Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, which is supposed to be the most fuel efficient Airlines, hasn’t stayed in the skies for long due to its lithium-ion battery issues. Recently, the 787 Dreamliners have had overheating battery problems in January due to which they had to halt services. Two of the aircrafts from Japan, one All Nippon Airlines and the other being Japanese Airlines, had to be grounded due to electrical fire in the batteries. Later, the entire 787 Dreamliner fleet was grounded totaling 50 planes, which has cost Boeing about $600 million.
Leading engineers and battery experts made alterations to the electrical systems. Boeing stated they put ten teams of about 30 engineers worldwide to fix the problem. The engineers covered the batteries in a stainless steel box. They redesigned the batteries to reduce the chances of short circuit. They installed new and higher quality batteries, battery chargers, and exhaust systems in order to help in the occurrence of overheating.
Boeing expressed that they went in great depths to discover the reason behind the problem; however, the quality control and maintenance sectors failed to detect the potential cause of the electrical fire. Furthermore, Boeing chairman and chief executive also stated that the repairs of these 50 planes will be finished by the end of April, and they will start deliveries of 787 in next month, May. He further asserted, “Our first priority in the days ahead is to fully restore our customers’ 787 fleets to service and resume production deliveries.” The plane will then be safe to fly, authorities have stated. But the question of the cause still remains a problem.
The Dreamliner has done good business, especially in Asia and the Middle East as they depend on long-range flights more and since the airline is made up of lighter weight composite materials and provides great fuel economy. But since experts could not untangle the enigma behind the fires, people may still be skeptic about trusting the safety of the planes. This could even result in people switching to planes with conventional technology rather than the innovative, yet malfunctioning 787s, which can highly damage Dreamliner’s predicted sales.
Moreover, Larry Loftis vice president and general manager of the 787 program mentioned that there is a possibility that they may never be able to find the real cause. Nonetheless, he declared that this calamity will not impact the expansion of other jets and “would not derail Boeing’s plans to double 787 production to 10 a month by the end of the year.” He even announced that this will also not postpone the upcoming edition of the 787, known as 787-9.
With that said, how would this affect the time ahead for 787? How would this tarnish its image and hurt future sales? Should they alter their forecasted sales due to this incident?