Qatar Air boss says will have four 787s flying this month

Akbar Al Baker says Doha carrier also in talks for compensation over grounded plane

Qatar Airways expects to have four out of five of its Dreamliner 787s flying by the end of this month, the carrier’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal, as Boeing edges closer to US approval for a battery fix.

The entire fleet of 787s has been grounded since mid-January after two faults with the planes’ lithium-ion batteries in the space of a month led to an emergency landing by one and a fire on another.

Boeing is currently working the US Federal Aviation Administration to get the green light for its battery fix and get the planes back in the air.

Akbar Al Baker, whose Doha-based airline has five 787s in its fleet and a further 25 on order, separately told news service Bloomberg that Boeing has “nearly completed the recertification program and is going to send engineers to my company in order to make the aircraft ready for commercial operations”.

Al Baker said that he was currently negotiating with the Chicago-based manufacturer for compensation and he expected the craft to be back in service before a May 31 deadline set by United Continental Holdings, the operator of the US’s United Airlines.

The current list price for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner starts at about $207m.

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways is the Gulf’s largest customer for the 787 with 41 of the planes on order. Bahrain’s Gulf Air is awaiting delivery of 16 of the craft.

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