We are told that Qatar Airways, which has scheduled a February 1 debut for its daily Perth-Doha service on the Boeing 787, will shortly issue its own statement.
Qatar grounded one of its own 787s in December when the jet developed a similar issue which forced a United Airlines 787 to make an emergency landing on December 4 following the failure of one of six generators.
“These problems are unacceptable because this aircraft has been flying for the last 14 months” Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said at the time. “(Boeing) have to get their act together very fast because we at Qatar Airways will not accept any more defects.”
“Two aircraft having the same problem – the same major problem – so quickly is a cause of concern,” Al Baker added, saying that “definitely we will demand compensation. We are not buying airplanes from them to put in a museum.”
British Airways and China Southern are also due to begin flying the 787 this year, with Air New Zealand following in 2014.
It’s been far from the dream run which Boeing hoped for its next-generation jetliner.
Largely manufactured using radical carbon-fibre composites rather than metal, the revolutionary 787 has cost Boeing an estimated US$32 billion in development and was already more than three years overdue when the first 787 was handed over to ANA in September 2011.
ANA and JAL, which between them hold orders for 111 Dreamliners with an average list price of US$226.5 million, grounded their 787s for immediate inspection following today’s emergency landing in Japan of a domestic ANA flight from Tokyo after smoke was detected in the cockpit.
It’s the latest in a string of issues which have plagued the 787 over the past two months, leading to the aircraft now being reinspected by both US and Japanese aviation safety agencies.
In December, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney described the problems as “normal squawks” which occur in new types of aircraft.
And Michael Huerta, head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, vouched for the 787 even has he chaired a press conference on the FAA’s investigation into the Dreamliner dramas.
“The Dreamliner is a technologically very advanced plane. I believe this aircraft is safe, and what we’re seeing are issues associated with bringing any new technologically advanced product into service.”
Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with Virginia-based Teal Group, told Reuters “there are an awful lot of new features, new technologies and new manufacturing techniques that have produced an enormous number of teething problems (in the 787), but so far no show stoppers. We’re seeing headaches, not heart attacks.”