No new delivery date has been given to UK Boeing 787 Dreamliner launch customer Thomson Airways following the worldwide grounding of the aircraft.
The Tui Travel carrier, which had been heavily advertising the benefits of flying the new generation Dreamliner from May, is being forced to consider sourcing possible alternative aircraft.
It was due to receive its first Dreamliner this month but is now having to weigh up leasing in other aircraft to fly long-haul routes should the 787 be delayed further.
Thomson Airways confirmed that it was making contingency plans in case deliveries were delayed beyond the end of March.
“Thomson Airways has not yet been given a new delivery date for its first 787 Dreamliner by Boeing,” the airline said on Friday.
“Our priority is to ensure our customers go on their holidays and we are, therefore, putting contingency plans in place including using alternative aircraft for our long-haul flights to Mexico and Florida if delivery is delayed beyond the end of March.
“Boeing is doing everything it can to resolve the situation. We appreciate that there are many customers who are looking forward to flying on the Dreamliner but unfortunately these circumstances are out of our control.
“Once we have finalised our contingency plans we will contact customers whose flights have been affected.”
Tui has orders for 13 Dreamliners while British Airways has ordered 24, with the first due to be delivered in May.
BA said it was committed to taking delivery of four 787s this year. Virgin Atlantic is due to start taking delivery of 16 Dreamliners from next year.
Boeing said it remained committed to working with the US National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and customers “to maintain the high level of safety the travelling public expects”.
The NTSB has yet to identify the cause of the fault to batteries used in the aircraft which forced and All Nippon Airways 787 into an emergency landing in Japan last month and a fire on a Japan Airlines Dreamliner while parked at Boston airport.
Boeing said: “We continue to provide support to the investigative groups as they work to further understand these events and as we work to prevent such incidents in the future.
“The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.
“The 787 was certified following a rigorous Boeing test program and an extensive certification program conducted by the FAA. We provided testing and analysis in support of the requirements of the FAA special conditions associated with the use of lithium ion batteries.
“We are working collaboratively to address questions about our testing and compliance with certification standards, and we will not hesitate to make changes that lead to improved testing processes and products.”
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