There may well have been an audible worldwide sigh of relief from some airline boardrooms when news broke that the FAA had approved Boeing’s comprehensive battery fix for its troubled 787 Dreamliner. The worldwide 787 fleet had its wings clipped after two incidents involving the lithium ion batteries in Boston and Japan.
For over three months, Dreamliner customers have had to wait patiently while safety agencies such as the NTSB and JTSB investigated and Boeing and its suppliers worked diligently to understand the cause and issue a fix. As we will see below, only the first of these two has happened so far.
During this time, delivered Dreamliners have not been earning money, while a backlog of 787s has built up outside Boeing’s factories. Delivery ceremonies, PR extravaganzas, Dreamliner related advertising and new routes have all been put on hold while airlines struggled to work out the impact of the grounding and when they might get back in the air.
Getting the fleet back in the air
Fortunately it seems their trust in Boeing has been repaid. At a media briefing in London earlier this week, Boeing’s Larry Loftis, Vice President and General Manager, 787 Program, revealed that the company has mobilised 300 engineers, quality inspectors and technicians, spilt into ten AOG (Aircraft on the Ground) teams to fan out around the globe to return the aircraft back into service following the FAA’s ruling. Each battery modification takes around five days per aircraft, with the customers aircraft modified in the order of deliveries.
Copyright Royal Aeronautical Society