Etihad chief remains upbeat on 787s despite groundings

Etihad chief remains upbeat on 787s despite groundings
Artist's impression of an Etihad B787.
Published: 19 January 2014 - 5:49 a.m.
By: Beatrice Thomas

Etihad chief James Hogan has described the grounding of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner by Japan Airlines as "one of those challenges" with new planes but believed it will be a "great aircraft".

A probe has began into the incident after Japan Airlines staff spotted white smoke outside the grounded plane at Narita International Airport and a battery cell showed clear signs of leaking.

It is the latest incident involving the 787 after the global Dreamliner fleet was grounded by regulators in January 2013 following the overheating of two batteries, forcing Boeing to make design changes.

Etihad has 71 787s on order, with the first to arrive at the end of the year, and is the manufacturer's biggest airline customer of the product.

"The 787 is going to be a great aircraft," Hogan told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Etihad Regional airline launch inZurich.

"If you look through the history of aviation - that's why don't get in the front of the queue - all the types have their issues: the A380 had the wiring issue, the A340 had the rudder issue and that was grounded for months, so that's one of those challenges," he said.

"We're going to be the largest operator of the 787 product. We take our first 787 at the end of this year - I'm looking forward to bringing the aircraft on board."

Launched in April 2004, the 787 family received its 1000th order when Etihad announced a deal to buy 30 more 787 Dreamliners at the Dubai Airshow in November.


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