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Airbus takes aim at Boeing over Dreamliner

A senior Airbus executive has heavily criticised the troubled aircraft, suggesting it was rushed to market.

Last Modified: 19 Jul 2013 17:38
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An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner caught fire at Britain's Heathrow airport on July 12 [Reuters]

Boeing's troubled Dreamliner aircraft has come under attack from a rival company as a senior Airbus executive hit out at the plane, branding it unreliable.

Airbus sales chief John Leahy on Friday, suggested to reporters that the rival aircraft had been rushed to market.

"It's pretty obvious that this airplane is not reliable and does not have mature systems," Leahy said, addressing reporters at a ceremony to mark the thousandth delivery of the company's A330 plane, to Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific.

"You can keep it flying but it's going to cost you a lot of maintenance,"

It's pretty obvious that this airplane is not reliable and does not have mature systems.

John Leahy, Airbus sales chief

"What they've got is an architecture that is not mature and that will eventually become mature. It's going to take a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of cancelled flights. And maybe redesign quite a few systems onboard."

Problems with Boeing's Dreamliner aircraft have been regularly reported this year, including a fire on board an empty Ethiopian Airlines plane at London Heathrow last week. 

British authorities on Thursday said a distress beacon was the likely cause of the fire and recommended they be disabled onboard all Dreamliners.

The Dreamliner, which makes extensive use of lighter, carbon-based composite materials that reduce fuel consumption, came into service in September 2011.

But Boeing issued a global grounding order in January after lithium-ion batteries overheated on two different jets.

The company has not been able to identify the root cause of the earlier problems, but it said its modifications would prevent the problems recurring.

However, the planes have been dogged by problems since they began flying once again in April, with a series of flights worldwide cancelled or diverted due to mechanical issues

The latest incident came on Thursday, when a Japan Airlines 787 that left Boston for Tokyo turned back due to a possible pump problem.

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