Delays with Dreamliners deepen nightmare for Boeing

Boeing faced with vast bill as 787 arrivals are delayed

Boeing's Dreamliner nightmare deepened yesterday when the planemaker warned airlines, including one of its biggest European customers and Britain's Thomson Airways, it looks likely to miss deliveries of its flagship new jet.

The admission will pile tens of millions of dollars on to compensation claims as airlines set up replacement leasing deals and demand payouts for cancelled flights.

Boeing said: "We have informed our customers expecting 787 deliveries in the near term that those aircraft either have been or are at risk of being delayed. We are staying in close communication with our customers as we work towards... a plan for resumption of 787 deliveries."

The entire worldwide fleet of 787s has now been grounded for more than three weeks as investigators try to discover what is wrong with the plane's lithium-ion battery, which caught fire in Boston and forced an emergency landing in Japan.

A further blow for the business came as Deborah Hersman, chairman of the United States National Transportation Safety Board, said the conditions used to assess the safety of the Dreamliner's batteries should be reconsidered, potentially leaving the 787s grounded for much longer.

Switching to a different type of battery would be a major engineering operation as well as adding weight to the plane. Fuel efficiency thanks to the light lithium batteries was one of the 787's main selling points.

Airbus is also understood to be considering whether drop lithium-ion batteries in its new A350s as the investigations into Dreamliner's problems continue.

Thomson, which is due to take delivery of the first of eight Dreamliners this month, said it was "finalising contingency plans". Norwegian Air, which has eight Dreamliners on order, the first due in April and the second in June, said it "will enter into an agreement with a leasing company to operate long-haul routes in the event of the Dreamliner being delayed".

Analysts said leasing just two planes the size of the 787 for three months would cost about $6m (£3.8m), a bill Boeing would have to foot.

British Airways is still expecting its first 787 in May. It said it "remained committed to taking the delivery of four 787s in 2013".

But analysts warned Boeing's battery problems would delay delivery schedules by around three months. Zafar Khan, aerospace analyst at Société Générale, said. "The real issue with the batteries has yet to be identified, but if they need to be redesigned or face recertification, it's looking like a delay of about three months. Clearly, Boeing will need to compensate customers."

This is in addition to reimbursing airlines which have had to ground jets. Japan Airlines, which has eight, is looking at a cost of $8m from its earnings to the end of March and rival ANA, with 17, said it lost ¥1.4bn (£9.6m) in January alone.

Ms Hersman said: "The assumptions used to certify the battery must be reconsidered."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England