Qatar CEO: Boeing close to FAA approval on 787 battery

The Boeing Co. is “very close” to getting approval from regulators for a fix to its 787 Dreamliner’s batteries that would let flights resume, said Qatar Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker.

Boeing has “nearly completed the recertification program and is going to send engineers to my company in order to make the aircraft ready for commercial operations,” Al Baker said in an interview yesterday.

Qatar’s 787s should be back in service well before the May 31 target given earlier this week by United Continental Holdings Inc., Al Baker said. He spoke in Chicago, home to Boeing’s headquarters, for an inaugural flight from Doha.

Qatar had five 787s in its fleet when the model was grounded in mid-January and is scheduled to receive the same number this year out of a total order for 30 of the jets, whose list price starts at $207 million. The Doha-based carrier is in talks with Boeing for compensation, Al Baker said.

Regulators around the world ordered airlines to stop flying the 787 after two battery faults that month caused a fire in one plane and forced an emergency landing by another. Boeing has since redesigned the lithium-ion batteries and their enclosure and is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on approval for flights to resume. The planemaker completed tests for certification last week.

The grounding slowed Qatar’s expansion into the U.S., where the carrier is doubling its network with new service to Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Detroit, Al Baker said. Qatar is starting its Chicago service with three flights a week instead of the planned seven because the Boeing 777s it needs to fly the route are filling in elsewhere for Dreamliners, he added.

Qatar is also broadening its global reach by joining the Oneworld marketing alliance, and could complete integration efforts as early as October, Al Baker said.

More in Herald Business Journal

Exec director of Future of Flight in Mukilteo stepping down

A former board president will temporarily lead Snohomish County’s most popular tourism attraction.

Seafood producer Keyport moves corporate HQ to Edmonds

The family business sees the city as business friendly — and able to accommodate expansion.

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Amazon opens store with no cashiers, lines or registers

The Seattle store allows shoppers to use a smartphone app to pay for items they want.

Trump hits solar panels, washing machines with tariffs

The administration cast the decisions as part of his pledge to put American companies and jobs first.

Electroimpact cuts Mukilteo staff by 9 percent

“What we’re missing now is a monster anchor project,” the company’s VP said.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

Top CEOs take 4 days to earn a Bangladesh worker’s life pay

Oxfam has sought to put inequality at the heart of this week’s deliberations of the rich and powerful.

Most Read