REUTERS SUMMIT-Norwegian's grounded Dreamliner may fly again this week
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OSLO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle could return its grounded Boeing Dreamliner to short haul service as soon as this week and remains so confident in the plane, it is "highly likely" it will order more, its chief executive said.
Boeing probably underestimated the Dreamliner's service needs during the early phase of operations but has now allocated a lot of resources to fix its teething problems, Bjoern Kjos told Reuters on Tuesday.
"I believe that the 787 is an incredibly good aircraft," Kjos said in an interview. "It's even better on performance than we anticipated, the fuel burn is lower."
Norwegian grounded one of its two brand new Dreamliners on Saturday, calling in Boeing to fix the plane after a string of embarrassing breakdowns left passengers stranded in places including New York and Bangkok.
Norwegian started long haul operations this year, becoming the only European budget airline with flights to North America and Asia but the launch was marred by the delayed delivery of aircraft, then by the repeated breakdowns with hydraulic and power issues.
Still, Norwegian would take more of the jets, Kjos said, because once the service issues are resolved, it is the best airplane on the market.
"We'd take them as soon as they are available. But then there aren't any Dreamliners available in 2013, 2014, or 2015," Kjos said.
Boeing was not immediately available to comment.
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(Editing by Anna Willard)