Japanese airlines ground Boeing 787s after more problems


A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA) sits on the tarmac after an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airpirt in Takamatsu, west of Japan, on January 16, 2013. Japan's two biggest airlines on January 16 grounded all their Dreamliners in the most serious blow yet to Boeing's troubled next-generation model after an ANA flight was forced into an emergency landing.



Japan's two biggest airlines have decided to ground their fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners after an All Nippon Airways flight made an emergency landing early Wednesday, reports AFP.

ANA and Japan Airlines made the decision to ground the aircraft after an ANA flight from the southern city of Ube to Tokyo made an emergency landing at the Takamatsu airport north east of Ube.

ANA's vice-president Osamu Shinobe told a news conference Wednesday that instruments on the Dreamliner indicated a battery error.

"There was a battery alert in the cockpit and there was an odd smell detected in the cockpit and cabin, and (the pilot) decided to make an emergency landing," Shinobe said, according to Reuters.

Local media reported seeing smoke inside the aircraft and NTV television reported passengers used emergency slides to exit the plane, according to AP.

The airlines decision to ground the 787 Dreamliners is the latest blow to Boeing, which has suffered from several safety incidents in recent weeks. 

Reuters reports that the Dreamliner, the world's first plane made primarily of carbon-composite, has "suffered fuel leaks, a battery fire, wiring problem, brake computer glitch and cracked cockpit window in recent days."

"I think you're nearing the tipping point where they need to regard this as a serious crisis," Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia told Reuters.

"This is going to change people's perception of the aircraft if they don't act quickly."

Both Japan and the FAA have launched investigations into the Boeing Dreamliner after a number of problems in both the US and Japan. 

According to NBC, Japan is so far the biggest buyer of the pricey Dreamliner, with ANA and JAL flying 24 of the 50 Dreamliners delivered so far.