Boeing 787 Grounding: FlyerTalk Member Reaction and Updates

A Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft operated by All Nippon Airways is used for the inaugural flight from Tokyo to San Jose on January 11, 2013. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Carfield.

FlyerTalk members have been posting their reactions to the grounding of Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft in response to a directive issued by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States and the civil aviation authorities of the Japanese, Chilean and other governments worldwide, as well as the investigations which have been ordered as a result of a spate of mechanical and technical issues which have plagued the aircraft since its debut.

All Nippon Airways — which along with Japan Airlines proactively grounded its fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft before the directive mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States — is waiving cancellation and change fees for any reservation up to 23 January 2013 for international Boeing 787 flights and domestic Boeing 787 flights, which includes domestic flights with connection to international Boeing 787 flights. This decision could render the question of the qualification for EU261 compensation moot.

Without realizing how prophetic was the comment posted, FlyerTalk member gill2610 was concerned and definitely not comfortable about being a passenger on an upcoming flight booked on a Boeing 787 aircraft operated by Qatar Airways, hoping that the fleet will be grounded.

Similarly — in a coincidental response to a question posted by FlyerTalk member MarkXS — the three Boeing 787 aircraft operated by LAN have been grounded as well, in cooperation with the General Direction of Civil Aeronautics of Chile.

Not all FlyerTalk members are uncomfortable, concerned or worried. Offering a different point of view and responding to the call of FlyerTalk member bse118 to look at this issue with some perspective, FlyerTalk member UA900 argues that there has not been one fatality as a result of the multitude of problems experienced by the Boeing 787 aircraft — even after many completed flights and lots of happy and impressed passengers. FlyerTalk member armagebedar would prefer that the media tone down its hysteria until the investigations have been completed.

Meanwhile, the delivery schedule of Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by Air Canada has not yet been affected by the mandatory grounding, causing FlyerTalk member xLuther to comment that at this point, Air Canada should go to Airbus and see what can be delivered and time frame then scale back or cancel 787 orders — and that it might be best that they never received delivery of any Boeing 787 aircraft, as it is “looking like problem aircraft at this rate.” The delivery of the first seven of 37 Boeing 787 aircraft to Air Canada had already been delayed until 2014 — four years later than originally planned.

The delivery of the first of the initial 42 Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by American Airlines — also originally ordered in 2008 — was already delayed multiple times until the second half of 2013 before American Airlines changed its order and Boeing pushed back the delivery of the first Boeing 787-9 aircraft to early 2014. There is no word as of yet whether this order will be delayed further due to the mandatory grounding of Boeing 787 aircraft.

Whilst the initial delivery of Boeing 787 aircraft to British Airways had also been delayed until May of 2013 — hey, we are talking about British Airways, so I can use the term whilst — it is uncertain at this time whether or not there will be further delays.

As the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental aircraft — such as what was delivered to Lufthansa — comprises of similar materials and technology as the Boeing 787 aircraft, FlyerTalk member DanTravels wonders whether it is suffering from similar issues.

Although first coined by FlyerTalk member MisterNice in February of 2006, the nickname NightmareLiner — a mockery of the name Dreamliner — has been used by other FlyerTalk members, including in the latest comment by FlyerTalk member entropy.

I would think that some of the people involved with the manufacture of the Boeing 787 aircraft are probably using the term NightmareLiner as well — especially those people who are employed in the public relations department at Boeing.

To reiterate, here is the complete statement issued by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States:

“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.

When do you believe that the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft will once again be officially deemed airworthy enough to return to the skies?

Comments (Showing 2 of 2)

  • MarkXS at 1:15pm January 17, 2013

    I posed the question, “Is the Dreamliner the new DC-10?” over at my travel blog The Fuzzy Wanderer, in addition to my LAN post here at FlyerTalk.

    http://fuzzywanderer.com/2013/01/17/is-the-dreamliner-the-new-dc-10.

    Sadly, and mostly undeservedly, I think it already may be to the general public.

  • My Homepage at 4:10pm January 17, 2013

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