Boe­ing Restarts 787 De­liv­er­ies as Dream­liner Re­turns to US Skies

Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

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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