Qantas will not change its order for 15 Boeing 787 aircraft despite two Japanese airlines grounding their fleets of the Dreamliner aircraft.
The Flying Kangaroo’s vote of confidence in the 787, Boeing’s latest aircraft, comes after All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines grounded all their Dreamliners following a series of incidents in recent days.
A Qantas spokesman today said the airline was in regular contact with Boeing about the 787 program.
“Boeing has kept the Qantas Group fully informed about the performance of the 787 since it entered commercial service in 2011,” the spokesman said.
“We are confident that the current issues will be resolved before Jetstar receives its first aircraft as scheduled in the second half of this year.”
Qantas’s low-cost unit Jetstar was expected to get the first of 15 787-8 aircraft in the second half of 2013.
The airline group also has options to purchase 50 of the larger 787-9 models from 2016 onwards.
The litany of problems the 787 has faced in the past week have prompted the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open a “comprehensive review” into the Dreamliner’s critical systems, including design, manufacture and assembly.
“The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety,” the FAA said.
In the latest incident, an ANA 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after a battery problem triggered a cockpit error message today.
The 129 passengers and eight crew on board evacuated the aircraft via the emergency slides on the tarmac at Takamatsu airport in southwestern Japan.
In a separate incident, a lithium-ion battery caught fire on a JAL 787 after it landed in Boston, from Tokyo, last week and took 40 minutes to extinguish.
There have also been fuel leaks, a fuel spill and a cracked cockpit window.
Nonetheless, Boeing insists the aircraft is safe.
“I am 100 per cent convinced the aeroplane is safe to fly. I fly on it myself all the time,” Boeing vice president and chief project engineer for the 787 Mike Sinnett said.
Boeing says the aircraft, which is made from composite materials, uses about 20 per cent less fuel compared with similar-size jets and has 30 per cent lower maintenance costs.
Qantas shares closed one cent or 0.78 per cent higher at $1.54 on Wednesday.