Boeing Restarts 787 Deliveries as Dreamliner Returns to US Skies
The 787 Dreamliner has returned to the skies for United Airlines. The carrier has resumed international flights of the advanced Boeing jetliner with new Denverto-Tokyo service. It’s adding flights to Tokyo, Shanghai, and Lagos, Nigeria, in August, as well as temporary Houston-toLondon flights.
In more good news for the airplane manufacturer, Boeing has resumed deliveries of the 787, ending a hiatus in deliveries of nearly four months. Production was halted and the entire fleet of 50 aircraft grounded in January due to safety concerns surrounding the battery system after lithium-ion batteries on two separate jets overheated and smoked.
The grounding forced United and the seven other carriers who had already taken delivery of the advanced jetliner to delay the launch of planned long-haul schedules.
Although the cause of the overheating in the battery system remains undetermined, Boeing engineers developed a redesigned battery pack intended to eliminate all the possible causes, according to Boeing. The Federal Aviation Administration OK’d the redesign and lifted the 787 flight ban near the end of April. Boeing confirmed that the retrofit of the battery systems on all 50 of the Dreamliners already delivered was completed by the end of May.
Boeing has also reaffirmed that it expects to hit its target of delivering more than 60 787s this year. The target should be easy to hit, analysts say, because Boeing has kept manufacturing Dreamliners over the last four months. According to the company, about 25 are parked outside its factories waiting to be delivered.
Boeing has also increased the pace of production on the Dreamliner, now rolling off the line at a new rate of seven per month, up from five per month previously. The company says it plans to raise the rate to 10 per month by year-end, with the first delivery at the new rate in 2014.
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