The recent grounding of the 787 Dreamliner could impact new service between Denver and Japan

New flight scheduled for March 31

Denver - After the grounding of the Boeing 787 airliner, industry observers say the future of many new routes may be in question. The FAA issued the order grounding the aircraft on Wednesday after a series of problems involving lithium batteries used to power the state-of-the-art jet.

United Airlines is scheduled to launch non-stop service between Denver and Tokyo on March 31. Officials from Denver International Airport and the Metro Chamber of Commerce tell 7NEWS they have not had any communication with United Airlines concerning the troubled aircraft that is supposed to fly that route.

The airport is moving forward with the launch date.

"I wouldn't want to set a timetable on this. I would want to make sure that everything is perfectly safe with this aircraft's electrical system," said aviation safety consultant Steve Cowell.

Aviation journalist Barbara Peterson of Conde Nast Traveler says the FAA decision has the potential of delaying the much-hyped flight between Denver and Tokyo.

"Let's put it this way: The whole aviation industry is counting on this being over very quickly. However, groundings - when it involves a design issue - it's not going to be over in a few days," said Peterson.

The last time the FAA took such wide sweeping action was back in 1979. Troubles with the DC-10 aircraft prompted that move.

"I believe they're going to find the cause relatively quickly. But it's the fix that may take a little bit of time," said Cowell.

Experts tell 7NEWS other types of aircraft can make the flight between Colorado and Japan. However, other airliners are not nearly as fuel efficient and profitable as the 787.


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