After $600 Million, Will the Dreamliner Finally Fly Again?

A Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” Aircraft operated as All Nippon Airways as flight 683 on November 1, 2011 for its inaugural service from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima International Airport. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Carfield. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by Carfield.

The good news for the “Dreamliner” — the nickname for the Boeing 787 aircraft, which has had its share of problems and sure could use whatever good news it can get — is that a key document known as a Project Standard of Compliance may be approved by regulators in the United States, resulting in possibly paving the way to get the beleaguered aircraft back in service as soon as within the next couple of months.

Unfortunately, the “Dreamliner” has been a financial nightmare, as it already cost Boeing approximately 600 million dollars since the entire fleet of aircraft was ordered grounded by regulators around the world back on January 16, 2013 — and there is the possibility of commercial airlines directly affected by the grounding to seek compensation from Boeing, as they have had to use alternate methods to temporarily replace the Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by them.

Until all of that is settled, the final cost of the grounding of the “Dreamliner” fleet is yet to be determined.

Commercial airlines such as All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines had already voluntarily grounded their fleets of Boeing 787 aircraft before the official grounding was first ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States due to the burning of lithium-ion batteries in two of the aircraft, as well as other issues.

More good news is that Boeing had successfully completed test flights with its redesigned battery system, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration recently — bringing the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft another step closer to returning to the skies…

…and in anticipation of regulatory approval of the return of the Boeing 787 aircraft to commercial aviation, United Airlines had optimistically announced last week that it “plans to resume flying the 787 ‘Dreamliner’ in May” of 2013 — but only after the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft in Japan operated by All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are retrofitted first, as both airlines combined own nearly half of the current Boeing 787 fleet, according to an article published by Business Insider.

However, the timetable has not been set — meaning that the return of the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft to regular commercial service could still be delayed and extra steps could possibly be added to the approval process, according to Business Insider. Approval early next week would coincide with a two-day investigative hearing into the burnt batteries by the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States.

Stay tuned…

Comments (Showing 5 of 5)

  • Cathay Boy at 4:49pm April 18, 2013

    They haven’t provided a true solution, I think it’s ridiculous FAA may approved this band-aid solution. They have NO IDEA what cost the fire, and HOW TO PREVENT future fires. They merely built a fire-resistant box around the battery so they don’t burnt he plane to the ground. This is NOT a solution, if I have offer this kind of “solution” to my boss at work, or my staff did that to me, I would fire them on the spot.

  • PHL at 7:31pm April 18, 2013

    Do you have a source for your statements that 1.) they have no idea about cause 2.) they are “merely” building a “fire resistant box around the battery”?

    I’ve seen neither of these things mentioned in any of the reports about the battery problems. In fact, I think they likely DO know the kinds of scenarios where the batteries could potentially meltdown.

    But I do have faith in our overly regulated FAA to do everything they can to insure the 787 doesn’t fly with passengers until this risk is virtually eliminated.

  • Nigel_USA at 9:36pm April 18, 2013

    Oh Cathay Boy. If you did present that, reckon your boss ought to be firing you, for presenting him nonsense not based on any facts. I recommend you find out a little about a topic before publicly displaying your ignorance again.

    On the 787 – Boeing are restarting test flights again. FAA has removed restrictions on these flights for converted aircraft. Presumably they can now get on with the predelivery testing program. Rumor has it that the AD will be formally removed in the middle of next week.

  • JohnnyGlobal at 7:59am April 19, 2013

    Don’t ever underestimate the power of politics. I’m not of the point of view that the 787 is inherently unsafe to fly moving forward…but I also wonder how persuasive company and industry lobbyists have been in getting politicians and FAA staff (especially political staff) to a ‘comfortable place’ with the presented solutions. Agree that it’s in no one’s best interests to put a plane in the sky that still has serious issues…so hopefully the chosen remedies truly prove effective and we can move forward from this unfortunate episode.

  • SoManyMiles-SoLittleTime at 11:48am April 19, 2013

    A search of “787 battery root cause” provides some insight into the battery failure and Boeing’s approach, the essence of which appears to be that the root cause has not been found. Boeing’s workaround seems to involve the development of a containment structure.

    The OPs wording may have been inflammatory, but not completely baseless.

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