OSLO, Sept 28 Budget airline Norwegian Air
Shuttle is taking one of its brand new Dreamliners out
of long-haul service and demanding that Boeing repair the
plane after it suffered repeated breakdowns, the carrier said on
Boeing said the repairs would take "a matter of days".
Norwegian Air Shuttle will instead lease an Airbus
A340 from HiFly to keep its long-haul business going, a
"The aircraft's reliability is simply not acceptable, our
passengers cannot live with this kind of performance," spokesman
Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told Reuters.
"We are taking it out of long-haul service."
The Dreamliner was expected to be a game-changer for the
aviation industry, but there have been delays getting it into
service and setbacks including the grounding of all the planes
due to battery problems.
The aircraft concerned is in Bangkok after a hydraulic pump
failure this week and will be flown back to Stockholm.
"In consultation with Norwegian, the decision has been made
to implement a number of enhancements to improve the airplane's
in-service reliability following its return to Stockholm,"
Boeing said in a statement.
"As a result, it is expected the airplane will be out of
service for a matter of days."
Norwegian launched long-haul operations this year and hoped
to capitalise on Dreamliner's lower operating cost as the jet's
lighter-weight engines promised a 20 percent savings on fuel.
But its first two Dreamliners, part of a planned fleet of
eight, broke down over half a dozen times in September, forcing
it to lease back-up planes on short notice or cancel flights.
Norwegian summoned Boeing's management this week and the
aircraft manufacturer promised to locate spare parts centres at
all of the airline's long-haul destinations and send a team of
engineers to the Nordics to monitor the planes.