Day 15 – Dreamliner Grounded: 787 Planes Still Going Nowhere

On Jan. 16, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft after a slew of problems here and in Japan. Today (Jan. 30) marks Day 15 of the grounding, and despite earlier media reports that a solution to the planes’ problems might happen “soon” – no further reports of an imminent fix have surfaced and the planes remain parked [see timeline below].

Dreamliner – What Happened?

Investigation Continues

In fairness, the investigation is still underway and as all involved acknowledge, the safety of the aircraft is paramount – so it may make sense for government officials and Boeing executives to stay tight-lipped. But for passengers who expected to be fly the innovative, fuel-efficient jet by now, the continued grounding remains a disappointment.

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United: Six Dreamliners Idle

United, the only U.S. carrier to fly the Dreamliner – it has a fleet of six 787s – offers only a brief update on its website that says in part, “We are waiting on completion of this [investigation], which is the next step toward restoring 787 flights. We look forward to once again putting our 787s into service.”

Timeline: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounding

A brief timeline of the grounding and highlights of what we know so far:

Day 1 (Jan. 16)

  • FAA orders Dreamliners grounded in the wake of problems including a battery fire, cracked windshield, fuel leaks and an emergency landing in Japan. No one is hurt in any of the incidents.
  • Boeing CEO Jim McNerney issued a statement today saying, “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.” It also said Boeing has confidence in the plane’s “overall integrity.”

Day 7 (Jan. 22)

  • Reuters reports that Boeing customers are told the problems are “going to be fixed soon.”

Day 9 (Jan. 24)

  • Boeing issues a statement saying it “welcomes the progress being made in the 787 investigation” but offers no information on what that progress entails. The statement adds that the safety of all onboard any of its airport is their “highest priority.”

Day 14 (Jan. 29)

  • The New York Times reports that All Nippon Airways experienced “multiple problems” with the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries in the months before the grounding. The airline also told the times that problems with the batteries – believed to be a focus of Dreamliner’s current difficulties – led the carrier to replace 10 of them before their expiration date and that this information was relayed to Boeing.

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  • Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who recently announced his departure, tells a reporter he’s had no pressure from Boeing to speed up the investigation, adding “All the smartest people in the world are trying to figure out what the fix is here and what went wrong and eventually they will.”

Day 15 (Jan. 30)

  • No new updates.


Published: January 30, 2013