All Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft grounded

Friday 18th January 2013 at 11:48

ANA All Nippon Boeing 787 Dreamliner
ANA All Nippon 787 had to make an emergency landing

Following a small fire on a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Boston a few weeks ago the FAA had issued a directive for a review into the safety of the electrical system and the lithium ion batteries used to power certain systems onboard the aircraft, but following a second incident which happened earlier this week and involved an ANA All Nippon 787 which had to make an emergency landing due to an electrical smell on the flight deck, the FAA have taken the decision to ground all Dreamliners flying until Boeing and airlines can fix the problems to do with these batteries.

Grounding Aircraft

The 787 uses two lithium-ion batteries made by the Japanese company GS Yuasa Corp, with the associated control circuits made by Thales SA. They are part of an auxiliary power unit supplied by UTC Aerospace, a unit of United Technologies Corp, that provides power while the airplane is on the ground.

According to the regulatory outfit, the battery failures could affect critical systems and structures, and ultimately lead to an onboard fire .

In order to get things sorted , the FAA says they will work with Boeing on a plan that will  fix the problems and put the aircraft back into service as "quickly and safely as possible."

A string of issues in recent weeks have raised questions about the 787, which is the first major aircraft grounding since 1979.

In all there are now over 50 Dreamliners flying with various airlines but in recent months they have been hit with a whole host of other problems including, fuel leaks, generator failures, brake problems and a cracked cockpit windscreen.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Boeing Ramp showing new Dreamliners awaiting delivery

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner completed its first test flight in December 2009 and was hailed as the future of commercial aviation.

But the project was plagued with problems from the start and was 30 months behind schedule at the time of its maiden flight.

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney issued the following statement today after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive that requires U.S. 787 operators to temporarily cease operations and recommends other regulatory agencies to follow suit: 

"The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

"Boeing is committed to supporting the FAA and finding answers as quickly as possible. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities. We will make available the entire resources of The Boeing Company to assist.

"We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity.  We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the traveling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service.

"Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers."

Airlines operating the Boeing 787
Air India 6
ANA - All Nippon Airways 17
Ethiopian Airlines 4
JAL Japan Airlines 7
LAN Airlines 3
LOT Polish Airlines 2
Qatar Airways 5
United Airlines 6
Total in service 50

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner photos

Report by Darryl Morrell

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