TOKYO – Boeing Co.’s 787 planes were grounded for safety checks today by two major Japanese airlines after one was forced to make an emergency landing in the latest blow for the new jet.
All Nippon Airways said a cockpit message showed battery problems and a burning smell was detected, forcing the 787 on a domestic flight to land at Takamatsu airport in western Japan.
The 787, known as the Dreamliner, is Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced jet, and the company is counting heavily on its success. Since its launch, which came after delays of more than three years, the plane has been plagued by a series of problems including a battery fire and fuel leaks. Japan’s ANA and Japan Airlines are major customers for the jet and among the first to fly it.
Japan’s transport ministry said it got notices from ANA, which operates 17 of the jets, and Japan Airlines which has seven, that all their 787 aircraft would not be flying. The grounding was done voluntarily by the airlines.
The ministry categorized the problem today as a “serious incident” that could have led to an accident, and sent officials for further checks to Takamatsu airport. The airport was closed.
One male in his 60s was taken to the hospital for minor hip injuries after going down the emergency slides at the airport, the fire department said. The other 128 passengers and eight crew members of the ANA domestic flight were uninjured, according to ANA.
The grounding in Japan was the first for the 787, whose problems had been brushed off by Boeing as teething pains for a new aircraft. The ministry had already started a separate inspection Monday on another 787 jet, operated by Japan Airlines, which had leaked fuel at Tokyo’s Narita airport after flying back from Boston, where it had also leaked fuel.