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Boeing's Dreamliner to launch by 2011, CEO says

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Boeing VP on Dreamliner production
  • Boeing's Executive VP said his team is is focused on "getting the job done"
  • Supplier problems and issues with testing have delayed the Dreamliner's launch
  • He believes people will forget its delay once they see what a great aircraft it is

Farnborough, England (CNN) -- Fans of Boeing's much anticipated Dreamliner may have to wait a while longer before the aircraft is available for commercial use, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said Monday.

Speaking to CNN's Richard Quest at the Farnborough Airshow, he said: "The airplane is flying exactly like we thought it would fly. It is possible that this airplane could slip in in the first few weeks of 2011."

The Boeing Dreamliner made its international debut at the Farnborough Airshow in Hampshire, UK on Monday after a two-year delay.

First unveiled in 2007, the Dreamliner's maiden flight was originally scheduled for August the same year, but technical glitches delayed its launch.

To date, Boeing has received 860 orders for the Dreamliner across the world -- All Nippon Airways being Dreamliner's launch customer with 55 orders. Boeing has said it expects a "healthy increase" in orders following the Airshow.

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Albaugh, who is also Executive Vice President of Boeing Company, added that his team were dedicated to ensuring the aircraft became available this year.

He said: "We have a schedule that supports that. As I have said all along, when you do development programs and you go through flight test programs, you can't have issues."

Supplier problems as well as the issues with the different phases of testing have delayed the Dreamliner, but Albaugh maintained that Boeing is "very close" to delivering the aircraft.

Built by an international team at Boeing's Everett factory in Washington State, USA, the Dreamliner boasts extra-large windows, colored LED lighting which replicates natural sunlight, as well as a air purification system which pumps cleaner air into cabins.

Albaugh admitted Boeing does not have a lot of contingency in their schedule. He said: "This is an airplane that we've been building it for the past seven years. It's well into the flight test program."

But he insisted that "the team is focused on getting the job done this year."

Still, he believes there is no need for hurry, saying: "This is an airplane that is going to fly for the 50 years," he told CNN. "I think whether it's late by a few weeks is something people will rapidly forget -- once they see what a great airplane it is."

Agnes Teh contributed to this report