Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded worldwide

Jan. 17, 2013 at 8:07 AM   |   0 comments

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CHICAGO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Regulators around the world, following the lead of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials, ordered all Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded Thursday.

The action came after the new state-of-the-art jets experienced a series of troubling incidents, including leakage of engine oil, a fire, breakage of the outer glass in the cockpit windshield and potential problems with its lithium-ion batteries.

The European Aviation Safety Agency announced that it was adopting the FAA's directive issued Wednesday ordering all 787s be taken out of service, the Los Angeles Times reported.

EASA spokesman Jeremie Teahan said the action was taken "to ensure the continuing airworthiness of the European fleet."

The decision affects two 787s used by the Polish airline LOT.

Observers said the move ratchets up pressure on Boeing, which has maintained its new passenger jet is safe while promising to work with the FAA to resolve any concerns.

In Japan, the Transportation Ministry issued a formal order Thursday to ground all 787s indefinitely until concerns about the aircraft's battery systems are resolved, The New York Times reported. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines voluntarily grounded their 787s Wednesday.

Aviation regulators in India grounded all six of the 787s operated by the state-owned Air India, the Times said. LAN Airlines of Chile said it was grounding its 787s as well.

Qatar Airways said it would follow the FAA decision, grounding its five 787s.

Concerns about the aircraft's safety rose after a fire in a parked plane at Boston's Logan International Airport and an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways flight in which the crew reported an odd smell and saw indications of a problem with a lithium-ion battery.

The FAA directive said Boeing had to "address a potential battery fire risk in the 787."

EASA's Teahan said the European agency would "carefully monitor the situation and is prepared to provide any support the FAA may require in their investigation."

Officials at Boeing, based in Chicago, expressed confidence in the aircraft's safety.

"We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity," Jim McNerney, Boeing's chief executive, said in a statement.

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