by Keith Laing, The Hill Newspaper
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declared Friday that he would feel safe flying on the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” airplane.
“I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations of boarding one of these planes and taking a flight,” LaHood said in a news conference. “These planes are safe.”
The comments were an effort to calm fears about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement Friday that it was launching a review of the 787’s features following a series of incidents involving the new aircraft.
This week, an electrical fire broke out in the battery of one 787 aircraft, which were designed by airplane manufacturer Boeing. Another 787 developed a fuel leak and the computers on a third plane wrongly indicated there was a problem with the brakes. No one was injured in any of the incidents.
Additionally, on Friday, the cockpit windshield of a 787 plane cracked as it was leaving Tokyo. The plane landed safely.
LaHood acknowledged the incidents were concerning, but maintained that the 787 is a safe airplane.
“We’re concerned about recent events with the 787, that’s why today we’re announcing a comprehensive review of the design and production of the [airplane],” LaHood said.
“Throughout the development of the 787, the FAA logged 200,000 hours on the certification of the aircraft to ensure it our high level of safety,” he quickly added.
Boeing Vice President Ray Conner joined LaHood at his news conference, adding that the 787 went through “the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of commercial aviation.”
Conner said the problems that were being experienced by the 787 were not “anything unusual.”
“A lot of these issues are typical issues that come across with every airplane that’s in service,” he said.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta added that the reviewing the initial performance of a new airplane model is a “a normal part of what we do is as an aircraft is certified and as it goes into service.
“Nothing we have seen would indicate that this airplane is not safe,” Huerta said.
However, the FAA has promised to conduct a “a comprehensive review of Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.”