01 October, 2013

More 787 woes

(c) planespotters.net
Glitches are keeping Boeing's Dreamliners in the headlines, including two new problems that came to light during the weekend. The issues have been considered to be minor, but their frequency is creating operational frustrations among Boeing's 787 customers.
Reuters reports a Dreamliner for Polish airline LOT had to divert to Iceland on Sunday because of a glitch in the the aircraft's identification system, according to an airline spokeswoman.
The flight was en route to Warsaw from Toronto when it made the unscheduled stop at the Iceland's Keflavik airport near Reykjavik.
"The aircraft had to land due to an air identification system fault," LOT spokeswoman Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras tells Reuters. "The Norwegian authorities have refused permission to fly over its territory, even though other countries gave permission to fly over theirs."

Boeing blamed an "inoperative antenna," which – if working – transmits the jet's identification information during flight. Aircraft are allowed to fly even if the antenna is not working, but that "requires air traffic controllers along the route to pre-approve the flight," Reuters writes.
Boeing says it is sending technicians to Stockholm, where the aircraft is currently parked. The repairs should be done in a few days, according to the U.S. jetmaker.
"LOT has already made the proper arrangements and parts and personnel are en route to address the issue and return the airplane to flight status," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel says in a statement. "Boeing stands ready to help if asked."
That problem comes after a series of problems with the Dreamliners owned by fast-growing discounter Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Like LOT, Norwegian has been beset with a number of operational problems to its Dreamliners.
In its latest problem, Norweigan grounded one of its $212 million jets over the weekend because of a glitch industry observers believe is related to a hydraulic pump, Reuters reports.
Reuters says the problems appears to be "minor and isolated," but Norwegian sounds as though it's near its tolerance limit for the new jet's problems. The company has demanded Boeing fix the jet, which has been in service for the carrier for less than 30 days.
Norwegian has had to lease an Airbus A340 to fly routes from Stockholm to and New York and Bangkok while the Dreamliner is grounded, according to The Associated Press.
Norwegian's 787 problems have forced several other delays and cancellations during the past two months.
Reuters notes that "like other airlines with small long-haul fleets, Norwegian Air does not have a spare plane it can use if a jet breaks down. The carrier said it had to rent planes and cancel tickets when it could not use its 787s, and the company's stock has fallen 6% since a peak earlier this month, hit by a string of 787 problems and concerns about its broader business."
"The aircraft's reliability is simply not acceptable," Norwegian Air spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told Reuters on Saturday. "Our passengers cannot live with this kind of performance."
Reuters calls "Norwegian Air's vocal airing of its complaints is another black eye for the troubled Dreamliner. It follows a string of electrical and other safety problems that included battery meltdowns so severe they prompted regulators to ban the long-haul jetliner from flight for more than three months this year."