Boeing 787 jets in Japan grounded after problems

Boeing 787 jets in Japan grounded after problems

Credit: Reuters

The ANA Boeing 787 made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in Japan is seen with inflatable slides deployed. Passengers evacuated the plane safely.

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by Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 7:02 AM

TOKYO - Japan's transport ministry says Boeing 787 planes are being grounded for safety checks in the latest blow for the new passenger jet.

One of the 787s operated by All Nippon Airways made an emergency landing Wednesday in western Japan after a cockpit message showed battery problems -- the latest in a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks. No one has been seriously injured.

The ministry said Wednesday it got notices from ANA, which operates 17 of the jets, and Japan Airlines which has seven, that all their 787 aircraft will not be flying.

The grounding was being done voluntarily by the airlines. But the ministry says it's categorizing the problem Wednesday as a "serious incident" that could have led to an accident. 

ANA spokesman Takuya Taniguchi said the airline was not yet prepared to comment on the general problems that have surfaced in the 787. He could provide no further details on Wednesday's incident, though local media reported that smoke was seen inside the aircraft.

A Japan Airlines spokesman said they have decided to cancel all five of their scheduled 787 flights today.

"We will decide what to do after today based on what ANA finds out about the cause of the problem with their aircraft," said Seiji Takaramoto.

The U.S. government is conducting a review to find out what caused a fire, a fuel leak and other worrisome incidents with Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced airliner, though it has reassured the public it is safe to fly.

Japanese airlines have been the first to roll out the 787.

Boeing has said that various technical problems are to be expected in the early days of any aircraft model.

"Boeing is aware of the diversion of a 787 operated by ANA to Takamatsu in western Japan. We will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said.

A fire ignited Jan. 7 in the battery pack of an auxiliary power unit of a Japan Airlines 787 empty of passengers as the plane sat on the tarmac at Boston's Logan International Airport. It took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze. Later last week, a fuel leak delayed a flight from Boston to Tokyo of another Japan Airlines 787.

ANA cancelled a domestic flight to Tokyo on Jan. 9 after a computer wrongly indicated there was a problem with the Boeing 787's brakes.  Two days later, the carrier reported two new cases of problems with the aircraft, a minor fuel leak and a cracked windscreen in a 787 cockpit.

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