Airline Passenger and Safety Groups Seek to Clip Boeing 787 Wings
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Challenging the safety of
the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, two air- passenger advocacy groups are demanding
the U.S. government limit flights on the controversial new jet until the
safety of its lithium-ion batteries is proven.
FlyersRights.org and the Aviation Consumer Action Project are petitioning the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation
(DOT) for a two hour limit from the nearest airport for the safety of
passengers and crew.
The Boeing 787, an advanced technology twin engine airliner made of light
weight composite materials with a range of over 9,000 miles, was certified to
fly up to 3 hours from the nearest airport in 2011 by the FAA, based on Boeing
testing and safety assurances. But the FAA grounded the entire 787 fleet in
January 2013 after a battery fire on one 787 and smoke on another.
"Our proposed actions are both urgent and necessary," said attorney Paul
Hudson, leader of both organizations and a prominent aviation-safety advocate
for 25 years.
"The 787 lithium ion batteries have a long history of overheating, catching
fire, even exploding. This could easily bring down an airliner, especially if
it was not within easy reach of an airport for an emergency landing," Hudson
said. "Such batteries have been labeled as hazardous by the FAA and banned
from being carried as cargo on most passenger jets. In one year of operations
of 52,000 hours there have been several 787 battery failures versus one for
every 10 million hours of predicted by Boeing. Adequate testing of the
batteries haven't been done and the fire investigation is not finished," he
With over 25,000 members nationwide, FlyersRights.org is the nation's largest
non-profit airline passenger organization, which pushed for and won a federal
rule limiting tarmac flight delays to 3 hours. The Aviation Consumer Action
Project has advocated for air safety, security and consumer rights for over 40
The advocacy groups' formal petition is backed up by testimony from a
Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, a prominent battery-safety
consultant and former DOT Inspector General Mary Schiavo.
Limiting the 787 to flights within two hours of the nearest airport would ban
787 trans-Pacific flights, flights over the North Pole. Flights between the
U.S. and Europe over the north Atlantic and flights over land would not be
affected by a two-hour limit.
The FAA grounded the American 787 fleet after two 787 battery incidents in
January. A fire erupted in a lithium-ion battery on a Japan Airlines 787 at
Boston's Logan International Airport. Days later, another 787 battery incident
forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787. After the
FAA's grounding order, other countries where the 787 is in use followed suit.
Although U.S. investigators still don't know what caused the batteries to
overheat, the FAA has approved a proposed Boeing fix that the manufacturer
claims would stop any fires that started. United Airlines, the only U.S.
carrier with 787s in its fleet, is scheduled to resume 787 flights on May 20.
Foreign airlines will resume their 787 flights soon.
On January 18^th, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood emphatically stated, "Those planes
won't fly until we're 1,000% sure they are safe to fly."
"Four months is a very short time to be '1,000 percent' sure about anything --
much less a highly complex lithium-ion battery that's known to be prone to
fire on board an aircraft carrying over 200 passengers and crew. It would be a
shame for Secretary LaHood to culminate his many years of service with a
reckless and hasty decision like this," says FlyersRights.org's Hudson.
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.