Company tells budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle that the Dreamliners will be delivered according to schedule in April
Boeing has told a Scandinavian airline that it is confident that it will soon fix the battery problems that have grounded its 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the chief executive of Norwegian Air Shuttle said on Tuesday.
Norwegian Air Shuttle is among a number of carriers to have ordered the hi-tech jet and is expecting delivery in April.
Delivery of all 850 planes ordered have been halted and the 50 jets in service have been grounded while authorities review the 787’s design following issues with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries.
Boeing has told Norwegian Air Shuttle, a budget carrier, to expect its first 787 Dreamliner in April in line with the latest delivery schedule, chief executive Bjorn Kjos told Reuters. “They will definitely fix the battery problems long before then,” he said. “They say it is going to be fixed soon; they have a plan. They say it will be delivered according to the schedule,” he told reporters at the Airline Economics conference in Dublin.
Boeing declined to comment on Kjos’s comments but in a statement, the company said: “Boeing will not deliver 787s until the FAA approves a means of compliance with their recent airworthiness directive concerning batteries and the approved approach has been implemented.
“Boeing continues to assist government agencies in the US and Japan responsible for investigating two recent 787 incidents. The company has formed teams consisting of hundreds of engineering and technical experts who are working around the clock with the sole focus of resolving the issue and returning the 787 fleet to flight status. We are working this issue tirelessly in cooperation with our customers and the appropriate regulatory and investigative authorities.”
Kjos’s confidence is in contrast to many airline experts who see the Dreamliner crisis deepening. Mary Schiavo, former inspector general of the Department of Transport, told The Guardian On Monday that a quick fix looked increasingly unlikely.
Schiavo, who now leads the aviation team at attorney Motley Rice, said it could be months before the issues besetting the Dreamliner are settled.
US and Japanese officials are now investigating what went wrong with two lithium-ion batteries made by Japan’s GS Yuasa. On Tuesday US investigators began talking to Securaplane Technologies, the Arizona company that made the batteries’ chargers.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is co-ordinating the US inquiry, is expected to release an updated report into the 787 battery fire as early as this week.