Boeing publishes 787 solution; LOT criticises its treatment

By Victoria April 22, 2013 13:52

Boeing publishes 787 solution; LOT criticises its treatment


LOT Polish Airlines chief executive, Sebastian Mikosz, has voiced his dissatisfaction with Boeing on the way it has handled the disruption caused by the grounding of the 787.

LOT was forced to suspend all 787 flights in January after incidents with the lithium-ion batteries caused the US Federal Aviation Administration to ground the aircraft type.

LOT was forced to lease extra aircraft to cope with demand – its entire long-haul fleet is 787s. “It has really created more problems for us than advantages,” said Mikosz. “I don’t see Boeing understanding this, because we’ve been left quite alone for a while.”

Boeing however has stated that it has been in “ongoing conversations” with customers on the progress of the 787 situation. Moreover, late last week Boeing received FAA approval for its new battery solution and the aircraft could be cleared for service within weeks.

“FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney.

The FAA’s action will permit the return to service of 787s in the United States upon installation of the improvements. For 787s based and modified outside the United States, local regulatory authorities provide the final approval on return to service.

The improved battery system includes design changes to both prevent and isolate a fault should it occur. In addition, improved production, operating and testing processes have been implemented. The new steel enclosure system is designed to keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or even being noticed by passengers.

“This is a comprehensive and permanent solution with multiple layers of protection,” said Conner.  “The ultimate layer of protection is the new enclosure, which will ensure that even if a battery fails, there is no impact to the airplane and no possibility of fire. We have the right solution in hand, and we are ready to go.

“We are all very grateful to our customers for their patience during the past several months,” said Conner. “We know it hasn’t been easy on them to have their 787s out of service and their deliveries delayed. We look forward to helping them get back into service as quickly as possible.”

Boeing has deployed teams to locations around the world to begin installing improved battery systems on 787s. Kits with the parts needed for the new battery systems are staged for shipment and new batteries also will be shipped immediately. Teams have been assigned to customer locations to install the new systems.  Airplanes will be modified in approximately the order they were delivered.

For LOT however this is both welcome news that may also cause more suffering for the beleaguered airline.

Boeing plans to modify the 50 787s already in service “in the approximate order that they were delivered”, which means LOT will need to wait until the back of the queue since its two 787s delivered in November and December.

Mikosz said: “My much bigger competitors will probably fly before us, which is quite a bitter pill to swallow if you’re the guy who bought only Dreamliners and was supposed to be the first to fly in Europe… That’s not how I imagined being treated.”

LOT and Boeing are negotiating terms of compensation.

By Victoria April 22, 2013 13:52
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