China Exclusive: China unaffected by Boeing 787 checks

2013-01-17 11:36:29 GMT2013-01-17 19:36:29(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese airlines are not affected so far as more countries have announced to temporarily ground Boeing 787 Dreamliners for investigations into battery-related problems.

Boeing 787s purchased by Chinese airlines have not yet been delivered and these orders will not be affected, the U.S. plane maker and two Chinese air companies told Xinhua on Thursday.

Four Chinese airlines have ordered a total of 41 Boeing 787s, including 15 for Air China, the country's flagship carrier, and all of them are awaiting delivery, said an official in charge of press relations at Boeing (China) Co., Ltd.

China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines each booked 10 Dreamliners, while the government has not yet approved the six Dreamliners ordered by Xiamen Airlines, the official said, declining to be identified.

A press official at Air China said he has not been informed of any changes in the company's Boeing 787 orders, which are expected to be delivered in 2014.

Xiamen Airlines, which also expect deliveries in 2014, has not seen its orders affected by the incidents so far, the company's press official told Xinhua.

Hainan Airlines "always considers it a top priority to ensure operation safety" and will follow the U.S. authorities' safety appraisal on the Boeing 787s, according to emailed comments sent by the company. It did not specify whether orders will be adjusted.

Phone calls to the press office of China Southern Airlines were not answered on Thursday afternoon.

Aviation regulators in Japan and India on Thursday joined their U.S. counterparts in grounding Dreamliners after a Japanese domestic flight operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA) made an emergency landing on Wednesday, when a pilot saw a warning message that indicated battery problems in the 787.

The emergency landing came on the heels of a series of problems involving the Boeing 787, and has raised safety concerns over the company's new fuel-efficient carbon fiber made model.

ANA replaced its only Boeing 787 flight to China, a daily flight between Tokyo and Beijing with seating for 222 passengers, with Boeing 767s starting on Thursday, said a press official with ANA's China office.

Boeing jets are currently the mainstay of China's air travel and cargo system. More than half of all commercial jetliners operating in China are Boeing airplanes.

The U.S. firm said it is confident the 787 is safe and it stands behind the aircraft's overall integrity.

"We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service," Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney said in a statement.

Boeing forecast that China would need 5,260 new commercial airplanes by 2031, costing the country a total of 670 billion U.S. dollars over the next 20 years, Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in September last year.

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