Qatar seeks 787 engine fix; no date yet for delivery of S.C.-built 787

The CEO for Qatar Airways says the airline won’t take delivery of its Boeing Co. 787 until a problem with the Dreamliner’s engine is fixed, reports Reuters.

U.S. aviation regulators have ordered inspections every 90 days of the General Electric GEnx engines that power some 787s and all 747-8s. A flaw in the GEnx engine shaft caused a failure in a 787 in July. Ultrasound inspections of 787 GEnx engines found one more with a similar flaw.

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board said that an engine failure in Shanghai on an 747-8 with GEnx engines was not caused by the same problem. Aviation officials are still looking into that incident.

UPDATE: General Electric will call for additional inspections of GEnx engines used on 787s and 747s, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The damage sustained by the 747-8 in Shanghai was in a different area of the engine from where cracks were discovered previously, prompting GE to call for a new round of inspections.

Dreamliner customers can choose between GE and Rolls-Royce engines on the 787. Qatar has ordered 30 787s with GEnx engines and has options for another 30.

Qatar had expected its first 787 in August. CEO Akbar Al Baker slammed Boeing earlier this week over delays.

On Tuesday, Al Baker told Reuters: “We have informed Boeing that we will not take delivery until the 787s have the new modified shaft.”

Another 787 delivery that has been closely watched is the handover of the first Dreamliner assembled at Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C. factory. The delivery to Air India has been postponed several times due to the airline’s own troubles with financing and a pilot’s strike. Most recently, delivery had been anticipated for last week.

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney was in Charleston yesterday for a business conference. He punted the delivery question back to Air India, telling The Post and Courier that delivery is down to a matter of the airline and Indian government sorting things out.

Air India already took delivery of two 787s. The deliveries took place in South Carolina but the aircraft were assembled at Boeing’s Everett facility.

McNerney also suggested further potential for Boeing work in North Charleston, telling the publication that growth will come there as the company grows.

“Now, exactly when that happens and the form that it happens in, we’ll see,” he said.

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