Boeing can't afford more 787 growing pains
Yet another fire and ongoing mechanical glitches prompt new questions about the much-hyped passenger jet's future.
What's Boeing (BA) to do about its new hard-luck 787 Dreamliner? The plane entered the global marketplace last year and was touted as heralding the next generation of passenger jets. It's a midsize plane that uses lightweight composite materials, a novel electrical system and improved aerodynamics to make it 20% more fuel-efficient than similarly sized planes.
Back in March 2012, Boeing announced that 60 carriers had 868 Dreamliners on order, "making the 787 the fastest-selling widebody airplane in commercial aviation history."
But since then, the 787 has been gaining attention for all the wrong reasons, in part because of its electrical systems, which rely on rechargeable lithium ion batteries.
The latest blows came last week when a 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at London's Heathrow airport. Then a Japan Airways Dreamliner flying from Boston to Tokyo returned to Boston after a fuel pump indicator showed a possible problem.
The current fleet of about 50 Dreamliners was grounded for several months earlier this year after a fire scorched a parked Japan Airlines 787 in Boston in January and a smoking battery led to an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan several days later.
Boeing addressed the battery issues (although not by finding and correcting the root cause, which remains unknown), and the 787s took to the skies again. Still, they continue to be plagued by problems. Just last month, three United Airlines (UAL) flights involving 787s were disrupted by mechanical issues.
Boeing's major competitor, Airbus, a subsidiary of Europe's EADS (EADSY), has been through similar problems with a new aircraft. Wing cracks were discovered in its A380 superjumbo jets, which cost the company at least $263 million (€200 million) last year to repair.
But Boeing is facing an economic nightmare if these electrical and mechanical glitches continue and erode both airline and public confidence in its Dreamliner.
"This is one of the key aircraft Boeing is depending on for its success for the next 20 years," aviation consultant John Strickland told The Guardian on Friday, "with over 900 already ordered -- and airlines are also depending on the fuel savings for their businesses."
Worthless trash talk journalism like this proves your ignorance on how complex these machines are to design and build. Yeah they had a battery issue, a clogged oil filter, braking software change, and a beacon issue. There will always be bugs to work out on a new airframe.
Boeing's factories are booked for the next 7 years. Winning!
Are those airlines that placed 7 years worth of planes cancelling their orders? It doesn't appear that they are.
All folks reading the stories where the media bashes Boeing need to remember that Boeing built a new, non-union facility in South Carolina to perform final assembly of the 787s, which are assembled from components manufactured elsewhere. Leave it to the liberal media to perform a smear job on Boeing on behalf of the bitter union leaders.
Other than the battery issue, these other "glitches" appear to have less to do with the new technologies being introduced on this plane, and more to do with normal teething pains associated with the introduction of any new plane.
There are three type of people in this world. The most valuable people go out and "do". They make things and they accomplish a lot. The second group of people are the people that help the first group to achieve their goals. They're the majority of us. Then there is the third group. They never try to do anything and, they have no accomplishments to point to. But they become critics - failing to realize that an opinion is worthless compared to a real accomplishment. These people become journalists or they become politicians. The writer of this piece of trash talk journalism is one of those people.
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