Yet Another Problem With Boeing's 787 Dreamliner (BA)
Pardon Boeing (NYSE: BA) if the company is starting to feel like part of a Saturday Night Live skit featuring the late Gilda Radner’s famous character, Roseanne Roseannadanna. “It’s always something. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another,”
Roseanne would whine while winding her way through one of her classic tortured editorials as part of the SNL Weekend Update segment.
For Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner, the newest “something” is a wiring defect in the fire suppression system on three aircraft, according to Bloomberg.
The problem was discovered on aircraft operated by ANA Holdings Inc., the biggest operator of the 787. ANA said that in the event of a fire in one of the two engines, the faulty system would trigger the wrong extinguisher. As a precaution, Japan Airlines Co. recalled an aircraft scheduled to fly from Tokyo to Helsinki.
Boeing said it was investigating the problem.
RBC Capital analyst Robert Stallard told Bloomberg, “These things happen with a new aircraft. When the airlines ground the plane or regulators start becoming involved, then it becomes something to watch out for.”
Wednesday’s incident is only the latest in a series of problems with Boeing’s flagship jet. An issue with an emergency beacon caused a fire in London in July and that event followed the return to service of the airliner after worldwide grounding due to problems with the lithium-ion batteries on the aircraft.
ANA representative, Megumi Tezuka, said the latest problem, involving wiring, must have occurred during manufacturing. The company initially repaired two of its jets and said the third would be fixed by the end of the day Wednesday. Eventually the airline inspected all 10 of its 787s and found no additional issues.
Currently only one U.S. airline flies the 787. United Continental (NYSE: UAL) was in the process of inspecting its 787 fleet, according to representative, Christen David. David said the company planned to “complete inspections as quickly as possible with minimal impact to our operations.”
Bloomberg reported that Boeing had delivered 73 Dreamliners to 13 worldwide customers through August 7, with more than 29,000 flights flown. According to Boeing’s website, the total number of 787 orders in 2013 (through August 6) was 82.
Shares of Boeing were down $2.29, more than two percent at $101.87, in late morning trading Thursday.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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