Airlines stick with Boeing despite Dreamliner drama

A series of problems have beset the much-hyped aircraft. And federal regulators have taken notice.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 11, 2013 10:32AM
A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet aircraft is surrounded by emergency vehicles at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 (Stephan Savoia/AP Photo)Updated 10:56 a.m. ET

The radical design of Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner is light years ahead of its competitors, enabling it use less fuel than more conventional aircraft. 

Airlines seem to be willing to cut the aerospace giant some slack as it works through some embarrassing technical glitches. Their patience, however, will be put to the test as the Federal Aviation Administration conducts a comprehensive review of the Dreamliner to address the problems. 

Boeing has delivered 50 Dreamliners, and it seems likely that some orders are on hold pending the results of the FAA's review.

The FAA will look at the design, manufacture and assembly of the much-hyped aircraft in conjunction with the company. Perhaps Boeing should change the 787's name to "Murphy's Law" because everything that could go wrong with the state-of-the-art aircraft has gone wrong. The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a separate probe of a Jan. 7 fire in Boston in a battery pack that occurred after passengers disembarked.

Boeing, which delayed releasing the Dreamliner for nearly four years because of numerous technical glitches, is standing behind its product which promises to fly people farther, faster and at a lower cost than more conventional aircraft. Indeed, it is telling that the FAA didn't order the grounding of all Dreamliners, which had its first flight in 2011. Such an action, though, could still happen if serious problems are uncovered by the FAA. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood said the officials want to make sure that the problem with Dreamliner don't happen again.
There is plenty to talk about in the wake of reports of fuel leaks and electrical problems. Earlier Friday, a 787 Dreamliner operated by All-Nippon Airways landed safely in Tokyo after a crack was found in the cockpit window. Another All-Nippon crew reported an oil leak in another Dreamliner.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.


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Tags: Airlines
Jan 11, 2013 1:15PM
If this is what a plane that is light years ahead of its competition looks like than no thanks.
Jan 11, 2013 11:21AM
I'm sorry for Boing but I think they over worked this plane with technology that was not ready for aircraft. Plus I think its manufacturing proccess is flawed and full of problems. Hard to say if its the assemblers that are to blame or the parts suppliers or the design. But obviously this plane is looking more like a lemon everyday.
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