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Boeing 787 Battery Problems: Air Canada CEO Says Carrier Still Expects Dreamliner Shipment

01/22/2013 03:38 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT
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MONTREAL -- Air Canada's chief executive is confident that battery problems plaguing the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be resolved quickly.

Calin Rovinescu, speaking Tuesday to the Montreal Chamber of Commerce, said problems are common with the introduction of new models and that he isn't expecting any changes to the 787's long-term delivery schedule.

Currently all 50 of the Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered to airlines so far have been grounded as authorities probe overheating problems with the plane's lithium ion batteries.

In addition to the grounding, Boeing has halted deliveries of new planes until it can address the electrical problems.

However, Rovinescu said Air Canada still expects to begin taking delivery of the first of the 37 Dreamliners it has ordered starting in 2014.

The 787 uses composite materials instead of metals and Rovinescu says the aircraft will provide "cost efficiencies'' of more than 35 per cent.

Meanwhile, he also said he expects Air Canada's new low-cost carrier Rouge to eventually grow to up to 50 aircraft.

Rouge will start by taking over some existing routes from Air Canada as well as adding its own new routes to destinations such as Venice and Edinburgh.

Rovinescu said over the next year that Air Canada will hire about 1,100 new employees in different positions across the airline.

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