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In Japan, idled Dreamliner pilots lose pay, but want plane to be safe

Published on Feb 28, 2013 6:11 AM
 
An All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner (bottom) is being pulled by a towing tractor at Tokyo's Haneda airport after an ANA Dreamliner passenger plane made an emergency landing in western Japan on Jan 16, 2013, when smoke was reportedly seen inside the cockpit.  The grounding of Boeing Co's global fleet of 787 Dreamliner passenger jets due to undiagnosed battery problems is taking its toll on the hundreds of pilots specially trained to fly the high-tech, fuel efficient plane. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Their smart uniforms are mothballed, their income has fallen and some are getting under their wives' feet at home.

The grounding of Boeing Co's global fleet of 787 Dreamliner passenger jets due to undiagnosed battery problems is taking its toll on the hundreds of pilots specially trained to fly the high-tech, fuel efficient plane.

In Japan, the 350 or so pilots at All Nippon Airways Co (ANA) and Japan Airlines Co Ltd (JAL), which operate around half the 50 Dreamliners in service, have been kicking their heels at home since the planes were idled in mid-January - an enforced rest period that is beginning to grate.

"For the first two weeks after the grounding, the 787 was in my dreams. It's the first time I haven't flown for this long,"one ANA Dreamliner captain told Reuters. He asked not to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media. "It's like I'm rehearsing for retirement. My family teases me, saying I'm unemployed."

 
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