The bosses of British Airways’ parent IAG and Thomson Airways were united in their confidence in the new Dreamliner at this year’s Travel Weekly Globe Travel Awards.
The world’s Boeing 787 fleet remained grounded as Travel Weekly went to press, with investigators focused on the manufacture of batteries for the aircraft following an emergency landing by an ANA 787 in Japan last week.
Boeing has postponed deliveries of the aircraft, putting Thomson Airways’ 787 programme in jeopardy.
However, Thomson still expects to receive its first 787 next month and begin flights on May 1.
Speaking at the awards, Chris Browne, managing director of Thomson Airways, said: “Veterans in the industry understand teething problems occur.
“At Thomson we have been waiting a very long time [for the Dreamliner] and we are confident in the safety of the Dreamliner. I have every confidence in Boeing to fix this issue.”
International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh described the delivery delay as “temporary”, but warned “deliveries could be affected” if the grounding is extended. BA is also due to receive its first 787 in May.
Walsh said: “I remain confident about the 787. It is not unusual for a new aircraft to suffer problems. We remain committed to the aircraft. The battery issue has come as a surprise. We have to wait for the authorities to report.”
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded the aircraft after burn marks on a lithium-ion battery in the ANA aircraft matched those on a battery following a fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston a week earlier. The FAA said the ban on flying would last until the batteries are demonstrated to be safe.
About 1,000 industry guests attended the Globes at London’s Grosvenor House last Thursday, presented by comedian Michael McIntyre, with entertainment from X Factor singer Jahmene Douglas.
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