The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner came to market years late and billions over budget. And given the variety of problems the aircraft has exhibited since it arrived, perhaps deliveries should have been delayed even more.
Last night, a United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) Dreamliner headed for Newark from Houston made an emergency landing in New Orleans just 13 days after the plane was delivered. No cause for the detour has been given.
According to The Wall Street Journal:
Separately [from last night’s incident], the Federal Aviation Administration is mandating checks to the 787’s fuel lines after the discovery of improper connectors—and in some cases incorrect or extra parts—installed in the factory. The company said Tuesday that half the world-wide fleet of nearly 40 jets has been inspected.
Through the end of November, net orders in 2012 for the 787 total minus 16, with 44 new orders and 60 cancellations for the year so far. Boeing has delivered 30 of the aircraft so far this year and claims 805 of the planes remain to be delivered. The company’s website indicates that a total of 33 Dreamliners have been delivered.
The Dreamliner has had problems with its carbon-fiber composite body, its General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) engines and even an electrical fire during a test flight in late 2010. And customers are staying away in droves.
Is the Dreamliner just too complex to fly safely? There’s no argument that the plane represents a host of technological advances, but should the airlines be doing Boeing’s final round of testing while flying passengers?
Boeing’s shares are down 1% in premarket trading this morning at $73.45 in a 52-week range of $66.82 to $77.83.