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'No plans to cancel' Dreamliner orders.

By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker yesterday played down concerns over Boeing's new 787 aircraft and dismissed series of incidents involving the Dreamliner as "teething problems".

"Dreamliner is a fantastic, revolutionary state-of-the-art aircraft. Boeing has taken a huge leap in technology, which others were shy to do. We have no plans to cancel our orders," al-Baker told reporters here yesterday.

"There will be small teething problems from time to time but this is foreseen with any new aircraft programme. Since the first issue we had with our newly delivered 787, we have had no other technical issues with the fleet of five Dreamliners we are operating now," al-Baker said.

Qatar Airways is the largest customer of the carbon composite aircraft with five service and another 55 on order with the Chicago-based Boeing.

Al-Baker said the problems with Dreamliner over the last few days were "isolated" affecting different parts of the aircraft.

"If you have a consistent problem with one component repeatedly then there would be a cause for concern." Japan's All Nippon Airways cancelled a Dreamliner flight scheduled to fly from Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan to Tokyo yesterday due to brake problems.

This came just a day after a fuel leak forced a 787 operated by Japan Airlines to cancel its take-off at Boston's Logan International Airport. An electrical fire on another 787 forced cancellation of a JAL flight to Boston from Tokyo.

Al-Baker said "the incidents at Logan may have been isolated.

"It could be a production issue with one of the components which caused the smoke. I am sure if it was something serious, the F would have grounded airplanes. This was not the case, so it could be that this was an isolated issue." Al-Baker said, "When we have to start grounding planes, then it becomes an issue and then they (Boeing) have to get their cheque book out," Baker said.

Dreamliner, which has a fuselage made of composite materials, entered commercial service late in 2011, more than three years behind schedule.

Gulf Times Newspaper 2012

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jan 9, 2013
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