Boeing says 787 fire linked to electric panel


Boeing says an electric panel’s failure, which then caused a fire in the surrounding insulating material, was behind the emergency landing Tuesday of one of its new 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The company said it is continuing to inspect the area surrounding the panel and that process will take several days.

Boeing is “determining the appropriate steps required to return the rest of the flight test fleet to flying status,” according to a statement. The company, the second largest commercial plane maker after EADS’ Airbus, on Wednesday halted test flights of the 787 Dreamliner after the electrical fire forced an emergency landing in Texas.

Meanwhile, Boeing says it has lost eight orders for 787 Dreamliners this week but gained eight after the transfer of orders from one customer to another, leaving the order book for 787s basically unchanged. Boeing had said on Sunday Kuwait-based leasing company ALAFCO had shifted orders for the eight Dreamliners to Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Boeing has about 850 Dreamliner orders from more than 50 customers on its books. The light-weight, carbon-composite Dreamliner is more than three years behind its original schedule due to problems with the supply chain and labour.

Boeing said it also took three orders for 737 narrow-bodies from an unidentified customer or customers. The company is seeing a rebound in orders and has taken orders for a net total of 483 commercial airplanes so far this year, compared with 263 in all of 2009.