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Grounding of Dreamliner won't have lasting impact, experts say

January 17, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • Workers investigate a fire in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines at Boston's Logan International Airport.
Workers investigate a fire in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan… (Associated Press )

Boeing's much-heralded 787 Dreamliner has suffered a series of mechanical problems -- including fires and fuel leaks -- but some experts say the reputation of Boeing and the plane won't suffer long-term damage.

After All Nippon Airways aborted the takeoff of a 787 in Japan on Wednesday because of battery problems, the Federal Aviation Administration called on all U.S. airlines to temporarily ground the planes.

Days earlier, Japan Airlines reported a battery fire in a Dreamliner in Boston. Both airlines have grounded the plane, which was touted by the manufacturer for being much quieter and more fuel efficient than other jets.

FULL COVERAGE: Boeing's troubled Dreamliner

Despite the glitches, airline experts say they don't expect any long-term impact on Boeing Co. and the eight airlines that now operate 50 Dreamliners around the world.

“The issue may be a quality control problem at the battery manufacturer, which would be easily correctable, or maybe a design problem with the component, which would take longer to correct but still not be a major setback,” said Jan Brueckner, an economics professor at UC Irvine. “Either way, this seems more like a bad version of a new-plane glitch rather than a major fault in the aircraft.”

George Hobica, founder of the travel website Airfarewatchdog.com, agreed.

"Two years from now, no one will remember this,” he said. “People still rode on ocean liners after the Titanic sank.”

ALSO:

Boeing 787 to undergo safety review

Boeing 787 Dreamliner problems weigh on fliers

Japan Airlines reports fuel leak in beleaguered Boeing Dreamliner

Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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