A problem was detected on one of Japan Airlines' (JAL) B787 aircraft yesterday. The issue occurred just one day after it resumed Dreamliner operations following the global grounding of the aircraft earlier this year (see story here).
A spokesperson from JAL confirmed that an alert signal indicating pressure difference was activated when aircraft JL036 was undergoing routine maintenance at Haneda Airport. Two weep holes, designed to vent vapour in the event of battery failure, were found to be sealed with high-speed tape.
Following the installation of a new battery system by Boeing, the tape was used to seal the weep holes during testing. Boeing has confirmed that one of its staff members failed to remove the tape after testing.
JAL replaced the Dreamliner with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft on its Haneda to Beijing service yesterday. But the airline has now completed a fleet-wide check of all its 787s, and has not found any errors, hence the aircraft have remained in normal operation.
Boeing meanwhile today announced its continued development of the Dreamliner model, with the first 787-9 – the newest member of the Dreamliner family – beginning assembly on May 30. Sections have so far been delivered on, or ahead of, schedule by Boeing global partners. The first 787-9 is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2013. Delivery to the first customer, Air New Zealand, will be in early 2014.
The 787-9s will be 6.1 metres longer than 787-8, allowing for around 40 additional passengers. To this end, an ability to cope with higher take off weight has been incorporated in the design. The 787-9 can travel an additional 300 nautical miles, or 555 kilometers, while using 20 per cent less fuel. A lower cabin altitude will allow higher humidity and cleaner air whilst travelling. Inside the cabin there will be large, dimmable windows, large stow bins and modern LED lighting.
In addition to the production of the new 787-9, Boeing is now constructing seven 787s a month.
JAL placed orders for B787-9s last year and is awaiting delivery (see story here).