Safety

Boeing 787 Fleet Grounding Spreads Around the World

ANA Boeing 787-8
Tis Meyer / PlanePics.org

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Wednesday it would temporarily ground Boeing 787s after a second incident involving battery failures caused one of the Dreamliner passenger jets to make an emergency landing in Japan.

As a result of an in-flight, Boeing 787 battery incident yesterday in Japan, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and requires US 787 operators to temporarily cease operations and recommends other regulatory agencies to follow suit  Before further flight, operators of US-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe.

The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.

The in-flight Japanese battery incident followed an earlier 787 battery incident that occurred on the ground in Boston on January 7, 2013. The AD is prompted by this second incident involving a lithium ion battery.  The battery failures resulted in the release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke on two Model 787 airplanes.  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.

Last Friday, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems with the possibility of further action pending new data and information. 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 statement

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney issued the following statement today after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued the emergency airworthiness directive:

“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.”

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