April 4 - British Airways and Iberia parent IAG seals a deal with Boeing for 18 new Dreamliner 787 passenger jet, despite unresolved battery problems that's kept the aircraft grounded since January. Ivor Bennett reports.
It's supposedly the world's most advanced passenger jet. An ultra lightweight structure with a range of 18 hours. But Boeing's Dreamliner 787 has been grounded since January due to unresolved battery problems. Despite not flying though, it's still doing business. British Airways parent IAG has just sealed a deal for 18 new Dreamliners. That's on top of the 24 it's already ordered to help replace its current long haul fleet of 747-400s. Risky? Not according to aerospace analyst Howard Wheeldon. SOUNDBITE (English) HOWARD WHEELDON, AEROSPACE AND DEFENCE ANALYST, WHEELDON STRATEGIC ADVISORY LTD, SAYING: "All aircraft have a problem through their development stage. Boeing have had its problems. There isn't an aircraft that's come into service that hasn't been without a problem over the years. Boeing will resolve these problems. These are technical and engineering issues. They will be resolved." This United flight was one of the last to use a Dreamliner, nearly 3 months ago. The same day all 50 jets currently in service were grounded after two separate battery fires in the US and Japan. The planes use new lithium-ion batteries. Boeing says they burns 20 percent less fuel than older technology. The company says it's close to concluding tests on a revamped system and will then ask regulators for approval. Boeing hasn't lost any orders since the problems began. But it has lost money. The grounding is thought to be costing the company 50 million dollars a week.