- Language Tips
Chinese airlines will keep a close eye on the troubles surrounding the Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, but two Chinese carriers said on Thursday that their orders for the aircraft will not change.
Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the plane manufacturer's newest product, have had two serious problems this year that are now believed to be battery-related.
On Wednesday, an All Nippon Airways Co Ltd flight made an emergency landing in Takamatsu, Japan, after the cockpit was alerted to battery problems.
On Jan 7, an empty Japan Airlines Co Ltd Dreamliner caught fire on the tarmac of Boston Logan International Airport in the US. That fire was believed to have started in a battery pack.
Aviation authorities in some countries, including the US and India, on Wednesday ordered airlines that use Dreamliners in their countries to ground the jets until the battery issue is resolved. In addition, The Associated Press reported that All Nippon Airways and Japan Airways have grounded their 24 Dreamliners.
Eight airlines operate a total of 50 Dreamliners worldwide.
"We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety, and to return the airplanes to service," Boeing CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Thursday that the aircraft has not obtained airworthiness certification in China yet, and no Chinese airlines currently use the aircraft.
But Boeing already has 41 orders from four Chinese airlines, which now say they will follow developments and wait for the problems to be resolved.
Air China Ltd, which ordered 15 Dreamliners, said its orders will not be canceled or changed to other aircraft.
Hainan Airlines Co Ltd said in a statement on Thursday: "We are following the safety assessment of the aircraft carried out by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing."
Hainan Airlines, which has 10 Dreamliners on order, said it is still waiting for its first delivery, which was originally scheduled for 2010.
The aircraft's problems will have an adverse effect on the airliner's getting airworthiness certification in China, some experts said.
"Boeing has to prove the safety of the aircraft before it flies in China," said Li Xiaojin, a professor at China Aviation University in Tianjin.
The Chinese authority also tries its best to avoid the hidden risks of the aircraft, which will make it more difficult for the Dreamliner to get certification in China, he added.
In addition, Chinese airlines will have second thoughts about the aircraft when they place new orders, although they need the new aircraft to expand international routes, Li said.
Delivery delays are a problem that has plagued the manufacturer.
A Dreamliner should have been delivered to China Southern Airlines Ltd Co in the second half of 2012, but Boeing did not make it.
Because of the delivery delays, Dreamliners already have lost some orders from Chinese airlines.
China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd, which had ordered 24 Dreamliners, switched the order to smaller airplanes in October 2011.
The first delivery of a Dreamliner was in September 2011 to All Nippon Airways, three years after originally planned, owing to some problems in Boeing's supply chain.
(China Daily 01/18/2013 page16)