787 takes to the sky -Who, Where and Why

a white airplane on a runway

After a three-month break from mid January until late April,  an elaborate battery fix and two US test flights, the 787 is back in the air.

I have previously described the changes that are being installed by 300 Boeing technicians to the planes across the world. Interestingly, the Japanese authorities have insisted on additional alterations in addition to the changes mandated by the FAA. They have insisted ANA and JAL  install battery monitoring systems to monitor the battery performance and to carry out an inspection program to battery changes are working effectively. These additional precautions do not apply to any other airlines flying 787
Three questions:

  1. Why has the US FAA not forced US carriers to do the same fix as the Japanese?
  2. Why will the other six airlines in the world not have the same safety?</li
  3. How will consumers feel about this?


 The timetable for the return of the 787 in date order:


Ethiopian Airlines – April 27th: Addis-Abba – Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines were the first to fly 787 Dreamliner since grounding with a two-hour incident free commercial flight (pictured below, at take-off). The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde Gebremariam was on board. Their other three 787s are being retrofitted.

a white airplane on a runway

Associated Press


Qatar Airlines –  May 1st: Doha-Dubai

After operating its first Dreamliner flight Qatar Airways  announced the resumption of daily Boeing 787 services from London to Doha from May 15. The airline said it would expect compensation from Boeing for taking planes that “could not be used“. The airline was already expecting recompense for the three year delay in delivery. CEO Al Baker said:  “I still feel the aircraft should not have been grounded…I think there was reaction due to the unnecessary evacuation of a Japanese aircraft. People are too sensitive to what the social media says”. All five the airline’s Dreamliners will all be in service by May 31.

Al Baker also said: “We are short of airplanes. So we will look at … either purchase or lease of interim airplanes from Airbus or Boeing. We have not yet decided.”


Air India – May 16th: Domestic Flights

The Boeing team arrived in Delhi last Tuesday to fit the new system. The first two craft should be ready to fly by May 10 with the remaining four by the end of the month. The 787s would be required to go through test flights before they are certified by India’s civil aviation regulator and pilots will need to undergo retraining. The carrier will utilise the plane on domestic routes in India from Delhi to Bangalore, Kolkata, and Chennai.  On June 1st, it will start flying from Delhi to both London and Paris. Boeing have agreed to compensate Air India for losses incurred by the state-run carrier according to India’s civil aviation minister, Ajit Singh. Boeing will deliver more of the planes to the carrier over the next few months.


United Airlines – May 31st: Houston – Denver

As previously noted, United has already included the 787 in its schedule from May 31. The airline has indicated, however, they may start 787 flights before May 31st. On June 10th, the twice delayed Denver to Tokyo service will finally start along with Houston to London. On August 1st, the Los Angeles to Tokyo and the long awaited Houston-Lagos will start. This will be followed by Los Angeles to Shanghai on August 2nd.


All Nippon Airways –  June 1st: Tokyo – Frankfurt

During the grounding, ANA cancelled a 3601 flights at a cost of $US92 million. Boeing began installing the battery fix on five grounded 787 jets owned by launch customer All Nippon Airways on April 22. The airline is planning between 100 and 200 round trip test flights through May, before it starts carrying passengers again on scheduled flights. The test flights are intended to re-train 200 of ANA’s Dreamliner pilots after the three-month break. ANA is currently planning to restart 787 service on June 1 on  domestic routes and Tokyo to Frankfurt. On September 1st, it will fly between Tokyo and San Jose and Tokyo to Seattle.


Japan Air Lines – June 1st: Tokyo – Beijing, Singapore, San Diego and Boston

Like ANA, JAL’s 787 JAL will return after completing test flights and pilot re-training. JAL cancelled or reduced 766 flights during the grounding at a cost of 4.8 billion yen. Boeing had full-page advertisements in five national Japanese newspapers on Tuesday: “We express our deep gratitude towards passengers, airlines, suppliers and the investigating authorities in each country . . . for their support on the occasion of resuming operations of the completely modified 787,”a group of newspapers with images of airplanes


LAN – June 1st: Santiago – Lima and Los Angeles

This will be followed by Service between Santiago and Madrid and Frankfurt later in 2013.


LOT Polish Airlines – June 5th: Warsaw – Chicago

LOT’s January launch of this service turned into a nightmare when its plane was grounded at Washington DC after its first ever flight! The return trip complete with champagne and balloons had to be cancelled! On June 7th, the plane will be used between Warsaw and Toronto, followed by Warsaw to New York on June 30th. Speculation is rife that LOT may be in the sights of  Norwegian Air after their CEO Bjorn Kjos met with Polish government officials. Norwegian themselves will soon be a 787 user (see below).


The Timetable for New Users:


Thomson Airways -July 8th: Manchester – Florida & Glasgow – Cancun

Thomson Airways was initially due to receive the first of its 13 Dreamliners at the end of February. They are tipping a start date ready for the European summer.


Norwegian Air: Oslo – NYC and Bangkok

The airline has ordered three of the 787s. It has recently suggested that one of its forthcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliners may fly under an Irish flag for cost reasons. Norwegian  have also been rumoured to be considering a takeover of LOT.


 Hainan: September: Beijing – Chicago

a red and white airplane flying in the sky

China’s aviation regulator  is poised to grant approval this month for the 787  to begin commercial service with Chinese airlines.  Hainan has ordered ten but had suggested they may swap future 787 Dreamliners for the larger 747-8s because of the delivery delays. In the meantime,  they should get their first 787 within the next two months as it has already competed Boeing test flights.


China Southern: September: Domestic China

China Southern have also ordered ten of the 787 and three are sitting at the Boeing plants waiting for delivery. China Southern will become the first airline in the world to fly both the 787 and A380 concurrently. After launching on Chinese domestic services, the 787 will probably fly between China and European routes and also to Sydney and Melbourne and possibly Auckland.

Related Posts

April 20th 787 Cleared to Fly!

March 30th: Boeing calls for 787s to fly

March 16th: 787 Battery Fix?

January 25th: The 787 Battery Fire: Step by step

January 18th: All 787s grounded– airline by airline




  1. I think the Qatar president’s comments say a lot about the management philosophy at that airline. No chance that I will be on any of these for a while and then only on ANA and JAL as these two carriers seem to be really concerned about the operational safety of this plane. Good for them for going above and beyond the Boeing fixes and doing more testing. It is obvious who has a safety oriented management philosophy.

  2. What do I think? I’m more than reasonably confident that the Boeing-engineered ‘fix’ is reasonable, but the reasons for that belief are different from what most would expect. It goes without saying that Boeing believes their complex retro fit is sufficient. (The service bulletin run 564 pages!) What is more important is The Money. This fix has cost Boeing a small fortune and they have not even started compensating their customers for the expensive down time. Even more than the money, I think Boeing’s ‘fix’ is probably a satisfactory one because the entire future of this impressive new airplane says it has to be! If there is another battery related problem, God forbid that it would result in an injury or a hull loss, the 787 Dreamliner will instantly become a dud and the airframer’s worst nightmare. While the company would probably survive an early death of the 787 program, it would hurt them badly and for a decade or more. They Know That and they are not taking any chances. As for why the Li batteries were not more thoroughly tested in the first place is a question that won’t have an answer for many years. In the end, it is still about The Money. As Watergate’s Deep Throat advised his reporter friends, “Follow the money.” I do NOT know that there is dirty money involved in the 787’s battery issues – and I suspect not – the entire 787 program is more than large enough to warrant some very tight oversight. I think Boeing and its auditors provide that, but I wonder if it is enough. Make no mistake here: I am a huge fan of Boeing airplanes and I believe that they have built their entire corporate structure around the idea that Safety [of the product] is always their first concern. And let’s follow the money.

  3. I thought they may start flying their 787s before May 31. Thanks for the info

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