TUI Travel Stands by Dreamliner as Delay Forces Contingency Plan

TUI Travel Plc said it’s working on contingency plans in case the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner persists, with the U.K. tour operator scheduled to start holiday flights using the aircraft from May 1.

“The Dreamliner is absolutely the right airplane for us,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Long said on a conference call with journalists today after TUI Travel announced earnings. The company has no intention to cancel its 13 plane orders, he said.

TUI Travel’s Thomson Airways Ltd. is the first U.K. company scheduled to receive the Dreamliner, which so far is operated in Europe only by LOT Polish Airlines SA. All 50 Dreamliners in service around the world have been grounded since Jan. 16 after an All Nippon Airways Co. 787 made an emergency landing after one of its lithium-ion batteries emitted smoke.

Long didn’t say how TUI Travel may absorb the flights scheduled on the Dreamliner. The company plans to operate the aircraft on international routes from Manchester, London Gatwick, Glasgow and East Midlands airports to destinations including Florida, Mexico, Barbados, Cuba, Kenya and Thailand.

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