The decision taken by two Japanese airlines today to ground their 787 Dreamliner fleets following technical faults could have implications for other operators worldwide, including Qatar Airways, the Middle East’s only 787 operator.
However the airline, which has five 787s with orders for up to 55 more, hasn’t yet commented on the development.
UPDATE | Jan 17, 2013:
Qatar Airways has now grounded its fleet of five Dreamliners as well.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) decided to ground its 17 Dreamliners after flight NH 692 to Tokyo was forced to make an emergency landing due to smoke in the flight deck. Japan Airlines also decided to ground its 7 Dreamliners in response to the news.
The 787 – which came into service in 2011 – has been dogged by technical issues in recent weeks, including a cracked window in a flight deck, fuel leaks and a battery fire.
Qatar Airways’ third 787 was grounded after its delivery flight due to a faulty generator.
Commenting last week, before the latest incident in Japan, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told reporters that he felt there was no immediate cause for concern.
“Since the first issues we had with our newly-delivered airplanes, we’ve had no other technical issues with the fleet of five Dreamliners we are operating now,” he told Reuters. “When we have to start grounding planes, then it becomes an issue and then they (Boeing) have to get their cheque book out”.
Qatar Airways currently flies the 787 to London, Zurich, Munich, and some intra-Gulf routes, and is scheduled to begin 787 flights to Perth and Frankfurt on February 1st.
Credit: Photo by RS Deakin.