The one thing that must send shudders through Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) management and its board is that the 787 Dreamliner could be taken out of service because of a series of accidents. The nightmare came true after an ANA Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Japan.
Boeing has staked its reputation, which is now in tatters, and its financial fortunes, which are now in jeopardy, on the success of the aircraft that is made mostly of composite material and uses more electronic systems than any commercial aircraft in the past.
Boeing must now contend with the issue that other large airlines that use the Dreamliner, or are about to take delivery, will ground the planes as well. The FAA may also use the Japan accident as precedent and ground the 787 as well.
Boeing shares have taken only minor hits because of problems with the Dreamliner. Boeing engineers, aircraft experts and several Wall St. analysts have defended problems with the jet as routine for a new airplane. The power of those defenses is now over.
According to Reuters:
Japan’s two leading airlines grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s on Wednesday after one of the Dreamliner passenger jets made an emergency landing, the latest and most serious in a series of incidents to heighten safety concerns over a plane many see as the future of commercial aviation.
All Nippon Airways Co said instruments aboard a domestic flight indicated a battery error, triggering emergency warnings to the pilots. It said the battery in the forward cargo hold was the same lithium-ion type as one involved in a fire on another Dreamliner at a U.S. airport last week.
Douglas A. McIntyre