On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that they will be conducting, with The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), a review of critical Boeing 787 Dreamliner systems, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system. They will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.
This follows a slew of incidents involving the new plane. In the just over a year since this technologically advanced aircraft entered commercial service, they have experienced a number of incidents such as fuel leaks, electrical fires and other problems. And this week a number of highly publicized mishaps have occurred.
However most knowledgeable observers believe that these problems are not significant, and if anything the number of incidents is below normal for the introduction of a new commercial airliner. It’s also believed that this review is being made in large part to alleviate the concerns of passengers and investors more than because of actual safety worries.
In its announcement, FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta was quoted as saying: “We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening. We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”
Boeing, for its part, is pro-actively cooperating with government agencies. In a statement earlier this week after an incident in Boston, Boeing stated that it was cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and that they would provide more details after giving its technical team time to investigate what had happened.
And today, in conjunction with the FAA’s announcement, Boeing stated: “We welcome the opportunity to conduct this joint review. Our standard practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our tools, processes and systems so that we can always be ensured that our products bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers.” They further noted: “The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily. Its in-service performance is on par with the industry’s best-ever introduction into service – the Boeing 777.”
BA opened sharply lower this morning. It remains to be seen if this review reduces investor confidence in Boeing over the long haul, or ends up increasing it with a positive, reassuring result.