After $600 Million, Will the Dreamliner Finally Fly Again?

A Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” Aircraft operated as All Nippon Airways as flight 683 on November 1, 2011 for its inaugural service from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Hiroshima International Airport. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Carfield. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by Carfield.

The good news for the “Dreamliner” — the nickname for the Boeing 787 aircraft, which has had its share of problems and sure could use whatever good news it can get — is that a key document known as a Project Standard of Compliance may be approved by regulators in the United States, resulting in possibly paving the way to get the beleaguered aircraft back in service as soon as within the next couple of months.

Unfortunately, the “Dreamliner” has been a financial nightmare, as it already cost Boeing approximately 600 million dollars since the entire fleet of aircraft was ordered grounded by regulators around the world back on January 16, 2013 — and there is the possibility of commercial airlines directly affected by the grounding to seek compensation from Boeing, as they have had to use alternate methods to temporarily replace the Boeing 787 aircraft ordered by them.

Until all of that is settled, the final cost of the grounding of the “Dreamliner” fleet is yet to be determined.

Commercial airlines such as All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines had already voluntarily grounded their fleets of Boeing 787 aircraft before the official grounding was first ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States due to the burning of lithium-ion batteries in two of the aircraft, as well as other issues.

More good news is that Boeing had successfully completed test flights with its redesigned battery system, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration recently — bringing the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft another step closer to returning to the skies…

…and in anticipation of regulatory approval of the return of the Boeing 787 aircraft to commercial aviation, United Airlines had optimistically announced last week that it “plans to resume flying the 787 ‘Dreamliner’ in May” of 2013 — but only after the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft in Japan operated by All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are retrofitted first, as both airlines combined own nearly half of the current Boeing 787 fleet, according to an article published by Business Insider.

However, the timetable has not been set — meaning that the return of the fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft to regular commercial service could still be delayed and extra steps could possibly be added to the approval process, according to Business Insider. Approval early next week would coincide with a two-day investigative hearing into the burnt batteries by the National Transportation Safety Board of the United States.

Stay tuned…

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