Wednesday 16 January 2013

Top Japan airlines ground Boeing 787s after emergency

Aviation Nigeria

Japan's two main airlines have grounded their Boeing 787 Dream-liners after one was forced to make an emergency landing because of battery problems.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) grounded its fleet of 17 Dreamliners when its flight NH 692 from Yamaguchi Ube was forced to land shortly after take-off.

Japan Airlines followed suit, saying it would ground its fleet of seven 787s from 16 January until further notice.

This is the latest setback for Boeing and its problem-hit Dreamliner planes.

In recent weeks, Dreamliners have suffered issues including fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, brake problems and an electrical fire.

"You're nearing the tipping point where they need to regard this as a serious crisis," said Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia.

"This is going to change people's perception of the aircraft if they don't act quickly."

Battery malfunction

On Wednesday, ANA's flight NH 692 left Yamaguchi Ube in western Japan at 08:10 local time (23:10 GMT) and headed for Tokyo's Haneda airport.
Shortly after take-off, smoke was seen in the cockpit but not in the passenger compartment, and a strange smell was reported.

ANA says that it does not yet know the source of the smoke and is investigating the problem.

However, it added that the battery in the forward cargo hold was the same type as the one involved in a fire on another Dreamliner at a US airport last week.

The ANA flight landed at Takamatsu airport at 08:47 on Wednesday after the pilot saw an error message in the cockpit.

"There was a battery alert in the cockpit and there was an odd smell detected in the cockpit and cabin, and [the pilot] decided to make an emergency landing," said Osamu Shinobe, an ANA vice president, at a news conference.

ANA said that the 129 passengers and eight crew were evacuated, with a number of people sustaining minor injuries.

The Reuters news agency reported that five people were injured, while Bloomberg said that one person was sent to hospital. ANA officials were not immediately available to confirm the figures.
Market Reaction

Paul Lewis, a spokesman for Boeing, told the BBC that the plane-maker was "aware of the diversion of a 787 operated by ANA to Takamatsu in western Japan". He added that Boeing "will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies".


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