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Dreamliner delivery only 'weeks away'

Boeing Dreamliner23/04/13

Major airlines in the UK could be taking deliveries of the grounded 787 Dreamliner plane within weeks.

Boeing's flagship ultra green aircraft was in crisis earlier this year when the entire worldwide fleet was grounded.

This decision was taken after battery smoke was seen coming out of two Dreamliner flights operated by a Japanese carrier.

The decision to ground the planes pending investigative work was a major setback to several UK-based companies who had expected to fly the Dreamliners later this year.

Thomson wanted to operate the Dreamliner from May, while British Airways was expecting deliveries of 24 aircraft next month.

But following modifications to the 787 Dreamliners by Boeing, American aviation authority the FAA has given the green light for a return to service and for deliveries to resume.

Boeing's 787 programme vice president and general manager Larry Loftis said he was confident the improvement work would mean the safety of the aircraft would be guaranteed.

But he added: "It is possible we may never know the root cause [of the battery failure]".

Mr Loftis couldn't give an exact timescale for the UK carriers to get their deliveries of the Dreamliner but said that Boeing was involved in "detailed conversations" with airlines.

He added that planes could be delivered "within weeks".

Flying out of Glasgow, Manchester, Gatwick and East Midlands Airports, Thomson's eight Dreamliners were scheduled to operate routes to Mexico and Florida from 1 May.

British Airways was planning on replacing the 767s with the Dreamliners while Virgin Atlantic has plans to buy 16 Dreamliners in September 2014.

The aircraft can seat between 210 and 290 passengers on medium-range routes.

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