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Norwegian Air to hand second Dreamliner to Boeing for checks

OSLO (Reuters) - Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle aims to bring its grounded Dreamliner back into service late next week and will hand its second one to Boeing for checks as a precautionary measure, a spokeswoman said.

The carrier grounded one of its two Dreamliners on September 28, handing it to Boeing for repairs after repeated hydraulic and electrical faults in its first month of operation left passengers stranded in cities around the world including Bangkok and New York.

"Boeing has gone through the plane completely and made all the necessary improvements," spokeswoman Charlotte Holmbergh Jacobsson said. "We aim to have it back in operation towards the end of next week."

Contrary to previous plans to test the plan on shorter routes, Norwegian Air will put the repaired jet immediately into long-haul service, she said.

The carrier said it would hand its other Dreamliner to Boeing for a similar set of checks and possible repairs, taking it out of operation.

"We have not had as many problems with this plane, but to be sure, we have chosen to go through the check list in this aircraft as well," Holmbergh Jacobsson said.

Boeing was not immediately available to comment.

The Dreamliner was supposed to be a game changer for the aviation industry as its light weight body and sophisticated engines cut fuel consumption by 20 percent. But the programme has been beset by problems, including a battery fire that grounded the model for months this year and forced Boeing to come up with a new battery design.

(Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg; Writing by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Pravin Char)

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