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All Things Travel: One Year Of Service For 787 Dreamliner

By Bob Weiss, All Things Travel
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Logan Airport (Credit: WBZ-TV's Chris Gobeille)

Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Logan Airport (Credit: WBZ-TV’s Chris Gobeille)

BOSTON (CBS) – Monday, April 22 marked the first anniversary of non-stop service from Boston to Tokyo. The Japan AirLines 787 Dreamliner sits on the tarmac at Logan Airport where it has been since the first week in January.

There will be no celebration this week at Logan, even though JAL and tourism officials in Boston say that the Asia service has been a success in its first year.

Last week, the FAA gave Boeing officials approval of the battery systems that have been put in place for the 50 Dreamliners now in service. About one half of those jets are operated by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

The contract battery maker is GS Yuasa Corp. of Japan for Boeing. When problems arose, Boeing put about 500 engineers on the project to find a solution.

It is estimated that Boeing has lost close to $150 million dollars when all of the Dreamliners were grounded by U.S. and Japanese officials.

It is reasonable to assume that the JAL jet in Boston will be flown to Seattle in the next two weeks for a final check and be put back in daily service in the next month.

While the 787 has been out of service, JAL has been flying a larger Boeing 777 aircraft which is less fuel efficient on the new route five times a week.

Boeing is expected to reimburse all of their airlines flying the new 787 aircraft for any anticipated losses in revenue.

Deliveries of new planes were also halted, costing Boeing many more millions of dollars.

The grounding has also delayed delivery of new planes to many different airlines. United Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to fly the Dreamliner.

The problems with the 787 do not seem to have affected Boeing’s earnings in the first quarter. The aircraft manufacturer reported earnings of $1.1 billion which was a 20 percent increase over a year ago.

The problem that JAL faces is convincing potential passengers that the plane is safe and reliable for the peak summer travel season from the U.S. and Japanese holiday travelers, especially retired people.

Japan Air Lines is part of the Oneworld alliance that includes American Airlines and British Airways.

On Sunday May 19, Japan Airlines will be among several sponsors of the Japan Festival Boston to be held at City Hall. It is a free event and open to the public.

Travel reports by Bob Weiss can be heard on WBZ News Radio 1030.

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