All Nippon Airways Cancels 1,700 Dreamliner Flights After FAA Grounds Planes
By Carey Vanderborg | February 26, 2013 8:18 AM EST
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is once again hitting turbulence as Japan’s All Nippon Airways said Monday it will cancel all flights on the widebody jet.
The cancellation comes after international regulators grounded all Dreamliners in January so that safety checks could be carried out on their lithium-ion batteries after two fires broke out.
ANA is canceling more than 1,700 flights in April and May, a period that includes Japan's Golden Week holiday. March flights were canceled already.
The Tokyo-based airline has 17 Boeing (NYSE: BA) Dreamliners – more than any other airline – and all of them have been grounded since Jan. 16 because of the risk of battery fires.
Boeing gave the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday its plan to fix the battery problems, which reportedly involves a significant redesign of the battery pack with new ceramic insulation around each of the battery's eight cells.
According to a Seattle Times report, the fix also involves using a system of venting tubes that in case of an incident would channel any flammable vapors or liquids directly out of the plane, and continuous monitoring of the temperature and voltage of individual cells within the battery.
While Boeing hopes the fix could allow Dreamliners to be back flying by mid-April, industry analysts suggest it could take longer, as getting approval for the redesigned batteries could take several months.
"Recertification suggests time,'' Carter Leake, an aerospace analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, told BBC News.
After spending an initial $32 billion on the Dreamliner project, Boeing reportedly continues to shell out compensation to airlines that have been forced to cancel flights.
Last week, Australian carrier Qantas said it had received 125 million Australian dollars (US$129m; £85m) compensation from the Boeing over the grounded 787s.
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