This morning an All Nippon Airways (ANA) Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft made an emergency landing in Japan after an alarm signal on a battery was set off. All passengers and crew were evacuated by slide.
The ANA flight took off from Yamaguchi Ube Airport at 0800 and was scheduled to arrive at Tokyo's Haneda at 0925, but it had to make an unscheduled stop at the small Takamatsu Airport in Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku island, after the alarm sounded.
ANA has now grounded all its 17 Dreamliners for today in reaction to this incident, and they will all undergo a maintenance check, Ryosei Nomura, senior manager for public relations at ANA says. This will result in the cancellation of 26 domestic and seven international flights.
Any further action will be announced pending the results of the maintenance check, Nomura says. He adds that at this point ANA has no plans to change their order from Boeing for 66 more B787s.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has done the same. Five of its flights will be affected today with aircraft change or cancellation.
This is the latest of a number of problems experienced by operators of the Dreamliner since the aircraft was launched in September 2011. The most recent series of incidents began on January 7, when a fire broke out on one of JAL's Boeing 787s after it arrived at Boston Logan International Airport (see story here). Fortunately, all passengers and crew members had disembarked when the fire occurred.
The following day (January 8), another of JAL’s Dreamliners was found to be leaking fuel while taxiing out to the tarmac of the Boston airport for takeoff to Tokyo.
According to a spokesperson for the airline, a valve between the centre oil tank and the left oil tank opened by accident, causing fuel to flow to the surge tank and leak out of the left wing surge tank vent. The plane was called back to the gate for inspection, and the valve – one of the four – was deactivated to prevent it from opening again. The aircraft was later deemed safe to fly on the same day.
On January 11, All Nippon Airways grounded a Dreamliner after a crack was discovered in the cockpit windshield after a flight from Tokyo's Haneda to southwestern Japanese city of Matsuyama. The series of incidents prompted Federal Aviation Administration to decide to send a team of engineers to Boeing’s facility in Seattle for a “comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems” (see story here).
On January 13, fuel leaked out from a nozzle on the left wing of the same JAL B787-8 that experienced problems in Boston on January 8, when it was undergoing maintenance works at the Narita airport. The exact cause has not been determined, but Japan Civil Aviation Bureau has got involved and will be conducting inspections on this B787.
United and Qatar Airways (see here) have also experienced technological problems with the aircraft that forced the former to make an emergency landing and the latter to ground its new aircraft for a few days.
Alex Andersson and Reggie Ho