Boeing welcomes probe into 787 safety

US plane maker says it is confident that review will back new plane despite recent incidents
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 12 Jan 2013 10:15 AM

US plane maker Boeing has said it is confident in the design and performance of the new 787 Dreamliner despite recent incidents including a fire and a fuel leak.

"It is a safe and efficient airplane that brings tremendous value to our customers and an improved flying experience to their passengers," Boeing said in a statement after US aviation officials announced a review into the aircraft's critical systems.

The head of US Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Huerta, said on Friday that he was sure that the 787 is safe but remained concerned about recent incidents that have grounded the plane around the world.

The FAA also announced it is undertaking a comprehensive review of the 787's design, manufacture and assembly.

Boeing said: "The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily. Its in-service performance is on par with the industry's best-ever introduction into service - the Boeing 777.

"Like the 777, at 15 months of service, we are seeing the 787's fleet wide dispatch reliability well above 90 percent."

Japan's All Nippon Airways Co cancelled a Dreamliner flight scheduled to fly from Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan to Tokyo on Wednesday due to brake problems.

This came just a day after a fuel leak forced a 787 operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its take-off at Boston's Logan International Airport. An electrical fire on another 787 forced cancellation of a JAL flight to Boston from Tokyo.

Boeing added: "More than a year ago, the 787 completed the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of the FAA. We remain fully confident in the airplane's design and production system.

"For that reason, today we jointly announced with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the start of a review of the 787's recent issues and critical systems.

"We welcome the opportunity to conduct this joint review. Our standard practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our tools, processes and systems so that we can always be ensured that our products bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers."

Qatar Airways is the largest customer of the Dreamliner in the Middle East with an order for up to 60 of the aircraft - 30 firm orders plus an option on acquiring 30 more. It currently has a fleet of five 787 jets.

On Wednesday, its CEO Akbar Al Baker played down safety concerns about the 787, describing them as "teething problems".

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