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Norwegian Air Returns Broken Dreamliner to Boeing

Douglas A. McIntyre

The Boeing Co. (BA) 787 Dreamliner has broken off and on since the aircraft maker began work on the plane over a decade ago. The most well-publicized recent problem involved batteries and caused the 787 to be pulled out of service worldwide. Finally, one of Boeing's customers has taken significant action. Norwegian Airlines returned a 787 to Boeing to be fixed. If other airlines follow, Boeing's problems with the plane, which it has downplayed with investors, could become a big deal with investors. It is already clear that Boeing's main competitor, Airbus, has tried to take advantage of the 787's trouble.

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It would not be surprising if Boeing runs into a mushrooming issue that could trigger a drop in share price.

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According to Reuters:

Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle is returning one of its brand new Dreamliners to Boeing, demanding repairs after the jet has suffered repeated breakdowns, it said on Saturday.

Norwegian Air Shuttle will instead lease an Airbus A340 from HiFly to keep its long-haul business going and will not take back the Boeing 787 Dreamliner until it is more reliable, a spokesman said.

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"The aircraft's reliability is simply not acceptable, our passengers cannot live with this kind of performance," spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen told Reuters.

"We are returning the aircraft to Boeing to improve its reliability."

Based on Boeing's luck with the 787, it may find more problems that it can fix.

Built to save airline fuel costs, particularly on long haul flights, and to give passengers a better flying experience, the 787 has turned out to be a lemon.

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