(WASHINGTON) — The flying public is safe on Boeing 787 Dreamliners, despite several mishaps including fuel leaks and an electrical fire, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Friday.
“I would fly on one today,” LaHood said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., Friday morning.
The Dreamliner has come under fresh scrutiny in the wake of the incidents, with the Federal Aviation Administration’s ordering of a comprehensive review of the plane’s design. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta on Friday said the agency intends to perform a special review of the carbon-fiber plane to ensure that it’s safe to fly.
In a rare joint news conference with Boeing, government officials repeatedly assured the flying public of the 787’s safety.
“Nothing suggests the airplane is not safe,” Huerta said. “We believe this is a safe aircraft. To validate the work during the certification process, we’ll work with Boeing to check on systems design and production.”
“We want to make sure that the approved quality-control process is in place. We want to see the entire picture and not focus on individual events, to determine the root causes of these events,” he said.
The plane will not be grounded by the FAA and will continue to fly during the review. Huerta said he cannot speculate on a timetable for the review, but it will proceed as expeditiously as possible
He said the review will focus on the Dreamliner’s electrical system, including the battery and the power distribution panels, and how electrical and mechanical systems interact with one another.
The latest incident involving the 787 occurred overnight when a three-foot-long crack appeared in the cockpit window of an All Nippon Airlines 787 flying in Japan.
In addition to that incident, another Dreamliner’s electrical power system caught fire earlier this week at Boston’s Logan Airport.
Six 787s have been delivered domestically, all purchased by United, while there are 50 flying worldwide, including Poland and Chile.
United says it has no plans to take its Dreamliners out of service during the review.
“We continue to have complete confidence in the 787 and in the ability of Boeing, with the support of the FAA, to resolve these early operational issues,” the carrier said in a statement. “We will support Boeing and the FAA throughout their review.”
Boeing says it has “extreme confidence in the 787,” and that it is 100 percent “safe to fly.”
Boeing President Ray Conner emphasized on Friday that the 787 has logged 50,000 flights, carrying more than a million passengers with no injuries, and its in-service reliability matches the record of its previous new plane roll-out, the 777.
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