Norwegian Air CEO says Boeing changed 787 pump design
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (NWC.OL) said on Thursday that Boeing Co (BA.N) changed the design of a hydraulic pump that failed on its 787 Dreamliner in recent weeks, a failure that caused the $200 million high-tech plane to be taken out of service for two weeks.
Bjorn Kjos, CEO of the airline, told Reuters in an interview that the faulty pump controlled flaps used to steer the plane, and its failure put the jet out of service every other day.
"I think the Dreamliner is going to be a fantastic aircraft," he said. "We know from the one that has flown very well so far, that it is performing fantastic" on fuel burn "and passengers love it."
The interview marked a softer tone for the airline in describing Boeing's newest jet, which has experienced a string of troubles since it entered service two years ago. Previously, Norwegian Air had said the "Dreamliner has proven to be more of a nightmare for airlines relying on this new craft, especially Norwegian Air Shuttle."
Taking the plane out of service required Norwegian Air to lease an Airbus (EAD.PA) A340 jet, and stranded passengers for up to 12 hours. Kjos declined to disclose the cost of those measures, though he said the fuel burn on the four-engine Airbus jet was high, especially compared with the next-generation, two-engine 787.
"Obviously it is no good that the passengers are delayed for 12 hours. You shouldn't accept that. So I am angry on behalf of the passengers. But I know Boeing will fix this aircraft. They have the resources to fix it and they know how to fix it."
He said Boeing had sent 15 people from Seattle to work on the plane in Stockholm, where the plane was located.
Kjos said Boeing redesigned the hydraulic pump to make it more reliable, after Norwegian Air and other airlines had pump failures. He said Boeing is completing two weeks of overhauling Norwegian Air's faulty 787 Dreamliner, fixing the pump and other equipment. He said the plane's electrical system was "fine" but software flaws had caused incorrect warnings to appear in the cockpit.
Only one of the airline's two 787 Dreamliners had serious issues, he said, and that plane is due to come back from service by Boeing this week. He said he wants to buy more 787s to support passenger growth at Norwegian Air that he forecast at 20 percent a year, up from about 20 million passengers a year currently.
"Nothing can substitute a Dreamliner. I'm totally convinced that we made the right decision when we went for the Dreamliner," he said.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Marguerita Choy)