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air safety

Apr 19, 2013

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Dreamliner 787-8 on the Everett flight line yesterday: Credit King

There are consistent reports in the US that the FAA is about to lift the orders that grounded the Dreamliners three months ago after lithium ion battery failures in a Japan Airlines and an All Nippon Airways 787.

However this report by Seattle’s King 5 News, says that Japan’s safety regulator, which grounded the 787s operated by its flag carrier a day before the US authority followed its lead, may place special conditions on the return to flight of Dreamliners registered in or operating through Japan’s air space.

The US reports coincide with claims on various aviation forums that Boeing already has a team in Ethiopia, carrying out ‘super fire box’ installations in Ethiopian Airlines 787s pending a return to passenger service the moment the FAA formally rescinds the grounding order.

Boeing has declined to comment on the US media reports, which reads as confirming that it has the FAA approval in the bag and is acting on it while the regulator gets its act together in terms of an announcement.

The critical tone of the Wall Street Journal report linked at the top of this post is a measure of seriousness with which the Dreamliner crisis has been reported by the major news organisations in America.

Qantas group CEO Alan Joyce has called a media conference early on Monday morning in Sydney, although it isn’t known whether this is about the Dreamliner situation or a different matter.

The airline has 14 Boeing 787-8s on firm order for deliveries starting in August for its Jetstar subsidiary, and options for delivery slots for 35 or more of the yet to fly larger and longer ranging 787-9 version for use by Qantas from 2016.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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