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Norwegian Air Grounds Faulty Dreamliner for ‘Reliability’ Tests

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Norwegian Air Shuttle AS is taking one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes out of service for repairs and will lease an Airbus A340 to ensure all scheduled fights continue to run between Sweden and the U.S. and Thailand.

The Dreamliner, Norwegian Air’s second, will be taken “out of operation for maintenance work and testing so it can give us the reliability we expect,” Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, a spokesman for Norwegian Air, said by phone today. The plane is stranded in Bangkok after a hydraulic pump broke and will be returned to Stockholm today or tomorrow.

Norwegian Air is grappling with technical glitches on the Dreamliner, from cockpit oxygen supply issues that delayed a flight to New York from Oslo on Sept. 22, to brake difficulties that affected the second 787 in Sweden this month. The global fleet of Dreamliners was grounded earlier this year after some batteries on planes operated by Japanese carriers caught fire.

The Norwegian company said Sept. 23 it planned to confront Boeing Co. about the technical difficulties and that “something must happen, fast.” Norwegian Air, which last year ordered 222 Boeing and Airbus airliners valued at 127 billion kroner ($21.2 billion), is flying new routes and opening bases outside the Nordic region as it steps up competition with state-backed SAS Group AB.

“We’re taking one of our 787s out of long-haul operations in order for Boeing to improve the reliability of the aircraft so that our passengers won’t be subject to the delays that they have been experiencing recently,” Sandaker-Nielsen said.

Boeing’s flagship airliner, distinctive for its composite fuselage and electrical architecture, also came under scrutiny after one caught fire in London in July. The blaze was later linked to defective wiring in an emergency beacon widely used by airlines. The jet made its commercial debut in 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Niklas Magnusson in Stockholm at nmagnusson1@bloomberg.net

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