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A line of 787 jets are parked Thursday at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. Federal officials are temporarily grounding Boeing's 787s until the risk of possible battery fires is addressed.
Elaine Thompson/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 1/18/2013
All Nippon Airways said its 18th 787 is due at the end of this month, but it won't take delivery until 787 flights resume.
The FAA grounding was a stunning setback for Boeing. The plane has been in the works since 2003, a time when modern jetliners were built of aluminum and powered many of their internal systems with incoming air from outside the plane. Boeing engineers figured they could get better fuel efficiency by making the plane out of carbon composites, a sort of lightweight, high-tech plastic. And they used electricity rather than air because it saved space and weight.
The 787 was tested extensively both before and after its first test flight in 2009. The FAA said its technical experts logged 200,000 hours testing and reviewing the plane's design before it was certified in August 2011.
Six test planes ran up some 4,645 flight hours. About a quarter of those hours were flown by FAA flight test crews, the agency said in 2011.
New 787s sell for more than $200 million at list prices. For that kind of money, airline customers get warranties and in some cases a promise from Boeing to cover costs if the plane is grounded.
Those agreements vary from customer to customer, so it wasn't known how much the grounding would cost Boeing. Analysts pointed out that there are few airplanes in the size range of the 787 that are available to be leased to replace 787s.