. airlines.

With the 747, the colors were from the now-defunct Pan-American Airlines. With the 777, the United Airlines logo featured prominently.

But the planes now emerging from Boeing’s 787-8 assembly line in Everett are displaying a new trend.

This time around, the first planes going into service are all going to be operated by foreign carriers. Already, 787s carry the paint job of launch customers All Nippon Airways in Japan and Royal Air Maroc, the flag carrier of Morocco.

Two new planes clad in white will soon wear the colors of Chile’s LAN Airlines.

The first of those production aircraft are due for delivery late this year after testing is complete.

One of the orders from a major U.S. carrier, Delta Air Lines Inc., is now in some doubt. Delta is reportedly negotiating with Boeing over the orders for 18 of the 787 Dreamliners it inherited when it merged with Northwest Airlines.

Delta hasn’t said whether it will cancel those orders, postpone them or substitute other Boeing aircraft, 777-200LRs for instance, for the long-delayed Dreamliners.

A new Dreamliner airplane retails for $161 million to $171.5 million, according to Boeing.

Hundreds of Boeing workers are finishing planes that are on the assembly line.

But they’re asking suppliers to hold off on sending pieces of the planes to Everett for 24 days so that sub-suppliers can catch up.

The company is now producing its 24th plane. One test plane is going through heating and cooling tests at a special facility in Florida.