Sydney: Qantas Airways Ltd chief Alan Joyce has thrown his support behind Boeing Co. and its troubled 787 Dreamliner, reinforcing his commitment to introducing the planes to the Australian flag-carrier’s fleet.
The next generation plane suffered a series of glitches last month, prompting a global alert from the US Federal Aviation Administration that led to the worldwide grounding of all 50 operational 787s.
Qantas has 14 of the planes on order, with delivery due this year, and has retained options and purchase rights for 50 B787s of either -8 or -9 variants available for delivery from 2016.
Joyce said nothing had changed to alter the plans.
“We believe that Boeing are a great airline manufacturing company, they’re a great engineering company and they will fix this problem eventually,” broadcaster ABC quoted him as saying on its website Thursday.
“They’re still producing the aircraft, so the production line hasn’t stopped. They have stopped delivering aircraft to customers.
“Our aircraft are due to arrive, the first one in August. We haven’t been advised of any delay at this stage.”
On Wednesday, the US National Transportation Safety Board said the results of its Dreamliner probe will likely not be known for weeks.
“We’re probably weeks away from being able to tell people what happened and what needs to be changed,” NTSB chief Deborah Hersman said in Washington.
Hersman said investigators were “proceeding with a lot of care” in investigating the cause of a January 7 lithium-ion battery fire on a Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 that occurred as the unoccupied plane sat on the tarmac at Boston’s Logan airport.
The most concerning issues uncovered so far were short circuits and thermal runaway, a chemical reaction that produces uncontrollably rising temperatures, she said.
The battery problem, and another battery incident on an All Nippon Airways 787 on 16 January, led to the global grounding of all Dreamliners in service until the issue is fixed.