To fly or not to fly: Yesterday there were several reports that the FAA was ready to allow Boeing begin test flights of the 787, only to be followed within hours that the FAA denied the reports.
The contradictions underscore the uncertainty surrounding the 787 grounding. Today the Wall Street Journal has this report further outlining the challenges of the investigation: the authorities don’t have the experts they need. The New York Times has this report detailing the FAA’s current position.
One expert we consulted doesn’t believe the FAA will approve test flights before April. A key paragraph from the New York Times article is this:
Boeing is conducting laboratory tests on its proposed fixes for the lithium-ion batteries on its new 787 jets, and federal regulators said Tuesday that they would need to see the results before deciding whether to allow flight tests.
This suggests to us that the April timeline may be reasonable as suggested by the consultant we checked with. Note, too, that the NTSB preliminary findings have yet to be issued and we don’t see the FAA making any decisions before this report is issued, expected sometime in the first half of March.
787 Schedule Cancellations: Some airlines have announced their cancellation schedules for the Boeing 787, while we had to go into Orbitz, Expedia or the airline websites to determine the schedules of the other operators with 787s. Here’s what we found: