Norwegian hit by new Dreamliner breakdown
OSLO - Agence France-Presse
A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner lands after its first flight September 17, 2013 at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. AFP photoThe budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said one of its two Boeing 787 Dreamliners was grounded Friday, just two days after a crisis meeting with the manufacturers. The Stockholm-bound aircraft, due to take off from Bangkok at 0200 GMT, had to be cancelled and passengers were booked on other airlines because of a faulty hydraulic pump, Norwegian spokeswoman Astrid Mannion told AFP.
Early on Friday afternoon it was unclear when the plane would be back in operation. Since their delivery the aircraft have had a series of technical hitches. The latest incident comes just two days after a meeting between Norwegian's chief executive Bjoern Kjos and Boeing management aimed at finding a solution.
At the meeting Boeing agreed to send a team of technicians to Norwegian's Oslo base and provide spare parts in all airports where the airline operates Dreamliners in order to speed up repairs. "It will take some time" before these measures take effect, said Astrid Mannion. Since Norwegian began long haul services in the summer the airline has had delays on half of the flights, mainly due to technical problems ranging from oxygen supply in cockpits to faulty hydraulic pumps and braking systems. The incidents have taken a toll -- not only on the company's financial results, share value and image -- but also on Boeing, which has invested much of its prestige in the Dreamliner.
The planes have also been hit by problems worldwide -- most notably faulty batteries -- which took the entire fleet out of operation for four months in early 2013.
Norwegian, which has contracted Boeing to maintain its Dreamliners, has not ruled out suing for damages in the future. The budget airline has ordered a total of eight Dreamliners through leasing and purchase, with the remaining six due for delivery between late November 2013 and early 2015.