Will Dreamliner costs become a nightmare for Boeing?

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Boeing expects 2014 to be another great year, but to succeed in the long run, Boeing will have to slash the cost of building the Dreamliner, WSJ.com reports.

The Chicago-based company’s strong performance came despite a grounding of the Dreamliner and a smattering of reliability issues. For the year, it beat its delivery goal.

It is still costing Boeing more to make a Dreamliner than what it charges for them. If Boeing booked the difference between current sales and costs for each product it delivers, its commercial-jet division’s operating profit for the first nine months of 2013 would instead have been a $69 million loss, according to company figures. Boeing classifies the gap as “deferred production costs.”

Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said in October that Boeing no longer considered deferred production costs a useful indicator of the Dreamliner program’s progress. But analysts say it remains the clearest measure of the 787’s cash consumption.

Here’s a timeline about the Dreamliner’s problems.

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