SEATTLE (AP) -- Some improper fasteners in the first six Boeing 787s won't be replaced before the first flight test because the company doesn't want any further delays, a Boeing Co. spokeswoman said Tuesday.
With a status report on the much-delayed 787 set for Wednesday with the release of Boeing's quarterly financials, program spokeswoman Yvonne Leach told The Associated Press that many installed and nonconforming fasteners already have been replaced.
"There has been a huge effort to go in and replace a huge number of these fasteners," Leach said.
The rest of the bolt-like devices, which have all been located but are in hard-to-reach areas of the planes, do not pose a safety problem and will be replaced before the six planes are delivered to buyers, Leach said.
She characterized the remainder as "a small number" but gave no figures or percentages, nor did she say how many already had been replaced.
When the fastener problem was first reported in November, Boeing representatives said the problems resulted from work by a subcontractor and accounted for about 3 percent of the fasteners on the 787s but gave no other numbers.
The highly heralded 787, lighter and more fuel efficient because it is made largely of composite materials, has been delayed five times, pushing the first test flight back to the second quarter of this year and the first deliveries to the first quarter of 2010. The first flight originally was set for August or September 2007 and the first deliveries for May 2008.
Leach said the report Wednesday would not change the start of flight tests.
Airlines and leasing companies have ordered 910 787s, according to Boeing's Web site.