Posted from: NYTimes
PARIS — Norwegian Air Shuttle, a budget airline, confirmed Monday that it had briefly grounded both of its new Boeing 787 jets over the past week after the aircraft experienced technical problems.
Norwegian Air said it was forced to cancel a 787 flight from Oslo to Bangkok on Saturday after the ground crew tried for several hours to power up the plane while it was parked at Oslo Airport Gardermoen and connected to an external electrical supply unit.
“The aircraft did not want to receive any power from the ground,” Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, a Norwegian spokesman, said by telephone from Oslo.
Maintenance workers replaced a part on the plane late Sunday and the 787 was returned to service on Monday afternoon, Mr. Sandaker-Nielsen said. He could not identify the component. Boeing had delivered the plane to the airline in late June.
Norwegian Air Shuttle had grounded its other 787 on Sept. 2 after a cockpit display indicated a problem with the plane’s brakes. The plane had been scheduled to fly from Stockholm to Bangkok and then on to New York. Maintenance crews inspected the aircraft at the Stockholm airport over the course of three days, Mr. Sandaker-Nielsen said, but found no problems. That plane, which has been delivered in mid-August, went back into service on Friday.
“We are very happy with the way the aircraft is performing,” Mr. Sandaker-Nielsen said.
More than a dozen other airlines are operating Dreamliners, and all have expressed confidence in the aircraft, despite the spate of problems.
“You have to expect that brand-new airplanes will have some teething problems,” Mr. Sandaker-Nielsen said.
Nonetheless, the hiccups have marred the introduction of the Dreamliner, which Norwegian Air has made a key part of its planned expansion into Asia and the United States.
In July, a fire erupted on board an empty Ethiopian Airlines 787 while it was parked at Heathrow Airport near London. British investigators linked the blaze to a pinched electrical wire serving the plane’s emergency locator transmitter.
That incident came after safety regulators cleared the Dreamliner to resume flights in mid-April after dangerous overheating of the lightweight lithium-ion batteries on two planes in January led to the grounding of all 787 jets worldwide. Investigators still have not determined the root cause of the two incidents, but Boeing has modified the battery system in an attempt to resolve the issue.
The Dreamliner, which makes extensive use of lightweight composite materials that help reduce fuel costs by 20 percent, is crucial to Boeing’s future. The Chicago-based company has delivered more than 70 of the planes so far and hopes to sell thousands more over the next two decades as it seeks to recoup an estimated $32 billion in development costs.
Charlie Miller, a Boeing spokesman in Chicago, declined to make any immediate comment on whether the problems with Norwegian’s Dreamliners had been experienced by other customers. “We have worked with Norwegian Air Shuttle, resolved the issue, and the airplane is now serviceable,” Mr. Miller said.
Original Story here: NYTimes