Dreamliner grounding leaves airlines with uncertainties
Aviation analysts said that the carriers faced even more uncertainty after investigators in the United States and Japan reported that they had not made much progress in figuring out why two planes experienced serious problems with their volatile lithium-ion batteries.
Without a clear understanding of what happened, all 50 of the 787s delivered to eight airlines over the last 14 months will remain grounded.
The airline with the most at stake, by far, is All Nippon Airways, which bought the first 787 and operates 17 of the planes. It has cancelled 459 flights since January 16, affecting more than 58,000 passengers. The airline has used substitute planes or rebooked many of those travellers. Japan Airlines also said on Friday that it had extended its cancellations to include its flights between Tokyo and Boston on February 2 and 3.
United Airlines, the only American carrier with 787s so far, has been able to maintain its flight schedule with substitute planes.
Most airline executives continue to support Boeing publicly. United’s chairman, Jeffery A Smisek, said again this week that he thought the fuel-efficient 787 was “terrific” and added that he believed Boeing would come up with a fix soon.
The US National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman, Deborah A P Hersman, said repeatedly at a news conference on Thursday
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