Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Airline News

After an already delayed programme, Boeing is expected to announce today that its 787 Dreamliner has been delayed by 18 months. This setback will cost the company billions of pounds and will make this revolutionary aircraft enter into service at the end of 2009.

The delay will affect all airlines that have ordered the 787, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. The delay is particularly bad for BA as it means the British flag carrier might not get the aircraft in time for the 2012 Olympics. BA needs the 787 to increase capacity and reduce operating costs.

The Dreamliner has taken orders worth more than $150 billion (£76 billion). It was scheduled to enter commercial service next month but this initially slipped to early 2009 and has now been delayed again.

Boeing is also thought to be ready to postpone or even scrap one of the three variants of the aircraft to enable its engineers to focus on solving existing problems.

The likely victim will the 787-3, a high passenger density model designed for the Japanese market. The 787 is a radical new design because its fuselage is entirely made out of composite materials — essentially carbon fibre.

Airlines are likely to demand billions in compensation from Boeing and the company will also have to allocate huge resources to prevent the problems worsening. Its share price has already fallen 25% since the 787 delays were first announced, wiping more than $18 billion (£9 billion) from Boeing’s value. (source: Timesonline) - Even more delays for the Dreamliner, BP fined for a record amount (Article on Dreamliner delays) (Also see Wednesday 12th December 2007 entry for more on this.) - Nintendo Wii dominated Argos toys sales over Christmas (article on delays effecting Qantas)

Hundreds of passengers have been left stranded after the Hong Kong airline Oasis stopped flying and applied to go into liquidation. Oasis first flew in October 2006, offering flights from London to Hong Kong for as little as 1,000 Hong Kong dollars (£65) each way. It later added flights from Hong Kong to Vancouver. (source: BBC News)

A further cancellation of flights is expected from American Airlines today after cancelling about 500 flights on Tuesday. Wednesday after cancelling about 500 on Tuesday. The cancellations came after American grounded its MD-80 aircraft to conduct extra safety inspections on wiring.

The FAA has been clamping down on safety inspections and several airlines have been forced to ground planes. Two weeks ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised concerns about the wiring inspections that led to planes of American Airlines being grounded.

Southwest, Delta and United have also grounded some of their fleets for safety inspections. The FAA said that it had checked several American MD-80s and decided that the work carried out two weeks ago did not meet its standards. The airline runs about 2,300 flights a day, more than one third of which use MD-80s, mainly on mid-range flights. (source: BBC News)

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