787 still grounded

It has now been over a week since the 787 flew. For the eight carriers that have the 787 in service, another week of no revenue from the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board investigators have not yet found the reason for the  January 7 fire at Boston airport. U.S. safety investigators ruled out last Sunday that the cause came from was  excess voltage and expanded their investigation to look at the battery’s charger and the jet’s auxiliary power unit. One of the most chilling learnings for me was that Securaplane, the company that makes the charger suffered millions of dollars of damages in November 2006 when a lithium-ion battery being tested exploded and sparked a fire that burned their administrative building to the ground.

Boeing have suspended all deliveries after delivering only one 787 this year so far. Its target for 2013 was 60 jets to go to new 787 customers British Airways,  Hainan Airlines,  Norwegian Air Shuttle, Royal Brunei and Thomson, and existing operators such as Air India, ANA, JAL, Qatar and United.  Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, the parent company of Airbus, isn’t ‘happy’ about the grounding of rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. He stated that grounding 787 isn’t “good for the industry.”

Air India have announced they are looking for bids by February 5 to sell seven 787-800 Dreamliner planes to leasing companies and hire them back. This move will free up cash for the airline. They currently have six on the ground after India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation ordered them to cease flying and one was supposed to be delivered this month. The jets will be grounded until at least February 17.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) with 17 of the jets in its fleet has cancelled 459 domestic and international flights costing the carrier about $US15.4 million in lost revenue. The airline announced Thursday, it is prepared to recoup from Boeing whatever damages it suffers from flight cancellations and other costs. ANA has advised they replaced batteries on its 787s ten times because they didn’t charge properly or connections with electrical systems failed. It had  informed Boeing of the replacements.

Ethiopian Airlines, have said they have not experienced any problems with the plane’s lithium ion batteries but have grounded their four 787 planes

Japan Airlines (JAL) chair Masaru Onishi was quoted by Aviation Week as saying We hope that the time it takes to fix the problem will be no more than a month, or two months maximum,”  When asked if JAL will be seeking financial compensation from Boeing, the Chair said, “We don’t want to focus on such issues now.”  

LOT Polish Airlines is under scrutiny with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk demanded the country’s treasurer get the airline on a secure financial footing. Last year, LOT received an emergency government loan from to keep it operating. The 787 was aimed at helping improve the airline’s image and profitability. In a statement on Jan. 17, LOT indicated it would consider seeking compensation from Boeing for the grounding of its two Dreamliners, although it did not indicate the amount. 

 Qatar Airways was due to start the first commercial 787 flight to Australia on Friday 1st February but this, of course, has been postponed

United Airlines has six grounded planes. They were due to start a non stop 787 service from Houston, Texas, USA to Lagos, Nigeria on January 31. This has been indefinitely postponed.

The question is: would you fly the Dreamliner?

Related Posts

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787 Safety “Concerns”

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  1. @Mikey
    The issue with those is that they hold far less energy per given volume than li-ion, so the question becomes wether or not it can store enough energy to do what it needs to do in the same volume as the current batteries. I also wonder about doing micro/small cell li-ion packs like the Tesla has. I have a hard time believing the FAA will let it back in the skies with the 8 large cell batteries.

  2. Dump this turkey in a hole and call it a loss. Boeing and Airbus both need to eat crow on plastic planes, they are not safe. Strong-arming regulatory agencies to loosen safety standards so you can get aloft should set off alarm bells for the public, so far it hasn’t.

  3. Not so simple as all the electronics software is specific for the lithium batteries. You can’t just change out the batteries and go flying. Whole new programs and sub-routines would need to be written if you used a different style of battery.

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