News / Asia

    US Orders All Boeing 787s Grounded

    Passengers walk away from ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane after it made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport, western Japan, Jan. 16, 2013.
    Passengers walk away from ANA's Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane after it made an emergency landing at Takamatsu airport, western Japan, Jan. 16, 2013.
    VOA News
    The U. S. Federal Aviation Administration has ordered all U.S.-registered Boeing 787 passenger jets to stop flying until the risk of possible fires caused by lithium batteries aboard the craft can be evaluated.
     
    The FAA said it will work with Boeing and United Airlines - the only American carrier that currently operates 787s - to get the wide-bodied, twin-engine jets back in service as quickly and safely as possible.
     
    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 government's aviation watchdog said in a statement that all 787 operators must demonstrate to the FAA that planes' lithium batteries are safe before flights can resume.
     
    Hours earlier, Japan's two biggest airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, grounded all their Dreamliners - 24 aircraft - after one of the new jets made an emergency landing in Japan, after a cockpit warning light signaled a battery problem and passengers reported a burning smell in the cabin. No serious injuries were reported as passengers and crew scrambled down escape chutes after the jet touched down.

    Even before Wednesday's developments, recent problems with the 787 had prompted U.S. regulators to launch a safety review of the aircraft. A battery problem was believed to be the cause of a small fire that broke out aboard an empty 787 as it was being serviced on the ground in Boston; other incidents have involved leaking fuel, a cracked windshield and brake problems.
     
    Boeing had no immediate comment on the FAA action, but the company's stock price fell 2 percent in trading after U.S. markets formally closed.
     
    U.S.-based Boeing has sold or has commitments to build more than 800 of the planes for airlines around the world. Boeing says the 787's revolutionary design will save air carrers money by using less fuel.

    • 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.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: kafantaris from: USA, Ohio
    January 17, 2013 2:00 PM
    Boeing makes solid planes and has been doing so for decades. Yet despite their wide use, large lithium batteries still lag in safety.
    Ironically a safer route for Boeing would have been to use hydrogen batteries. Not only would hydrogen have given the 787 safer, lighter, and longer lasting batteries (weeks on end), but they could have been recharged in minutes every time the plane refueled.
    In any event, we should intelligently work through the 787’s battery problem. Either we better isolate the present lithium batteries or we replace them altogether. And as soon as we are done, the planes should get back on the air because they are otherwise sound -- and safe.

    by: Maria from: Washington DC
    January 17, 2013 11:07 AM
    My Ethiopian flight from Lusaka to Addis Ababa was grounded for a night because "the hydraulic pump broke". Thankfully we were on the ground.. but these 787s are not ready for the world. Boeing needs to stop testing these planes on passengers... these arent growing pains either as one Boeing employee said. Let's have that person on a plane that has known issues.. and see how he feels then! urgh

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