FAA Grounds All Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Jan 17, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration is grounding all Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the US. That’s after a 787 in Japan was forced to make an emergency landing yesterday because of a battery problem. Deborah Wang from member station KUOW in Seattle reports.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Credit Photo by Strower / Wikimedia Commons

The FAA issued a statement saying it will issue an emergency airworthiness directive because of a potential risk of battery fires in the 787. It ordered all airlines to temporarily cease operations of the plane.

Before it can fly again, the FAA says the aircraft must demonstrate the lithium ion batteries in question are safe.

The directive follows an incident in Japan Tuesday when an All Nippon Airways 787 was forced to make an emergency landing because of a faulty battery. Earlier this month, a fire broke out in a 787 that had just landed in Boston.

The FAA says the battery failures resulted in the release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke. And it said if those conditions are not corrected, they could result in damage to critical systems and structures and the potential for fire in the plane’s electrical compartment.

Currently, United Airlines is the only US carrier that operates 787’s, with 6 in service. In Japan, ANA and Japan Airlines grounded their 787 fleets after yesterday’s incident. 5 other international airlines fly 787’s, but the FAA action may prompt a similar response from aviation authorities in those countries as well.

The FAA says it will work with Boeing and the airlines to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.

Last week, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the critical systems of the 787. It will now look at the battery system as well.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio