January 11, 2013
US Transportation Officials Reviewing Boeing's New 787
U.S. regulators are re-evaluating Boeing's new 787 "Dreamliner" after a series of technical problems, including a small battery pack fire in a plane shortly after landing in Boston.
There are also concerns about windshield cracks and some leaks, but government and company officials say the plane is safe for passengers.
Nevertheless, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says there will be a "comprehensive review" of design and production of the plane's critical systems to make sure these problems do not recur.
“We are concerned about recent events involving Boeing 787," said LaHood. "That’s why today we are announcing that we are conducting a comprehensive review of the design and production of the Boeing 787. This review will cover the critical systems of the aircraft, including design, manufacturing, and assembly. Through it we will look for the root causes of recent events and do everything we can to ensure that these events don’t happen again."
The president of Boeing's Commercial Airplane Group, Ray Conner, says 150 of the 787s are in daily operation and they have already flown 50,000 hours and delivered more than one million passengers.
Conner says the 787 is having the same sort of problems that plague all new planes.
“The 787 in-service performance to this point is on par with the past successful commercial airplane introductions, like the Boeing triple-seven," said Conner.
Teal Group aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia says the 787 is having an unusual number of problems because it is new from nose to tail, including new lightweight structural materials, new engines, new electronics, and switching from hydraulic to electrical systems for certain functions.
But Aboulafia says Boeing is very likely to work through these issues. He also says he is willing to be a passenger on this plane.