News / Asia

International Carriers Ground Boeing Dreamliner Fleets

A Japanese investigator carries a battery which was taken from the All Nippon Airways' (ANA) 787 Dreamliner plane, which made an emergency landing on Wednesday, at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, in this photo taken by Kyodo, January 17, 2013.
A Japanese investigator carries a battery which was taken from the All Nippon Airways' (ANA) 787 Dreamliner plane, which made an emergency landing on Wednesday, at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, in this photo taken by Kyodo, January 17, 2013.
Aviation regulators in Asia and other parts of the world are grounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. They are concerned about the risk of a fire occurring in flight because of issues with the new jet's batteries.

After the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration ordered an indefinite halt to Dreamliner flights, regulators in Japan, India and Chile quickly issued similar directives.

787 Dreamliner, Parts Suppliers (CLICK TO ENLARGE)787 Dreamliner, Parts Suppliers (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
x
787 Dreamliner, Parts Suppliers (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
787 Dreamliner, Parts Suppliers (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Japan's Vice Transport Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama says the safety of airline passengers is paramount. He explains that the precise nature of the problem with the jet's batteries is not known because the aircraft has a complex electrical system and it will take a thorough investigation to provide answers.

Japanese authorities say their initial inspection leads them to believe the batteries are overheating.

Airlines and regulators began halting flights of the 787 following a Wednesday morning incident in Japan.

​A domestic All Nippon Airways flight bound for Tokyo made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport after smoke was seen inside the aircraft. The pilot also reported smelling an odor, and instrumentation indicated a battery problem.

About half of the 50 Dreamliners in use today are operated by ANA and Japan Airlines.

U.S.-based United Airlines, Air India and Chile's LAN Airlines also have taken the Boeing twin-engine wide-bodied jets out of service since Wednesday.

Boeing's Dreamliner 787 Problems

  • Jan. 16: ANA flight makes emergency landing after a battery problem
  • Jan. 13: JAL 787 suffers fuel spill
  • Jan. 11: ANA 787 grounded after a windshield crack is discovered; another ANA 787 delayed for oil leak
  • Jan. 9: ANA cancels 787 flight because of brake issue
  • Jan. 8: JAL 787 grounded in Boston after a fuel spill
  • Jan. 7: Fire breaks out on an empty JAL 787


 
The emergency landing in Japan was the latest in a string of incidents involving lithium ion batteries in the plane that boasts a revolutionary design. It first went into commercial service in November 2011. Other concerns about the aircraft's safety have been expressed following reports of leaking fuel, a cracked windshield and brake problems.

Eight carriers have been operating Dreamliners, which are built mainly from lightweight carbon fiber. Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines are the other carriers with Dreamliners in their current fleets (in addition to ANA, JAL, United and LAN). Boeing has received orders for 800 more of the fuel-efficient jets.

One of the future recipients, Korean Airlines, is shrugging off concerns about the Dreamliner. The airline issued a news release Thursday saying it is not unusual for such problems to be found with newly operational aircraft. KAL says the 10 planes it is to begin receiving from the end of 2016 will be an upgraded model (the 787-9), and it expects their efficiency and safety will be "better than any other aircraft."

The aircraft manufacturer also issued a statement saying Boeing is “confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.”

  • ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in Japan, January 16, 2013. Smoke appeared in the plane's cockpit, but all 137 passengers and crew members were evacuated safely.
  • ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner after making an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport in western Japan January 16, 2013.
  • A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet surrounded by emergency vehicles at Logan International Airport in Boston, January 7, 2013. A small electrical fire filled the cabin of the JAL aircraft with smoke.
  • A Boeing 787 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, October 1, 2012, during an official welcome ceremony after it landed on the first day of service for the aircraft on ANA's Seattle-Tokyo route.
  • The first scheduled Boeing 787 airplane to depart from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, takes off October 2, 2012 in Seattle.
  • A Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off from from Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas, April 11, 2012.
  • Passengers of a Boeing 787 are welcomed by lion dance to celebrate the airplane's inaugural commercial flight from Japan, at Hong Kong International Airport, October 26, 2011.
  • The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, carrying the first major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, after the plane's arrival from Italy, April 24, 2007.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More