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January 18, 2013

Boeing: 787 production continues as planned

-- — Boeing said 787s will keep rolling off the assembly line while it works to get the planes grounded by regulators back flying again.

Boeing’s newest, flashiest jet was grounded worldwide on Thursday after one plane suffered a battery fire and another had an emergency landing because pilots detected a burning smell. The two incidents prompted airlines and regulators around the world to ground the planes until a fix for the battery problem is found that satisfies the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

It’s not clear how long the investigation — or the fix — will take, but it won’t be cheap for Boeing. Meanwhile, airlines that had sought the prestige of flying the world’s most sophisticated plane are instead stuck with one they can’t use.

Poland’s airline LOT said Thursday it may seek compensation from Boeing Co. for the grounding of its two 787 Dreamliner planes. The airline suffered the highest-profile embarrassment of any of Boeing’s customers on Wednesday night, when it was showing off new service between Warsaw and Chicago.

The plane’s captain learned of the FAA grounding order while the flight was on its way from Warsaw to Chicago. The airline had to cancel the return trip — and a ceremony at O’Hare that was to include airline officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Passengers who were eager to ride the airline’s first flight back to Warsaw ended up looking for a hotel room instead.

Boeing currently builds five 787s every month. It hasn’t delivered any since Jan. 3, before the first fire. Boeing Co. spokeswoman Lori Gunter said no deliveries were scheduled during that time. She declined to talk about planned deliveries.

All Nippon Airways said its 18th 787 is due at the end of this month, but it won’t take delivery until the 787 flights resume.

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