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Norwegian Airline Demands Better from Boeing Dreamliner

Paul Ausick

Is this the fourth or the fifth technical problem that Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA has experienced with the two 787 Dreamliners it recently purchased? Hey, who’s counting? Well, Norwegian Air Shuttle is -- and it has demanded a meeting with Boeing Co. (BA) executives later this week to make the airline’s position perfectly clear.

Monday morning saw one of the airline’s Dreamliners grounded due to problems with the oxygen supply to the cockpit. On the previous day, technicians had repaired a valve problem on the airline’s other 787. Problems with the aircraft’s brakes, hydraulic pumps and electrical system have kept one or another of Norwegian Air’s Dreamliners on the ground for a good portion of the past three weeks.

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An airline spokesperson told Reuters:

We are going to tell them this situation is far from good enough. We have not had the reliability that we had expected from brand new planes, so something must happen, fast ... Clearly Boeing has not had good enough operative quality control.

Norwegian Air is scheduled to take five more Dreamliners, and Boeing probably will offer reimbursement for the lost flights to date, along with some other compensation, such as a discount on future deliveries. Earlier this year the Dreamliner’s electrical system problems led to a grounding of the entire fleet, and Boeing almost certainly paid compensation for the disruption to schedules.

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Boeing recently was added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and we noted that it could become the most important stock on the index. Shares are trading down about 2% in premarket trading Monday morning, at $116.63 in a 52-week range of $69.18 to $120.38.

Tomorrow could be another big day for Boeing. The South Korean government is expected to announce its decision on a vendor for new military fighter planes. Boeing was the only company to enter a bid under the government’s maximum price, and it looks like the company is on its way to a contract valued at about $7.4 billion.

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