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Japanese airlines ground Boeing 787 Dreamliners after emergency landing

posted 16 Jan 2013, 15:47 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Jan 2013, 15:53 ]

Japan's two leading airlines ground their fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners after one of the passenger jets makes an emergency landing.

 TAKAMATSU, KAGAWA PREFECTURE, JAPAN (JANUARY 16, 2013) (REUTERS) - Japan's two leading airlines grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s on Wednesday (January 16), after one of the Dreamliner passenger jets made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport. All Nippon Airways (ANA) said instruments aboard a domestic flight indicated a battery error, triggering emergency warnings to the pilots. A senior official at Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau also said a second warning light indicated smoke.

The incident, described by a transport ministry official as "highly serious," is the latest in a string of recent mishaps involving the 787, including fuel leaks, a battery fire, a wiring problem, a brake-computer glitch, and a cracked cockpit window.

ANA, which said the battery in the forward cargo hold was the same lithium-ion type as one involved in a fire on another Dreamliner at a U.S. airport last week, grounded all 17 of its 787s, and Japan Airlines suspended its 787 flights scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

The two airlines, which operate around half of the 50 Dreamliners delivered to date, said they would decide on Thursday (January 17) whether to resume Dreamliner flights the following day.

The 787, which has a list price of $207 million, represents a leap forward in the way planes are designed and built, but the project has been plagued by cost overruns and years of delays. Some have suggested Boeing's rush to get planes built after those delays resulted in the recent problems, a charge the company strenuously denies.

Both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they were monitoring the latest incident as part of a comprehensive review of the Dreamliner announced late last week.