LOT Chief Optimistic on Boeing Dreamliner Settlement This Year

LOT Polish Airlines SA, the first European carrier to fly Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner, is optimistic about reaching an accord in 2013 over compensation for the jets’ grounding, its chief executive officer said.

The 787’s setbacks created “tremendous pressure” for Warsaw-based LOT, and a Boeing settlement would be important for 2014 profitability, CEO Sebastian Mikosz said today in a meeting with reporters in New York.

LOT reported daily losses of $50,000 from the worldwide grounding ordered by regulators in January when its first 787 was stranded in Chicago after the inaugural flight. The airline said it also found last week that two out of its five Dreamliners were missing oil filters.

State-controlled LOT has bet on the all-composite 787 to cut costs and help restore profit. The carrier is replacing its long-haul fleet with the Dreamliner, whose lightweight materials and other technology help boost fuel efficiency.

LOT suffered a fresh reverse on Sept. 29 when a 787 flying to Warsaw from Toronto had to land in Iceland after the failure of a system that identifies planes to air-traffic controllers. Two other jets were sent to retrieve passengers, and LOT flew the 787 home empty.

That was a separate issue from the battery meltdowns on 787s flown by Japanese airlines that spurred the U.S. to order the first grounding of an entire model since 1979. Regulators around the world followed the U.S. action, idling the plane less than 18 months after its commercial debut.

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