Airlines seek alternative for grounded 787

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The prolonged grounding of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has forced some airlines to seek alternative arrangements, including renting other planes to fill gaps for the upcoming busy summer travel season.

It’s a sign that some Boeing customers don’t expect a quick fix to the 787’s problems.

Jeff Knittel of airplane leasing company CIT said on Tuesday that unnamed airlines are talking to CIT about alternatives to the Dreamliner. He said leasing rates for planes like the Boeing 767 and the Airbus A330 “have remained strong and strengthened slightly.”

Interest has come from a handful of airlines that already have the plane or were supposed to get it before the summer travel season.

Boeing’s newest jet has been grounded for almost two months because of two battery incidents, including a fire. Boeing has proposed a fix but it requires federal approval and further testing.

Fifty planes have been delivered to eight airlines. Deliveries are currently halted, but Boeing is still building the planes and has said it still expects to deliver at least 60 this year.

Boeing, regulators, and the airlines that fly the 787 haven’t said when they expect the plane to return to the skies. But Knittel’s comments show that at least some airlines don’t think it will be soon.

— U-B wire reports

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