Posts Tagged ‘Boeing’

Dreamliner battery fix fails as Tesla recalls 29,000 cars for battery charger fault

January 14, 2014

The overheating problems of lithium-ion batteries and their chargers seem to more serious than just teething problems. Boeing and Tesla continue to have issues with thermal runaway and permanent fixes are proving elusive.

Boeing’s problems with the Dreamliner batteries are not yet over. The fix for its battery problem in March  does not seem to have worked for yet another Japan Airlines aircraft. The lithium-ion batteries are now having issues even with Tesla who have recalled “29,000 Model S vehicle 240-volt charging adapters that could overheat and cause a fire. The company will update software in the electric vehicles and send owners replacement adapters.”

The Telegraph: 

Japan Airlines has temporarily grounded one of its 787 Dreamliners after white smoke was spotted outside the plane, warning lights in the cockpit indicated possible faults with the main battery and charger, and one battery cell appeared to be leaking.

Boeing said it was “aware of the 787 issue that occurred Tuesday afternoon at Narita, which appears to have involved the venting of a single battery cell”.

The incident comes nearly a year to the day after Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways grounded their 787 fleets after two 787 batteries overheated on two different planes in less than two weeks.

Global regulators grounded the worldwide fleet on January 16, 2013. The planes remained grounded for more than three months while Boeing redesigned the battery, charger and containment system to ensure battery fires would not put the airplane at risk. The cause of the battery problems has not been determined.

On Tuesday, Japan Airlines said maintenance engineers who were in the cockpit saw white smoke from the cockpit. When they went outside the aircraft the smoke had dispersed.

Detroit News:

…. The Palo Alto, Calif., automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that its review found that defective or improperly installed wall receptacles that the adapter plugged into could cause problems, including melted adapters and or a fire. While the number of incidents remains small, and Tesla’s review to date points to the building or wiring as the primary cause of failed adapters, “the company has determined that a voluntary recall is appropriate as a precautionary measure,” Tesla said.

Since late 2012, Tesla said 2.7 percent of universal mobile connector adapters have been returned and “showed signs of internal damage only and that stopped vehicle charging.” …

….. In November, NHTSA opened a formal investigation into 13,100 Tesla Motors Model S electric cars after three reports of battery fires that occurred after accidents. ……. The announcement of the investigation came after NHTSA had said in October it would not open a formal investigation after a fire in Kent, Wash., occurred when debris struck the underside of a Model S and caused the battery to catch fire. After a fire in Mexico and a fire earlier this month near Smyrna, Tenn., NHTSA decided to open an investigation.

NHTSA said in both of the incidents in the U.S., fires occurred after the undercarriage of the cars hit metal debris on the road, which damaged the battery tray and caused “thermal runaway.” “In each incident, the vehicle’s battery monitoring system provided escalating visible and audible warnings, allowing the driver to execute a controlled stop and exit the vehicle before the battery emitted smoke and fire,” NHTSA said.

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Boeing issues warning: Further icing problems with GE GenX engines on Boeing aircraft

November 23, 2013
GenX 2B GE

GenX 2B GE

UPDATE:

Reuters: Boeing advised airlines on Friday about a risk of engine icing problems on its new 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner planes with engines made by General Electric, urging 15 carriers to avoid flying them near high-level thunderstorms. 

The move followed six incidents from April to November involving five 747-8s and one 787 when aircraft powered by GE’s GEnx engines suffered temporary loss of thrust while flying at high altitude. The problem was caused by a build-up of ice crystals, initially just behind the front fan, which ran through the engine, said a GE spokesman, adding that all of the aircraft landed at their planned destinations safely.

Boeing on Friday issued a notice prohibiting the affected aircraft from flying at high attitude within 50 nautical miles of thunderstorms that may contain ice crystals.

Icing problems with GE engines on Boeing’s Dreamliner has led to Japan Airlines pulling the Dreamliner from two international routes.

This comes on top of the icing problems noticed recently on the latest 747 cargo aircraft. A few weeks ago it was reported that a number of the latest long-haul Boeing 747 cargo aircraft fitted with the new GenX series of GE engines experienced engine icing problems when flying in particular cloud conditions at 41,000 feet:

Wall Street JournalIcing Hazards Surface on Boeing’s Newest 747 Jet

Years after aviation-safety experts thought they had eliminated the danger of airliner engines abruptly shutting down from internal ice accumulation, the same airborne hazard is showing up on a new generation of Boeing Co. jumbo jets.

The Chicago plane maker and General Electric Co., whose engines are installed on the biggest and newest Boeing 747 model, are now working together on fixes to prevent ice buildup that can prompt the giant airliner’s engines to temporarily malfunction or even stop working while cruising roughly 7 miles, or 41,000 feet, above the earth.

A GE spokesman said there are proposed software changes—which still need to be tested and then approved by the Federal Aviation Administration—designed to detect the presence of ice crystals in the atmosphere and eject the tiny particles before they form a coating deep inside engines that can melt or break into chunks.

… challenges with the GEnx-2B engines on extra-long 747 aircraft—known as 747-8s—highlight complex and nagging icing hazards that once again are forcing industry leaders and an international research team to scramble for answers. Before the partial government shutdown, according to industry officials, the FAA was moving toward mandating modifications to the 747-8’s computerized engine controls and making plans to warn pilots about susceptibility to internal engine icing while flying over storm-prone regions at roughly 40,000 feet.

Previously, experts believed such icing occurred primarily below 25,000 feet. ….

These cases of icing are different to those normally encountered and which are relatively well understood.

Aviation Week: 

….. The AirBridge Cargo event is the latest in a growing number of engine-icing incidents, which have triggered recent changes in international certification requirements. Unlike traditional engine icing, in which supercooled liquid droplets freeze on impact with exposed outer parts of the engine as the aircraft flies through clouds, engine core ice accretion involves a complex process where ice particles stick to a warm metal surface. These act as a heat sink until the metal surface temperature drops below freezing, thereby forming a location for ice and water (mixed-phase) accretion. The accumulated ice can either block flow into the core or shed into the downstream compressor stages and combustor, causing a surge, roll-back or other malfunction.

Until relatively recently, it was assumed that ice particles would bounce off structures and pass harmlessly through bypass ducts, or melt inside the engine. Now, there is evidence of an environment where a certain combination of water, ice and airflow is susceptible to accreting ice. Like many of the other known core icing events, the ABC 747-8F incident occurred near convective clouds. When incidents were first reported, investigators initially assumed supercooled liquid water, hail or rain were responsible because they had been lifted to high altitudes by updrafts. Yet most events have been recorded above 22,000 ft., which is considered the upper limit for clouds containing supercooled liquid water. ……

To find out exactly what is happening inside the convective systems that most frequently cause core icing, particularly in mid-latitude and tropical regions, an international team plans to conduct the High Ice Water Content (HIWC) test campaign in Darwin, Australia. The team includes NASA, FAA, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Airbus, Boeing, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Also joining the effort will be the European Union’s High Altitude Ice Crystals (HAIC) project, which will be contributing a specially configured Falcon 20 research aircraft. ……

But now Boeing has warned all its clients who use aircraft with GE’s GenX engines not to fly them near certain kinds of storm clouds. And Japan Airlines whose Boeing 787 Dreamliners are powered by GenX engines has pulled the aircraft from two of its international routes:

Reuters: Japan Airlines (JAL)  said on Saturday it will pull Boeing 787 Dreamliners from two international routes after the U.S. aircraft maker notified it of icing problems in engines produced by General Electric .

Japanese carrier said Boeing notified airlines not to fly aircraft with GE’s GEnx Series engines near storm clouds following a recent incident in which a 747 aircraft experienced a loss of thrust after flying through anvil cloud.

As a result, JAL will replace Dreamliners on its Tokyo-Delhi and Tokyo-Singapore flights with other types of aircraft while also dropping a plan to use 787s for its Tokyo-Sydney route from December.

JAL will continue to fly 787s for other international and domestic routes, which are unlikely to be affected by cumulonimbus cloud for the time being.

Nightmare continues: Panel falls off Air India Dreamliner in flight

October 15, 2013

A new problem every few days for Boeing with their Dreamliner but their share price does not seem to be much affected:

The Hindu: 

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner. File photo

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner. File photo

A large panel in the belly of a Bangalore-bound Dreamliner of Air India fell off mid-air, putting about 150 passengers on board at a grave risk, but the aircraft landed safely.

The DGCA is probing the incident which occurred on Saturday when an 8X4 feet panel in the fuselage fell off while the plane was on its way to Bangalore from Delhi, leaving a gaping hole in the cargo hold, official sources said.

There were 148 persons, including the crew, on board flight AI-803 which landed safely at the Bangalore airport, the sources said, adding that the hole was noticed by the ground staff when they came to inspect the aircraft for its return journey.

A spare panel was flown to Bangalore and fitted on the Boeing 787, which was later declared fit to fly. But the return flight was delayed by over nine hours, they said.

Confirming the incident, airline officials said a panel had fallen off but was replaced and the aircraft was cleared for flights.

“Yes, there was a gaping hole. During the normal transit inspection, it was observed. Engineers immediately rectified it,” an AI official said requesting anonymity.

“It was not an emergency. There was no safety problem,” he added.

Besides long-haul international operations, Air India operates the Dreamliners on domestic routes like from Delhi to Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata.

 

From a sublime “Dreamliner” to the ridiculous

October 10, 2013

Nightmares (for Boeing) are made of this:

ReutersJapan Airlines Co was forced to turn around its Tokyo-bound flight from Moscow on Thursday due to a problem in the Boeing 787 jet’s lavatory, a spokesman for the Japanese carrier said. … 

JAL spokesman Takuya Shimoguchi said the toilet malfunction on the flight from Moscow was likely caused by an electronic glitch. The airline was working on repairs on the ground, he added.

The flight, carrying 141 passengers, departed Moscow on Wednesday evening and returned after about five hours, he said.

Shares in JAL, which made headlines this week by signing with Boeing rival Airbus for the next generation of long-haul jets, were up 2.1 percent on Thursday morning, outperforming the broader market.

Updated 10th October:

BBC: 

Japan Airlines (JAL) says it has turned around two of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft during flights due to technical problems.

On one plane one of the two anti-ice systems, which prevent ice building up around the engine, failed.

Meanwhile, an electrical glitch made six toilets unusable on another flight.

These are the latest technical issues to hit the Dreamliner, which saw the entire fleet being grounded earlier this year following battery problems.

More bad dreams for Boeing as Polish LOT demands compensation for Dreamliner problems

September 29, 2013

Yesterday it was an airline sending an aircraft back to Boeing. Today Polish airlines LOT has warned Boeing to settle compensation claims by year-end or face legal action.

Reuters: 

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Poland’s LOT  airline had to land unexpectedly in Iceland on Sunday due to a fault in its air identification system, a spokeswoman for the airline said on Sunday.

The plane was flying from Toronto to Warsaw when it was forced to land at the island’s Keflavik airport.

“The aircraft had to land due to an air identification system fault. The Norwegian authorities have refused permission to fly over its territory, even though other countries gave permission to fly over theirs,” Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras said. …

For state-owned LOT, which has struggled for years with huge operating losses, the incident adds to a list of problems with the Dreamliners. Last week it had had to delay flights after check-ups showed two planes lacked gas filters.

LOT is demanding from Boeing compensation for lost revenue and has given Boeing time until the end of the year to settle on compensation over faults or face court action.

Norwegian returns a Dreamliner to Boeing to be fixed

September 28, 2013

I suppose it must be under guarantee. It is further publicity that Boeing could well do without. Boeing have been asked to take back one of Norwegian’s two Dreamliners currently stuck in Bangkok with a hydraulic pump failure. Boeing will carry out the repairs in Stockholm. But what must be particularly galling for Boeing is that Norwegian is leasing an Airbus A340 while the Dreamliner is being fixed. No doubt the leasing cost will be billed to Boeing but EADS will be pleased that the Airbus has the better perception of reliability.

The Dreamliner runs the risk of becoming  a Nightmareliner if Boeing cannot get the plane away from its many “teething” troubles.

Boeing 787-8JP Dreamliner

Norwegians first Dreamliner Air Team Images : Photo by Lee A. Karas

Boeing 787-8JP Dreamliner

Manufacturer: Boeing   Type/Model: 787-8 Dreamliner   Registration: LN-BKA   Colour Scheme: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Location: Everett, United States  Taken By: Lee A. Karas   Date Taken: 3rd April 2013
Reuters: Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle  is returning one of its brand new Dreamliners to Boeing demanding repairs after the jet has suffered repeated breakdowns, it said on Saturday.Norwegian Air Shuttle will instead lease an Airbus A340 from HiFly to keep its long-haul business going and will not take back the Boeing 787 Dreamliner until it is more reliable, a spokesman said.“The aircraft’s reliability is simply not acceptable, our passengers cannot live with this kind of performance,” spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told Reuters.“We are returning the aircraft to Boeing to improve its reliability.” ….Norwegian launched long-haul operations this year and hoped to capitalize on Dreamliner’s lower operating cost as the jet’s lighter-weight engines promised a 20 percent savings on fuel.

But its first two Dreamliners, part of a planned fleet of eight, broke down over half a dozen times in September, forcing it to lease back-up planes on short notice or cancel flights.

Norwegian summoned Boeing’s management this week and the aircraft manufacturer promised to locate spare parts centers at all of the airline’s long-haul destinations and send a team of engineers to the Nordics to monitor the planes.

The aircraft that will be returned is still stuck in Bangkok after a hydraulic pump failure this week and will be flown back to Stockholm where Boeing will carry out the work.

Delta Airlines sues US Ex-IM for supporting Boeing sales to foreign airlines

April 4, 2013

I think Delta doth protest too much and is clutching at straws. Loss of jobs at Boeing is of much more consequence to the US economy than Delta’s dubious claim of loss of competitiveness against foreign airlines.

Of course the real problem is that Delta is weak competitively. Its costs are too high and its service is too inferior. By the end of trading session, Delta Air Lines, Inc. shares slumped 8.06% to US$14.94 with more than 41.03 million shares traded, compared to its average volume of 12.11 million shares. Delta Air Lines’s unit revenues increased only 2% in March, and most of it came from its trans-Atlantic and Latin offerings.  Delta were expecting a March growth of 4 – 5%. And they are more than a little worried by the US Air merger with American Airlines.

(Reuters)Delta Air Lines Inc has sued the Export-Import Bank of the United States over loan guarantees given to support purchases of Boeing Co’s widebody planes by certain foreign airlines, according to a court filing.

Delta are claiming that Ex-Im bank’s guarantees (to Boeing) and/or buyers credits (to foreign airlines) for aircraft sales to foreign airlines, including Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Korean Air Co Ltd, amount to subsidies and would cause a loss of competitiveness and adverse economic effects on Delta and its employees.

Ex-Im Bank, a government agency, provides loan guarantees and direct loans to help companies maintain and create jobs.

In a complaint filed in federal court in Washington D.C. late on Wednesday, Delta said one of the types of exports that Ex-Im Bank subsidizes is the export of aircraft by U.S. manufacturers, especially ones made by Boeing.

“In 2012, the bank’s total exposure to outstanding financial commitments was $106.6 billion. About 46 percent of this amount was for air transportation loans and loan guarantees, more than the three next largest industrial sectors combined,” Delta said in the filing.

Delta said the Ex-Im Bank loan guarantees help lower the cost of capital for foreign airline companies.

“These foreign airlines will recoup their investment in their new aircraft faster or reduce ticket prices on competing routes without adversely impacting their relative rate of return on those investments,” Delta said in the filing.

Delta argued that unsubsidized U.S. airlines will be forced to respond by “reducing their prices and reducing or altogether eliminating their capacity to serve those routes where they compete with bank-subsidized foreign airlines.”

I don’t think I will be buying any Delta stock any time soon.

 

Boeing’s PR upsets Japanese Civil Aviation Board – and this will delay the Dreamliner flying again

March 16, 2013

Boeing’s upbeat announcement that the Dreamliner could be flying in a matter of weeks has upset the Japanese Civil Aviation Board. It would seem that Boeing did not clear their PR blitz in Tokyo in advance with the CAB. Their optimistic statements about the Dreamliner flying again “in a matter of weeks” to try and reassure the market place may prove to be a PR blunder and could backfire.

ET: Japanese regulators immediately warned that the timetable was impossible to predict, in part because investigators still do not know what had caused lithium-ion batteries to overheat on two 787s. 

“At this time we are not yet in a position to say when flights will restart,” said Shigeru Takano, the air transport safety director at Japan’s Civil Aviation Board (CAB), which will assess and approve Boeing’sproposed fix. …

…. “If we look at the normal process and the way in which we work with the FAA, and we look at the testing that’s ahead of us, it is reasonable to expect we could be back up and going in weeks, not months,” the 787’s chief engineer, Mike Sinnett, said at an earlier briefing in Tokyo. 

But the CAB, the FAA’s counterpart in Japan, dismissed Sinnett’s prediction, saying it was too early to predict when 787 operations could resume, since regulators in the United States and Japan are still investigating. Takano, the air transport safety director at the CAB, said Sinnett’s comment on the battery probe was “inappropriate.”

To call Boeing’s statement “inappropriate” is tantamount to an outright rejection. I think Boeing has shot itself in the foot since the CAB clearly perceives their role being usurped by Boeing’s PR pronouncements. There is now no way that the CAB can or will allow any “fast-tracking” of approvals.

Reuters: Japan is Boeing’s biggest customer for the fuel-efficient aircraft, which has a list price of $207 million. JAL and ANA combined account for almost half the global Dreamliner fleet. Japanese firms also build 35 of the aircraft.

And until the CAB approves, other countries will also hold off their approvals. It is going to be at least 2 months now before Dreamliners fly again commercially.

Boeing’s three-layered fix for the Dreamliner batteries approved for testing

March 16, 2013

Boeing’s planned fix for the Dreamliner’s lithium-ion battery has been approved by the FAA and while this is only approval of the plan it at least represents the start of the process to get the Dreamliner back into the air. The FAA approval will allow two Dreamliners to return to the air to test various aspects of the proposed fix. Results from both in-flight and laboratory tests will have to be evaluated to obtain the new certifications and approvals necessary to get back into the air.

NY Times: The F.A.A. could still demand changes if problems develop in the laboratory and flight tests. While Boeing hopes to begin fitting its redesigned batteries in the grounded 787 fleet by mid- to late April and resume commercial flights quickly after that, government officials are not sure the process will move that fast. …

….. the tests would subject the battery to the most extreme conditions it was likely to face and determine if the case could withstand a battery explosion. The tests will include bursts of power to put stress on the battery and check its flammability as well as how it performs in hot weather.

The F.A.A. has also approved limited test flights for two aircraft. One plane will test the old battery, while the other will test how the new system performs under normal flight conditions. The flight tests will begin within a week.

The agency will approve the redesign only if the company successfully completes all required tests and analyses. The F.A.A. said it was continuing a review of the 787’s design, production and manufacturing.

But there is a downside. The fixes being introduced will increase the weight of the aircraft by 150 lbs which almost nullifies the advantage gained by using the lighter lithium-ion batteries in the first place. The fuel efficiency gains – at least those due to the lighter battery – will no longer be available and no doubt customers will want compensation for this. An extra 150 lbs is just about equivalent to one passenger and compensation claims could also be for the equivalent of one passenger less for every commercial flight through the life of the aircraft. This would be in addition to any compensation claims for losses suffered during and because of the grounding  and for delivery delays.

The three-layered approach that Boeing is taking consists of

  1. preventing a fire within any individual battery cell,
  2. preventing the fire from spreading to other cells in the event that a fire does occur, and
  3. preventing the fire from spreading or impacting anything outside the battery enclosure in the event that the fire does spread to multiple cells
Dreamliner Battery Fix (via Aviation Week, Credit Boeing)

Dreamliner Battery Fix (via Aviation Week, Credit Boeing)

The Dreamliner still has a way to go to complete all the testing and while Boeing is talking about “weeks rather than months”, it seems unlikely that the planes will be released for commercial flying before June.

Aviation Week: Among the tougher tests to be conducted will be an evaluation of the containment system’s ability to withstand a deliberately induced thermal runaway. This self-propagating phenomenon was cited by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its March 7 interim report on the first battery failure on a Japan Airlines 787 in early January. Although not identifying a specific cause, the report described several shortcomings in both the baseline battery system design and the original means of testing and certification of the device.

The NTSB has announced plans to hold a forum and investigative hearing in April to review the battery’s technology, safety and process used in its certification. The agency’s investigation found—among other things—no record of the final production-standard charging system having been tested with the actual GS Yuasa-made battery. According to the NTSB report, Securiplane, the charging system developer, tested the unit with a simulated electric load instead of an actual battery. The company apparently took this precaution after having earlier suffered a fire at its facility during battery testing.

The three layers of the Boeing fix are structured as below:

1. The first layer of improvements is taking place during the manufacture of the batteries in Japan. Boeing teamed with Thales, the provider of the integrated power conversion system, and battery maker GS Yuasa to develop and institute enhanced production standards and tests to further reduce any possibility for variation in the production of the individual cells as well as the overall battery.  … Four new or revised tests have been added to screen cell production, which now includes 10 distinct tests. Each cell will go through more rigorous testing in the month following its manufacture including a 14-day test during which readings of discharge rates are being taken every hour. This new procedure started in early February and the first cells through the process are already complete. There are more than a dozen production acceptance tests that must be completed for each battery. Boeing, Thales and GS Yuasa have also decided to narrow the acceptable level of charge for the battery, both by lowering the highest charge allowed and raising the lower level allowed for discharge. Two pieces of equipment in the battery system – the battery monitoring unit and the charger are being redesigned to the narrower definition. The battery charger will also be adapted to soften the charging cycle to put less stress on the battery during charging.

2. Changes inside the battery will help to reduce the chances of a battery fault developing and help to further isolate any fault that does occur so that it won’t cause issues with other parts of the battery. To better insulate each of the cells in the battery from one another and from the battery box, two kinds of insulation will be added. An electrical insulator is being wrapped around each battery cell to electrically isolate cells from each other and from the battery case, even in the event of a failure. Electrical and thermal insulation installed above, below and between the cells will help keep the heat of the cells from impacting each other. Wire sleeving and the wiring inside the battery will be upgraded to be more resistant to heat and chafing and new fasteners will attach the metallic bars that connect the eight cells of the battery. These fasteners include a locking mechanism. Finally, a set of changes is being made to the battery case that contains the battery cells and the battery management unit. Small holes at the bottom will allow moisture to drain away from the battery and larger holes on the sides will allow a failed battery to vent with less impact to other parts of the battery.

3. The battery case will sit in a new enclosure made of stainless steel. This enclosure will isolate the battery from the rest of the equipment in the electronic equipment bays. It also will ensure there can be no fire inside the enclosure, thus adding another layer of protection to the battery system. The enclosure features a direct vent to carry battery vapors outside the airplane. New titanium fixtures are being installed in the electronics equipment bays to ensure the housing is properly supported. “Our first lines of improvements, the manufacturing tests and operations improvements, significantly reduce the likelihood of a battery failure. The second line of improvements, changes to the battery, helps stop an event and minimize the effect of a failure within the battery if it does occur. And the third line of improvements, the addition of the new enclosure, isolates the battery so that even if all the cells vent, there is no fire in the enclosure and there is no significant impact to the airplane,” said Sinnett.

Two aircraft will be used for the testing:

Flight tests of the prototype revised battery containment system will be conducted using Line No. 86, an aircraft designated for LOT Polish Airlines. Aviation Week was the first to report this same aircraft being previously used for ground tests of the battery system in mid-February (AW&ST Feb. 18, p. 32). The modified battery has also been installed in test aircraft ZA005, though Boeing says this is to allow testing to resume of the planned General Electric GEnx performance improvement package (PIP) II engine upgrade. The FAA says flight tests will validate instrumentation for the battery and testing its enclosure in addition to improvements for other systems.

Airbus invokes “Plan B” while Dreamliner remains grounded till the summer

February 20, 2013

The Boeing Dreamliner which was grounded globally on January 16th will remain grounded at least till the end of March and possibly till the summer. United Airlines has removed the Dreamliner from all its schedules till March 30th. But LOT Polish Airlines which flies Boeing 767’s and was hoping for these to be replaced by 5 Dreamliners at the end of March has extended the lease for the 767’s (apparently at Boeing’s insistence) for a further 6 months till October 2013.

All Nippon Airways, which has 17 Dreamliners in its fleet says it has lost 15.4 million of sales revenues just in January. But ANA has kept its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March unchanged at about $44 million.

All Nippon has not asked Boeing for compensation linked to the grounded 787s but will discuss the issue once the total financial effect is more clear, said the executive vice president, Kiyoshi Tonomoto, according to Reuters.

The battery problem has yet to be resolved but there was further evidence that the cells are prone to overheating and thermal runaways.

Bangkok Post: On January 16, the 50 Dreamliners in service around the world were grounded after a battery fire on a Japan Airlines plane parked in Boston, and battery smoke on an All Nippon Airways flight forced an emergency landing. On Tuesday, a Japanese safety board official said that investigators found a battery on the ANA flight that initially was believed to be intact had also been damaged. Detailed examination of the auxiliary power unit battery revealed that two of its eight cells were misshapen.

One market-matching family

The Airbus A350 family . image airbus.com

In the meantime Airbus has invoked Plan B and decided to drop the lithium-ion batteries for the A 350 so as not to jeopardise the intoduction of the aircraft in 2014. With the Dreamliner delays and teething problems, Airbus has a golden opportinity to break into the Dreamliner market with a timely introduction of the A350.

Reuters:  Airbus has dropped lithium-ion batteries of the type that forced the grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and will use traditional nickel-cadmium batteries in its crucially important next passenger jet, the A350.

The European planemaker said on Friday it had taken the decision to adopt the batteries used on existing models such as the A380 superjumbo in order to prevent delays in the A350’s entry to service next year. ….. 

“We want to mature the lithium-ion technology but we are making this decision today to protect the A350’s entry-into-service schedule,” an Airbus spokeswoman said. ….

The A350 is due to enter service in the second half of 2014 compared with an initial target of 2012 when it was launched as Europe’s answer to the lightweight 787 Dreamliner. ….

….. Airbus will use the lithium-ion batteries for a maiden flight in mid-year and early flight trials but switch to traditional batteries in time for certification and delivery. …

The lithium-ion battery industry is concerned but not unduly so, since the market for aircraft batteries is just a tiny portion of their market.


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