Dreamliner could be gracing our skies again within weeks

Boeing 787 Dreamliner

This week, three hundred Boeing engineers were dispatched to airports worldwide with the remit of making urgent modifications to the B787 Dreamliner aeroplanes, currently amounting to 50 aircraft, which were grounded back in January.  The Dreamliner manufacturers finally gave Boeing the ‘green light’ to go ahead and replace the lithium-ion batteries – the cause of the safety fears - with re-engineered power supplies that are encased in stainless steel.

We understand that the modification to each aircraft takes approximately five days; the decision to grant the ok to fly the Dreamliner again is then up to the airlines.  With ANA and JAL, the Japanese airlines, expected to have their fleets modified first, and Ethiopian Airlines as well, flights could well resume next week, although I suspect it may be a week or two later.  However, it is disappointment for British passengers who booked with Thomson Airways, the airline to launch the Dreamliner in the UK, who still have not indicated when their Dreamliner may fly again.  A spokesperson for Thomson said: “At this point, we are still waiting for a delivery date from Boeing.  There are a number of activities that we need to complete before the aircraft enters commercial service.”

British Airways has the B787 Dreamliner on order but, as yet, has not indicated when or where services will start.  A BA spokesperson said: “We hope this week’s decision will hasten the arrival of the B787 to the British Airways fleet.  The Dreamliner is Boeing’s most fuel-efficient aircraft and quieter than any of its predecessors.”

On a different note, Leeds Bradford Airport hosted a tour of the airport for a very special group… of canines!  This week saw a group of five Guide Dog puppies around the airport in training; airports provide an ideal venue for puppies to encounter a unique environment, and one which will present them with numerous ‘obstacles’ they will have to face in their life as a Guide Dog.

Guide Dog puppies spend their first year with volunteer puppy walkers who help them through their obedience training and familiarisation with different environments that a Guide Dog owner may take them to, and the aim of airport training is to encourage the puppies to stay focused on their task.  Nicola Morgan, Puppy Training Manager at the Leeds Guide Dog Mobility team explained: “The hardest thing to achieve is keeping the pups calm in all situations.  The airport provides an excellent setting for what they could encounter in their life as a Guide Dog including people, new noises, announcements, trolleys, wheeled suitcases, different floor surfaces, lifts and stairs.  We are very grateful to the staff and passengers at Leeds Bradford Airport for being so accommodating.”

All eyes will be on Wembley on 11th May as they host the FA Cup Final, and then there’s the UEFA Champions Festival football celebration from 23rd May for four days, but there are plenty of other events going on too, including the Covent Garden May Fayre on 12th May, the London Wonderground, a festival of cabaret, music and circus, which starts on 7th May, and probably one of horticulture’s biggest worldwide events, the 100th Chelsea Flower Show from 21st May!


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