Japan airlines ground 787s after smoke in cockpit

Two of Japan’s major airlines temporarily have grounded their Boeing Co. 787s after smoke in one of the planes forced a pilot to make an emergency landing in Japan.

This comes just days after a string of recent incidents involving 787s prompted U.S. aviation authorities to launch a major review of Boeing’s Dreamliner.

All Nippon Airways pilots were alerted to a battery error by a 787 cockpit warning during a flight early Wednesday within Japan. A strange, smoke-like odor also was reported in the cabin, forcing the pilots to make an emergency landing at about 35 minutes into the flight at Takamatsu airport in southwest Japan.

The Japanese transport ministry said the pilots and air- traffic controllers saw smoke. Passengers and crew members were evacuated via the 787’s emergency chutes. Only minor injuries were reported.

Japan’s ministry officials characterized the latest 787 incident as “serious.” It was unclear when the Japanese carriers would return their 787s to flight.

“This is the worst new aircraft development program Boeing has experienced, when you look back at these troubles and all the delays,” said Richard Aboulafia, a consultant with Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia.

On Jan. 7, a Japan Airlines 787 that was parked in Boston caught fire. An ongoing investigation into the fire has traced it back to the 787’s lithium-ion battery. It was not the first electrical glitch on a Boeing Dreamliner since the jet entered commercial service in late 2011.

On Friday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it will review the 787’s design, manufacture and assembly, paying close attention to the jet’s electrical systems, batteries and power panels. The mostly composite Dreamliner uses more electrical power than do most aluminum aircraft. The FAA said it will incorporate the investigation into the ANA 787 emergency landing into its review.

“We are aware of the event and working with our customer,” Lori Gunter, a Boeing spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “We don’t have any more details to share at this point.”

The ANA 787 had 129 passengers and eight crew members on board when it made the emergency landing at Takamatsu airport. The airport’s runways have been shut down following the incident, said Yorimasa Tojo, a spokesman at the transport ministry’s Takamatsu airport bureau. “The runways will remain closed until we at least move the plane,” he said.

Japan’s transport ministry recently had launched an investigation of fuel leaks on a Japan Airlines’ 787. Japan’s ANA was the launch customer for Boeing’s 787 and has received 17 Dreamliner aircraft.

Arun Mishra, India’s Director General of Civil Aviation, said the regulator will conduct checks on all six Dreamliners in the Mumbai-based carrier’s fleet.

“This is not good,” said Andrew Orchard, a Hong Kong- based analyst at CIMB Securities HK Ltd. “There could be some sort of softness in demand in the short term, but I don’t think the incidents will have a huge impact on demand in the long term.”

Earlier in the day, Boeing officials had sought to calm passenger and investor concerns about its 787. Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, posted a string of “success stories” from Dreamliner operators on his blog late Tuesday.

“We have complete confidence in the 787 and so do many of our customers,” Ray Conner, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said during Friday’s news conference with the FAA. At that point, the 50 787s Boeing has delivered were flying as many as 150 flights daily.

Following the incident in Japan, Boeing’s shares fell nearly 1.9 percent in after hours trading.

More in Herald Business Journal

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Hospital companies merge as insurers encroach on their turf

An anticipated deal between Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension is only the latest.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

Providence said to be in talks for merger with Ascension

The two Catholic health organizations have been exploring joining forces, sources say.

Lockheed-Martin dominates global arms sales, Boeing is 2nd

The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion.

Most Read