The business class cabin of Qatar Airways new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Click for more photos

Qatar Airways unveils first Dreamliner

The business class cabin of Qatar Airways new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Photo: Reuters

The first commercial flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Australia has been postponed following the grounding of the aircraft worldwide.

Qatar Airways was due to make the first passenger flight of a Dreamliner to Australia on Friday, with a flight from Doha to Perth.

But the airline grounded its 787s on January 17, citing the US Federal Aviation Administrations warning over fire risks on board the revolutionary new jet Qatar has since confirmed it has postponed the launch of Dreamliner flights to Australia.

With investigators yet to identify the cause of the incidents, no new date for Qatar's inaugural Dreamliner flight to Australia has been set.

Airlines around the world grounded their 787 Dreamliners on January 16.

The action was prompted by a battery incident during an All Nippon Airways flight that resulted in an emergency landing in Japan. This came after an earlier incident on an ANA 787 on the ground in Boston.

The Dreamliner's troubles have roiled the airline industry. Safety regulators and industry experts are warning that investigations into the cause of a series of small fires on the plane could take months or even a year.

The grounding has forced hundreds of flight cancellations worldwide, in the United States, India, South America and beyond.

The uncertainty over the Dreamliner has raised serious questions for Boeing, with deliveries of its signature aircraft stalled and airlines awaiting the futuristic plane. It was set to play a major role in their growth.

Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline was working with Boeing to "restore customer confidence in the 787".

"Qatar Airways will resume 787 operations when we are clear that the aircraft meets the full requirements of the Airworthiness Directive and our standards," he said.

Qatar currently has five Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in its fleet.

Amid the crisis, Qantas announced it had cancelled one of its 15 Dreamliner orders for Jetstar. The airline is still expected to take delivery of its first 787 later this year.

Further testing still has not found the cause of a battery fire on board the Dreamliner in Boston, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

In a statement released on Sunday, the regulator said "no obvious anomalies were found" in its initial investigation of an undamaged battery aboard the plane and that a more detailed examination would follow.

The NTSB's preliminary finding, along with the absence of any reported progress in determining a root cause of the auxiliary power unit's battery fire, underscores that the safety investigation and the grounding of the 787s may drag on longer than Boeing had hoped.

Oliver McGee, an aerospace and mechanical engineer who was a deputy assistant secretary of transportation under President Bill Clinton and a former consultant to Boeing, described the challenge facing the investigators as a "megascale engineering puzzle."

With REUTERS