By Christopher Tang (UCLA), Brian Yeh (PwC Advisory), and Joshua Zimmerman (Amgen)
After a delay of 3.5 years and a budget overrun of 10 billion USD, Boeing delivered its first 787 Dreamliner to All Nippon Airways (ANA) in late 2011. Within about one year of service, this turbulent dream has become a series of nightmares. In January 2013, a lithium ion battery was involved in a fire onboard a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston and an ANA flight made an emergency landing in Japan prompted by a battery alarm alert and presence of smoke. The FAA decided to indefinitely ground all fifty 787s around the world. This event has created a major embarrassment for LOT, the Polish airline and the first European carrier to get the 787, who was banking on the aircraft to build its reputation as an international carrier not only in Poland, but across Eastern Europe.
As Boeing struggles to address the problem and make its fleet of 787 safe to fly again, the public is beginning to realize the enormity of the problem goes far beyond the lithium ion battery issue. Some of the fundamental problems are as follows: