By Liz Segrist
Published Oct. 1, 2013
The 787 has had an array of electrical and safety issues since its launch that have led airlines to temporarily stop using the planes. Last weekend, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA grounded a new 787 Dreamliner for repeated breakdowns.
Boeing is working with its suppliers and customers to implement several improvements to the 787’s hardware and software, Boeing Co. spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said in an emailed statement.
The improvements could cause some schedule interruptions in the short term but improve reliability in the long term, Eslinger said.
“We are addressing several components that have not had the reliability we expected, with a particular focus on those that have had the most significant impact on operations,” Eslinger said.
Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, spoke about the 787’s reliability issues during a press conference in Santiago, Chile, according to a report in Reuters. He said the 787 Dreamliners are 95% reliable but need to be even more so. Tinseth said it’s not a systemic issue, but rather the growing pains of a new launch, the story said.
The 787s are produced in North Charleston and Everett, Wash. The 787 fleet — currently standing at 87 airplanes delivered to 14 customers — is averaging about 200 revenue flights per day.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 787 Dreamliner for nearly three months earlier this year when a battery caught fire at Boston’s Logan International Airport in January and a second incident forced an emergency landing about a week later in Japan.
The 787s have had other issues as well, with power panels and beacons. Some improvements have been made to the panels and more adjustments are expected in the coming weeks, Eslinger said.
The FAA ordered U.S. airlines in July to either remove or inspect Honeywell-produced emergency beacons on their Boeing 787 Dreamliners after one caught fire aboard an empty Ethiopian Airlines 787 at Heathrow Airport in London.
“How the 787 performs in service for our customers is paramount for the entire Boeing team,” Eslinger said. “Any impact to our customers’ operations is not satisfactory to us.”
The 787 fleet has flown more than 36,000 revenue flights since it entered service. More than 7 million passengers have flown more than 50 million miles on the Dreamliner.
“Those numbers grow every day as more airplanes enter service, and we’re intently focused on supporting our customers,” Eslinger said.
Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.