LOT Boeing Dreamliner Heads for Warsaw Minus Passengers

A Boeing Co. 787 operated by LOT Polish Airlines SA headed for Warsaw minus its passengers after the failure of a system that identifies planes to air-traffic controllers forced an unscheduled landing in Iceland yesterday.

The flight from Toronto was grounded at Keflavik airport near Reykjavik after being denied permission to enter Norwegian airspace due to the defect. Two other planes were sent to collect passengers and the stricken Dreamliner should resume operations after its arrival in the Polish capital, LOT said.

“That was a minor fault and was fixed,” spokeswoman Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras said. “The plane is coming back to Warsaw. It will return to regular operations this afternoon.”

LOT is already in talks with Chicago-based Boeing over compensation for losses during a three-month grounding of the worldwide Dreamliner fleet with electrical faults earlier this year. The unprofitable state-controlled carrier has bet on the all-composite 787 to cut costs and help restore earnings.

“LOT has already made the proper arrangements and parts and personnel are en route to address the issue and return the airplane to flight status,” Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said yesterday. “Boeing stands ready to help if asked.”

LOT, which currently operates five Dreamliners, reported daily losses of $50,000 from the global grounding when its first plane was stranded in Chicago after the inaugural flight. The airline also found last week that two out of five jets were missing oil filters, Pijanowska-Kuras said.

Norwegian Saga

The LOT incident follows Norwegian Air Shuttle AS’s announcement Sept. 28 that it is standing down one of its 787s for repairs. The twin-engine jet will be out of service until its reliability is satisfactory, with the company leasing an Airbus SAS A340 to guarantee that all scheduled flights from Stockholm to the U.S. and Thailand can be carried out.

“It has not performed the way a new aircraft should, causing way too many delays for our passengers,” Oslo-based NAS spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said of the Dreamliner. The airline’s first 787 is operating normally between Oslo, Bangkok and New York, he said.

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 a plane in Sweden this month.

The 787, which made its commercial debut in 2011, has been under scrutiny after regulators this year ordered the global fleet idled to fix battery meltdowns. Last month, the plane suffered a fresh setback after ANA Holdings Inc., the biggest operator, discovered wiring defects in the fire-suppression system on three aircraft.

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