Boeing Co. said Tuesday that it has delayed the first manned flight of its new space taxi for the second time this year and could take a financial charge against the programme as early as its third-quarter results.

The company has pushed back the first crewed flight of its CST-100 Starliner capsule by another six months to mid-2018 because of supplier and technical issues and said there were cost implications to the move.

A Boeing spokesman declined to quantify the potential amount. “We are assessing the financial impacts of the schedule change as part of the quarterly earnings process,” he said.

The potential charge would upset analysts’ expectations for Boeing to have a “clean” third-quarter earnings report on Oct. 26. The company has taken a succession of charges against its military tanker programme and the 747-8 jumbo jet because of design problems and slow sales, respectively.

Boeing and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. are vying to be the first to resume crewed flights with U.S. spacecraft since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

In another development, China Southern Airlines Co. agreed to buy Dreamliners valued at $3.2 billion in list prices from Boeing Co. as Asia’s biggest carrier by passenger numbers expands its fleet to meet a surge in travel demand.

The carrier chose the 787-9 model, with a list price of $271 million each, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange statement Wednesday. The planes will be delivered between 2018 and 2020 and funded using cash and loans from commercial banks, the Guangzhou, China-based airline said in the statement.

China Southern and its subsidiaries have ordered more than $15 billion of new aircraft from Boeing and Airbus Group SE in the past year as more people fly in the world’s most populous nation. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an order for 300 jets valued at $38 billion on a state visit to the U.S. as Chinese carriers expand their fleet in a nation set to become the biggest travel market in two decades.