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Problems seem not to affect deals
Late last week, Boeing Corporation stated that they have high hopes of getting their redesigned battery tested and certified in record time, thereby allowing the fifty B787 airplanes owned by various airlines to resume operations in weeks.
The comments were made by Boeing’s chief engineer, Mike Sinnet, at a briefing in Tokyo. The approval for testing was given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US and the fortified battery is through one-third of the certification process.
The chief engineer said that they haven’t found a single root cause for the problems that have occurred, therefore, the new battery was ‘fortified’ to withstand 80 kinds of battery malfunctions to cover known possible scenarios.
Nevertheless, an official at the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (CAB) said that the ongoing investigation was at an early stage and such claims are premature. The Safety Director at the bureau, Shigeru Takano, stated that the comment was inappropriate and they cannot say definitively when the airplanes will start flying. The CAB is the body which will assess and give final approval for the use of the new battery.
Meanwhile, reports suggested that Japanese Transport Ministry indicated that they thought it is possible that the B787 will be flying in a matter of weeks.
If the new battery is approved, it will take Boeing a week to install the batteries per plane and add a special vent to the system to counter any gases produced by overheating, which may have compounded the original problem. The installation will be done on-site, and according to the order they were delivered, due to the limited space at Boeing’s facility to accommodate all 50 airplanes.
Capital approached Ethiopian Airlines for comments but was notified that Ethiopian had no information on the subject at the present time.
Interestingly, Boeing’s shares in the market has not dropped but in fact increased by 11 percent, and so has the shares of Air Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL).
Meanwhile, Boeing received a big boost with the signing of a USD 15.6 billion deal with Ryanair for an additional order of 175 B737 airplanes. Currently, the going price is around USD 90 million per aircraft, but large customers usually receive big discounts and the actual sale price has yet to be revealed. Pundits have opined that most probably Ryanair will pay half of that amount for the airplanes it has ordered.