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

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora