(TOKYO) — Japan Airlines Tuesday grounded all five of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, following an emergency landing made by All Nippon Airlines (ANA) when a battery warning light went off in the cockpit of one of the airliners.
Boeing’s new Dreamliners have had a series of problems in the past two weeks; the plane is being rolled out first by the two Japanese carriers.
ABC’s aviation consultant John Nance says the problems with the new plane don’t seem to be connected or related to the plane’s new technological advances.
“It does seem very premature, especially considering there doesn’t seem to be any indication that we even know what happened with the ANA airplane today that made the precautionary emergency landing. By the same token, you know any airline errs on the side of safety. And if they do so they do it right. So that’s really for them to determine,” Nance says.
Tuesday’s problems began shortly after the ANA flight carrying 137 passengers took off from western Japan. ANA says pilots detected a battery error message mid-flight and decided to make an emergency landing. Some told Japanese broadcaster NHK that they smelled smoke and thought, “they were going to crash.”
The latest Dreamliner incident comes days after the Japanese government launched its own investigation into a Japan Airline’s 787 that reported fuel leaks, including one in Boston.
But Nance says the problems with the planes are not out of the ordinary for a new aircraft.
“Some of these things are so disconnected. For instance, a cracked windshield — there is no commercial airliner in service that hasn’t had a cracked windshield. That is not endemic to the 787. And while some of these things seem to be worrisome, really it’s the growing pains of a new airplane in service,” he says. “And keep in mind this airplane has been in service now for about six to seven months and these are the first things that have really cropped up that have caught our attention.”
The FAA says it plans to include Tuesday’s incident in a comprehensive review the agency began last week of the Dreamliner’s critical systems, which involves scrutiny of the design, manufacture, and assembly of the aircraft.
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