A well-known principle in public relations is that when companies have some bad news to share, it is best to do so late on a Friday or in the early weekend when business and general media is taking a breather. When it comes to Boeing and the 787 Dreamliner program, it seems that Friday and the weekend has consistently been utilized to make news releases.
This weekend, Boeing formally advised its customers of an icing risk on its new 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which will cause certain airlines to alter flight routes. The problem is specifically associated with aircraft engines powered by General Electric, after six reported incidents when GEnx engines suffered temporary loss of power at high altitude because of ice crystal build-up in these engines. Boeing has advised all 15 operating carriers to temporarily avoid flying these aircraft near the threat of high altitude level thunderstorms.
Thus far, Japan Airlines has elected to remove 787’s from two international routes that have risks for high altitude thunderstorms, substituting different aircraft. Other affected airlines will probably follow with altered scheduling and replacement aircraft. Meanwhile both General Electric and Boeing continue to work on the fix to the problem.
It seems that the 787 program continues with disappointing news and the repercussions for customers and for Boeing and its supply chain partners continue.