News Column

US to Probe Boeing's 787 Safety Scares

Jan 14, 2013

Ruth Sunderland

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

U.S. regulators have ordered a full-scale review of Boeing's fleet of 787 Dreamliner aircraft after a string of safety scares have hit the state-of-the-art jets.

The Federal Aviation Authority said it is looking at the design, manufacture and assembly of the planes. "The safety of the travelling public is our top priority," said Ray La Hood, US transport secretary.

The 787 Dreamliner suffered a string of delays putting it more than three years behind schedule but the first commercial flights took off in 2011. British Airways plan to fly Dreamliners later this year and Virgin and Thomson have also ordered the aircraft. Qatar Airways is operating Dreamliner flights at London Heathrow.

The aircraft has been hailed as revolutionary, making significantly less noise and using a fifth less fuel than similar sized competitors. Its construction is 50pc composite material, rather than metal, making it much lighter.

Some 25pc of the 787 by value is produced or developed in the UK.

Malfunctions in the past few days include a crack in the windscreen of an ANA flight, a cancelled ANA flight after a computer incorrectly indicated a brake problem, a fuel leak on a Japan Airlines plane and a fire in Boston after a battery overheated.

"We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Boeing said the 787 is a "safe and efficient airplane," adding that it had the most robust checking in FAA history.

The company said it welcomed the review. A UK spokesman said British suppliers are not associated with any of the issues.

Source: (c)2013 Daily Mail (London, ). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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