Dreamliner Grounding Impacts Qatar Airways’ New Routes

Chicago schedules amended to three-a-week and Chengdu is put on hold



Qatar Airways’ new services to Chicago and Chengdu have been impacted by the grounding of the Boeing B787 Dreamliners.

Originally planned to be daily services, the Doha–Chicago route will now be operated three-times-a-week from April 10, rising to a planned daily service from June 15.

Scheduled flights between Doha and Chengdu, the carrier’s sixth point in China, were due to start with three-flights-a-week from March 19, but the route has been postponed to an as yet unspecified date.

Passengers booked on the affected flights are being contacted by Qatar Airways and rebooked on alternative flights and routings.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience of the capacity adjustments caused by the grounding of the 787s, which is out of our hands.”

With work continuing behind closed doors, it is difficult to gauge how much progress Boeing is making solving the battery failure problem – and whether wider design concerns persist.

In its latest updates, Boeing identifies changes that were necessary to the rain gutter, incorrect shimming in the aft fuselage, the need for body reinforcements and engineering issues relating to the elevator actuator assembly.

Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari, FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta and other FAA officials met with senior executives from Boeing two weeks ago to discuss the status of ongoing work to address B787 battery issues.

“The FAA is reviewing a Boeing proposal and will analyse it closely. The safety of the flying public is our top priority and we won’t allow the 787 to return to commercial service until we’re confident that any proposed solution has addressed the battery failure risks.”