ANA counts cost of grounded 787, not yet seeking damages
By James Topham
TOKYO (Reuters) - All Nippon Airways Co (9202.T: Quote), the launch airline for Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) 787 Dreamliner jet that has been grounded with undiagnosed battery problems, said it lost more than $15 million in revenue from having to cancel Dreamliner flights this month.
Asia's top airline by revenue said it was unclear as to when Boeing's sophisticated new plane would resume commercial flights, making it harder to predict the longer-term financial impact of having the plane idle.
ANA, valued at close to $7 billion, said it had not yet decided whether to claim compensation from Boeing, and it had no plans, for now, to change a growth strategy that has the technologically advanced 787 at its core. But it conceded that a prolonged grounding of the plane would impact that strategy, and will delay issuing its mid-term business plan for several weeks.
"We have not decided on our right to demand damages, but naturally going ahead, if a damage amount is decided for the incident, we will negotiate," Chief Financial Officer Kiyoshi Tonomoto said at a briefing on ANA's quarterly results.
The Dreamliner, which Boeing says uses a fifth less fuel than traditional planes, opens up new international routes that ANA's existing fleet can't handle.
All 50 of the 787s Boeing has delivered to airlines to date are out of action as investigators in Japan and the United States try to find the cause of two recent incidents with the 787's lithium-ion batteries - a battery fire on a Japan Airlines Co (9201.T: Quote) 787 at a U.S. airport and an emergency landing by another plane on a domestic ANA flight after battery problems triggered a smoke alarm.
The grounding of the global Dreamliner fleet - ANA operates 17 of the lightweight, carbon-composite planes - has forced airlines to cancel flights and reschedule passengers on to alternative planes.
ANA has cancelled close to 850 flights until February 18, affecting over 82,000 passengers. The Dreamliner makes up around 7 percent of ANA's fleet, and the airline normally operates around 1,000 flights a day and carries 3.7 million passengers each month. ANA has around 150 trained 787 pilots staying at home. As flights are rescheduled, the carrier's Boeing 777 pilots are having to take the strain, with the extra workload. Continued...