Qatar Airways’ decision to take to the skies yet again with Boeing 787 aircraft comes close on the heels of Ethiopian Airlines operating a Dreamliner between Addis Ababa and Nairobi.
By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter
Qatar Airways will resume its Dreamliner service with a special flight to Dubai tomorrow.
The national carrier’s decision to take to the skies yet again with Boeing 787 aircraft comes close on the heels of Ethiopian Airlines operating a Dreamliner between Addis Ababa and Nairobi on Saturday.
Qatar Airways and other Dreamliner operators grounded all B787 planes in service worldwide in January after batteries overheated on two aircraft.
Following the delivery of Dreamliner in November last year, Qatar Airways had used the ultra modern aircraft on the Dubai and London routes.
Last week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a formal directive lifting the ban on Dreamliners.
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.
Earlier Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker said in Chicago that he was confident Boeing’s fix for the battery system that overheated on two planes in January would work. He said if it were not the right fix, the FAA would not have approved testing of the fix.
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 (JAL) and All Nippon Airlines (ANA).
As a result, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring all Dreamliners to “temporarily cease operations.” The directive was also endorsed by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Consequently, many airlines had to postpone their new route launches and use alternative aircraft for their 787 services.
There are currently 50 Dreamliners operated by airlines around the world.
All are expected to have been modified by mid-May, said a report in Business Traveller.
A further 840 of the aircraft are on order and will come with the revamped battery system, it said.