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Dreamliner back in the clouds
Qatar Airways resumes flights with Boeing's aircrafts.
May 2, 2013 5:57 by kippreport
On January 16 of this year, eight carriers around the world were forced to ground their fleet of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, after two lithium-ion battery meltdowns occurred on two separate airlines. Approximately three months later (early April), U.S. regulators approved a new battery design clearing the way for the aircrafts to fly once again.
Ethiopian Airlines was the first to resume its operations and Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, is the latest to announce its continuation.
The outspoken chief of the Doha-based airline says regulators have overreacted and the plane ‘should never have been grounded’. He also tells local media he’s unhappy about their fast-paced and steady expansion plans being stifled. More specifically, the chief is upset the company’s plans to launch 15 new routes are being scuppered, meaning they’ll have to settle for 10.
“The aircraft shouldn’t have been grounded,” Akbar Al Baker told reporters at a press conference in Dubai. “I think there was a reaction by the regulators because of the unnecessary emergency evacuation of the Japanese aircraft.”
Speaking to local media as the aircraft returned to service for the first time – Al Baker said the Gulf carrier would now have to ‘claw’ back new destinations and he expects Boeing to compensate them and other affected airlines for their losses during the delay.
Although he blames the U.S. plane manufacturer, he does insist that he, like many others, has complete faith in them and the safety of their aircraft. He says he ‘really does believe’ it is one of the safest planes and even if the battery problem happened again – which he insists it wouldn’t – it would be ‘very limited and not affect safety’.
“The Dreamliner is so safe, I’ll fly with you today, and anytime,” he said.