UK airlines back Dreamliner

UK airlines are sticking to their comms strategies around Boeing's 787 Dreamliner despite the adverse media coverage of the aircraft.

Boeing's state-of-the-art carrier, which has been hit by five safety issues in as many days, is undergoing investigation by US authorities.

Last week, the Dreamliner hit headlines after two separate fuel leaks, brake problems, a crack in a cockpit window and a fire on a stationary aircraft in the US and Japan.

Boeing announced it was carrying out a joint review with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) last week, while stating that it remained 'fully confident in the plane's design and production system'.

Japanese authorities have since said they are also working with Boeing and the FAA.

Fiona Jennings, TUI Travel's director of external comms, told PRWeek that the Dreamliner incidents had 'not made a difference' to PR plans for the firm's launch of the plane.

The Dreamliner, which has suffered nearly four years of delays to the market because of production hold-ups, will first become available to UK travellers in May exclusively with TUI's Thomson Airways.

Jennings said TUI, which works with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, would be 'keeping up momentum' with previous comms that have flaunted the new planes during the past year, including a press campaign and a TV ad.

TUI stated it had been in contact with Boeing and had 'no reason to believe' that its delivery of the 787s, expected in March, would be delayed.

There have been 50 Dreamliners delivered to eight airlines since 2011, with the latest incidents affecting Japan's JAL and All Nippon Airways aircraft.

British Airways will receive its 787s a few months after TUI. Group chief executive Willie Walsh said he welcomed the joint review and remained 'committed to taking delivery of the aircraft'.

Virgin Atlantic is due to receive its own delivery of 787s early next year.

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