Nightmare for Dreamliner Part 2: Japan

January 16, 2013

Dreamliner

As noted in a previous post, it does take time to work out technical problems. As aviation analyst Brendan Sobie stated: “There are always teething problems with new aircraft and airlines often are reluctant to be the launch customer of any new airplanes. We saw it with other airplane types, like the A380 but the issues with the A380 were different.” But the situation has been getting worse for Boeing and its Dreamliner with each passing day. On January 16, 2013, pilots smelled something burning and executed an emergency landing of a Boeing 787 in Japan. One person suffered minor injuries while using an exit ramp. The two Japanese airlines that use the Dreamliner both voluntarily pulled the planes from service for further investigation. Below are the announcements from All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines.

[Apology] Operation of ANA692
ANA 692 from Yamaguchi Ube to Haneda, Boeing 787, made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport at 8:47 (JST) on Wednesday, 16 January due to technical problem. All 137 passengers and crew were evacuated safely from the aircraft. The event was registered as a serious incident by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). ANA will cooperate fully with the Japan Transport Safety Board, relevant authorities and Boeing to investigate the cause of the incident. All ANA flights operated by Boeing 787 have been cancelled and ANA’s fleet of 787 aircraft will remain grounded further notice.
We sincerely apologize to people concerned for the inconvenience and concern caused by this incident.
Please check your flight status here.
January 16, 2013
All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.
Inquiries
Please contact ANA International Reservation and Information Center in your respective area.

Apology and Notice: Regarding JAL´s Operations of the 787-8 Aircraft
In response to an incident involving a 787-8 aircraft operated by another airline on January 16, 2013, JAL decided to cancel the operations of our fleet of 787-8 departing Japan the same day and January 17, 2013 to ensure complete safety. Operations of JAL´s 787-8 aircraft from January 18, 2013 will be decided after further assessment of the situation with the investigations.
We sincerely apologize to all customers and related-parties for the inconvenience and concerns caused.
Safety is of utmost importance to Japan Airlines and we ensure that every departing aircraft meets all safety standards before flight operations. Please be assured on your future travel with us.
For the operational status of affected flights, please refer to the following website for the latest updates.
January 16, 2013
Japan Airlines

Boeing’s response was “Boeing is aware of the diversion of a 787 operated by ANA to Takamatsu in western Japan. We will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies.”
Below are other statements Japan Airlines has made as a result of problems with the Dreamliner:

Apology and Notice: Cancellation of Flight JL007 on January 7, 2013
On January 7, 2013 (local time), after JL008 arrived at Boston Logan International Airport from Tokyo (Narita) and after all passengers and crew members had disembarked the aircraft, smoke was detected in the aft section of the aircraft’s cabin. The fire department was called and a fire found to be from the auxiliary power unit battery located in the aft electronics bay (outside of the cabin) was extinguished. The outbound flight JL007 scheduled to depart that day was consequently cancelled. The cause of the incident is currently being investigated and additionally, subsequent to the event, Japan Airlines initiated and completed inspections on all other Boeing 787 aircraft in its fleet the following morning and found no irregularities.
We sincerely apologize for the concern and inconvenience caused to our valuable customers.
Safety is of utmost importance to Japan Airlines and we will continue striving to ensure safe operations of each and every flight, and on all our aircraft types including the 787 Dreamliner. Please be assured on your future travel with us.

January 10, 2013
Japan Airlines

Apology and Notice: Delay of Flight JL007 on January 8, 2013
On January 8, 2013 (local time), flight JL007 was preparing for take-off after departing Boston Logan International Airport bound for Tokyo (Narita), when a fuel system trouble required the aircraft to return to the gate. Necessary maintenance was performed on the aircraft and after ensuring that flight operations were safe, JL007 was cleared for departure and departed Boston 3 hours and 46 minutes later than scheduled at 3.46p.m. (East Coast Time). The flight arrived at Tokyo (Narita) on January 9, at 7.31 p.m. (Japan Standard Time). The cause of the fuel system trouble is currently being investigated.
We sincerely apologize for the concern and inconvenience caused to our valuable customers as a result of this mechanical issue.
Safety is of utmost importance to Japan Airlines, and we will continue striving to ensure safe operations of each and every flight and with all aircraft types including the 787 Dreamliner. Please be assured on your future travel with us.

January 10, 2013
Japan Airlines

Apology and Notice:
January 13, 2013: Aircraft Undergoing Maintenance Encounters Fuel System Trouble
On January 13, 2013, a Boeing 787-8 aircraft that had a fuel system trouble in Boston Logan International Airport on January 8, 2013, was at Narita Airport undergoing maintenance as part of inspections for that case when a different fuel system trouble occurred. This aircraft is not scheduled to be in service today and there are no effects on other flight schedules. The cause of the two cases is currently being investigated.
We sincerely apologize to our customers and all related parties for the inconvenience and concerns cause.
Safety is of utmost importance to Japan Airlines and we will ensure that every departing aircraft including the Boeing 787-8, meets all safety standards before flight operations. Please be assured on your future travel with us.

January 13, 2013
Japan Airlines

Questions to Consider

1. How have the recent events in Japan changed the situation for Boeing? What theories can be used to explain that change?
2. How would you rate the effectiveness of the response by ANA? What is the basis for your evaluation?
3. How would you rate the effectiveness of the response by Japan Airlines? What is the basis for your evaluation?
4. How would you rate the effectiveness of the response by Boeing? What is the basis for your evaluation?
5. How might the exists of multiple events for Japan Airlines created new demands for their crisis response?
6. Is there still any value in using experts saying problems are common with new planes in the risk communication for this case? Why or why not?


Boeing Dreamliner Nightmare

January 11, 2013

Any company is worried when it launches a new product.  There are concerns over sales and performance.  One example is when new car model is offered.  People often shy away from the first year of a new car because there are “bugs” in the system that need to fixed.  The people buying the new product become beta testers and often have to endure recalls to correct the flaws that are expected to appear.  Now when your new product costs over $200 million and flies through the air, there is even greater concerns when bugs appear.  However, any new product has minor problems, even airplanes.

Boeings new 787 “Dreamliner” has been having its share of minor problems in January of 2013.  Early on there was a braking problem then a fuel leak that brought out emergency crews at Logan International Airport in Boston.  Here is part of the story about the fuel leak:

A Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner jet operated by Japan Airlines Co. is towed back to the gate at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. The plane leaked fuel while taxiing for departure today in Boston, in the second incident involving the Boeing Co. aircraft in two days. Photographer: Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Bloomberg

“I am 100 percent convinced the airplane is safe to fly,” Mike Sinnett, chief 787 project engineer, said on a conference call with reporters yesterday. “I fly on it myself all the time.”

Thus far, the airlines that have ordered the planes have expressed confidence in the new plane.

More recently, there was an oil leak and problem with the cockpit.  These problems were experienced by All Nippon Airways.  Japan has been the largest purchaser of the Dreamliner but you also have airlines in Qatar, India, Ethiopia, Poland, and the U.S. who have purchased and/or are using the planes.

The Dreamliner is revolutionary in its use of composites and fuel savings generated by using these new materials.  The minor problems have caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S.   The FAA has ordered a comprehensive review of the critical systems on the Dreamliner. This could further eroded airline and passenger confidence in the new airplane.

Here is the response from Boeing:

EVERETT, Wash., Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing [NYSE:BA] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane that brings tremendous value to our customers and an improved flying experience to their passengers.

The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily. Its in-service performance is on par with the industry’s best-ever introduction into service – the Boeing 777. Like the 777, at 15 months of service, we are seeing the 787’s fleet wide dispatch reliability well above 90 percent.

More than a year ago, the 787 completed the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of the FAA. We remain fully confident in the airplane’s design and production system.

Regular reviews of program and technical progress are an important part of the validation and oversight process that has created today’s safe and efficient air transportation system. While the 787’s reliability is on par with the best in class, we have experienced in-service issues in recent months and we are never satisfied while there is room for improvement. For that reason, today we jointly announced with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the start of a review of the 787’s recent issues and critical systems.

We welcome the opportunity to conduct this joint review. Our standard practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our tools, processes and systems so that we can always be ensured that our products bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers.

Just as we are confident in the airplane, we are equally confident in the regulatory process that has been applied to the 787 since its design inception. With this airplane, the FAA conducted its most robust certification process ever. We expect that this review will complement that effort.

Contact:
Lori Gunter
787 Communications
+1 206-931-5919
loretta.m.gunter@boeing.com

 

Japan Dreamliner

Questions to Consider

1.  How bad is the situation for Boeing and what leads you to that conclusion?

2.  What role can public relations play in helping to address this problem?

3.  Some media outlets have found experts that say minor problems are common in new airplanes.  Who might this type of information help Boeing?  Hurt Boeing?

4.  Why should the FAA announcement be so significant in this case?

5.  How would you evaluate Boeing’s response and what is the rationale for your evaluation?

6.  What else might Boeing doing and how would those efforts help?

7.  How is publicity working against Boeing in this case?


%d bloggers like this: