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19 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds
Companies using and expecting delivery of 787 Dreamliner aircraft from Boeing will want to “claw back” expenses from the supplier after the fleet was grounded over safety concerns, an aviation consultant has told SM.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive on Thursday to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787, following an incident that caused an emergency landing in Japan. This grounded all 50 Dreamliners, which are operated by eight separate airlines.
Boeing has said it is “is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities” to rectify the issue.
Adrian Gjertsen, director at consultancy Airsupport Aviation Services, told SM: “It is a major problem, there have been a lot of orders for the 787 and Boeing have a lot riding on it. When a brand new design comes in it is inevitable that there will be issues and it is an expense for customers, who will have to use older aircraft to fill the gap. They will try to claw back expenses from Boeing.”
The FAA said it would “work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the US 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible”.
Gjertsen added there had been similar situations in the past. “The 787 is already behind schedule; as you produce more advanced designs you get pushed by purchasers to give more demanding delivery schedules which are hard to meet,” he added. “Aviation is a very safe industry and Boeing are a good company so will be working hard to sort the problem.”
In a statement Boeing said: “We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service.
Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers.”