Boeing 787 Dreamliner Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Virtual Tour

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2.) Which airlines currently operate the Dreamliner and when did each first put the aircraft into service?


An ANA Dreamliner at Tokyo Haneda Airport

Currently, there are 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide and 24 of them are operated by Japan’s two largest airlines, ANA and JAL.

  • All Nippon Airways (Japan), October 2011
  • Japan Airlines (Japan), May 2012
  • Ethiopian Airlines, August 2012
  • Air India, September 2012
  • Lan Airlines (Chile), October 2012
  • United Airlines (U.S.), November 2012
  • Qatar Airways, November 2012
  • LOT Polish Airlines, December 2012

3.) Which airlines have the Dreamliner on order?

Over 55 airlines have placed orders for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The list includes Aeroflot, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France-KLM, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qantas, Royal Air Maroc, Singapore Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.

4.) When and why was the Dreamliner grounded?

Both Japanese airlines that operate the Dreamliner, ANA and JAL, decided to suspend all Dreamliner flights on January 16 after an ANA Dreamliner made an emergency landing that day.  In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive to U.S. airlines operating the Dreamliner that grounded them.  Since only one U.S. airline, United, currently has Dreamliners in its fleet, the directive only grounded United’s fleet of six 787s.  Chile’s DGAC required LAN airlines to ground its fleet of three Dreamliners and India’s DGCA issued a directive to Air India to ground its six aircraft.

LOT's Dreamliner in Chicago on Wednesday

LOT’s Dreamliner in Chicago on Wednesday

The Japanese Transport Ministry extended the ANA and JAL groundings after the FAA directive was issued.  LOT Polish Airlines voluntarily cancelled its inaugural Chicago to Warsaw launch flight and grounded its fleet of two Dreamliners. The European Aviation Safety Agency later issued a formal directive to LOT.

Two operators of the 787, Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Air, that did not receive directives from their countries’ respective civil aviation authorities, announced that they would ground their fleets of five and four Dreamliners respectively.

At press time, all 50 Dreamliners that have been placed into service have been grounded.

5.) What are the problems affecting the Dreamliner?

The first problem to come to light was an issue with the aircraft’s fuel line connectors being incorrectly installed. Leaks were discovered on two Dreamliners last December. This led the Federal Aviation Administration to issue an airworthiness directive that required operators to check fuel-line connectors for an “unsafe condition.”

In addition, there were multiple electrical problems, including power generators that failed and several electrical fires caused by overheating batteries.  Because the Dreamliner uses five times as much electricity as other similarly-sized aircraft, any such problem calls into question the plane’s innovative design and technology.

6.) What is different about the batteries in the Dreamliner?

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has more electrical systems than earlier aircraft.  These systems perform a variety of tasks including de-icing the wings, pressurizing the cabin, and operating hydraulic pumps.  In addition, the 787 has electric brakes while other aircraft have hydraulic ones.  The Dreamliner has six generators that generate a total of 1.45 megawatts, enough to power 400 homes.

The aircraft has two main lithium-ion batteries, each roughly twice the size of a standard car battery.  One, located in the front of the aircraft, supplies power for the plane’s startup functions and ground operations and also serves as backup power for the electrical brakes.  The second is in the back of the plane and is used to start the aircraft’s auxiliary power supply, which is a small engine that powers the plane while it is on the ground.   Malfunctions have been reported with both batteries.

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