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Dreamliner Reliability Needs to Improve Further, Boeing Says

Boeing Co. needs to improve the reliability of its 787 Dreamliner to satisfy customers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA after a series of malfunctions with the new aircraft, an executive for the manufacturer said.

The composite-material aircraft’s dependability now is about 98 percent, which is short of Boeing’s best-selling wide-body model, the 777, Mike Fleming, vice president of 787 Services and Support, said today in Olso at a press conference.

“We’re not satisfied with where the airplane is today, flying at a fleet average of 98 percent,” Fleming said. “It’s going to take us time, just as it did on the 777.”

The Dreamliner experienced a series of malfunctions after its introduction in 2011, including a three-month grounding of the global fleet last year after batteries on some planes caught fire. Norwegian Air, which built its budget long-range ambitions around the Dreamliner, has been hit by the snags because it doesn’t have a big-enough fleet to absorb outages.

Boeing encountered the greatest challenges with the earlier planes when they first went into service, and the aircraft has improved as the Chicago-based company incorporated service bulletins, Fleming said.

The 777 has a 99.3 percent dispatch reliability rate, the highest among all twin-aisle airplanes in service today, according to the Boeing website.

“We introduced the 777 in 1995 and it was in about the 1999 time-frame that we saw sustained performance over 99 percent in that fleet,” Fleming said.

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