in Air Transport
Ethiopian on target to lead the world with Dreamliner flight resumption
Ethiopian Airlines could be the first airline in the world to resume Boeing B787 Dreamliner flights following the grounding of the global fleet in January.
It is understood that Boeing engineers are working with Ethiopian’s MRO team to apply the fix to the battery compartment which received approval from the FAA last week.
The world’s fleet of Dreamliners was grounded after a series of fires broke out around the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries.
It takes approximately four days to make the changes to the battery compartment and both Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines are hoping that a planned scheduled flight to Nairobi on Saturday will be the lift-off that the programme needs to reboost global confidence in the new flagship of the American manufacturer’s fleet.
Boeing’s vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth and the programme’s engineering leader Richard Horigan arrived in Addis Ababa earlier this week signalling the importance that OEM puts on the African carrier’s return to service.
Ethiopian has ordered ten of the Dreamliners, with the first four delivered operating successfully on routes to Beijing, Toronto and Frankfurt ahead of the grounding.
Tinseth said that the planes for all airlines would be modified and they would then work with their own regulatory authorities to determine when flights would resume.
"Each airline will be a little bit different," he told reporters, adding that Boeing expected to meet its target of delivering more than 60 of its Dreamliner planes in 2013.
The grounding has cost Boeing an estimated $600 million, halted deliveries and forced some airlines to lease alternative aircraft. Several airlines have said they will seek compensation from Boeing, potentially adding to the plane maker's losses.
Air India is expected to be the second carrier to resume services.