Qatar Airways said on Thursday it is grounding all of its five Boeing Dreamliner 787s in service, effective January 17, 2013, following instructions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority.
“Qatar Airways will resume 787 operations when we are clear that the aircraft meets the full requirements of the Airworthiness Directive and our standards which assure the safety of our passengers and crew at all times. So we are not flying the aircraft until and only such a time this is achieved,” the carrier’s chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said in a statement.
He added that in the light of recent events surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, Qatar Airways is actively working with Boeing and the regulators to “restore full customer confidence” in the aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday that the US planemaker must prove its 787 batteries are safe before flying again. And Boeing Chairman, President and CEO, Jim McNerney said in a statement on Thursday that the planemaker is confident the 787 is safe.
“We ensure all our aircraft meet the most stringent safety standards and this will not be compromised in any way,” said Al Baker.
The Doha-based carrier is Boeing’s largest customer in the Middle East for the 787, and is expected to have five more Dreamliners join its fleet in 2013. With five aircraft alrwady in fleet, the carrier has another 55 on order.
Al Baker had played down the Dreamliner plights earlier on, calling the technical glitches with the aircraft “teething problems”. He also said at the time that the airline had no plans to cancel any aircraft orders with Boeing owing to the situation.
The airline further stated that it is assisting all affected passengers to be accommodated on other flights