Japanese carrier ANA to test Dreamliner
Tokyo, April 27, 2013
Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) will conduct a test flight of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner tomorrow, as it prepares to bring back passengers on a plane that was grounded across the world following incidents of batteries overheating.
The test flight by ANA, the Dreamliner's top customer, comes after US and Japanese authorities gave approval for flights to resume and will be the first of some 230 flights the airline has planned before allowing the jet to carry passengers.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Connor and ANA Group chief executive Shinichiro Ito will be on board tomorrow's flight.
ANA has yet to decide when commercial flights would restart, president Osamu Shinobe said, but he reiterated the Dreamliner would remain a core part of its fleet strategy.
"I believe that safety has been secured now, but only by flying the 787 smoothly will we be able to demonstrate its safety and reassure our passengers," Hiroyuki Ito, ANA senior executive vice-president said.
Local rival Japan Airlines (JAL) said it would start its own test programme from May with the aim of using the jets to carry passengers again from June. JAL has seven Dreamliner planes.
Boeing will hold a news conference in Tokyo today. Mike Sinnett, Boeing's chief project engineer for the 787, is scheduled to brief media.
Ethiopian Airlines is set to become the world's first carrier to resume flying the Dreamliner, with a commercial flight today to neighbouring Kenya.
ANA, which has 17 Dreamliner jets, has not said how much the grounding has cost the company, though it said it was losing $868,300 in revenue per plane in the last two weeks of January.-Reuters