Qatar Airways grounds Dreamliners

17 January 2013

Decision follows advice from US aviation authorities

Qatar Airways is grounding its fleet of the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, following recommendations set out by US aviation authorities.

The decision follows concerns surrounding the batteries used in the aircraft after Japan’s Nippon Airways made an emergency landing due to a malfunctioning battery on 16 January.

Nippon grounded its 17-strong fleet of Dreamliners, with Japan Airways quickly following suit.

The US aviation authorities have issued instructions that require all US 787 operators to cease operations, and recommended other regulatory agencies to follow suit. European regulators have issued similar statements.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker, confirmed that all five of its 787 aircraft were temporarily grounded, issuing a statement saying: “I previously stated that Qatar Airways will only stop operating our Dreamliners if we receive such an instruction from regulators”.

“Safety remains the number one priority for Qatar Airways. We ensure all our aircraft meet the most stringent safety standards and this will not be compromised in any way.”

Airlines in Chile and India also halted their 787 flights.

Concerns surrounding the safety of Boeing’s Dreamliners have been growing, with a string of incidents afflicting the aircraft model in recent months, including fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window and an electrical fire.

The Dreamliner model had been promoted as the next generation of aircraft due to its more efficient use of fuel. Airlines have been keen to buy Dreamliners as they promised to be cheaper to run.

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