LOT Polish Airlines Voluntarily Grounds Dreamliner Flights
CHICAGO—Following a move by the Federal Aviation Administration, which ordered an immediate halt to Boeing Dreamliner flights by U.S. airlines, LOT Polish Airlines announced it was cancelling its inaugural Dreamliner flight from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Warsaw on Wednesday. LOT is the only European airline operating the new high-tech aircraft.
LOT Polish Airlines’ inaugural flight from Warsaw left at 4:18 p.m. local time and landed in Chicago at 7:28 p.m. Other than de-icing, a LOT official said that the departure was as planned.
LOT’s decision was voluntary, according to airline officials, who said that the airline consulted with both Boeing and the FAA prior to making a final decision to cancel the flight. The airline’s Dreamliner will return to Warsaw on a ferry flight tomorrow.
On Thursday, LOT issued a statement saying that the European Aviation Safety Agency echoed the FAA directive and that LOT is “fully compliant” with it. The airline’s two Dreamliners will remain grounded “until all recommendations” have been implemented. Planes will then be rechecked by the airline’s technical staff. In addition all of LOT’s long-haul operations are flying as scheduled except for today’s flight to Beijing, which was cancelled.
The FAA said it will require a “corrective action plan” before any flights can resume – and has not yet set a timetable for when that is expected to happen.
Earlier on Wednesday, ANA and Japan Airlines suspended all Dreamliner flights after an ANA Dreamliner made an emergency landing.
Last week, when announcing an FAA probe into the Dreamliner, U.S. officials termed the new high-tech aircraft “safe.”
Currently, there are 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide and 24 of them are operated by Japan’s two largest airlines. ANA was the launch customer for the Dreamliner and the aircraft went into service in late 2011.
(Photos: Accura Media Group)
UPDATE 1 – This article was updated on January 3, 2012 after LOT Polish Airlines released a statement on Thursday.