Just one week after he said he would be comfortable taking a spin in a Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has changed his tune. After numerous reports of problems with the jets’s batteries, LaHood now says none of them will take to the skies again until officials are “1,000% sure” they’re safe to fly.
“Those planes aren’t going to fly until we are 1,000% sure that they are safe to fly,” LaHood said outside a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., reports USA Today.
Just last week LaHood and the Federal Aviation Administration had confirmed their confidence in the aircraft during a press conference announcing a probe into the planes.
It was all downhill (down sky?) from there: All Nippon Airways had to make an emergency landing of one Dreamliner when crew members sniffed smoke coming from a lithium-ion battery on the plane this week, prompting the airline and Japan Airlines to ground their fleets. Soon after the FAA ordered all U.S. carriers to keep Dreamliners out of the air, followed by the global aviation powers that be following suit.
LaHood says the battery investigation is still ongoing.
“The reason that we ground it was because we did further consultation with Boeing and there was another incident,” LaHood said. “Those planes aren’t flying now until we have a chance to examine the batteries. That seems to be where the problem is.”
As for when they’ll fly again, LaHood isn’t giving a timeline, ostensibly to keep the investigation without the pressure of an end date.
“We just have to be patient here,” he said. “What the American people want is to fly on planes that are safe, and that’s what we’re going to assure them of. When there are incidents, it’s our job to do the examination, to do the investigation, to do the review, to do it top to bottom. That’s what we’re doing.”
We’re not complaining. Safety first and besides, there are other planes without smoking battery problems that can travel in, ya know?
LaHood: I want 1,000% certainty on Dreamliner [USA Today]