Ethiopian Airlines wants compensation for 787 Dreamliner grounding

An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner jet is pictured ahead of its take off on April 27, 2013, at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport. The carrier became the first airline to resume flying the Boeing 787 that were grounded worldwide three months ago due to battery problems. Saturday's flight will travel from Addis Ababa to Nairobi and is expected to return in the evening. The remaining three of Ethiopia's Dreaminers will also be retrofitted with a new battery that is contained, ensuring the flight can continue in case of malfuntion. Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said he was very happy to be the first airline in the world to resume flight after a three month grounding of the 50-strong fleet. Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's fastest growing carrier, is the first airline in Africa to operate the 787 Dreamliner. AFP PHOTO/JENNY VAUGHAN. (Photo credit should read JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP/Getty Images) AFP

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines said Tuesday that his company will seek compensation from Boeing for the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner planes.

Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press that his company will soon start discussions with Boeing over compensation.

A Boeing spokesman, Daniel Mosely, said the company has been in close communication with its customers regarding compensation since January, when Dreamliners around the world were grounded because of overheating lithium batteries. Mosely said details of the conversations are confidential.

Ethiopian Airlines began flying the 787s again last month after the battery problem was fixed. Gebremariam said his company's focus had been on getting the Dreamliners back into service. Now that they are flying again, the company's next step is to start compensation discussions with Boeing.

The 50 Dreamliner jets in service worldwide were grounded in mid-January after incidents with smoldering batteries occurred aboard two different planes, leading to hundreds of cancelled flights and revenue losses.

Japan's two biggest carriers have the most 787s -- All Nippon Airways owns 17 of the jets, while Japan Airlines has seven. The U.S. carrier United has six.

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