All Nipon Airways (ANA) said on Monday that it would ground its fleet of Dreamliners until at least the end of May. 1,714 flights will be canceled by ANA during April and May, a time when Japan faces a busy holiday period called Golden Week.
The total number of affected flights is about 3,600 since the Dreamliner stopped from flying in January. Of the most recent announced flight cancellations, 1,250 are domestic and 464 are international flights.
“Unfortunately, it includes Golden Week, but we have decided to inform our customers in advance as the prospect for their resumption is still unseen,” a company spokeswoman said.
ANA is Boeing’s biggest Dreamliner customer so far, with 17 of the world’s 50 operational 787s, the international press reports.
Boeing said it had proposed a solution for the battery issues, but had not yet convinced the United States safety regulators it controls the problem as it should.
On Friday, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said: “The safety of the flying public is our top priority and we will not allow the 787 to return to commercial service until we are confident that any proposed solution has addressed the battery failure risks.”
Aviation expert Richard Aboulafia of the aerospace and defense industry company Teal Group said that if the FAA accepted the Boeing fix, the 787 could be flying again in April, but he added: “There is a very good chance that they will not.”
“We do not know to what extent it is a temporary fix and if it is accompanied by a broader solution that is not going to work as a long-term fix,” he said.
On January 16, an overheated battery activated smoke alarms and led to the emergency landing of a domestic ANA flight. Several days earlier, a battery caught fire at an airport on a Dreamliner in Boston, according to the international press. After these incidents, the entire global fleet of 787s has been grounded and the safety regulators started their investigation.