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Joyce expresses confidence in 787 as first nears Australia

October 8, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has expressed full confidence in the safety of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft being delivered to budget carrier Jetstar, despite a series of well-publicised glitches affecting the revolutionary new aircraft type.

The most recent problems have included one B787 customer, Norwegian Air Shuttle, refusing to fly its new Dreamliner after only 30 days in service, until Boeing took it back and fixed a faulty hydraulic pump.

In another incident, following unexpected technical delays affecting an Air-India 787 Dreamliner flight in Paris while the jet was ‘repaired’, some passengers were reported to have refused to board the aircraft.

Jetstar’s first B787-8 will shortly fly from Seattle to Melbourne. It is due to arrive on Wednesday morning.

Visiting Boeing’s factory in Seattle over the weekend, Joyce told Australian journalists that it was important to distinguish reliability from safety.

Reliability in new aircraft “takes a while to get up there,” he was reported as saying. “It’s not a safety issue.”

Some 50 Dreamliner aircraft were grounded worldwide in January when lithium-ion batteries caught fire on two Japanese airlines. A few months after they returned to the skies, an emergency transmitter on a Boeing 787 caught fire on an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner parked at London Heathrow airport. Safety authorities said it was fortunate that incident happened on the ground rather than in the air.

Qantas has ordered 14 Boeing 787s for Jetstar. They are due to be delivered until late 2015. To celebrate the new 335-seat Boeing 787’s arrival, Jetstar has released a video showing it off, accompanied by a jaunty upbeat jingle:

The Jetstar B787 will have 21 leather business class seats in a 2-3-2 configuration with AC and USB connections and a large seatback video. Seats have a pitch of 38 inches.

Jetstar has fitted 314 economy seats in a 3-3-3 layout and all have USB connection with the Panasonic eX2 in-flight entertainment system.

After arrival in Melbourne this Wednesday, Jetstar’s first 787 will conduct test flights around Australia for certification and crew training before operating domestic sectors in November, ahead of its international debut in December. The “shakedown” test flight program is standard procedure when an airline receives a new aircraft type.

Written by Peter Needham

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