All eight Dreamliner airlines reschedule services

30 Apr 2013 by GrahamSmith

All eight airlines that have Dreamliners in their fleets are to resume Boeing 787 services by the beginning of June.

The schedule announcements arrived after Ethiopian Airlines became the first carrier to operate a commercial 787 flight since regulators grounded all 50 planes in January after batteries overheated on two aircraft.

The Ethiopian flight took off from Addis Ababa on Saturday at 0945 local time and landed in Nairobi, Kenya, two hours later. According to the flight schedule pages on Ethiopian's website, the normal service from Addis Ababa Bole to Heathrow will switch to a 787 with effect from May 8.

Yesterday, Qatar Airways confirmed it would resume its Dreamliner service between Doha and Dubai from Thursday and between Doha and London Heathrow on May 15 (see online news, April 29).

Now ANA and Japan Airlines, which account for 24 of the 50 Dreamliners delivered so far, have both announced they are to resume commercial 787 services from June 1.

ANA president Osamu Shinobe said: “We are pleased that the Federal Aviation Authority and Japan Civil Aviation Bureau are satisfied with Boeing’s plans to address the battery issues on the 787 aircraft and we are working closely with Boeing and our own engineers to undertake these improvements.

“Only when we are fully satisfied with the safety of our 787 fleet will we return the aircraft to service.”

Japan Airlines will intially serve five international routes - flying daily out of Tokyo to Beijing, Singapore, Boston and San Diego, and twice daily to Singapore. A further six destinations - Delhi, Moscow, Helsinki, San Francisco, Sydney and Bangkok - will be added between July and December.

United Airlines will begin resuming Dreamliner flights from May 31, intially between Denver and Houston and then to international destinations. The airline has set a tentative date of June 10 for its Denver to Tokyo route, according to USA Today.

Polish carrier LOT is sending its two 787s to Ethiopia for battery modification repairs to be carried out and then plans to resume its Warsaw to Chicago route from June 5.

Air India hopes to have two of its six Dreamliners back in operation by May 10 and the remaining four by the end of May.

Chilean airline LAN plans to resume its Dreamliner service from June 1.

Holiday firm Thomson Airways, the first UK carrier scheduled to operate the B787, today rescheduled its Dreamliner routes from Britain to Cancun and Florida to launch from July 8.

Last week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a formal directive lifting the ban on Dreamliners (see online news, April 26).

According to Thursday's ruling, airlines can begin using 787s after they modify the lithium-ion battery system. The FAA will be closely monitoring the modification and inspecting the work.

The modified batteries are now housed in a stainless steel box and will run at a much cooler temperature.

There is also a ventilation pipe that leads directly from the box to the outside of the plane, meaning that in the event of any fire, the remainder of the aircraft would be unaffected by smoke.

The three-month grounding of the Dreamliner began in mid-January due to the faulty battery system causing problems in two different planes operated by Japan Airlines and ANA (see online story, January 2013).

There are currently 50 Dreamliners operated by airlines around the world. All are expected to have been modified by mid-May.

A further 840 of the aircraft are on order and will come with the revamped battery system.

Report by Graham Smith

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