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IAG boss: Boeing to fix Dreamliner but it may be months

A Boeing 787 descends in Everett, Washington travelling with crew only from Fort Worth, Texas February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin P. Casey
A Boeing 787 descends in Everett, Washington travelling with crew only from Fort Worth, Texas February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin P. Casey

By Stephen Mangan

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The chief executive of International Airlines Group said on Saturday he was confident that Boeing would overcome problems with its 787 Dreamliner jet, but added that they could take months to resolve.

Uncertainty about the future of Boeing's new lightweight, carbon-composite aircraft is growing after a series of battery related incidents prompted authorities worldwide to ground the jets and forced deliveries to be delayed.

"I am confident that Boeing will come up with a technical solution to the problems that they have identified," IAG chief Willie Walsh told an audience at an economic forum at Dublin's Trinity College university.

"I don't know how long it's going to take for them because they will have to do some redesigning of the battery system and I'd expect it to take a couple of months."

Walsh said he still considered the 787 "a fantastic aircraft" and expected IAG to take delivery at the end of May of the first of the 24 planes it has ordered: "We remain committed to the orders that we've placed with Boeing."

A growing number of investigators and Boeing executives are working to discover the cause of two separate incidents in January involving the 787 that are linked to problems with the jet's battery.

All 50 Dreamliners in service have been grounded while the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation regulators around the world investigate the problems. No root cause has been identified as yet.

IAG was formed in 2011 by the merger of British Airways and Iberia.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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