Boeing Stays Loyal To Lithium As Probe Continues
By Guy Norris, Jens Flottau
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Japan Airlines Chairman Masaru Onishi tells Aviation Week that “there must be some kind of modification” to the battery and the electrical system. “System integration must deliver protection against something like a cell failure, so we must find some improvement,” he says. Boeing has been constantly updating operators about the issues, Onishi says, and he believes that, while the manufacturer started with hundreds of possible root causes two weeks ago, “that has now been narrowed down to a short list of potential causes.” He says “some good progress” has been made, allowing Boeing to focus on the remaining options.
Onishi concedes that the impact on the aircraft's image is “an important issue, so we must fix it as soon as possible.” It is difficult to determine how long it will take to find a solution, though, he acknowledges. The operational impact on JAL will be limited because it has just six 787s, and it has seen no revenue loss, as the aircraft have been replaced by 777s and 767s. So far, JAL has not requested compensation for added costs, but Onishi does not rule it out, saying, “maybe at the next stage.”
Cathay Pacific Airways CEO John Slosar also is confident that “Boeing will figure it out.” Although Cathay has not ordered 787s, the Airbus A350-900s and -1000s it has on order are also designed to use lithium-ion batteries. Slosar says he expects that Airbus is closely watching the battery investigations so as to draw conclusions for its own system.
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