Norwegian Air CEO says Boeing changed 787 pump design

Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:30pm EDT
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By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief executive officer of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (NWC.OL: Quote) said on Thursday that Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) redesigned an important part to fix a faulty 787 Dreamliner, revealing a more extensive reworking of the high-tech, $200 million jet than had previously been disclosed.

Bjorn Kjos told Reuters in an interview that Boeing created a new version of a malfunctioning hydraulic pump that controls flaps used to steer the plane as part of a two-week overhaul to fix problems with the jet. (Reuters interview:

Boeing had said it was installing improved equipment on the plane as part of the overhaul, but stopped short of saying it redesigned the hydraulic pump. The distinction is significant because Boeing redesigned the battery system on the plane earlier this year after batteries burned on two of the jets.

In the interview, Norwegian Air's CEO also ended weeks of criticism of Boeing, saying the Dreamliner's low operating costs enabled his airline to bring budget fares to the long-haul travel market.

"I think the Dreamliner is going to be a fantastic aircraft," said Kjos, a former fighter-jet pilot.

"We know from the one that has flown very well so far, that it is performing fantastic" on fuel burn "and passengers love it."

The CEO's softer tone contrasts with previous frustration with the Dreamliner, which has suffered a string of troubles since it entered service two years ago. Among previous remarks, the airline has said, "(The) Dreamliner has proven to be more of a nightmare for airlines relying on this new craft, especially Norwegian Air Shuttle."

Taking the plane out of service forced Norwegian Air to lease an Airbus EAD.PA A340 jet, and stranded passengers for 12 hours. Kjos declined to disclose the cost of those measures, but said fuel burn on the four-engine Airbus jet was high, especially compared with the next-generation, two-engine 787.   Continued...

CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle, Bjoern Kjos, poses at a news conference where he spoke about the low-cost airline's plans to buy 222 new aircraft in Oslo 25 January 2012. REUTERS/Heiko Junge/Scanpix