Reports show that Qatar Airways has canceled its London (LHR) to Doha (DOH) flight 76 today and that the aircraft, A7-BCK, is at least temporarily grounded at LHR. The UK Daily Mail shows that Qatar confirmed the cancellation and stated that safety fears were ‘speculation’ but admitted such cancellations were ‘rare.’ The airline also did not comment on the fate of four other Dreamliner planes in its fleet. It appears that the airline might also be planning to delay its initial launch of the 787 on its Perth Route that was supposed to launch on 01FEB. When trying to book a flight on the airline’s website, it shows a Boeing 777-200LR will be used instead of a 787 Dreamliner.
QATAR Airways during mid-day Wednesday (16JAN13) adjusted its planned Doha – Perth operation. Boeing 777-200LR will continue operation on this route on/after 01FEB13, replacing previously planned Boeing 787. There are no new dates given on when the Dreamliner will begin operating this route.
QR900 DOH0130 – 1720PER 77L D
QR901 PER2245 – 0510+1DOH 77L D
According to multiple sources, the FAA has grounded all Boeing 787 flights. Here is the full FAA statement:
“As a result of an in-flight, Boeing 787 battery incident earlier today in Japan, the FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations. Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe.
“The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.The in-flight Japanese battery incident followed an earlier 787 battery incident that occurred on the ground in Boston on January 7, 2013. The AD is prompted by this second incident involving a lithium ion battery.
“The battery failures resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke on two Model 787 airplanes. The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment.Last Friday, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems with the possibility of further action pending new data and information.
“In addition to the continuing review of the aircraft’s design, manufacture and assembly, the agency also will validate that 787 batteries and the battery system on the aircraft are in compliance with the special condition the agency issued as part of the aircraft’s certification.
“United Airlines is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes in service. When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive, it also alerts the international aviation community to the action so other civil aviation authorities can take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries.”
UPDATE 19:00hrs GMT+8 : QATAR AIRWAYS STATEMENT ON BOEING 787s
Following instructions by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar Airways is implementing the Airworthiness Directive issued by the FAA for all operators of the Boeing 787 to ground the aircraft, effective today 17 January 2013.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “I previously stated that Qatar Airways will only stop operating our Dreamliners if we receive such an instruction from regulators.
“Safety remains the number one priority for Qatar Airways. We ensure all our aircraft meet the most stringent safety standards and this will not be compromised in any way.
“In light of recent events surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, we are actively working with Boeing and the regulators to restore full customer confidence in the 787.
“Qatar Airways will resume 787 operations when we are clear that the aircraft meets the full requirements of the Airworthiness Directive and our standards which assure the safety of our passengers and crew at all times.
So we are not flying the aircraft until and only such a time this is achieved.
“Qatar Airways would like to express our sincere apologies to passengers booked on our 787 flights, but we are sure they will understand our concerns in view of recent events with other 787 operators around the world.
Our staff are assisting all affected passengers to be accommodated on other flights to get them to their final destination with minimum inconvenience.”
Qatar Airways currently has five Boeing 787-8 aircraft in its fleet.