* Boeing CEO says orders strong despite “market churn”
CHICAGO, May 27 (Reuters) - Boeing Co’s delayed 787 Dreamliner (BA.N) is on track for its first test flight next month, Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney said on Wednesday.
“I think the airplane will fly in June. We will embark on a flight test program as we described it,” McNerney said on a webcast of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co’s Strategic Decisions Conference.
The company pushed back the 787 delivery schedule for a fourth time in December, making its plane almost two years late and risking cancellations from angry airlines. The plane has been plagued by repeated production delays.
McNerney said demand for the 787 is strong despite what he called “market churn.” McNerney was referring to order cancellations this year, including 57 canceled 787 orders.
Chicago-based Boeing and rival Airbus, a unit of EADS EAD.PA, are suffering as airlines and cargo operators defer plane deliveries amid weak demand in the economic recession.
After 60 orders and 60 cancellations, Boeing now has zero net orders for 2009.
McNerney said he expects the the first 787 deliveries in the first quarter of 2010. But he said there is always the chance that the schedule could be disrupted by a mechanical issue coming to light during the test flight.
Shares of Boeing, a Dow Jones Industrial Average component, were down 1.5 percent to $43.51 on the New York Stock Exchange, amid broad losses for stocks. (Reporting by Kyle Peterson; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)