Boeing boss speaks out on 787 grounding


Boeing has again emphasised that the safety of passengers and aircrew is paramount, following an instruction by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) taking the new generation 787 Dreamliner airliner out of service in the United States. Operators in other countries have followed suit.

Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNemey said the company was committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible.
“The company is working around the clock with its customers and various regulatory and investigative authorities. We are making available the entire resources of Boeing to assist.
“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step to assure our customers and the travelling public of the 787’s safety and to return the airplanes to service.
“Boeing deeply regrets the impact recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers,” he added.

McNemey said Boeing was supporting investigations to determine the cause of incidents involving 787 batteries.
“Until those investigations conclude we cannot speculate on what the results might be,” he said adding there were multiple back-ups to ensure the lithium battery system was safe, including protection against over-charging and over-discharging.

Responding to a question as to whether electric motors and controls on the 787, as opposed to earlier designs using mechanical linkages and hydraulics, had anything to do with the batteries, he pointed out all jetliners have batteries.
“The 787’s more-electric architecture has very little to do with batteries. The key innovation enabling the improved efficiency is the generation of more electrical power and the elimination of the high-pressure bleed air (pneumatic) system. Formerly pneumatically powered functions are now electrically powered.”

On Sunday the US National Transportation Safety Board said that a fire sparked after a Dreamliner landed in Boston on January 7 was not caused by an overcharged battery, deepening the mystery of the aircraft’s electrical problems. A Japanese 787 was forced to land due to smoke apparently linked to the lithium-ion battery, which together with other glitches caused the FAA to ground the Dreamliner earlier this month.

On Friday, Boeing said it was halting Dreamliner deliveries, but said it would continue to build the aircraft while safety experts examine its battery and electrical systems.