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Thursday, January 17, 2013

FAA, EASA Ground All Dreamliners

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is adopting FAA’s emergency airworthiness directive (AD) issued Wednesday, ordering operators to ground their fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following the latest incident involving the plane’s battery.

FAA said the AD was prompted by the All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight that made an emergency landing Wednesday, after a problem with the 787’s battery was discovered from an error message on one of the cockpit displays and an odor was reported in the cabin of the plane.

“The battery failures resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke on two Model 787 airplanes. The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment,” FAA said in a statement.

Japanese manufacturer GS Yuasa Corp. produced the Dreamliner’s lithium-ion battery for Thales, which provides backup power systems for Boeing aircraft. Officials are still unclear on what is causing the battery problems and what components of the 787’s critical systems are malfunctioning.

United Airlines will be the only U.S. carrier affected by the AD, as it currently has six Dreamliners in service. The EASA order will impact LOT Polish Airlines, who operates two of the aircraft.

ANA, Japan Airlines, Air India and Chilean carrier LATAM Airlines have also grounded their fleets of Dreamliners until further notice.

“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. 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 said in a statement issued Wednesday. More

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