Boeing on Monday took out full-page advertisements in major Japanese newspapers as it tries to piece together its reputation in the wake of the worldwide Dreamliner grounding.
The U.S. manufacturer is fighting a rear-guard action in Japan, the biggest single market for its troubled 787. The planes have been sitting on the ground around the globe since battery problems on two Japanese-owned planes in January.
“We deeply apologize to Japanese customers and companies affected for the trouble and concern caused by our new Boeing 787,” Boeing said in the ad, which has a photograph of an airborne Dreamliner.
“We have suspended all flights since the trouble over batteries on the 787 emerged, but we have introduced safety measures to address all possible causes,” it said.
“If any trouble such as heating emerges, new casing and exhaust systems will prevent any impact on the safety of flights and passengers and allow the plane to complete a safe flight to its destination,” it said.
The advertisement came after a modified Dreamliner took to the skies over Tokyo on Sunday with top Boeing and All Nippon Airways executives aboard.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority on Thursday issued a formal approval of Boeing’s 787 battery fix, clearing the way for the aircraft to fly again.
ANA and Japan Airlines account for around half the 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide and regaining the confidence of Japan’s flying public will be key if Boeing is to see returns on its vast investment in the next-generation plane.
Despite Sunday’s successful test flight, it could be at least a month before all the battery fixes are put in place and the entire fleet is back in the air.
Between mid January, when the 787s were grounded, and the end of May, ANA has canceled a total of 3601 international and domestic flights, while JAL has canceled or reduced a total of 766 flights, company spokesmen said Tuesday.
“We express our deep gratitude towards passengers, airlines, suppliers and the investigating authorities in each country . . . for their support on the occasion of resuming operations of the completely modified 787,” Boeing said in the ad.
The ad appeared in five national newspapers and a major regional paper, including the Yomiuri Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, and Mainichi Shimbun, three of the world’s four largest-selling newspapers, with combined morning edition sales of more than 21 million copies.