The Dreamliner may finally get off the ground

There are reports that the Boeing (BA) Dreamliner could finally get off the ground next week after over two years of delays, which have done severe damage to the company's image, reputation, and financial health.

According to The Wall Street Journal, "From the moment the Dreamliner is airborne through roughly the next 12 months, Boeing will race the clock to test the new aircraft in high altitudes, subzero temperatures, desert heat and emergency scenarios." In other words, investor dollars and management jobs could be at risk until late next year.

Boeing's stock price has been cut almost in half over the last two years, trading below $55 recently. The head of Boeing's commercial airline business lost his job and there are rumors that Boeing's CEO James McNerney will be next if the Dreamliner project faces any more delays.

One slip during the test flights could cause some airlines -- which, for the most part, have been patient -- to cancel orders for the Dreamliner. McNerney said earlier in the year, as the delays became more severe, that he expected some airlines to cut orders for the plane. Boeing's earnings have suffered considerably during 2009.

If the past is any indication, the Dreamliner delays are not over yet, and McNerney's job is still not safe.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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