The Boeing Company
) has run into trouble with its newest family of planes, the
, yet again. The company managed to recover from last Friday's
share price drop of 4.6% in less than a week just in time to face
another incident yesterday.
(TYO:9201) plane en route to Tokyo had to return to its departure
airport in Boston after a mechanical indicator alert came on,
following "a standard precautionary measure," as
an airline spokeswoman told Reuters
. A US aviation official
that the incident - an issue with the plane's fuel pump - wasn't an
Even though this incident is not connected to the troubled Li-Ion
batteries that led to a prolonged 787 fleet
grounding earlier this year
, this latest event sent Boeing stock down 1.8% shortly after
markets opened today.
Investors are cautious when it comes to Boeing stock, in light of
the ongoing probe about the fire aboard a parked and unoccupied
Ethiopian Airlines' 787 Dreamliner in London Heathrow Airport
on July 12
Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner 787 pictured at Washington Dulles
International Airport. Photo courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines.
The fire severely damaged the fuselage of the plane, but no one was
hurt. Yesterday investigators from Britain's Air Accident
Investigations Branch (AAIB) said
in a bulletin
that an emergency beacon produced by
) might have caused the incident. AAIB also noted that 6,000
beacons of the same design were installed in a wide range of
aircraft without any issues.
The beacon, officially called an Emergency Locator Transmitter
(ELT), is used to alert and guide rescue crews to the plane's
location in case of an accident. The ELT model Rescu 406 AFN uses
an independent Lithium-Manganese battery, and it might have been
the source of the trouble, AAIB reported. While not
a required part for US-based planes
, a number of international airlines install the beacon to comply
with local regulations around the world.
Honeywell Rescu 406 AFN. Photo courtesy of Honeywell
Boeing supported the recommendations British investigators outlined
in their report - to turn off ELTs in 787 planes and to review the
safety of the beacons in other aircraft types. "We are confident
the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity," said
The company's woes come not only from issues with 787s, but from
the competition, too.
Boeing shares faced the most significant slip this year in
) successfully completed test flights of
the first A350 aircraft
, the new wide-body jet family set to compete with 787s and 777s.
Airbus appears to be on schedule with its flight test campaign,
passing the mark of
92 hours in the air, total,
for its first A350 development aircraft. The first commercial A350
is set to arrive in late 2014.
its order target from 800 to more than 1,000 aircraft this year,
challenging Boeing's lead in the $100 billion jet market. The
longtime Boeing rival has also celebrated the delivery of its
1000th A330 wide-body jet to Cathay Pacific this Friday and has
announced ongoing work on a smaller, regional version of the A330.
But Boeing has some better news in store, too.
While it was undoubtedly a tragic event, the July 6 Asiana Boeing
777 crash in San Francisco demonstrated that the robust design of
the 777 may have helped prevent a higher death toll,
. The accident that took three lives out of 307 people aboard was
likely caused by a pilot mistake
, so Boeing shares went up after the markets reopened on July 8.
Final assembly stages of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in Everett,
Washington. Photo courtesy of Boeing.
The company plans to
refresh its 777 family ("777X")
by the end of 2013, and an expansion of the Dreamliner family is
already under way.
The first new longer 787-9 aircraft
left the factory in Everett, Washington
, this Wednesday. The new Dreamliner version will be delivered to
customers in early 2014. Further expansion is underway, with even
bigger 787-10 versions arriving in 2018.
Boeing has a solid lead in demand for new generation planes so far,
boasting 930 orders of 787 Dreamliner family planes, compared to
678 orders of A350s.