Air watchdogs ground all 50 Dreamliners

Marion Dakers
AIRLINES were left racing to rearrange flights yesterday after regulators decided to temporarily ground the entire 50-strong fleet of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner planes due to safety fears.

Europe, India and Qatar followed Japan and the US in keeping the new planes indefinitely confined to airports following several reports of burning batteries as well as brake issues and a cracked window.

Polish airline LOT said it may seek compensation as its two new Dreamliners were grounded, and hinted that it could scrap an order for three more aircraft if the problems linked to the model’s lithium ion batteries were not fixed soon.

The US Federal Aviation Administration late on Wednesday decided to limit movements on US-registered Dreamliners after sending a team to Japan to inspect a plane that made an emergency landing when the pilot spotted signs of burning.

Other airlines which have temporarily grounded Dreamliners are Ethiopian Airlines and Chile’s LAN Airlines.

Boeing has said it is confident that the planes are safe.

The new model, which has been in service since October 2011, helped the US firm retake its place as the world’s biggest passenger jet manufacturer in 2010, ousting EADS-owned Airbus.

Boeing recorded net orders of 1,203 aircraft, battering Airbus’s 833 orders into second place.

But with the new Airbus A350 jet due this year, the European firm expects to make up some of the difference.