787 Dreamliner investigation continues
(CBS News) So far in its brief career, the 787 Dreamliner has been anything but a dream for Boeing.
No one's been hurt, but the super-high-tech jetliner of the future remains grounded while investigators try to figure out why its batteries keep catching fire.
CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg spoke to Jim Axelrod and Rebecca Jarvis about how this could affect Boeing and the aircraft industry.
"The economic impact here is staggering to Boeing" Greenberg said. "The good news for Boeing is they've only delivered 50 of them -- only 36 were in operation when the grounding came into effect -- so there is some time here to build and try to fix this problem."
All 50 of the 787 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered to airlines were grounded after an overheated battery forced the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 flight in Japan. That incident followed another battery fire on a jet parked at Boston's Logan International Airport. Boeing has halted deliveries of new planes until it can address the electrical problems.
Now the NTSB is trying to recreate what happened in those incidents by subjecting the plane's batteries to surges in electrical input and overheating. The FAA is also using the grounding order as an opportunity to look inside itself to figure out its own inspection procedures and what allowed this plane to be certified as airworthy.
"This is the most outsourced plane ever built in the history of aviation," Greenberg said. "Remember, with that many subcontractors, you miss one rivet, the plane can't be produced. That's why it was delayed three-and-a-half years to be delivered in the first place. So this rush to production, that's what they're also focusing on within the FAA."
With each plane costing $200 million and 800 planes on order, Greenberg said it is highly unlikely the investigation would result in the end of the jet's production -- the economic imperative on all fronts is too strong.
"Boeing is laser-focused on getting this problem fixed," he said.
To watch the full interview with Peter Greenberg, click on the video player above.
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