Friday, 11 January 2013

Dreamliner Review

 

 

US regulators have ordered a review of the 787 Dreamliner plane after a series of incidents put a question mark over the safety of Boeing's flagship plane.  The review by the Federal Aviation Administration will look at the design and manufacture of the planes.

It is not clear whether the planes in the air at the moment will be grounded.   An electrical fire, a brake problem, a fuel spill and cracks in the cockpit's windshield have affected Dreamliner flights in the past week.  "We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said. "We are working with the FAA and our customers to ensure we thoroughly understand any introductory issues that arise.  While we take each issue seriously, nothing we've seen in service causes us to doubt the capabilities of the airplane."

A spate of technical issues has hurt its image. On Friday, two new problems were found, adding to Boeing's woes.

  • On Friday, All Nippon Airways reported a crack in the window on the pilot's side of the cockpit. It caused no problems for the 237 passengers and nine crew on a flight from Tokyo's Haneda airport to Matsuyama, but the return flight was cancelled
  • The same airline said another Dreamliner flight, shuttling between Haneda and the southern Miyazaki prefecture, experienced a delay due to an oil leak from a generator inside an engine
  • On Wednesday, ANA cancelled a 787 flight from Yamaguchi to Tokyo because of a brake problem
  • On Tuesday, Japan Airlines cancelled a Boston to Tokyo flight after about 40 gallons (151 litres) of fuel spilled
  • An electrical fire broke out on board a Japan Airlines Dreamliner on Monday shortly after it landed in Boston, following a flight from Tokyo
  • Last year, a United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing because of an electrical problem
  • In December, Qatar Airways grounded one of its 787 Dreamliners after several manufacturing faults caused electrical problems similar to those that affected the United plane.

Last month, the head of Qatar Airways criticised Boeing in an interview with the BBC over several manufacturing faults that have resulted in the grounding of one of its three 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Boeing has delivered 50 of the 787s, starting in late 2011, and has orders for nearly 800 more. To get through the backlog, Boeing is increasing production to build 10 of the planes per month by the end of the year.

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