Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boeing warns of delay in delivery of grounded 787 jetliners

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BOEING acknowledged on Friday it might not be able to deliver its 787 as fast as hoped.

The company said it has told customers expecting the next 787 deliveries that those planes have either been delayed or are at risk for a delay.

Boeing is still building the long-range, fuel-efficient planes, and it said Friday it has no plans to slow production.

Norwegian Air Shuttle confirmed it got such a warning from Boeing. The Oslo-based budget airline's spokesman, Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, said delivery of the planes, scheduled to be flying for the airline in May or June, might not be possible. He gave no reason for the delays. Norwegian is one of Europe's fastest-growing airlines and had planned to begin its first long-haul flights to New York and Bangkok with the Boeing 787s.

The world's fleet of 50 787s has been grounded since Jan. 16. Boeing and investigators are trying to figure out why one aircraft battery caught fire and another one smouldered and forced an emergency landing. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is still probably weeks away from determining the root cause of the Jan. 7 battery fire in a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport, NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters this week.

The 787 is the first commercial airliner to rely heavily on lithium-ion batteries. Each plane has two of the 28.5-kilogram blue power bricks, one near the front to provide power to the cockpit if the engines stop, and one near the back to start up the auxiliary power unit, which is essentially a backup generator.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2013 B9

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