Many airlines still back Boeing’s latest model


SINGAPORE — Airlines in Singapore, Australia and South Korea stood by their Dreamliner orders Wednesday, expressing confidence in Boeing’s latest model after Japan’s two biggest airlines grounded it. The planes were grounded after an ANA Dreamliner made an emergency landing in southwest Japan on Wednesday due to a battery problem, the latest in a string of safety scares for the next-generation 787. Aviation regulators in the United States, Japan and India have launched probes but Boeing insists the plane is safe and airlines quickly expressed confidence the firm would resolve any issues. Scoot, a budget long-haul unit of Singapore Airlines, reaffirmed its order for 20 of the high-tech aircraft. “Boeing has kept us fully informed about the performance of the 787 since we committed to acquire the aircraft,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident that Boeing’s ongoing performance monitoring and external review process will identify and resolve any issues, and look forward to taking delivery of our first 787 on schedule in late 2014.” Australia’s Qantas said it remained confident any problems would be resolved before it took delivery of 15 Dreamliner jets destined for its low-cost offshoot Jetstar in the second half of this year. Korean Air, which has 10 B787-9 planes on order, said it carried out stringent tests before putting any new aircraft into service and it still intended to operate the Dreamliner from late 2016. “Problems are bound to occur when new aircraft are being developed and put into operation. Recent problems involving the B787 are no different,” a Korean Air spokesman said.

“The B787-9 model we are about to put into service beginning late 2016 … is better than any other aircraft in terms of efficiency and safety and will have no problems operating.” The fuel-efficient Dreamliner has been sought after in Asia to combat soaring fuel costs and Japan Airlines has another 38 Dreamliners on order. Air China has ordered 15 of the planes, while China Southern and Hainan Airlines await deliveries of 10 each. Air India has taken delivery of five, according to Boeing’s website. Indonesia’s Lion Air, which has ordered five 787s for its affiliate Batik Air, declined to say if it was reviewing the order. Air New Zealand, which has an order for 10 Dreamliners, declined comment.