Dreamliners need more inspections

Bookmark and Share

Norway’s embattled low-fare airline Norwegian faces more possible disruption on its new intercontinental routes, after cracks were found in the wings of 43 brand-new Boeing 787 Dreamliners that haven’t yet been delivered. Norwegian is due to take delivery of four of them this spring, and now they may be delayed.

Norwegian Air's first new Boeing 787 Dreamliner finally landed at Oslo's main airport at Gardermoen on June 30. The airline has now begun testing them before putting them into service on Norwegian's new long-distance routes to Bangkok, New York and Fort Lauderdale. PHOTO: Norwegian Air

Norwegian Air’s first new Boeing 787 Dreamliner finally landed at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen on June 30, nearly two months delayed. The airline now has three Dreamliners in service but has also experienced ongoing flight disruption because of various problems with them, and now faces more trouble ahead . PHOTO: Norwegian Air

Norwegian officials said over the weekend that they can’t rule out more delivery delays from Boeing, and may need to lease other aircraft to fly the airline’s new and expanding intercontinental routes. Among them are the looming introduction of routes to both Oakland, California and Los Angeles.

Anne-Sissel Skånvik, communications director for Norwegian, preferred to remain optimistic that the four Dreamliners due this spring will indeed arrive. “When Boeing agrees on deliveries with us, it’s always within a window (of time) with room for delays,” Skånvik told newspaper Aftenposten on Monday. “We expect that these deliveries will also occur within that window.” She confirmed that Norwegian’s four new Dreamliners due for delivery are among the 43 found to have cracks.

Newspaper Financial Times (FT) reported that Boeing claimed the wing cracks won’t affect plans for delivery of 110 new Dreamliners this year. Any delays, Boeing said, should only amount to “a few weeks.”

Boeing officials earlier said the cracks were discovered during test flights of 43 new Dreamliners. The wings were produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, which alerted Boeing to the possible cracks in February.

All the aircraft are now undergoing inspection by Boeing in the US. No wing cracks have been found in any of the Dreamliners already delivered and in service.

The wing cracks are the latest in a long string of trouble with the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, on which Norwegian based the long-haul service it launched last year. As a result, Norwegian has been plagued by flight delays and cancellations, angry passengers and harsh criticism from consumer advocates and government authorities.

The head of Norway’s consumer council (Forbrukerrådet) called over the weekend on aviation authority Luftfartsstilsynet to punish Norwegian for its poor customer relations in the wake of massive flight disruptions since last summer. Transport authorities, meanwhile, face a record number of passenger complaints against Norwegian.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund