TOKYO – Japan's All Nippon Airways <9202.T> is in talks with U.S. aircraft maker Boeing Co to speed up the delivery of three 777 jetliners as its fleet of 787 Dreamliner airplanes remains grounded with undiagnosed battery problems, the Nikkei newspaper said on Sunday.
All 50 Boeing 787s worldwide remain grounded as authorities in the United States, Japan and France investigate a battery fire in Boston on January 7 and a separate battery failure that forced a second 787 to make an emergency landing in Japan a week later.
ANA had planned to add the three Boeing 777 jets to its fleet in fiscal year 2013, but it will aim to get them delivered ahead of schedule to soften the negative impact from the Dreamliner grounding, Shinzo Shimizu, ANA's senior vice president told Nikkei. The airline is also considering keeping older Airbus 320 jets in service for longer, he said.
ANA, Asia's top airline by revenue, lost more than $15 million in revenue from having to cancel Dreamliner flights last month. Earlier this week it said it was unclear as to when Boeing's sophisticated new plane would resume commercial flights, making it harder to predict the longer-term financial impact of having the plane idle.
The Japanese airline has said it has no plans to change its growth strategy, but it conceded that a prolonged grounding of the plane would impact that strategy, and will delay issuing its mid-term business plan for several weeks.
ANA has canceled close to 850 flights until February 18, affecting over 82,000 passengers. The Dreamliner makes up around 7 percent of ANA's fleet, and the airline normally operates around 1,000 flights a day and carries 3.7 million passengers each month.
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)