Qatar Airways grounds a Boeing 787

December 14, 2012 - 4:37:55 am

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker poses for a photograph in the Business Class cabin of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner after it arrived on its inaugural flight at Heathrow Airport in London yesterday. Qatar Airways is the first airline to operate scheduled Dreamliner flights to and from the UK. 

LONDON: Qatar Airways has been forced to ground one of its three Boeing 787 Dreamliners after it found the same problem that recently forced a United Airlines Dreamliner to make an emergency landing, its CEO said.

“One of our Dreamliners has the same problem that the United plane had and I am very disappointed with Boeing,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said in an interview at London’s Heathrow airport yesterday.

We will demand compensation (from Boeing)... we are buying planes from them to use them, not to put in a museum.”

He said the plane, which has been grounded since December 9, would not fly until next week after a Boeing team had repaired the fault.

Boeing said it was working to replace electrical components so the jet could return to service, but said it was not yet clear if the issue was identical to the one that affected the United flight 

last week.

On December 4, a brand new United Airlines Dreamliner with 184 people aboard was forced to make an emergency landing after one of six power generators failed.

Boeing said its technicians “would evaluate the findings in Qatar to understand the root cause of this issue and take the appropriate next steps.”

Qatar Airways, which received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner earlier this month, has placed orders for 60 Dreamliners — 30 firm and an option for 30 more. It currently has a fleet of three 787 jets.

Al Baker said he was concerned that two airlines finding the same fault may indicate the presence of a wider, systemic problem with the US made jets. “Two aircraft having the same major problem so quickly is a cause of concern,” Al Baker said. “Boeing need to get their act together because the delay of more than three years in delivery forced us to slow our expansion plans.” The mechanical issues, while not uncommon for airlines, are another headache for Boeing — a company still working to overcome the negative perception of production problems that delayed delivery of the 787 by 3-1/2 years. REUTERS