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Qatar Airways grounds entire fleet until further notice


January 20, 2013 10:11 by

Qatar Airways, the largest customer for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the Middle East, has grounded its entire fleet of five 787s until the safety of the plane is confirmed.

The airline said in a statement on Thursday it was following instructions from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The FAA grounded Boeing’s newest commercial airliner on Wednesday, saying airlines would have to demonstrate that lithium-ion batteries were safe before the planes could resume flying. It gave no details on when that might happen. Other national regulators have followed suit.

Fast-growing Qatar Airways, which is enjoying a civil aviation boom in the Gulf, has an order for up to 60 of the aircraft – 30 firm orders plus an option to acquire 30 more.

“In light of recent events surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, we are actively working with Boeing and the regulators to restore full customer confidence in the 787,” Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker said in the statement.

He said the airline would resume flying the 787 when it was clear that the plane was safe.

The statement did not say whether Qatar Airways might demand compensation from Boeing. Last month, after one of the airline’s 787s had a problem with a power generator, Baker said he would seek compensation.

Last week, Baker said he had no plans at the moment to cancel any plane orders with Boeing, but added: “When we have to start grounding planes, then it becomes an issue and then they have to get their cheque book out.”


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