Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
A pair of major new suppliers for Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets identified themselves last week in a sign that program advancement continues apace despite the airframer’s reservations about communicating any details about its plans for an industrial launch or even performance specifications.
A new survey by the University of North Dakota Aviation Department suggests that young people are being turned off by the prospect of a career as an airline pilot. Just under one third of the 205 student respondents (32 percent) said they are now reconsidering their plans to become an airline pilot. A further 8 percent said that they have already abandoned this career path.
Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva said he sees requests for proposals coming from U.S. airlines for between 200 and 400 regional jets in the 70- to 76-seat market segment as relaxed scope clauses continue to drive demand on this side of the Atlantic while a “pause” in Europe takes hold.
Battery system modifications to the world’s Boeing 787s continued at a steady pace while details of plans for service resumptions gradually began to emerge by the time Qatar Airways flew one of its five airplanes on a route between Doha and Dubai last Wednesday.
Another sign of what Embraer CEO Frederico Curado has characterized as a resurgent regional jet market appeared last week, when United Airlines inked a firm order for 30 of the Brazilian manufacturer’s E175s. The deal, which includes options on another 40 of the 76-seat airplanes, marks the first move by United to exploit its newfound freedom to alter the composition of its regional jet network since its pilots agreed to relax the scope clause in their labor contract last December.
Qatar Airways became the second Boeing 787 customer to return a Dreamliner to service after a worldwide grounding of the fleet in January as Flight QR116 took off from Doha for Dubai Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. local time.
United Airlines has moved to exploit newfound freedom to alter the composition of its regional jet network with a tentative deal to add 30 new Embraer E175s to the United Express fleet.
The effort toward returning the Boeing 787 to service enters a new phase this week as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration digests a formal proposal issued last Friday during what the manufacturer characterized as a productive meeting between BCA president and CEO Ray Conner and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Neither Boeing nor the FAA would comment on the substance of the proposal, widely believed to center on a modification of the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries meant to prevent fire from spreading from one cell to another.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for Chicago and its surrounding region has publicly charged United Airlines and American Airlines with running “sham” business operations conceived to circumvent city and RTA sales taxes. In a lawsuit filed against United last week, the RTA–a municipal corporation of government that oversees the Chicago area’s public transportation departments–claimed that the airline established shell offices in the town of Sycamore, Illinois, where it pays a total tax rate of 8 percent.