Qatar Airways has become the latest carrier to be affected by the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner, as uncertainty looms over the Boeing aircraft’s technical glitches.
In a press statement, the Doha-based airline has confirmed it has reduced capacity on its Chicago sector, along with postponing the launch of a new route to China, with no new date specified.
Qatar Airways will launch passenger flights to Chicago from April 10, which will now operate three-times-a-week as opposed to the original plan of a daily route.
A planned daily service will resume from June 15.
Chicago will be the airline’s fourth US gateway.
In addition, scheduled flights between Doha and Chengdu, the carrier’s sixth point in China, were due to start with three-flights-a-week from March 19, but the route launch has been postponed to a later date.
Qatar Airways’ corporate planners have been actively working on adjusting capacity on routes across its network as a result of the grounding of its Boeing 787s, which has impacted operations.
Passengers booked on the affected flights are being contacted by the carrier and rebooked on alternative flights and routings.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “We sincerely apologise to our customers for the inconvenience of the capacity adjustments caused by the grounding of the 787s, which is out of our hands.
“We are making every effort to ensure our valued customers are aware of these service updates and are accommodated accordingly.”
Cloudy skies for Dreamliner
Qatar Airways’ current predicament in not shared by the carrier alone.
Even as manufacturer Boeing is striving to convince US airline regulation body, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there is a breakthrough in curbing the hazards with the lithium-ion batteries used, airlines globally have cancelled thousands of flights as a safety measure.
India’s flagging flagship carrier Air India, which is currently cash strapped and heavily in debt, was forced to ground six Dreamliners on January 16, but the carrier is positive to have its aircraft in the air by April.
The airline ordered a total of 27 Dreamliner in January 2006 and the six were delivered, though years behind schedule.
Of the 50 Dreamliners delivered thus far, Japan’s All Nippon Airways is the most affected of later, with news reports putting the figure of flight cancellations at approximately 3,600.
Meanwhile, American carrier United Airlines has also delayed new services between San Francisco and Paris and Taipei, Taiwan, for several weeks.
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