Boeing customer frustrated with 787 Dreamliner problem

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News Aviation Specialist

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 13 at 9:02 PM

SEATTLE -- The CEO for Qatar Airways said Thursday that the airline's newest 787 is sitting on the ground with a generator problem that appears identical to the one that forced a 13-day-old United 787 to make an emergency landing in New Orleans last week.

Akbar Al Baker, one of the most outspoken CEOs in the business, said from London, “I think these major problems should have been overcome by now.” 

“We have an aircraft that’s sitting on the ground for the last five days, and we are disappointed," he added.
 
The plane in question is the third 787 delivered to Qatar Airways out of the 60 ordered by the airline. Qatar Airways began flights between London and Doha today using its two other 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing said last week that a generator issue was behind a scare that caused the pilots of United’s third 787 to declare and emergency and divert to New Orleans. The pilots were concerned enough to ask firefighters on the ground to look for discoloration of the plane’s skin or dripping plastic from the area behind the wing, which houses many of the major components that drive the plane’s sophisticated electronics.

The 787 is a so-called fly-by-wire airplane, which means control surfaces like ailerons, flaps and the rudder are controlled electronically rather than mechanical cables.

A source familiar with 787 investigation said a software problem could be a contributing factor. Boeing did not return calls seeking comment on the Qatar Airways plane.

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