Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

January 10, 2013

Boeing defends reliability of 787

Boeing said Wednesday it has "extreme confidence" in its 787 Dreamliner even as federal investigators try to determine the cause of a fire that has prompted new worries about the plane.

The fire happened Monday in one of the plane's lithium ion batteries. Mike Sinnett, Boeing's chief engineer for 787, wouldn't comment on that specific incident, but told reporters that the battery is designed to avoid overheating and the area around the battery is designed to withstand a fire.

But questions remain about the high-profile jet, which has a lot riding on it both for Boeing and its airline customers. After a nearly three-year delay, Boeing has delivered 49 of the 787s so far, and has about 800 more on order.

Investors rallied behind the company Wednesday. Boeing shares gained 3.2 percent to $76.47, after dropping 4.6 percent the two previous days.

The Dreamliner has had a rough stretch. Besides Monday's fire aboard an empty Japan Airlines plane in Boston, a separate JAL 787 experienced a fuel leak on Tuesday. And All Nippon Airways cancelled a domestic 787 flight in Japan Wednesday when a computer system indicated a problem with the plane's brakes. Last month, a United Airlines 787 flying from Houston to Newark, N.J., diverted to New Orleans because of an electrical problem with a power distribution panel.

Sinnett says the problems Boeing has seen so far with the 787 are similar to early issues with the Boeing 777, which was introduced in the mid-1990s.

The battery fire is of particular interest because lithium batteries generally have not been used on large planes before the 787. Sinnett says the nature of lithium ion batteries means no fire extinguisher system will stop them from burning once they start. The NTSB said it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out Monday's fire.

1
Text Only

the BIZ

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide