After another emergency, more trouble for 787 jet
SEATTLE — Days after declaring the 787 Dreamliner to be safe, the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday grounded Boeing Co.'s newest jet until its batteries are proven safe.
“The FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations,” the agency said following a meeting in Washington.
“Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration that the batteries are safe,” the statement added.
All Nippon Airways on Wednesday confirmed in a statement that its 787 made an emergency landing in Japan because of an overheated main battery and “an unusual smell in the cockpit as well as in the cabin.”
The battery was found to be blackened after the incident.
The in-flight All Nippon Airways battery incident followed an earlier Japan Airlines 787 battery incident on the ground in Boston last week. Last Friday, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787's critical systems.
The FAA's order Wednesday was prompted by the fact that both incidents “resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke,” the statement said. “The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment.”
United Airlines is the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes in service.
Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways temporarily grounded their fleets Wednesday. The only other operators of the airplane at present are Air India, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, LAN of Chile and LOT of Poland.
When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive on an airplane it has certified, such as the 787, overseas civil aviation authorities generally take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries.
On Wednesday, the agency said that “in addition to the continuing review of the aircraft's design, manufacture and assembly, the agency also will validate that 787 batteries and the battery system on the aircraft are in compliance with the special condition the agency issued as part of the aircraft's certification.”
Boeing insisted last week after the fire in Boston that the new high-energy lithium-ion batteries used on the Dreamliner are safe.
The JAL 787 involved in the Logan incident was a brand-new jet, Dreamliner No. 84, which Boeing had delivered to the airline just three weeks earlier. That plane came off the production line in Everett, Wash., largely finished and did not need to go to Boeing's modification center at the south end of Paine Field for rework.
On Wednesday morning, before the FAA's announcement, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Ray Conner abruptly canceled most of a long-planned, day-long strategy meeting of his leadership executives and senior operational employees - some 900 people gathered at the Washington State Convention Center, including many top engineers.
Conner held just a short Q&A session with the employees, answering questions about the emergency landing in Japan and its implications.
But the rest of the day, including presentations to the crowd from out-of-town industry analysts and top airline executive Willie Walsh, chief executive of the holding company that owns British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia, was postponed until an unspecified later date.
Those who had flown in for the meeting left for home early as Conner gathered his team to confront the crisis in the 787 program.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-coal exec pleads not guilty in W.Va. mine blast
- Small businesses’ dilemma: Keep costly health care coverage or lose talented workers
- Wilkins woman leads PNC’s multicultural marketing efforts
- Toyota to begin selling 1st fuel cell vehicle, Mirai, in December
- U.S. Steel reorganizes operating units
- Health care, gas drilling industries await Gov.-elect Wolf’s footprint
- Oil, gas industry tries to keep talent in pipeline
- Stocks drift lower as Fed toes the line on interest rate plans
- Variable-rate electricity contracts in Pennsylvania can cost customers plenty
- World Wide Web inventor keeps busy
- Coal exec’s image looms in deadly blast case