Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dreamliner’s lure keeps airline CEOs wedded to grounded jet

Some airlines that bought Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner for its long range and industry-leading fuel savings are rallying behind the grounded plane whose fate is bound up with their own.
From American Airlines to lessor CIT Group, customers say they expect a fix for the battery faults keeping the world’s most technologically advanced jet on tarmacs instead of in the skies. The 787 has about 800 unfilled orders.
“These are 30-year decisions airlines are making, and they studied it long and hard before buying,” Michael Derchin, an analyst at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Conn., said in a telephone interview. “It’s one of the biggest decisions airlines and boards make, and you don’t just casually change airplane orders.”
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered that U.S. Dreamliners be grounded Wednesday, citing fire risk from lithium-ion batteries. Foreign regulators followed, and all 50 of the delivered airplanes are grounded, along with any test flights at Boeing.
18/01/13  Mary Jane Credeur/Bloomberg News/The Seattle Times