AP, BBC, DAILY YOMIURI, KYODO (Japan)
TOKYO - Amidst continuing safety concerns, airlines and regulators have grounded the majority of Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner planes around the world, reports the BBC.
By Thursday, chief air safety agencies in Europe, the United States, Japan and elsewhere had ordered flights halted.
The 787 is the newest jet for the Seattle-based company, but since its 2011 commercial launch, which already had been long delayed with technical problems, it has seen a series of additional problems, including: fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, braking problems, an electrical fire, and battery problems.
[Photo: An ANA 787 by Spaceaero2 via Wikipedia]
On Wednesday night, Japanese All Nippon Airways (ANA) was forced to make an emergency landing due to battery malfunction. The Daily Yomiuri writes that the airline reported that an indicator light in an electrical panel at the front of the plane showed the presence of smoke. However, no passenger or crew member was able to confirm the smoke. No problems were reported with the take off or after the landing.
The AP says that U.S. officials and a Boeing engineer are due in Japan on Friday to further investigate this emergency landing.
Air India's decision on Thursday to ground its 787s, under orders from Indian aviation authorities, means that 36 of the 50 jets in use around the world are out of action. ANA, which has 17 and Japan Airlines, 7, voluntarily halted flights Wednesday after the emergency landing but aviation authorities have now made the grounding official, according to the AP.
Kyodo writes that in a statement, the U.S. regulator said that "As a result of an in-flight Boeing 787 battery incident earlier today in Japan, the FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations."
Boeing have said that they are working in collaboration with the investigators. Company chairman, president and CEO Jim McNerney stated “ We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.”