After US aircraft regulators approved its new battery design last week, Boeing has begun the process of replacing the batteries on the near 50 strong grounded 787 Dreamliner fleet. Although British Airways does not yet have any 787s in its fleet, it does have a total of 40 on order with the first aircraft set to be delivered some time later this year. No date has yet been given for the delivery of its first 787, nor has there been any announcement as to where and when the first operational flights will operate, although we expect flights to commence in late autumn across the Atlantic, replacing some of the airline’s oldest 767 aircraft.
Despite this lack of information from British Airways, the airline have at least confirmed the seating layout for the first version of the Dreamliner, the 787-8 series (see below), while photos have also recently become available online showing the first aircraft receiving its paint job.
The 787 has been grounded since January after problems occurred on a number of different aircraft. These problems were linked to the aircraft’s use of ground breaking lithium-ion batteries which are lighter, more powerful and quicker to re-charge than existing aircraft batteries. It is thought that the grounding of the entire 787 fleet has already cost Boeing some $600 million as well as denting confidence in the aircraft.
Despite these problems, there have been few if any cancellations of aircraft orders from airlines while British Airways actually confirmed an option for an additional 18 of the aircraft very recently.