JAL Chairman: 100% Reliance on Boeing 'Abnormal'
The chairman of Japan Airlines (JAL), which has had to ground its entire fleet of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft after a battery fire, told CNBC he had reservations from the start on relying on one vendor.
Chairman Kazuo Inamori told CNBC: "When I first became chairman of JAL in February 2010 I found out that 100 percent of Japan aircraft were made by Boeing - I felt that was abnormal."
He added, "In a normal market there is tremendous risk from relying on one vendor. In order to provide good products at good prices, at lower prices a dual vendor system is a must."
(Read More: Boeing to Lay Out Plan to Fix Grounded Dreamliners)
The carrier operates 7 of the 50 Dreamliners in service around the world and its entire fleet of 217 aircraft comes from Boeing.
The JAL chairman said he was involved in discussions about introducing another vendor when the accident occurred in January.
"This is not to say there was anything wrong with Boeing but a dual vendor situation is preferable. We were just in the midst of deliberating on this when this thing happened," he said.
"We should have been much, much more careful. The only consolation is that there has been no grave accident," he added.
All Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been out of action since early January, while U.S. and Japanese investigators look into the cause of two incidents associated with the plane's lithium-ion batteries.
The incidents included a battery fire on a JAL 787 aircraft at a U.S. airport and an emergency landing by another plane on a domestic Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight after battery problems triggered a smoke alarm. ANA owns 17 Dreamliners.
Inamori said balancing the risk of testing out new technologies with safety regulations was a challenge specific to the aviation industry.
"It is unacceptable to jump at every advance of new technological breakthrough. Technology used in aviation must be proficient, endurable and confirmed to be extremely reliable," he added.
The 787 model is the first aircraft to make extensive use of lithium-ion batteries. The batteries, which are manufactured by Japan manufacturer GS Yuasa are lighter, more powerful and charge more quickly.
Both JAL and ANA have since moved to seek compensation from Boeing for the grounding of the 787 Dreamliner jets and consequent loss of revenue. However, both airlines remain committed to using the jets in the future.