ANA Holdings Inc. (9202), operator of the world’s largest Boeing Co. (BA) 787 fleet, placed advertisements in Japanese newspapers to lure flyers back to the aircraft, which had been grounded after battery overheating incidents.
The airline has 17 of the planes and will restart domestic and international flights June 1, adding 787 flights to Taipei and Beijing to its routes, the company said. Japan Airlines Co. (9201), the world’s second-largest Dreamliner operator, will resume 787 flights the same day.
ANA, whose All Nippon Airways Co. unit flies the planes, used the full-page color ads to explain that the Federal Aviation Administration had approved Boeing fixes and Japan’s transport ministry had agreed, allowing the restart of flights, while apologizing to passengers for the inconvenience. One of the carrier’s 787s made an emergency landing on Jan. 16 after smoke from a lithium-ion battery was detected. A battery caught fire on a JAL 787 in Boston nine days earlier. No one was injured in either incident.
“There’ll be people who want to fly straight away and others who may wait for two or three months,” said Ryota Himeno, an analyst at Barclays Securities Japan Ltd. “With the strengthening economy, traffic will probably be back to normal by the summer.”
ANA rose 0.5 percent to 211 yen at close of trading in Tokyo and have gained 17 percent this year. Japan Air climbed 0.8 percent to 4,940 yen, extending its advance to 34 percent this year.
Japan’s carriers may be among the last of the eight Dreamliner operators to restart services as Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise began flying again last month and Qatar Airways Ltd. last week. Air India Ltd. plans to resume service on May 15 and United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) on May 20.
The Dreamliner groundings will probably cut ANA sales by about 16 billion yen ($158 million), according to figures from the company. JAL’s probably lost 6.5 billion yen in sales due to the groundings, it has said.
The 787 is safe to fly, even as the cause of the battery meltdowns remains uncertain, Mike Sinnett, vice president and chief project engineer of the 787 program, said April 27. Stress testing of Chicago-based Boeing’s redesigned system showed its steel casing and heat vent reduced battery overheating, he said.
The Dreamliner is the only large commercial jet equipped with lithium-ion batteries as part of its power system. Airbus SAS abandoned lithium-ion batteries for its A350, the direct rival to the 787, after Boeing encountered problems.
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