It seems the 787 and Norway can’t get along. On Saturday Norwegian took one of its new 787s out of service and demanded that Boeing repair the plane after it suffered repeated breakdowns. This is after a series of breakdowns and issues. The airline, once again, hired an Airbus A340 to operate the flights the 787 was meant to operate.As if to underscore the 787 concerns and Norway in general, a LOT 787 en-route from Toronto to Warsaw was not given permission to overfly Norway after its identification system failed. Normally this is not a cause for an aircraft to land immediately. The LOT flight landed in Keflavik in Iceland. “The aircraft had to land due to an air identification system fault. The Norwegian authorities have refused permission to fly over its territory, even though other countries gave permission to fly over theirs,” LOT spokesperson Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras said. Norway does not seem to give the 787 any slack.
LOT is already in discussions with Boeing over the 787 delays it has had to deal with. The drip-drip-drip of 787-related issues have clearly worn relations between Boeing and its customers. LOT, as an unprofitable airline, cannot sustain operational cost impacts the 787 has brought. The Iceland issue required two other aircraft to be flown to pick the passengers.
Boeing is clearly uncomfortable. The company’s unflappable VP Marketing Randy Tinseth is quoted saying “Today, the reliability of the 787 is better than 95 percent. It’s not as good as we’d like to see it. It’s not as good as our customers would like to see it. So we’re looking at ways to improve that reliability over time. Every plane that we bring to the market clearly or oftentimes has issues as we go through the maturation process. The 787 has been no exception to that. Clearly we’ve had some challenges on 787 reliability and we’re focused on making that reliability better.”
Once again Boeing’s 787 is attracting negative attention for its 95% dispatch reliability, which is well below the 99% airlines want and need, and well below that of other Boeing products, which are consistently among industry leaders. The problems appear to be resulting from delays, re-work and abnormal manufacturing processes that clearly impacted quality control for early airplanes, and initial 787 customers are bearing the brunt of those issues as the find their dream-liners turning into a nightmare. Boeing needs to step up to the plate to bring its reliability levels to those of its more conventional models or face continuing compensation issues with carriers plagued by delays and the need to bring in high cost short-term replacement lift. The 787 is well behind where it should be from a reliability standpoint at this point in its service life, and most “teething” problems should have been worked out by now.