Qatar Airways, one of the leading airlines in the Middle East region, has decided to temporarily ground its fleet of 787 Dreamliners amid safety concerns.
The move comes after similar steps were taken by regulators in India, Japan, Europe and the United States. Qatar Airways currently operates a fleet of five Dreamliner aircrafts. The airline plans to purchase up to 60 more Dreamliner jets to meet its rapid expansion plans.
A statement issued by the airline quotes Akbar Al Baker, the carrier’s CEO, as saying that, “in light of recent events surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, we are actively working with Boeing and the regulators to restore full customer confidence in the 787”. The Doha-based airline would resume 787 operations only after obtaining further clarification on the jets’ compliance with full requirements of Airworthiness Directive and other safety standards.
The operations of 787 sparked safety fears all over the world after an emergency landing was made in an incident involving battery failure. In another incident last week, an electrical fire caused severe damage to a plane after which Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines immediately halted the operations of Boeing 787s.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had also decided to temporarily ground the jet and now requires Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer, to demonstrate that the lithium ion batteries were safe. Regulators in Europe, Japan and India also followed suit and swiftly grounded the jet.
Commenting on the situation, Boeing Middle East has said that, “we are working with our regulatory authorities and clearly we want to resolve this. It will be a great airplane but we are going to have to work through these issues with all of the authorities”.
However, industry analysts also echo company sentiments and remain confident about the success of the Dreaminer. The 787, celebrated as a major breakthrough in aviation industry, already has a strong order book and is expected to be a reliable airplane.