Boeing 787 Dreamliner suffers new setback after ANA discovers wiring defects

/ August 14, 2013 12:11

Boeing 787 Dreamliner suffered a fresh setback after All Nippon Airways (ANA) said it discovered wiring defects in the fire-suppression system on three aircraft.

The fault, first detected on a 787-8 due to depart Tokyo’s Haneda airport Aug. 14, would trigger the wrong extinguisher in the event of a blaze in one of the two engines, ANA said. Japan Airlines recalled a 787 flying to Helsinki from Tokyo as a precaution, and Boeing said it was investigating the flaw.

Boeing’s flagship jet, which made its commercial debut in 2011, is already under scrutiny following a fire in London last month that U.K. investigators linked to an emergency beacon. The 787 returned to service with ANA and Japan Airlines on June 1 after a global grounding spurred by a pair of meltdowns in the lithium-ion batteries on the carriers’ jets.

ANA’s parts were replaced in two of the jets in which the Tokyo-based carrier found the defect, which must have occurred during the manufacturing process, said Megumi Tezuka, a spokeswoman. The third aircraft will also be fixed by the end of the day, she said to Bloomberg.

Japan Air brought back the 787 from Helsinki to Narita airport in Tokyo as a precautionary measure after being informed of the new wiring issue by the National Transport Ministry, company spokesman Seiji Takaramoto said.

The carrier subsequently inspected all 10 of its 787s and found no problems, he said. Among other Dreamliner operators, LOT Polish Airlines said its planes are flying as scheduled, while Qatar Airways said it has had no problems and Norwegian Air Shuttle said it was unaware of the issue.

Christen David, a spokeswoman for United Airlines said she didn’t know at this point whether the airline was inspecting its 787 fleet.

U.S. regulators ordered Dreamliner operators to check emergency radio transmitters for wire damage after a beacon was linked to the July 12 fire in London. The Federal Aviation Administration is working with Boeing to develop instructions for the inspections, the agency said at the time.

Boeing had delivered 73 Dreamliners to 13 customers through August 7, the company said on its website, with more than 29,000 flights flown.

Dreamliner operators resumed services after a three-month grounding over the battery fires when authorities approved a redesign including more protection around individual cells to contain overheating.

Ethiopian Airlines was first to restart flights in April, with the Japanese carriers opting for a four-month halt as they took out ads saying the 787 was safe.

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