Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Boeing 787 hit by security fears

BA branded Boeing Dreamliner
BA has ordered 24 Dreamliners

Boeing has been ordered to ensure passengers on its new 787 Dreamliner jet cannot hack into the flight system and take control of the plane.

The ruling has come from America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is concerned that the plane's computer system may be vulnerable.

Boeing said it was in constant dialogue with the FAA to resolve the issue.

The US giant will start to deliver the mid-sized planes from November. British Airways has ordered 24 Dreamliners.

Rival UK carrier Virgin Atlantic has orders for 15.

'Appropriate safeguards'

Responding to the security revelation, which was first reported by trade magazine Flight International, Boeing said that "appropriate safeguards were already designed into the 787".

Boeing Dreamliner
Like most modern planes, the 787 has extensive computer systems

"We have already reached agreement with the FAA on the documentation, analysis and demonstrations necessary to show compliance with this special condition," it said.

"Completion of these activities will occur during the flight test programme."

It added that information from the test flights would be fully shared with the FAA to ensure a thorough review of the system.

Carbon fibre

The Dreamliner is Boeing's fastest-selling plane, with 802 orders in total by the start of this year.

Last year it was hit by a six-month delay due to manufacturing problems.

The Dreamliner is Boeing's first all-new jet since 1995.

It is the only big commercial aircraft made mostly of carbon fibre rather than aluminium and is billed as the most environmentally-friendly commercial jet ever built.

Boeing says the 787 is much more fuel efficient than its competitors and produces 20% less carbon dioxide.



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