The FAA grounds the Boeing 787 due to battery issues

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) has grounded all N-numbered Boeing 787s (United Airlines is the only U.S. operator) due to the on-going problems with the batteries. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive that requires U.S. 787 operators to temporarily cease operations. According to this report by Reuters, “the FAA said airlines would have to demonstrate that the batteries involved were safe before they could resume flying, but gave no details on when that could occur.”

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Boeing issued the following statement:

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney issued the following statement after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive that requires U.S. 787 operators to temporarily cease operations and recommends other regulatory agencies to follow suit:

“The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

“Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist.

“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.  We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787’s safety and to return the airplanes to service.

“Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers.”

This is the major issue for Boeing and its 787 customers. It also raises questions about the FAA certification process.

Here is a list of how other countries and operators are reacting:

EASA (Europe) will follow the FAA and ground the aircraft according to Reuters: CLICK HERE

Japan has grounded the 787s of ANA and JAL (who had already grounded their fleets): CLICK HERE. JAL is also canceling the new Tokyo-San Diego route.

LAN Airlines grounded its three 787-8s: CLICK HERE

Qatar Airways has grounded its five 787-8s. Read the report by Reuters: CLICK HERE

United Airlines grounded its 787-8s and substituted other aircraft for the 787 flights or rebooked its customers.

Meanwhile LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw) wins the “worst timing award” for its press release and the Chicago O’Hare inaugural flight. Right before the FAA grounded the aircraft, the Polish airline issued the following announcement:

LOT Polish Airlines will inaugurate new 787 Dreamliner nonstop service from Chicago to Warsaw on Wednesday, January 16, and make aviation history as the first airline with scheduled Dreamliner service from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

LOT is the first European carrier to operate the Dreamliner with a total of eight aircraft to be in their fleet.  LOT’s Dreamliner inaugural flight from Chicago to Warsaw is followed closely by Toronto on February 1 and New York’s JFK on February 3.

LOT’s inbound Dreamliner special flight from Warsaw is scheduled to touch down at Chicago’s O’Hare airport at 6:55 p.m.  The Dreamliner trip from Chicago will depart at 9:55 p.m., and arrive the next day in Warsaw at 1:50 p.m.  Typically the flight will depart Warsaw at 5:25 p.m. and arrives in Chicago at 9:20 a.m. the same day.  The flights were previously operated with Boeing 767s.

LOT’s Dreamliner has 18 seats in Elite Club (business class), 21 in Premium Club (premium economy) plus 213 seats in economy class.

In preparation for the Dreamliner flights, LOT has implemented a new design inspired by traditional and famous symbols of Poland. This design is reflected in the new aircraft interiors, inflight menus with its new selection of beverages, on-board equipment, toys for children and other amenities. The quality of service offered is an additional asset with specially trained Elite Fleet cabin crews, new comfortable classes of service-Elite Club and Premium Club- as well as the unique product on board the aircraft.

January 16, 2013 will probably go down in history as the darkest day for the Boeing Aircraft Company. William E. Boeing is probably rolling in his grave.

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best. Boeing 787-8 SP-LRA (msn 35938) lands at London (Heathrow) prior to the grounding.

LOT Polish Airlines: AG Slide Show