Dreamliner: Airlines Warned Of Delay Risk

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Boeing (NYSE: BA - news) has sent out letters to air carriers expecting delivery of its Dreamliner plane in the next three months revealing its "deep regrets" of possible delays.

Boeing said: "We have informed our customers expecting 787 deliveries in the near term that those aircraft either have been or are at risk of being delayed.

"We are staying in close communication with our customers as we work towards an approved means of compliance with the FAA Airworthiness Directive and develop a plan for resumption of 787 deliveries.

"But we do not discuss specifics about individual airline deliveries in the media."

It added: "Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the schedules of our customers and their passengers."

Thomson Airways is one of those carriers which was expecting imminent delivery of the composite-construction plane.

It earlier confirmed to Sky that a delivery date for the 787 was now uncertain.

The Dreamliner was grounded globally on January 16 after the aircraft was hit by battery fires and other technical issues.

"Thomson Airways has not yet been given a new delivery date for its first 787 Dreamliner by Boeing," the travel company said in a statement.

"Our priority is to ensure our customers go on their holidays and we are, therefore, putting contingency plans in place including using alternative aircraft for our long-haul flights to Mexico and Florida if delivery is delayed beyond the end of March.

The airline added: "Boeing is doing everything it can to resolve the situation. We appreciate that there are many customers who are looking forward to flying on the Dreamliner but unfortunately these circumstances are out of our control.

"Once we have finalised our contingency plans we will contact customers whose flights may be affected."

Investigators have undertaken CT scans of the fault-hit batteries to ascertain if the fires were caused by electrical or chemical problems.

A report on Friday indicated that thermal runaway in one shorted cell cascaded to nearby cells, with a temperature exceeding 260C (500F).

According to Reuters, aircraft rival Airbus (Paris: NL0000235190 - news) is now considering dropping lithium-Ion batteries and switching back to traditional units on its new A350 aircraft as safety investigators probe the battery incidents.

BA and Virgin Atlantic are expecting deliveries of the troubled aircraft but both airlines confirmed to Sky that they do not expect delays in deliveries.

Virgin is due to receive the first of its Dreamliners in summer of 2014, while BA is expected to take its first delivery in May.

Earlier on Friday Nordic budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle revealed a delay risk to its fleet.

On Thursday US aviation safety officials permitted Boeing to undertake limited test flights of the plane.

Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) have revealed a loss of millions of pounds in revenue after their Dreamliner fleets were grounded.

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