787 Dreamliners are grounded for battery checks

Safety regulators are concerned about the potential fire risk relating to the 787’s use of lithium-ion batteries, which are essential to powering the plane's control systems.

Dreamliner grounded

Today Europe followed America and other regulators in temporarily grounding Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner planes while battery-related problems are investigated.

It follows two incidents involving lithium batteries on 787 aircraft this month.

On Wednesday an All Nippon Airways (ANA) 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after a battery problem, which reportedly led to a burning smell in the cockpit. Passengers were evacuated using emergency chutes.

Both ANA and Japan Airlines immediately grounded their 787s as a precaution.

On January 7, a fire started in the battery compartment of an empty Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 shortly after landing at Boston’s Logan Airport.

The fire prompted the FAA in America to launch a thorough review into the 787′s critical systems.

Wednesday’s incident raised enough concerns for the US regulator to take action before completing its review.

In a statement, the FAA said that in both the ANA and JAL incidents, flammable battery fluid had leaked from the plane’s lithium-ion battery, causing heat damage and smoke.

“These conditions could result in damage to critical aircraft systems and structures and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment,” The FAA said in a statement.

The cause of the battery leaks is being investigated.

Boeing said it was confident the 787 was safe and it stood by the plane’s integrity.

The plane maker added: “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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