Reliability Questions Send 787s Back to Boeing for Checkups
“Today, the reliability of the 787 is better than 95 percent. It’s not as good as we’d like to see it. It’s not as good as our customers would like to see it. So we’re looking at ways to improve that reliability over time,” Boeing (NYSE:BA) Commercial Airplanes Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth said at a press conference in the Chilean capital of Santiago on September 30. “I would refer to the problems as teething problems. I don’t think they’re systemic.”
But the list of problems that have plagued Boeing’s technologically advanced Dreamliner 787 is long. The Dreamliner’s technical problems began with two battery meltdowns in January, which caused regulators to implement a four-month, worldwide grounding of the 787 Dreamliner — the first such grounding in 30 years.
Boeing engineers and other industry experts redesigned the system so that the battery cells would be separated and insulated, which put the plane back in the sky in April. However, more technical issues followed. A jet operated by United Continental (NYSE:UAL) was forced to make an emergency landing in Houston; an Ethiopian Airlines 787 caught fire at London’s Heathrow Airport because of a faulty emergency beacon; a faulty fuel pump indicator and an oil level indicator caused United flights to be diverted last summer; and then, Norwegian Air Shuttle was hit by a string of mechanical malfunctions.